Chess Strategy
by Edward Lasker
1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse


The following is an e-text of "Chess Strategy," second edition, (1915) by Edward Lasker, translated by J. Du Mont.

This e-text contains the 167 chess and checkers board game diagrams appearing in the original book, all in the form of ASCII line drawings. The following is a key to the diagrams:

For chess pieces,

R = Rook Kt = Knight B = Bishop Q = Queen K = King P = Pawn

Black pieces have a # symbol to the left of them, while white pieces have a ^ symbol to the left of them. For example, #B is the Black bishop, while ^B is the white bishop. #Kt is the black knight, while ^Kt is the white knight. This will let the reader instantly tell by sight which pieces in the ASCII chess diagrams are black and which are white. Those who find these diagrams hard to read should feel free to set up them up on a game board using the actual pieces.





I. Rules of the Game II. Notation


Elementary Combinations Simple Calculation Complications


Introductory Balance of Attack and Defence Mobility


Development of the Pieces On Losing Moves Examples of Practical Play Pawn Play Pawn Skeleton The Centre A. King's Pawn Games B. Queen's Pawn Games C. Irregular Openings


End-games with Pieces Pawn Endings Mixed Endings


Teichmann-Blackburne (Berlin, 1897) Ed. Lasker-Rotlewi (Hamburg, 1910) Blackburne-Schlechter (Vienna, 1898) Bird-Janowski (Hastings, 1895) Steiner-Forgacz (Szekesfehervar, 1907) Charousek-Heinrichsen (Cologne, 1898)


General Remarks Evolution of the Pawn Skeleton Objects of Attack "Backward" Pawns On Fixing a Weakness Weaknesses in a Pawn Position Breaking up the King's Side Doubled Pawns Illustrations— v. Scheve-Teichmann (Berlin, 1907) Marshall-Burn (Ostend, 1907) Manoeuvres of the Pieces Open Files and Diagonals Example— Fred. Lazard-Ed. Lasker (Paris, 1914)



1. Tartakower-Burn (Carlsbad, 1911) 2. Leonhardt-Marshall (San Sebastian, 1911) 3. Spielmann-Prokes (Prag, 1908) 4. Tarrasch-Capablanca (San Sebastian, 1911) 4a. Howell-Michell (Cable Match, 1907) 4b. X. v. Y 5. Griffith-Gunston (London, 1902) 6. Mason-Gunsberg (New York, 1889) 7. Marshall-Tarrasch (Hamburg, 1910) 8. Blackburne-Em. Lasker (Petrograd, 1914) 9. Salwe-Marshall (Vienna, 1908) 10. Teichmann-Amateurs (Glasgow, 1902) 11. Schlechter-Janowski (Paris, 1900) 12. Teichmann-Rubinstein (Carlsbad, 1911) 13. Teichmann-Schlechter (Carlsbad, 1911) 14. Spielmann-Tarrasch (San Sebastian, 1912) 15. Aljechin-Niemzowitsch (Petrograd, 1914) 16. Yates-Gunsberg (Chester, 1914) 17. Berlin-Riga (1908-1909) 17a. Maroczy-Berger (Vienna, 1908) 18. Em. Lasker-Capablanca (Petrograd, 1914) 19. Ed. Lasker-Janowski (Scheveningen, 1913) 20. Ed. Lasker-Englund (Scheveningen, 1913) 21. Ed. Lasker-Aljechin (Scheveningen, 1913) 22. Forgacz-Tartakower (Petrograd, 1909) 23. Yates-Esser (Anglo-Dutch Match, 1914) 24. Atkins-Barry (Cable Match, 1910) 25. Em. Lasker-Tarrasch (Munich, 1908) 26. Capablanca-Blanco (Havanna, 1913) 27. Niemzowitsch-Tarrasch (San Sebastian, 1912) 28. Alapin-Rubinstein (Wilna, 1912) 29. Teichmann-Spielmann (Leipzig, 1914) 30. Tarrasch-Spielmann (Mannheim, 1914) 31. John-Janowski (Mannheim, 1914) 32. Ed. Laskcr-Mieses (Scheveningen, 1913) 33. Barasz-Mieses (Breslau, 1012) 34. Em. Lasker-Niemzowitsch (Petrograd, 1914) 35. Reti-Tartakower (Vienna, 1910) 36. Forgacz-E. Cohn (Petrograd, 1909) 37. Marshall-Capablanca (New York, 1909) 38. Rotlewi-Teichmann (Carlsbad, 1911) 38a. Rubinstein-Teichmann (Vienna, 1908) 39. Rotlewi-Rubinstein (Lodz, 1907) 40. Rubinstein-Capablanca (San Sebastian, 1911) 41. Niemzowitsch-Tarrasch (Petrograd, 1914) 41a. Em. Lasker-Bauer (Amsterdam, 1889) 42. Capablanca-Aljechin (Petrograd, 1913) 43. Capablanca-Bernstein (Petrograd, 1914) 44. Dus Chotimirski-Vidmar (Carlsbad, 1911) 45. Rubinstein-Spielmann (Pistyan, 1912) 46. Thomas-Ed. Lasker (London, 1912) 47. Tartakower-Asztalos (Budapest, 1913) 47a. Tartakower-Spielmann (Vienna, 1913) 47b. X v. Y 48. Blackburne-Niemzowitsch (Petrograd, 1914)


A. King's Pawn Games B. Queen's Pawn Games C. Irregular Openings


As the first edition of Edward Laskcr's CHESS STRATEGY was exhausted within a comparatively short time of its appearance, the author set himself the task of altering and improving the work to such an extent that it became to all intents and purposes a new book. I had the privilege of co-operating with him to a slight degree on that second edition, and was in consequence able to appreciate the tremendous amount of work he voluntarily took upon himself to do; I say voluntarily, because his publishers, anxious to supply the strong demand for the book, wished to reprint it as it stood.

A little later I undertook to translate this second edition into English for Messrs. Bell & Sons. Only a few months had elapsed, the tournaments at Petrograd, Chester, and Mannheim had taken place, several new discoveries had been made, and it is the greatest testimony to Edward Lasker's indefatigable devotion to the Art of Chess that I am able to say that this is not a translation of the second edition, but of what is practically a new book. It contains a new preface, a chapter for beginners, a new introduction, new variations. Furthermore, a large number of new games have taken the place of old ones.

I have no doubt that any chess player who will take the trouble to study CHESS STRATEGY will spend many a pleasurable hour. Incidentally new vistas will be opened to him, and his playing strength increased to a surprising degree.

The author says in his preface that he appeals to the intelligence and not the memory of his readers. In my opinion, too, the student should above all try to improve his judgment of position.

Than the playing over of games contested by experts I can hardly imagine a greater or purer form of enjoyment. Yet I must at the outset sound a note of warning against its being done superficially, and with a feverish expectation of something happening. Every move or combination of moves should be carefully weighed, and the student should draw his own conclusions and compare them with what actually happens in the game under examination.

This applies particularly to some of the critical positions set out in diagrams in the course of the exposition of the several games.

The reader would derive the greatest possible benefit from a prolonged study of such positions before seeking to know how the games proceed. After having formed his own opinion about the merits of a particular position, he should compare the result with the sequel in the game in question, and thus find out where his judgment has been at fault.

The deeper study of the theory of the openings is of course a necessity to the student who wishes to become an expert, but the development of his judgment must precede it. To him Griffith & White's admirable book, Modem Chess Openings, will be a perfect mine of information. There are thousands of variations, and in most of them the actual game in which they were first tried by masters is named, thus adding to the interest and value of the work.

I must not omit to mention the invaluable help afforded me by my friend Mr. John Hart, to whom my warmest thanks are due.



THE large majority of chess players who would like to improve their game, have not the necessary opportunity of pitting themselves against players of master-strength, or at least of obtaining the desired instruction from personal intercourse with them. It is for such players that the present work is intended. The books on which the learner has to rely hardly ever serve his purpose, being mostly little more than a disjointed tabulation of numberless opening variations, which cannot be understood without preliminary studies, and consequently only make for confusion. In the end the connection between the various lines of play may become clear, after the student has made an exhaustive study of the subject, but very few would have either the time or the inclination for such prolonged labour.

Therefore another shorter and less empirical way must be found in which to acquire the understanding of sound play. My system of teaching differs from the usual ones, in that it sets down at the outset definite elementary principles of chess strategy by which any move can be gauged at its true value, thus enabling the learner to form his own judgment as to the manoeuvres under consideration. In my opinion it is absolutely ESSENTIAL to follow such strategical principles, and I go so far as to assert that such principles are in themselves SUFFICIENT for the development and conduct of a correct game of chess.

Even though instruction in chess is possible on very general lines alone, yet I think it advisable and indeed necessary to explain the application of such principles to the various phases of each game of chess. Otherwise the learner might unduly delay his progress, and lose valuable time in finding out for himself certain essentials that could more profitably be pointed out to him.

With regard to the way in which I have arranged my subject and the form of its exposition in detail, I have thought out the following plan.

After discussing at length the leading principles underlying sound play, I have first treated of the OPENINGS, in which such principles are of even more deciding influence than in any other stage of the game, as far as could be done on broad lines without having to pay attention to middle and end-game considerations.

I proceeded as follows, by taking as my starting-point the "pawn skeleton" which is formed in the opening, and round which the pieces should group themselves in logical fashion. As a consequence of the pawns having so little mobility, this "pawn skeleton" often preserves its shape right into the end-game. Applying the general strategical principles to the formation of the pawn skeleton, the learner acquires the understanding of the leading idea underlying each opening without having to burden his memory. Not only that, he will also be able to find a correct plan of development when confronted with unusual forms of opening.

The most important result of this system of teaching is that the learner does not lose his way in a maze of detail, but has in view at the very outset, the goal which the many possible variations of the openings are intended to reach.

Before I could proceed to the discussion of the middle game, I found it necessary to treat of the principles governing the END- GAME. For in most cases play in the middle game is influenced by end-game considerations. Here also it has been my endeavour as far as possible to reduce my subject to such principles as are generally applicable.

Finally, as regards the MIDDLE GAME, to which the whole of Part II is devoted, I have again made the handling of pawns, the hardest of all problems of strategy, the starting-point for my deliberations. I have shown at length how the various plans initiated by the various openings should be developed further. To ensure a thorough understanding of the middle game, I have given a large number of games taken from master play, with numerous and extensive notes. Thus the student has not to rely only on examples taken haphazard from their context, but he will at the same time see how middle-game positions, which give opportunities for special forms of attack, are evolved from the opening.

It has been my desire to make the subject easily understandable and at the same time entertaining, and to appeal less to the memory of my readers than to their common sense and intelligence. I hope in that way not to have strayed too far from the ideal I had in mind when writing this book, namely, to apply to chess the only method of teaching which has proved productive in all branches of science and art, that is, the education of individual thought.

If I have succeeded in this, I shall have the satisfaction of having contributed a little to the furthering, in the wide circles in which it is played, of the game which undoubtedly makes the strongest appeal to the intellect.






A GAME of chess is played by two opponents on a square board consisting of sixty-four White and Black squares arranged alternately. The forces on each side comprise sixteen units, namely a King, a Queen, two Rooks, two Bishops, two Knights, and eight Pawns. All units move according to different laws, and the difference in their mobility is the criterion of their relative value and of the fighting power they contribute towards achieving the ultimate aim, namely, the capture of the opposing King. Before I can explain what is meant by the capture of the King, I must set out the rules of the game in full.

Diagram 1 shows the position the forces take up for the contest. The board is so placed that there is a white square at the top left-hand corner. The Rooks take up their positions at the corner squares, and next to them the Knights. Next to those again are the Bishops, and in the centre the King and Queen, the White Queen on a White square, and the Black Queen on a Black square. The eight pawns occupy the ranks immediately in front of the pieces. From this initial position, White begins the game in which the players must move alternately.

The pieces move in the following way: The Rook can move from any square it happens to be on, to any other square which it can reach in a straight line, either perpendicularly or horizontally, unless there is another piece of the same colour in the way, in which case it can only move as far as the square immediately in front of that piece. If it is an opposing piece which blocks the way, he can move on to the square that piece occupies, thereby capturing it. The piece thus captured is removed from the board. The Bishop can operate along either of the diagonals of which the square on which he is standing forms part. A Bishop on a White square can there fore never get on to a Black one.

- 8 #R #Kt #B #Q #K #B #Kt #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^K ^B ^Kt ^R - a b c d e f g h

DIAG. 1.

The Queen commands both the straight and the oblique lines which start from the square she stands on, and therefore unites the power of both Rook and Bishop in her movements.

The King has similar powers to the Queen, but curtailed, inasmuch as he can only move one step at a time. He therefore only controls one neighbouring square in any direction.

The Knight plays and captures alternately on White and Black squares, and only reaches such squares as are nearest to him without being immediately adjacent; his move is as it were composed of two steps, one square in a straight line, and one in an oblique direction. Diagram 2 will illustrate this.

[Footnote: I should like to quote my friend Mr. John Hart's clever definition of the Knight's move, though it may not be new. If one conceives a Knight as standing on a corner square of a rectangle three squares by two, he is able to move into the corner diagonally opposite.]

The pawns only move straight forward, one square at a time, except at their first move, when they have the option of moving two squares. In contrast to the pieces, the pawns do not capture in the way they move. They move straight forward, but they capture diagonally to the right and left, again only one square, and only forward. Therefore a pawn can only capture such pieces or pawns as occupy squares of the same colour as the square on which it stands. If, in moving two squares, a pawn traverses a square on which it could have been captured by a hostile pawn, that pawn has the right to capture it, as if it had moved only one square. This is called capturing EN PASSANT. However, this capture can only be effected on the very next move, otherwise the privilege of capturing en passant is lost.

- 8 - 7 - 6 * * - 5 * * - 4 ^Kt - 3 * * - 2 * * - 1 - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 2.

If a player succeeds in reaching the eighth rank with one of his pawns he is entitled to call for any piece of higher grade, with the exception of the King, in place of such pawn.

Each move in a game of chess consists of the displacement of one piece only, with the exception of what is termed "castling," in which the King and either Rook can be moved simultaneously by either player once in a game. In castling, the King moves sideways to the next square but one, and the Rook to which the King is moved is placed on the square which the King has skipped over. Castling is only allowed if neither the King nor the Rook concerned have moved before, and if there is no piece between the Rook and King.

Diagram 3 shows a position in which White has castled on the Queen's side, and Black on the King's side. Castling is not permitted if the King in castling must pass over a square attacked by a hostile piece. A square (or a piece) is said to be "attacked" when the square (or the piece) is in the line of action of a hostile unit. A square (or a piece) is said to be covered or protected if an opposing piece occupying that square (or capturing the piece) could itself be captured.

When attacking the King it is customary to call "check," to notify the opponent of the fact; for the attack on the King

- 8 #R #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #P #P - 6 #P #P - 5 - 4 ^P - 3 - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^K ^R ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 3.

must be met in some way or other. This can be done by capturing the attacker or by interposing a piece (this is not possible in case of attack by a Knight or a pawn), or lastly by moving the King to a square which is not attacked. The latter must not be done by castling. If it is impossible by any of the three methods above mentioned to avoid the attack upon the King, the King is said to be checkmated, and the game is ended.

If a King is unable to move, though not attacked, and none of his remaining pieces can move, the King is said to be stale-mated, and the game is drawn. A game is also drawn when neither side has sufficient material left to enforce a mate. (Compare page 63.)

If a player resigns his game before he is actually mated, he acknowledges that in the end mate is unavoidable, and the game is counted as a loss to him.

A game is null and void if it is shown that a mistake was made in setting the board or men. The same applies when in the course of the game the position and number of pieces have been altered in a manner not in accordance with the proper course of play, and the latter cannot be re-constructed from the point where the error was made.

If a player having the move touches one of his pieces he is under compulsion to move it; if he touches a hostile piece he must capture it, provided that the piece can be properly moved or captured in either case. This rule is of no effect if the piece so touched cannot be moved or captured, as the case may be. So long as the hand has not left the piece to be moved, the latter can be placed on any accessible square. If a player touches a piece with the sole object of adjusting its position, he must apprise his opponent of his intention by saying "J'adoube" beforehand. It is best to move the King first when castling. If the Rook is moved first, and unless the King is played almost simultaneously, a doubt might arise whether castling or a Rook's move only was intended.

If a player has castled illegally, Rook and King must be moved back, and the King must make another move, if there is a legal one. If not, any other move can be played. A player who makes an illegal move with a piece must retract that move, and make another one if possible with the same piece. If the mistake is only noticed later on, the game should be restarted from the position in which the error occurred.


A special notation has been adopted to make the study of games and positions possible, and it is necessary for students of the game to become thoroughly conversant with it. The original and earliest notation is still in use in English, French, and Spanish speaking countries. It is derived from the original position in the game, in that the squares take the names of the pieces which occupy them. Thus the corner squares are called R 1 (Rook's square or Rook's first), and to distinguish them from one another QR1 or KR 1 (Queen's or King's Rook's square). The squares immediately in front are called QR2 or KR2. A distinction is made between White and Black, and White's R 1 is Black's R 8, Black's R 2 is White's R 7, White's K B 3 is Black's KB6, and so on. K stands for King; Q for Queen; B for Bishop; Kt for Knight; R for Rook; and P for Pawn. In describing a capture, only the capturing and the captured pieces are mentioned, and not the squares.

When confusion is possible, it is customary to add whether King's side or Queen's side pieces are concerned, e.g. KRx Q Kt. In this notation it is necessary to bear in mind which Kt is the Q Kt, which R is the KR. This becomes increasingly difficult as the game goes on and pieces change their places. Many sets of chessmen have one Rook and one Knight stamped with a special sign, to show they are King's side pieces. This is not necessary in the case of Bishops: a white KBis always on white squares, a white QBon black squares.

A more modern notation is the algebraic notation, which has been adopted in most countries. It has the advantage of being unmistakably clear, and also more concise. Here the perpendicular lines of squares (called files) are named with the letters a-h, from left to right, always from the point of view of White, and the horizontal lines of squares (called ranks) with numbers 1-8 as before, only with the distinction that the rank on which the White pieces stand is always called the first; thus the square we named White's QB2 or Black's QB7 is now called c2 in both cases. Black's QB2 (White's QB7) is always c7. In capturing, the square on which the capture takes place and not the piece captured is noted, for the sake of uniformity. In the case of pawn moves, the squares only are noted.

O—O stands for castles on the King's side; O—O—O stands for castles on the Queen's side; : or x stands for captures; + for check.

In the following opening moves, both notations are used for the purpose of comparison:

1. P-Q 4 P-Q4 1. d4 d5 2. P-QB4 P-K3 2. c4 e6 3. Kt-QB3 P-QB4 3. Ktc3 c5 4. PxQP KPxP 4. cd: ed: 5. P-K4 QPxP 5. e4 de: 6. P-Q5 Kt-KB3 6. d5 Ktf6 7. B—KKt5 B-K2 7. Bg5 Be7 8. K Kt-K2 Castles 8. Ktge2 O—O

In most books in which the algebraic notation is used, both squares of a move are written out for the benefit of the student. The moves above would then look like this:

1. d2-d4 d7-d5 2. c2-c4 e7-e6 3. Ktb1-c3 c7-c5 4. C4 x d5 e6xd5 5. e2-e4 d5xe4 6. d4-d5 Ktg8-f6 7. Bc1-g5 Bf8-e 7 8. Ktg1-e2 O—O

To conclude: I will give the denomination of the pieces in various languages:

English .............. K Q R B Kt P Castles French .............. R D T F C P Roq Spanish .............. R D T A C P Enrog German and Austrian .. K D T L S O-O (O) Italian .............. R D T A C O-O (O) Russian .............. KP F L C K O-O (O) Dutch ................ K D T L P O-O (O) Scandinavian ......... K D T L S O-O (O) Bohemian ............. K D V S J O-O (O) Hungarian ............ K V B F H O-O (O)



THE mental development of the chess player is a gradual struggle from a state of chaos to a clear conception of the game. The period required for such development largely depends upon the special gifts the learner may possess, but in the main the question of methods predominates. Most beginners do not trouble very much about any particular plan in their study of chess, but as soon as they have learnt the moves, rush into the turmoil of practical play. It is self-evident that their prospects under such conditions cannot be very bright. The play of a beginner is planless, because he has too many plans, and the capacity for subordinating all his combinations to one leading idea is non- existent. Yet it cannot be denied upon investigation that a certain kind of method is to be found in the play of all beginners, and seems to come to them quite naturally. At first the pawns are pushed forward frantically, because there is no appreciation of the power and value of the pieces. Conscious of the inferiority of the pawns, the beginner does not conclude that it must be advantageous to employ the greater power of the pieces, but is chiefly concerned with attacking the opposing pieces with his pawns in the hope of capturing them. His aim is not to develop his own forces, but to weaken those of his opponent. His combinations are made in the hope that his adversary may not see through them, nor does he trouble much about his opponent's intentions. When most of his pawns are gone, then only do his pieces get their chance. He has a great liking for the Queen and the Knight, the former because of her tremendous mobility, the latter on account of his peculiar step, which seems particularly adapted to take the enemy by surprise. When watching beginners you will frequently observe numberless moves by a peripatetic Queen, reckless incursions by a Knight into the enemy's camp, and when the other pieces join in the fray, combination follows combination in bewildering sequence and fantastic chaos. Captures of pieces are planned, mating nets are woven, perhaps with two pieces, against a King's position, where five pieces are available for defence. This unsteadiness in the first childish stages of development makes it very difficult for the beginner to get a general view of the board. Yet the surprises which each move brings afford him great enjoyment.

A few dozen such games are by no means wasted. After certain particular dispositions of pieces have proved his undoing, the beginner will develop the perception of threats. He sees dangers one or two moves ahead, and thereby reaches the second stage in his development.

His combinations will become more and more sound, he will learn to value his forces more correctly, and therefore to husband his pieces and even his pawns with greater care. In this second stage his strength will increase steadily, but, and this is the drawback, only as far as his power of combination is concerned. Unless a player be exceptionally gifted, he will only learn after years of practice, if at all, what may be termed "positional play." For that, it is necessary to know how to open a game so as to lay the foundation for a favourable middle game, and how to treat a middle game, without losing sight of the possibilities of the end-game. It is hopeless to try to memorise the various openings which analysis have proved correct, for this empirical method fails as soon as the opponent swerves from the recognised lines of play. One must learn to recognise the characteristics of sound play. They apply to all and any position, and the underlying principles must be propounded in a manner generally applicable. And this brings me to the substance of my subject, round which I will endeavour to build up a system compatible with common sense and logic.

Before I proceed to develop my theme, I shall set down a number of elementary rules which will facilitate the understanding of such simple combinations as occur at every step in chess.

If we ignore the comparatively small proportion of games in which the mating of the opponent's King is accomplished on a full board, we can describe a normal, average game of chess in the following way. Both sides will employ their available forces more or less advantageously to execute attacking and defensive manoeuvres which should gradually lead to exchanges. If one side or the other emerges from the conflict with some material gain, it will generally be possible to force a mate in the end-game, whilst if both sides have succeeded by careful play to preserve equality of material, a draw will generally ensue.

It will be found a little later that a single pawn may suffice, with some few exceptions, to achieve a victory, and we shall adopt the following leading principle for all combinations, viz. loss of material must be avoided, even if only a pawn. It is a good habit to look upon every pawn as a prospective Queen. This has a sobering influence on premature and impetuous plans of attack.

On the other hand, victory is often brought about by a timely sacrifice of material.

But in such cases the sacrificing of material has its compensation in some particular advantage of position. As principles of position are difficult for beginners to grasp, I propose to defer their consideration for the present and to devote my attention first to such combinations as involve questions of material. Let us master a simple device that makes most combinations easy both for attack and defence. It amounts merely to a matter of elementary arithmetic, and if the beginner neglects it, he will soon be at a material disadvantage.

Diagram 4 may serve as an example:

- 8 #R #K - 7 #P #P #Q #Kt #R #P - 6 #Kt #B #P #P - 5 - 4 ^P - 3 ^P ^Kt ^Kt - 2 ^P ^B ^Q ^R ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 4.

It is Black's move, and we will suppose he wishes to play P-K4. A beginner will probably calculate thus: I push on my pawn, he takes with his pawn, my Knight takes, so does his, then my Bishop takes, and so on. This is quite wrong, and means waste of time and energy.

When the beginner considers a third or fourth move in such a combination, he will already have forgotten which pieces he intended to play in the first moves. The calculation is perfectly simple upon the following lines: I play P-K4, then my pawn is attacked by a pawn and two Knights, a Bishop and two Rooks, six times in all. It is supported by a Bishop, two Knights, two Rooks and a Queen, six times in all. Therefore I can play P-K4, provided the six units captured at K4 are not of greater value than the six white units which are recaptured. In the present instance both sides lose a pawn, two Knights, two Rooks, and a Bishop, and there is no material loss. This established, he can embark on the advance of the KP without any fear.

Therefore: in any combination which includes a number of exchanges on one square, all you have to do is to count the number of attacking and defending units, and to compare their relative values; the latter must never be forgotten. If Black were to play KtxP in the following position, because the pawn at K 5 is attacked three times, and only supported twice, it would be an obvious miscalculation, for the value of the defending pieces is smaller. [Footnote: It is difficult to compare the relative value of the different pieces, as so much depends on the peculiarities of each position, but, generally speaking, minor pieces, Bishop and Knight, are reckoned as equal; the Rook as equal to a minor piece and one or two pawns (to have a Rook against a minor piece, is to be the "exchange" ahead). The Queen is equal to two Rooks or three minor pieces.]

- 8 #R #K - 7 #P #R #P #P - 6 #P #Kt #P - 5 - 4 ^P - 3 ^P ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^B ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 5.

Chess would be an easy game if all combinations could be tested and probed exhaustively by the mathematical process just shown. But we shall find that the complications met with are extremely varied. To give the beginner an idea of this, I will mention a few of the more frequent examples. It will be seen that the calculation may be, and very frequently

- 8 #R #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #P - 6 #P #B ^R #Kt - 5 #P - 4 ^P - 3 ^B ^P ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 6.

is, upset by one of the pieces involved being exchanged or sacrificed. An example of this is found in Diagram 6; KtxP

- 8 - 7 #P #K - 6 #B #P #P - 5 #P ^P #Kt - 4 ^P - 3 ^Kt ^B - 2 ^P ^P - 1 ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 7.

fails on account of R X B; this leaves the Knight unprotected, and White wins two pieces for his Rook. Neither can the Bishop capture on K5 because of R X Kt. leaving the Bishop unprotected, after which BxKt does not retrieve the situation because the Rook recaptures from B6.

A second important case, in which our simple calculation is of no avail, occurs in a position where one of the defending pieces is forced away by a threat, the evasion of which is more important than the capture of the unit it defends. In Diagram 7, for instance, Black may not play KtxP, because White, by playing P- Q6, would force the Bishop to Kt4 or B1, to prevent the pawn from Queening and the Knight would be lost. A further example of the same type is given in Diagram 8. Here a peculiar mating threat, which occurs not

- 8 #B #Q #R #K - 7 #Kt #P #P - 6 #P ^Kt - 5 ^R ^Kt - 4 ^Q - 3 - 2 ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 8.

infrequently in practical play, keeps the Black Queen tied to her KB2 and unavailable for the protection of the B at BI.

White wins as follows:

1. KtxB, KtxKt; 2. RxKt, QxR; 3. Kt-B7ch, K-Kt1; 4. Kt-R6 double ch, K-R1; 5 Q-Kt8ch, RxQ; 6. Kt-B7 mate.

We will now go a step further and turn from "acute" combinations to such combinations as are, as it were, impending. Here, too, I urgently recommend beginners (advanced players do it as a matter of course) to proceed by way of simple arithmetical calculations, but, instead of enumerating the attacking and defending pieces, to count the number of possibilities of attack and defence.

Let us consider a few typical examples. In Diagram 9, if Black plays P-Q5, he must first have probed the position in the following way. The pawn at Q5 is attacked once and supported once to start with, and can be attacked by three more White units in three more moves (1. R-Q1, 2. R(B2)-Q2, 3. B-B2) Black can also mobilise three more units for the defence in the same number of moves (1. Kt-B4 or K3, 2. B-Kt2, 3. R-Q1). There is, consequently, no immediate danger, nor is there anything to fear for some time to come, as White has no other piece which could attack the pawn for the fifth time.

- 8 #R #B #K - 7 #P #P #R #Kt #P - 6 #P - 5 #P - 4 ^P - 3 ^P ^Kt ^P ^B - 2 ^R ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 9.

It would be obviously wrong to move the pawn to Q6 after White's R-Q1, because White could bring another two pieces to bear on the P, the other Rook and the Knight, whilst Black has only one more piece available for the defence, namely, his Rook.

The following examples show typical positions, in which simple calculation is complicated by side issues.

In Diagram 10, the point of attack, namely, the Black Knight at KB3, can be supported by as many Black units as White can bring up for the attack, but the defensive efficiency of one of Black's pieces is illusory, because it can be taken by a White piece. The plan would be as follows: White threatens Black's Knight for the third time with Kt-K4, and Black must reply QKt-Q2, because covering with R-K3 would cost the "exchange," as will appear from a comparison of the value of the pieces concerned. The "exchange" is, however, lost for Black on the next move, because

- 8 #R #Kt #B #Q #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #B #P - 6 #P #P #Kt #P - 5 ^Kt #P ^B - 4 ^P - 3 ^B ^P ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Q ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 10

White's further attack on the Knight by Q-B3 forces the Rook to defend on K3, where it gets into the diagonal of the Bishop, which at present is masked by White's Knight. The sequel would be 3. QKtxKtch, RxKt (not BxKt on account of BxR winning a whole Rook), 4. BxR, and so on. A similar case is shown in Diagram 11.

- 8 - 7 #P #K #P #Kt #P #P - 6 #P - 5 ^Kt - 4 ^B - 3 ^P ^P ^P ^P - 2 #B ^P - 1 ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 11

Here, too, there is a flaw in the simple calculation, because the defending units are not secure. Beginners should devote special attention to this position, which is in practice of frequent occurrence.

It can be easily perceived that the Bishop cannot capture the pawn at B7 on account of P-QR3. But to take with the Knight would also be an error, because Black would then keep chasing away the covering Bishop.

1. P-Kt4; 2. B-Q6, K-B3; 3. Kt-K8, B-B2; and wins one of the pieces.

Finally, one more example, in which one of the defending pieces being pinned makes simple calculation impracticable.

In Diagram 12 it seems at first sight as if Black could play KtxP: although White can pin the Knight with R-K1

- 8 #R #B #K #R - 7 #P #P #Kt #P #P - 6 #P #Kt - 5 - 4 ^P ^Kt - 3 ^B - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 12

and then attack it once more with his Knight, Black would appear to have sufficient protection available, with his Kt and B. White has no time to double Rooks, because if he does so, after his R- K2 Black would play the King away from his file and allow the Knight to escape.

But White can, by a simple sacrifice, bring the slumbering R at R1 into sudden action:

1. ... KtxP; 2 R-K1, B-B4; 3. Kt-B3, Kt-Q3; 4. RxKt, KtxR; 5. R- K1, and White wins two pieces for his Rook.

These illustrations will be sufficient to give the beginner an understanding of economy of calculation in all kinds of combinations. His power of combining will grow speedily on this basis, and thrive in the fire of practical experience. Where an opponent is missing, the gap must be filled by reference to such books as treat of the science of combination and give examples taken from actual play.



In bringing the teachings of this book under the collective heading "Chess Strategy," it was not in any way my intention to draw anything like an exact parallel between the manoeuvres on the chess-board and military operations in actual warfare. In trying to seek such analogies there is great danger of being led astray, and little likelihood of gaining knowledge that might be of use in practical play. Plain common-sense will give us all we need, without our being influenced by those tactical and strategical considerations that have been found useful in war.

The following definition may not be out of place: Strategy sets down the whole of the problems which must be solved in war, in order to attain the ultimate result aimed at; tactics solve such problems in various ways, and according to the conditions prevailing in the particular case. Sound strategy, when setting the task, must never lose sight of tactical practicability, and only a thorough knowledge of tactical resources makes correct strategy possible.

Now we shall not under any circumstances, as unfortunately even great chess masters have done, seek in outward similarities justification for transferring to chess the teachings of the strategy and tactics of war. It sounds pretty enough to say: Chess is a game of war—the various pieces represent the various kinds of forces: the pawns represent the infantry, the Knights take the place of cavalry, the Rooks do the work of heavy artillery, sweeping broad lines; the different ways in which the pieces move find a parallel in the topography of the theatre of war, in that the various battle-fields are more or less easy of access. But it is quite unjustifiable to assign to the Knights the functions of scouts, and to say that Rooks should stay in the background, as heavy artillery, and so on. Such pronouncements would not have the slightest practical value. What we take from the science of warfare is merely the definition. In each game the strategy of chess should set us the tasks which must be accomplished (in order to mate the opponent's King), and tactics point the way in which it is possible to solve such problems. Correct chess strategy will only set such tasks as are tactically possible, and, if we wish to expound the principles of chess strategy, we cannot exclude chess tactics from the field of our observations. If here and there the results of our deliberations bear some analogy to actual warfare, we may certainly give way to a kind of aesthetic satisfaction in that our own occupation has some parallel in real life, but we must never fashion our principles in accordance with such fortuitous circumstances.

Having surveyed the problems we have to solve, we can now plunge into our subject.

In the first chapter, when considering special cases in elementary combinations, we have already noticed the important part played in each skirmish by the balance between the attacking and defending units. Speaking quite generally, common-sense will tell us that, in all operations on the chess-board, the main consideration for the defence will be to maintain that balance, and that there is only justification for an attack when it is possible to concentrate more forces on the strategic point than can be mustered by the defence. However, one very important point must not be neglected, though I did not touch upon it when discussing elementary combinations for fear of complicating matters for beginners: the balance between the contending forces is by no means established by their numerical equality. A paramount factor is the mobility of such forces, and as soon as it is no longer one of the elementary cases of capture and recapture described previously, this factor must be taken into account in order to decide, on a general survey, whether there is a sufficient defence to an impending attack, or whether one's own intended attack is likely to prevail. That mobility is the first and foremost consideration should be self-evident, since the relative value of the pieces can only make itself felt by their greater or lesser mobility.

Except in certain positions, which are brought about by some particular array of the pieces, the intrinsic value of a Rook is greater than that of a Bishop, because it can command all the squares on the board, whilst a Bishop is tied to its own colour; Knight and Bishop are considered equivalent, because the Knight's advantage in being able to act on all the squares of either colour is balanced by the fact that the Bishop can sweep long diagonals. Two Bishops are, generally speaking, of greater value than two Knights, because together they also act on all the squares, and their command of long diagonals is a clear advantage. The whole of this valuation, however, comes to nought when the pieces are hindered in their mobility by the peculiarity of any particular position.

We will consider one instance from end-game play, and one from the openings.

In Diagram 13, White derives no advantage from being

- 8 - 7 #K - 6 #P #P - 5 #P #P #P ^P #P - 4 ^P ^P #Kt ^P - 3 ^P ^R ^P ^K - 2 - 1 - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 13

the exchange to the good, for the Rook has no file which could be used to break into the Black camp.

In Diagram 14, the numerical equality of forces will not save Black, because bad development reduces the mobility of his pieces to such an extent that he has no resources with which he can parry the impending attack.

- 8 #K #R #B #R - 7 #B #Q #P #P #P - 6 #P #P #P #Kt - 5 #P ^P #P - 4 ^P ^P - 3 ^P ^Kt ^B ^Kt ^P - 2 ^P ^Q ^P ^K ^P - 1 ^R ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 14

White will assail the Black King's position on the Queen side, and Black is unable to concentrate his forces quickly enough for the defence of the jeopardised entrenchments. Let us therefore bear in mind that the mobility of the pieces is the deciding factor of their efficiency, and that mobility is the highest criterion by which to judge the merits (or demerits) of their operations.

We will now consider this principle in its application to the three stages of play, namely, the opening, the middle-game, and the ending.



The only pieces available on the first move are the Knights. In order to develop other pieces as well, it is necessary to move pawns first, and such pawn moves will be best as give an outlet to as many pieces as possible. For quick development is of the utmost importance, and he who succeeds first in placing all his pieces, from their initial awkward positions, to such places as give them command of the greatest possible number of squares, has the better chance of concentrating a superior force on some important point.

It follows that White, having the first move, is, so to speak, always morally justified in attacking, whilst Black should assume the defensive. It is a step in the right direction, to appreciate the truth of this proposition. Unfortunately most beginners fail to realise it, and so pave the way, from the first, to the loss of the game.

There are not many developing pawn moves to choose from. Apparently from the point of view of quick development only P-K4 and P-Q4 need be considered, since they free both Bishop and Queen, whilst other pawn moves liberate one piece only. Generally speaking it is only required to move two or three pawns to allow all pieces to be developed, and it is good, on principle, to make only such pawn moves in the opening, which are necessary for the development of pieces. To play other pawns really means the loss of a move. To "lose a move" means to make a move which is not essential to the attainment of a desired position. Thus the "loss of a move" results also from playing a piece to a given square in more moves than necessary.

I shall now give a few games showing the far-reaching consequences of losing moves. The first one is a typical though glaring example, which is very instructive and came to my notice some time ago:

1. P-K4 P-K4 2. P-Q4 PxP 3. QxP Kt-QB3 4. Q-K3 Kt-B3 5. P-KR3?

I will not discuss the system of development adopted by White in his first four moves. The last move, however, can at once be recognised as faulty. It is the loss of a move such as occurs in the vast majority of games played by beginners. It was unnecessary to prevent KKt-Kt5, since the Knight could not hold that square permanently. In any case B-K2 would have had the same effect, and developed a piece at the same time.

5. ... B-K2 6. P-QR3??

This, of course, is very bad. The consequences of this loss of a second move are swift and deadly.

6. ... Castles 7. B-B4

At last a developing move.

7. ... R-K1 8. Q-QKt3

Another Queen's move. The attack on the Bishop's Pawn may be very tempting, but must necessarily be incorrect—and why? Because White is much behind with his development. It is useless to analyse any kind of attack in face of this fact. The beginner finds it hard to get used to this way of thinking. He prefers to try to unravel a long string of variations and combinations, in which he will mostly lose his bearings. Even stronger players obstruct their own powers by refusing to see the value of judging a position on general merits. They lose valuable time in thinking out endless variations, to maintain positions which could be proved valueless by general and logical deductions.

- 8 #R #B #Q #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #P #B #P #P #P - 6 #Kt #Kt - 5 - 4 ^B ^P - 3 ^P ^Q ^P - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^K ^Kt ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 15

Then, as in the present position, retribution comes swiftly.

8. ... P-Q4

White should have considered this move. It was obvious, since the opening of the K file for the Rook is most dangerous, for the White King.

9. BxP KtxB

Black could have played QxB at once.

10. QxKt QxQ 11. PxQ B-Kt5 double ch 12. K-Q1 R-K8 mate

A further example in which the loss of moves occurs, though not so glaringly, is the following famous game, which Morphy played against the Duke Karl of Brunswick and Count Isouard in the Royal box at the Paris opera-house.

1. P-K4 P-K4 2. Kt-KB3 P-Q3

According to the principles set out above, Kt-QB3 would have been better, since the text move shuts out the King's Bishop.

3. P-Q4

Now the King's Pawn is attacked twice. It would be bad to support it with Kt-QB3, as White would exchange pawns and then Queens. Black would thus forfeit his chance of castling and lose much time in bringing the King into safety and the Rooks into play. P- KB3, of course, is impossible, as it is not a developing move, and moreover blocks the natural development of the King's Knight. Protecting the pawn with the Queen would also block other pieces, and QKt-Q2 cannot be good, as it blocks the Queen's Bishop.

Since it seems impossible to protect the King's Pawn, the only alternative would be to exchange it; indeed it is on the whole the best course, although it allows a White piece to take up a dominating position in the centre. Wishing to avoid this, Black plays

3. ... B-Kt5

and, by pinning the opponent's Knight, indirectly protects the King's Pawn. This manoeuvre is, however, ill-advised, as Black is forced to exchange the Bishop for the Knight. The Bishop will have moved twice, the Knight only once, therefore White will have gained a move for his development.

4. PxP BxKt

Should Black play PxP at once, White would exchange Queens, release the pin, and win the pawn.

5. QxB PxP 6. B-QB4

White has now two pieces more in play than Black, instead of only one, and the mobility of the White Queen, which Black himself has brought out, begins to have a threatening effect on Black's game.

6. ... Kt-KB3 7. Q-QKt3 Q-K2

Black cannot cover his King's Bishop's Pawn with Q-Q2 because 8. QxP wins the Rook, whilst now Black could play 8. ... Q-Kt5ch in reply, forcing the exchange of Queens. The text move, which is forced, blocks the Bishop, and at the same time prevents the development of the King's Rook, all of which is the direct consequence of the loss of one move.

8. Kt-B3

White rightly disdains the gain of the Knight's Pawn, but prevents the exchange of Queens in developing a piece. He proves the superiority of his position much more convincingly in that way. Black must now lose yet another move to protect his Knight's Pawn.

8. ... P-B3 9. B-KKt5 P-Kt4

Black must try to develop his Queen's Knight at last. He cannot play QKt-Q2 at once, since his Knight's Pawn would again be unprotected; therefore he plays the move in the text, probably thinking that now White also must lose a move to withdraw his Bishop. But in view of the fact that Black's game is wholly undeveloped, and that he plays practically several pieces down, White sacrifices his Knight for two pawns: he foresees the position which occurs a few moves later, when Black is hemmed in on all sides.

10. KtxP PxKt 11. BxKtPch QKt-Q2 12. Castles QR R-Q1

This is the only piece available to cover Q2, for the King's Knight is pinned. White has another piece in reserve, his King's Rook, and against this Black is defenceless.

- 8 #R #K B R - 7 #P #Kt #Q #P #P #P - 6 #Kt - 5 ^B #P ^B - 4 ^P - 3 ^Q - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^K ^R ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 16

13. RxKt

compare Diag. 12.

13. ... RxR 14. R-Q1 Q-K3

This releases the King's Knight. Now White could win by playing BxKt and BxRch, but he prefers to end up with a magnificent sacrifice.

15. BxRch KtxB 16. Q-Kt8ch!! KtxQ 17. R-Q8 mate

The final position shows in a striking manner how a few well- developed pieces can be worth more than many undeveloped ones, and the whole game is an example of the fatal consequences which can follow the loss of a move, since it often leads to the compulsory loss of further moves in the course of the game.

"This is the curse of every evil deed That propagating still it brings forth evil."

The logical sequence of the moves in this game, as pointed out in the commentaries to it, is borne out by the curious coincidence that I once had the opportunity of playing a game in exactly the same sequence of moves, against a player to whom Morphy's "brilliancy" was unknown.


The leading principle of all opening moves is made clear by the foregoing pages, namely, rapid development of pieces, and consequently the avoidance of the loss of a move in any shape or form.

Before treating of the various systems of openings, I will say a few words on the principles of PAWN PLAY.

Each opening is characterised by a well-defined pawn formation, and concurrently a certain method in the development of the pieces. Naturally the formation of a pawn skeleton is not an independent factor, but must be evolved with a view to facilitating the favourable development of pieces. But when considering the form of a pawn position and that of the pieces, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that pawn formation must necessarily be the dominant consideration in our mind. Pawn formation is of a more permanent character than that of the pieces, in consequence of the latter's greater mobility. When we have made a rash move with a piece, to which our attacking disposition may have tempted us, we may still have a chance of retrieving the position by timely retreat. Once a pawn has moved it cannot turn back, and only after the greatest deliberation should we embark on changes in our pawn formation in order not to disturb the balance of this "static element" of the game. But we shall see that the pawn skeleton which was formed in the opening often weathers the storm and stress of the middle game, and frequently preserves its character right up to the end-game. I will therefore make pawn formation my starting-point in an attempt to show the way through the maze of the openings on the basis of general strategical principles.

If our pawn skeleton is to promote the freedom of all the pieces, we must not build it up with the narrow view of developing minor pieces only, but must consider from the very first in which way it will enable the Rooks to get into action. We can unite these tendencies in making the CENTRE OF THE BOARD the main field of action for all our forces. This means for both sides K4 and Q4, and also in a lesser degree QB4 and KB4. We shall get a clear insight into the positional advantage of having command of the centre later on, when discussing the middle game. At present I will only touch the subject in a general way, explaining it in an elementary form, which will be sufficient to develop an understanding for pawn strategy in the opening. In the course of further deductions, after the grasp of this difficult stage of the game has become stronger, I will go into details which will allow the subject to be stated in a more precise form.

Placing the pieces in the centre is of value, because there they have more mobility than near the edge, which, of course, limits their range of action, and also because from the centre a concentration of forces on a given point can generally be effected in the quickest way.

In most cases two centre squares become inaccessible at once, through the opponent placing one of his pawns in the centre; therefore it would seem a good plan to lure that pawn away, and this is rendered feasible by playing P-K4 or P-QB4 when the opponent has a pawn on his Q4, and P-Q4 or P-KB4 when he has a pawn on K4. In the following we will consider such manoeuvres as could apply either to White or Black, from the point of view of White, to whom the initiative is, as pointed out above, a sort of birth-right. Naturally, should White lose a move, as, for instance, 1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. Kt-KB3, Kt-QB3; 3. P-QR3? the position is reversed, and Black is bound to obtain the initiative which is White's birthright.

The pawn moves mentioned above also have the tendency of giving the Rooks an opportunity for action. A Rook standing behind an advanced pawn may support its further advance, or, if the pawn should be exchanged, might get an open file.

The damage we wish to inflict on our opponent we must, of course, try to avoid ourselves. Thus we will not easily give up a centre pawn unless we can obtain some other advantage in doing so. This advantage may be, that in exchanging the centre pawn we open up lines of attack for our pieces, or that we are able to place one of our pieces in a commanding position in the centre of the board.

The following example may serve as an illustration. Supposing White plays after

1. P-Q4 P-Q4 2. P-QB4

His aim is to tempt Black's centre pawn away and to make his QB4 and K4 accessible for his own forces. Black might be justified in taking the pawn, if he really could hold the pawn thus gained. We shall show later on that this is not so, and that White can win it back easily and advantageously. Therefore Black is more likely to play 2. P-K3. Not 2. ... Kt-KB3; for after 3. PxP, KtxP; 4. P-K4 would open White's game and drive the Knight away at once, gaining a move. Supposing, however, Black plays 2. ... B-B4; should White now think mechanically, "I will take his centre pawn and consequently have the better game," his deduction would be wrong. For after exchanging his Bishop for the Knight, which otherwise would drive his Queen away, Black brings the latter into a dominating square in the centre.

- 8 #R #Kt #Q #K #B #Kt #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 - 5 #P #B - 4 ^P ^P - 3 - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^K ^B ^Kt ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 17.

3. PxP BxKt 4. RxB QxP

Black's Queen cannot easily be driven away from her commanding position, particularly as White must lose a move to save his QRP. Meanwhile Black gains time for concentrating his forces for an attack which wins the Queen's Pawn.

5. P-QKt3 Kt-QB3 6. P-K3 Castles QR 7. Kt-B3 P-K4

and wins the QP, or

5. P-QR3 Kt-QB3 6. P-K3 Castles QR

and P-K4 is again a threat hard for white to meet.

This position shows, that to bring one's opponent's centre pawn away and to keep one's own, does not under all circumstances mean the command of the centre, but that the opening up of files and diagonals for one's pieces towards the centre is an important moment in the fight for positional advantage.

Considerations of this kind will help to improve our judgment in many of the various openings treated in the following pages.

We will class the openings in this way:

A. White 1. P-K4.

(a) Black 1. P-K4 (b) Black 1. Any other move

B. White 1. P-Q4.

(a) Black 1. P-Q4 (b) Black 1. Any other move

C. White 1. Any other move

We shall find that openings classed under C generally lead to positions treated under A and B.

A. We have already come to the conclusion that after 1. P-K4, P- K4 White does well to try to force the exchange of Black's centre pawn on Q4 or KB4, and that Black will try to counteract this, unless by allowing the exchange he gets a chance of exerting pressure in the centre by means of his pieces.

We will first see what happens when White undertakes the advance in question on his second move. Superficially the difference between 2. PQ4 and 2. P-KB4 is that in the first case the pawn thus advanced is covered, while in the second it is not. An opening in which a pawn sacrifice is offered, is called a "gambit"; 2. P-KB4 is therefore a gambit.

2. P-Q4 is only a gambit if after 2. ... PxP White does not recapture the pawn. Nevertheless this opening has been called the "centre gambit," and though the denomination is not correct we will adhere to it, as it is in general use.

A very considerable difference between the centre gambit and the King's gambit lies in the fact that in the former acceptance is compulsory, whilst in the second it may be declined.

For: 2. P-Q4 threatens to take the King's Pawn. To defend it by means of 2. ... P-Q3 is unwise, since White exchanges pawns and then Queens, by which Black loses his chance of castling and impedes the development of his Rooks. 2. ... Kt-QB3 is also bad, since after 3. PxP, KtxP; 4 P-KB4, White drives the Knight away, gaining a strong hold on the centre, and Black has no compensation for giving up his centre pawn. It may be mentioned here that after 2. ... Kt-QB3, 3. P-Q5 would be a useless move, as to begin with it would be inconsequent, since P-Q4 was played in order to clear the centre, and moreover it would block up a diagonal which could be most useful to the King's Bishop.

We conclude now that Black cannot hold his pawn at K4. He must relinquish the centre by 2. ... PxP. He will now either attempt to bring away White's King's Pawn by advancing his own QP to Q4, or try to utilise the King's file, which was opened by his second move, and operate against White's KP. The Rooks are indicated for this task. We shall refer to the execution of these plans later on.

In the King's gambit, White's attempt to bring away Black's King's Pawn may be safely ignored.

The move 2. P-KB4 does not threaten to take the King's Pawn, as Black would win White's KP by Q-R5ch. Black can therefore develop in security with 2. ... B-B4, and if then White prevents the Q check by Kt-KB3, there is no objection to Black protecting his King's Pawn with P-Q3, as the King's Bishop is already developed. After 4. B-B4, Black has still no need to protect his KP with Kt- QB3, but can play Kt-KB3 first, because after 5. PxP, PxP; 6. KtxP would be answered by 6. ... Q-Q5 winning a piece. Black keeps the upper hand in these early encounters because he has made a developing move with a piece, whilst White has played a pawn move which is useless for the purpose of development.

- 8 #R #Q #K #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 #Kt #P #Kt - 5 #B #P - 4 ^B ^P ^P #B - 3 ^Kt ^P ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^B ^Q ^K ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 18.

Diagram 18 shows the position which results from the following plausible moves:

2. P-KB4 B-B4 3. Kt-KB3 P-Q3 4. B-B4 Kt-KB3 5. P-Q3 Kt-B3 6. Kt-B3 B-KKt5

If White wishes to castle on the K side, which must have been his intention when playing 2. P-KB4, he will have to play Kt-QR4 and KtxB.

Though this is of no disadvantage to Black, he could avoid the exchange of his KB by playing 2. ... P-QR3 instead of B-KKt5. If then White plays P-B5 in order to hinder the development of Black's QB and to bring out his own, the pressure on Black's KP is relieved permanently, and sooner or later Black will break through on the Q file, as his QP is no longer needed at Q3 for the support of the centre pawn.

A different pawn formation is the result if White enforces the exchange of Black's centre pawn at once. This he can do by playing P-Q4, e.g.:

2. P-KB4 B-B4 or 4. P-B3 Kt-KB3 3. Kt-KB3 P-Q3 5. P-Q4 PxQP 4. P-Q4 PxQP 6. PxP B-Kt3 5. KtxP

Here Black can get an early advantage by attacking White's KP, taking possession of the K file after castling on the K side.

All things considered, the student should in my opinion decline the gambit, as in doing so he can get an easy and satisfactory development. The treatment of the "King's Gambit accepted," which aims at holding the gambit pawn, is most difficult and leads early in the game to such complications as none but an expert can hope to master.

[Footnote: As an example of the difficult play which ensues when Black defends the pawn in the King's Gambit, I give the latest variation of an attack introduced by Professor I. L. Rice, and called the "Rice Gambit":

1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. P-KB4, PxP; 3. Kt-KB3, P-KKt4; 4. P-KR4, P-Kt5; 5. Kt-K5, Kt-KB3; 6. B-B4, P-Q4; 7. PxP, B-Q3; 8. Castles! BxKt; 9. R-K1, Q-K2; 10. P-B3, Kt-R4; 11. P-Q4, Kt-Q2; 12. PxB, KtxP; 13. P-QKt3, Castles; 14. B-R3, Kt-B6ch!; 15. PxKt, QxP; 16. R-K5! B-B4!!; 17. Kt-Q2! Q-Kt6ch; 18. K-B1, Q-R7; 19. BxR, P-Kt6; 20. B-B5, P-Kt7ch; 21. K-K1, Q-R5ch; 22. K-K2, Kt-Kt6ch; 23. K-B2, Kt-K5ch; 24. KxP, B-R6ch; 25. K-R1, K-R1; 26. KtxKt, R-KKt1; 27. R-Kt5, with interesting possibilities.

Numberless interesting variations are possible, but their discussion does not lie within the scope of this work. They will be found in books treating of the analysis of the openings.]

It is therefore unwise for the beginner to accept the gambit, unless there be a chance of compensation for the disappearance of his centre pawn, by forcing the exchange of White's centre pawn as well. The following line of play would fulfil this condition:

1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. P-KB4, PxP; 3. Kt-KB3, Kt-KB3; 4. Kt-B3, P-Q4! Black thereby abandons the gambit pawn.

On principle, and when he has the choice, the beginner should give preference to simple and clear development in the opening, rather than to the gain of a pawn, when this involves difficult and intricate play. This principle must also guide us in other openings.

A good example is to be found in the so-called "Danish gambit," [Footnote: The names of the various openings, which I mention for the sake of completeness, are generally derived from towns or countries in which they were first extensively played and analysed.] which will lead us back to those openings in which White plays P-Q4 on his second move. After 2. P-Q4, PxP, White has the option of sacrificing two pawns to obtain a very rapid development 3. P-QB3, PxP; 4. B-QB4, PxP; 5. QBxP. It may now be just possible for Black to avoid the many threats which White can bring to bear with his beautifully placed forces, perhaps by giving back one or both of the pawns gained. But this question can only be of interest to us if there is no opportunity of adopting a simple line of development at the outset. As it is, this opportunity is not wanting. All that Black needs to do is to push on his Queen's Pawn as soon as possible, thus freeing his own Queen's Bishop.

2. P-Q4 PxP 3. P-QB3 P-Q4

- 8 #R #Kt #B #Q #K #B #Kt #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 - 5 #P - 4 #P ^P - 3 ^P - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^K ^B ^Kt ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diagram 19.

After 4. KPxP, QxP, Black's position is at least as easy of development as White's. In the position set out in Diagram 19, White cannot play P-K5, because Black wins a pawn by PxP without hindering his own development in the least. The equalising power of Black's P-Q4 in all KP openings where White has played P-Q4 can be noticed in many variations. I shall now give a few typical examples, which will show the line of play that can be adopted in many similar cases, and which can often be evolved one from the other by altering the order of the moves.


2. P-Q4 PxP 3. QxP Kt-QB3 4. Q-K3 Kt-B3 5. Kt-QB3 B-K2 6. B-Q2 P-Q4!


2. P-Q4 PxP 3. B-QB4 Kt-KB3 4. P-K5 P-Q4!


2. Kt-KB3 Kt-QB3 3. P-Q4 PxP 4. B-B4 Kt-B3 4. P-B3 P-Q4! 5. P-K5 P-Q4!


2. Kt-KB3 Kt-QB3 3. P-Q4 PxP 4. KtxP Kt-B3 5. Kt-QB3 B-Kt5 6. KtxKt KtPxKt 7. B-Q3 P-Q4!

In no case should Black forfeit his chance of playing P-Q4. It is tempting after 2. P-Q4, PxP; 3. Kt-KB3 to cover the pawn at Q5 by P-QB4, but in that case White would sacrifice a pawn by P-QB3, by this means opening the Queen's file for himself, and so preventing Black from ever playing P-Q4. Thus, for the loss of a pawn, White has a paramount advantage in position.

For after 4. ... PxP, 5. KtxP (Diagram 20) White has developed both Knights, and his Bishops are free, whilst Black has none of his pieces out. P-Q3 must also be played in order to mobilise the Queen's Bishop, leaving K2 as the only square for the King's Bishop; finally the "backward" pawn [Footnote: A pawn is said to be "backward," when it cannot move into cover by another pawn.] at Q3 is open to constant attacks and is difficult to defend.

- 8 #R #Kt #B #Q #K #B #Kt #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 - 5 #P - 4 ^P - 3 ^Kt ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^B ^Q ^K ^B ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 20

The best plan for Black is to decline the doubtful gift of the pawn and to bring about one of the positions, as sketched above, in which, by playing P-Q4 early in the game, Black is sure of the free development of all his forces.

Black is able to play P-Q4 early in all such openings, where White does not force the defensive move P-Q3 by attacking Black's King's Pawn. For instance, in the King's gambit, since the move 2. P-KB4 does not threaten PxP, Black can reply at once by 2. ... P-Q4 (Falkbeer Counter Gambit). After 3. PxQP, P-K5 (to permit of Kt-KB3, which at present is not feasible on account of 4. PxP); 4. P-Q3, PxP; 5. QxP, White is a pawn ahead, but his Queen obstructs his KB; therefore Black has better developing chances and should be able to win the pawn back at the very least.

A second example is the Vienna game, which proceeds as follows:

2. Kt-QB3 Kt-KB3 3. P-B4 P-Q4 (Diagram 21)

If White plays 4. PxQP, Black can play P-K5, as in the Falkbeer gambit mentioned just now. In answer to 4. PxKP, on the other hand, Black can play KtxP without having the slightest difficulty with his development. For instance,

5. Kt-KB3 B-K2 6. P-Q4 P-KB3 7. B-Q3 KtxKt 8. PxKt Castles 9. Castles Kt-B3 or B-KKt5

and Black also will soon have an open file for his Rook, with no disadvantage in position.

- 8 R Kt #B #Q #K #B #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P P - 6 Kt - 5 #P #P - 4 ^P ^P - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^B ^Q ^K ^B ^Kt ^R - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 21.

There is, however, one opening in which Black has the utmost difficulty in preventing White from getting a positional advantage in the centre. It is called the Ruy Lopez, and is held by many to be the strongest opening for White. The initial moves are: 1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. Kt-KB3, Kt-QB3; 3. B-Kt5. With this move White at once attacks the Black KP, though indirectly, by threatening to exchange the B for the Kt. To make the capture effective, however, White must first protect his own King's Pawn, which would otherwise be lost after 4. BxKt, QPxB; 5. KtxP, Q- Q5!. At first, therefore, Black need not provide against the threatened exchange.

I shall treat at some length the various defences from which Black can choose, and in studying this most important King's side opening, we shall have occasion to note many points of general interest for operations in the centre.

Broadly speaking, two entirely different systems of defence can be distinguished: either Black will try to maintain his centre pawn, or else, giving up the centre, try to gain some other advantage as compensation.

Black can only maintain his centre pawn if he can prevent his QKt from being exchanged. As is readily seen, White can attack Black's KP a second time with P-Q4, whilst after Black's P-Q3 any other defensive move would hinder development. These considerations lead to the first main line of defence in which Black plays 3. ... P-QR3. After 4. B-R4 Black has the option of releasing the pin by playing P-QKt4 at some opportune moment. If White elects to exchange his Bishop for the Kt forthwith, he can remove the Black centre pawn after 4. ... QPxB by playing 5. P- Q4, but the exchange of the B for the Kt gives Black a free development and in consequence a good game. (Compare note to move 4 in Game No. 12.)

Diagram 22 reproduces a typical position in this defence. The more usual continuation for White is 4. B-R4, Kt-B3;

- 8 #R #B #Q #K #R - 7 #P #B #P #P #P - 6 P Kt P Kt - 5 #P #P - 4 ^P - 3 ^B ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 22.

5. Castles; he does not trouble to protect his KP as its capture would allow his Rook an open file on which to act against the opposing King (compare Games Nos. 14 and 17) 5. ... B-K2. Now Black can capture the KP without much risk, as the Bishop is on the King's file. 6. R-K1, White covers his pawn, and thereby threatens to win a pawn by BxKt. Therefore Black must not delay playing 6. ... P-QKt4.

After 7. B-Kt3, P-Q3; (Diagram 22) White cannot yet execute the manoeuvre which underlies the whole tendency of the Ruy Lopez, namely P-Q4, maintaining the pressure in the centre, because after KtxQP, 9. KtxKt, PxKt; 10. QxP? White loses a piece through 10. ... P-B4, etc. It is therefore necessary to play P- QB3 first. White could also obtain a rapid development by Kt-B3, P-Q3, B-K3 or Kt5, but this arrangement is not popular, because Black can play Kt-QR4 and exchange the valuable KB. The pawn at QB3 supports an advance in the centre, and also provides a retreat for the KB. The QKt can be developed in this way: Kt-Q2- B1-Kt3 or K3. Black, however, must try to round off his pawn position on the Queen's side, by moving his QBP into line. Black's pawns at K4 and QB4 then exert a pressure on White's Q4. And this pressure threatens to be reinforced by B-Kt5. From these considerations the following development seems to be natural: 8. P-B3, Kt-QR4; 9. B-B2, P-B4; 10. P-Q4, Q-B2 (to support the KP); it leads to the position in Diagram 23.

- 8 #R #B #K #R - 7 #Q #B #P #P #P - 6 #P P Kt - 5 #Kt #P #P #P - 4 ^P ^P - 3 ^P ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^B ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 23.

11. P-KR3

One of the few instances in which this pawn move is justified. It deprives Black's QB of its only good square, and saves the KKt, the co-operation of which is urgently needed in the centre.

This system of opening will receive more exhaustive treatment under the heading of "Middle Game." (Compare Game No. 12.)

In the second main line of defence, of which I shall treat now, Black renounces the maintenance of his KP, and makes an attempt to find compensation by attacking White's King's Pawn. The King's file, opened by the disappearance of the Black pawn, offers opportunities for that purpose. After the first few moves we arrive at the following position, which

- 8 #R #Q #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #B #B #P #P #P - 6 #Kt #P #Kt - 5 ^B - 4 ^Kt ^P - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^B ^Q ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 24.

may be reached thus: 3. B-Kt5, P-Q3; 4. P-Q4, B-Q2; 5. Kt-B3, Kt- B3; 6. Castles, B-K2; 7. R-K1, PxP; 8. KtxP, Castles. The exchange on the seventh move is compulsory, because the loss of a pawn after BxKt is in effect threatened, now that the White KP is supported by the Rook.

Black's intention of exerting pressure on the KP is now difficult of execution, because his pieces are very cramped and hinder one another in a restricted area. The KB in particular cannot be brought into action without great difficulty, for instance by: R- K1, B-KB1, P-KKt3, and B-Kt2. It is therefore advisable for White to develop his QB at Kt2 instead of at Kt5, in order not to give Black a chance of exchanging his troublesome Bishop. (In a game Bernstein-Emanuel Lasker, Moscow, 1914, there happened 9. BxKt, PxB; 10. B-Kt5, P-KR3; 11. B-R4, Kt-R2; 12. BxB, QxB with a good game for Black.)

The defence has a totally different trend, if Black gives up his own KP, but captures the White KP at once. I have already pointed out that White would not mind his KP being taken, in view of the attack on the open King's file. Let us now consider in which way this attack can be planned. There are two essentially different lines, according to whether Black interpolates P-QR3 or not.

After 3. B-Kt5, Kt-B3; 4. Castles, KtxP; 5. R-K1, Black gets out of it comfortably by playing Kt-Q3, B-K2 and Castles, and White cannot permanently prevent Black's game from being freed by the advance of the QP. P-Q4 for White on the fifth move is therefore stronger. Black cannot very well exchange the pawns, leaving the King's file quite exposed, and must submit to White playing PxP, maintaining the pawn at K5 and preventing Black's P-Q4 for some time to come.

The opening might continue in this way: 5. P-Q4, B-K2; 6. Q-K2, Kt-Q3; 7. BxKt, KtPxB (to make room for the Kt); 8. PxP, Kt-Kt2 (Diagram 25).

- 8 #R #B #Q #K #R - 7 #P #Kt #P #P #B #P #P #P - 6 #P - 5 ^P - 4 - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^Q ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 25

The whole of the manoeuvres now centre round Black's endeavours to force his P-Q4, and White's attempt to prevent it. Black ultimately gains his point, as will be seen, but at the expense of such disadvantages in the pawn position that it is questionable whether the whole variation (called the Rio de Janeiro Defence) is playable.

9. Kt-B3, Castles; 10. R-K1, Kt-B4 (the Knight is to be posted at K3 to bring the White KKt away from his Q4, whence he prevents the advance of Black's QP by attacking QB6); 11. Kt-Q4, Kt-K3; 12. B-K3, KtxKt; 13. BxKt, P-B4; 14. B-K3, P-Q4; 15. PxP e.p., BxP. This is the critical position in the Rio de Janeiro defence. Black has succeeded in eliminating the White centre pawn, and sweeps long diagonals with his Bishops, but the advantage cannot be maintained. White exchanges the Bishop at Q6, and there remains a backward pawn, which Black will hardly be able to hold permanently. In practice it has been shown that the end-game should be won by White in spite of Bishops of opposite colours, as Black's pawn at his QB4 is difficult to defend.

16. Kt-K4, B-Kt2; 17. KtxB (not BxP because of BxB; 18. KtxB, BxP followed by Q-Kt4ch), PxKt; 18. Q R-Q1 and P-QB4.

The game is much more favourable for Black if he first plays 3. ... P-QR3, and retains the option of driving the White KB away by P-QKt4, after which P-Q4 can be enforced very soon. 3. B-Kt5, P- QR3; 4. B-R4, Kt-B3; 5. Castles, KtxP; 6. P-Q4, P-QKt4; 7. B-Kt3, P-Q4; 8. PxP, B-K3, 9. P-B3.

Now Black's pieces are more mobile, and that is the reason why this system of defence is becoming more popular than any other.

On the other hand, it cannot be denied that Black's pawn formation on the Q side is weak, and that his centre is less secure. Whilst White has a pawn firmly posted in the centre, Black has a Knight there which will soon be driven away. White's Q4, the basis of his centre, is entirely in his hands, whilst Black's Q4 is exposed to a steady pressure by the White pieces. Finally Black's QKt is unfavourably placed, obstructing as it does the QBP and preventing its falling into line with its fellows.

Diagram 26 shows the position after 9. P-B3. The latter move prevents the exchange of the B after Black's Kt-R4, an exchange which would allow Black to round up his pawn formation with P- QB4. The experts are not yet agreed as to the best continuation for Black in this critical position. To be considered are the moves B-QB4, B-K2 and Kt-B4. B-K2 is preferred nowadays to B- QB4, as QB4 should be kept free for the KKt in case the latter is driven from his dominating position, e.g. 10. R-K1 and 11. Q Kt- Q2. For if in that case Black exchanges the Knights, he only furthers White's development without doing anything towards strengthening his Q4.

If Black covers the Knight with P-B4, White plays PxP e.p. and Kt-Kt5, rids himself of Black's QB, and thereby weakens Black's QP still more.

Kt-B4 would therefore seem to be the best choice, as the QB becomes mobile again after White's B-B2, nor can White

- 8 #R #Q #K #B #R - 7 #P #P #P #P - 6 #P #Kt #B - 5 #P #P ^P - 4 #Kt - 3 ^B ^P ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^R ^K - A B C D E F G H

Diag. 26.

play P-Q4 as yet. The position in the diagram therefore leads to the following variations:

A. 9. ... B-K2; 10. R-K1, Castles; 11. QKt-Q2, Kt-B4; 12. B-B2, B-KKt5. This manoeuvre was introduced by Em. Lasker (Petrograd, 1909. For further particulars see Game No. 15).

B. 9. ... Kt-B4; 10. QKt-Q2, P-Q5 (Capablanca-Em. Lasker, Petrograd, 1914); or 9. ... B-K2; 10. R-K1, Castles; 11. QKt-Q2, Kt-B4; 12. B-B2, P-Q5 (Em. Lasker-Tarrasch, Petrograd, 1914).

Capablanca believes that the early advance of P-Q5 can be refuted by Kt-K4, e.g. 9. ... B-K2; 10. QKt-Q2, Kt-B4; 11. B-B2, P-Q5; 12. Kt-K4, PxP; 13. KtxKt, BxKt; 14. B-K4, Q-Q2; 15. Q-B2 or PxP.

The openings as sketched out up to this point give a sufficiently clear idea of the possibilities of combining sound development with an attempt to capture the centre after the opening moves 1. P-K4, P-K4. In most cases, Black's centre pawn being open to attack by White's P-Q4, we find an early break-up of the centre, and concurrently the opening of the Ks or Qs file for the Rooks. That is why games opened in this fashion have been classed very generally as "open," whilst all the other openings are called "close games." Lately the distinction has been abandoned, and very rightly, since in the latter openings, too, the centre can be cleared occasionally. We attain typical close positions when Black does not play 1. ... P-K4 in answer to 1. P-K4, but relinquishes all claim on his K4 and takes possession of his Q4 instead, leaving White the option of interlocking the pawns in the centre with P-K5.

On principle it does not seem advisable for Black to play P-Q4 on the first move in reply to 1. P-K4. Although White's centre pawn disappears after 2. PxP, QxP, Black loses a move through 3. Kt- QB3, and his Queen has no place from which it cannot be driven away very soon, unless it be at Q1. This, however, would amount to an admission of the inferiority of the whole of Black's plan.

There are two moves which deserve consideration as a preliminary to P-Q4, namely, 1. ... P-K3 (French Defence)

1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse