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At the beginning of this topic let me remind you of a common truth: Maneuvers of chess pieces do not always change the situation completely, as all pieces have the right to come back. However, any pawn movement is irreversible.
During the game, you are constantly preoccupied about the changes of configuration of pawn chains. Let’s try to understand these nuances.
In the first block of articles we’ll consider the problem of “pawn islands”. A group of pawns (or single pawns) that doesn’t have its “colleagues” on the neighboring files can be considered a pawn island. As a rule, the fewer islands you have, the better off you are. Islands are more easily subject to pressure than a monolithic pawn skeleton. Let’s consider examples.
Kasparov, S (2458) – Mallah, A (2385) [D30]
Urmia (8), 07.02.2008
White has two islands, Black has three. White’s plan is whenever possible to exchange several pieces and to organize pressure upon the weak а7- and с6-pawns.
12. Ba3 Re8
13. Bxe7 [13.Qc2!?] Qxe7
14. e3 h5 The right decision. It is necessary to be quick with counterplay.
15. Qc1+/= Bf5!?
16. Nd2 [A computer’s cool-blooded advice is to capture a pawn 16.Qxc6!? but a lag in development would become more appreciable] h4
17. Re1 Qe6
18. Ra6 Rec8
19. Qc5 Rc7
20. Rc1 Having secured the king, White began the siege of enemy “islands”. Black can’t save both the a7- and с6-pawns simultaneously. Rac8
21. Rxa7 Rxa7
22. Qxa7± One of the islands is destroyed, but the struggle is still far from finished, as Black’s arguments on kingside shouldn’t be underestimated. Ng4
23. Qa6 Qh6 [23…Nxe3 24.Re1]
24. Nf1 hxg3
25. hxg3 Kh7
26. Qe2 Re8
27. Qf3 Qg6
28. Qf4 [An exchange sacrifice is interesting, but insufficient 28.Rxc6 Qxc6 29.Qxf5+ Qg6 30.Qxg6+ Kxg6 31.Bxd5+/=] Bd3
29. Nh2 Nxh2
30. Kxh2 Ra8
31. Bf3 Kg8
32. Kg2 Qe6
33. Bg4 [long forced, this variant does not achieve the purpose 33.Qh4 f6 34.Rh1 Kf7 35.Qh5+ Bg6 36.Qxg6+? Kxg6 37.Bh5+ Kg5 38.f4+ Kf5 39.g4+ Ke4 40.Bg6+ f5 41.Bxf5+ Qxf5 42.gxf5 Kxe3 with compensation] Qe8
34. Bf5 Bxf5
35. Qxf5 Rb8
36. Qc2 Rb6
37. Kg1 g
38. b4 Qb8
39. Kg2 Kg7
40. Qc5 Qb7? Time trouble [40…Ra6±]
41. Qd6+- Rxb4
42. Rxc6 Rc4
43. Rb6 Qc7 [44.Qf6+ wins, and then, for instance 45.Rd6 1–0]