Monday 23 September 2019

The most common question that I encounter as a chess coach is how one gets better at chess. There is no simple answer to it - as chess is a very complex game.

Alexander Baburin

The most common question that I encounter as a chess coach is how one gets better at chess. There is no simple answer to it - as chess is a very complex game.

Solving chess puzzles, learning endgame positions and studying openings are all valid methods of improving in chess. To that list I can add studying typical pawn structures.

Perhaps the most common of them is the one with the isolated d-pawn, which can arise in different openings. In 1998, I wrote a book called Winning Pawn Structures, which dealt with this topic. The book was very well received and it's nearly impossible to find a copy of it now.

The following game, played last Sunday in the Czech club championship, might find a place in a new edition of that book - if I were to ever write one:

Bernasek - Pokorny

1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 c6

3.c4 e6 4.b3 Be7

5.Bb2 Bf6 6.d4 Ne7

7.Bd3 c5 8.cxd5 Nxd5

9.0-0 cxd4 10.Nxd4 0-0

11.Nc3 Bxd4 12.exd4 Nxc3

13.Bxc3 Bd7 14.Re1 Bc6

15.Re3 Nd7? (D)

Black's last move looks natural, but in fact it was a losing mistake. Grandmaster Aron Nimzowitsch compared the isolated d-pawn to a dangerous criminal, who must be kept under lock and key. Therefore Black should have played 15...Bd5!, blocking the pawn - as now White launched a deadly attack, involving the famous double bishop sacrifice:

16.d5! Bxd5 17.Bxh7+! Kxh7

18.Qh5+ Kg8 19.Bxg7! f5

20.Rg3 f4 21.Bf6+ fxg3 22.Qg6#

Sunday Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top