Pawn Chain Configurations: Pawn islands 3

Pawn3-01The problem of an isolated pawn is surely worth an independent topic and thorough analysis. For a while let’s confine our study to a particular case from the creativity of great chess players.

I remind you that generally pawns are strong when placed side by side, backing up and protecting each other. There are exceptions, but exceptions only prove the rule.

Viktor Korchnoi is a known expert on French Defense, including the line with an isolated d5-pawn. This makes Anatoly Karpov’s victory in analogical structure with a color change even more valuable a study.

Korchnoi, V – Karpov, An 
Merano (m/9) 1981

Pawn3-02The isolated d4-pawn doesn’t decorate White’s position. However, while his pieces are controlling square d5, the c3-rook offers an exchange, after which the pawn would have moved to assist its central colleague (b2:c3).

21. Rd1 Rb6!

22. Qe1 Qd7

23. Rcd3 Rd6

24. Qe4 Qc6 [24…Nc6? 25.d5 exd5 26.Rxd5 with initiative]

25. Qf4 [25.Qxc6 Nxc6 26.d5 When there are no queens on the board, 26…Nb4 -/+ becomes possible] Nd5

26. Qd2 Qb6

27. Bxd5 Rxd5

28. Rb3 Qc6

29. Qc3 Qd7 For pressure on isolated pawn it is favorable to keep as many major pieces alive as possible.

30. f4 Korchnoi interferes e6-e5 but the residence of white monarch is weakened. b6

31. Rb4 b5

32. a4 bxa4

33. Qa3 a5

34. Rxa4 Qb5

35. Rd2 e5!

36. fxe5 Rxe5

37. Qa1 [37.dxe5 Rxd2 38.Rxa5 Qe2–+]Qe8! The resources available for White’s defense are running out; rook’s penetration on the 1st or 2nd rank threatens.

38. dxe5 [38.Kf2 Rf5+–+; 38.Rd1 Re2–+] Rxd2

39. Rxa5 [39.Qe1 Qd8 40.Ra1 Qd4+ 41.Kf1 Qd5–+; 39.Rf4 Qxe5–+] Qc6

0. Ra8+ [40.Qf1 Qb6+–+] Kh7

41. Qb1+ g6

42. Qf1 Qc5+

43. Kh1 Qd5+ 0–1

To conclude our series on pawn islands, I offer you an instructive realization of slight advantage in the performance of a member of the Romanian chess team.

What is remarkable, when analyzing the game with a computer, is that I didn’t find any substantial mistakes from the black side. In other words, the win was achieved by slow gradual pressure from the first to the last move. The advantage was steadily gained during the whole, long game.

Lupulescu, C (2589) – Kasparov, S (2486) 
Bucharest (4), 14.09.2008

Pawn3-0324. Nd4 +/= Rfc8

25. Kb1 b5 An attempt to organize counterplay against the c-pawn looks reasonable. [25…f6 26.c3 Be5 27.Rd2 +/= Stable advantage which is highly unpleasant for the opponent.]

26. c3 b4

27. cxb4 Bxb4

28. Rc1 Bd6 [28…Rc4]

29. Rxc7 Rxc7

30. Rc1 Rxc1+ Pawn3-04

31. Kxc1 The Romanian grandmaster kept his pawns on their initial positions, creating two islands against three of his adversary’s. There is also a potential danger of creating an outside passed pawn on queenside. Nc5

32. Kc2 f5

33. g3 Kf7

34. b4 Nd7

35. Kb3 Kf6

36. f4!± Placing pawns on the squares of the bishop’s color is of not great importance here. The main thing is to prevent the opponent’s counterplay. g5

37. fxg5+ Ke5

38. Bf4+ Kxd4

39. Bxd6 Ke4

40. h4 g6

41. a4 d4 Pawn3-05

42. a5+- Now breakthroughs on flanks b4-b5 and h4-h5 threaten. d3

43. Bf4 Kf3

44. Kc4 d2 [44…Ne5+ 45.Kd4]

45. Bxd2 Kxg3

46. b5 axb5+

47. Kxb5 Nb8

48. h5 1–0

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