How Akiba Rubinstein Can Improve Your Chess


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The Polish Grandmaster Akiba Rubinstein was one of the most prominent chess talents in the early 20th century and was only denied a world championship shot by the outbreak of the war in 1914.

Despite learning chess at the relatively old age of 16, Rubinstein was soon winning international tournaments (including 5 in a row) with his incredible precision. Akiba was equally impressive in strategic endgames and wild tactical positions producing some of the most famous and instructive games of all time.

Boris Gelfand holds Akiba Rubinstein as his favorite player, Kramnik considers him one of the strongest never to have won the World Championship and Rustam Kasimdzhanov (former FIDE World Champion) has assembled  this course analyzing his most instructive games.

In this free preview, Rubinstein produces the model game of how to play against holes and backward pawns. His opponent, Georg Salwe, plays the Tarrasch Defense (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5) , an opening that often leads to Black having an isolated Queen’s pawn.

Akiba Rubinstein immediately focuses on this possible weakness, playing c4 and exchanging in d5 then fianchettoing his Bishop on g2, bearing down the long diagonal. Black moves to support the pawn by inviting exchanges that leave a pawn on c6, guarding d5.

With incredible efficiency White goes after the new weaknesses: the backward c6 pawn and the hole on c5. He skillfully forces the trade of Black’s best defenders and increases the pressure with every move.

Soon Black reaches breaking point and the combinations appear. In a game where Black doesn’t make any serious errors, it’s incredible to see such control and ease in winning. As well as serving as a template for playing against backward pawns, this game – and Kasimdzhanov’s insights – reveal how to form a winning plan and convert a material advantage.

Enjoy the video and remember to check out the complete course here.

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