Bishop cramp

Jyrki Heikkinen — David Bye, e-mail, 2005

1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.Bg5 Ne8

A pretty standard DDG, but Black plays too passively.


The first "creative" bishop move. I didn't want to ease Black's cramped position by exchanging pieces.

10...g6 11.Qe1 Ng7 12.Rd1 f5? 13.Bh6

This bishop again. I expected Black to play f4, which would block the bishop away from the kingside.

13...Nf6 14.Bg5

The bishop maneuver g5-e3-h6-g5 looks like a novice moving a piece back and forth without a plan. I did feel myself a bit stupid after returning to g5, but now that Black has weakened dark squares with g6, I'm willing to exchange the dark bishops.

14...Re8 15.Bc2 c6 16.Ne5 Nfh5 17.Bxe7 Qxe7

18.Qe3 Bd7 19.Qh6 Rad8 20.c5

Funny that Black did not have time to play c5. I was expecting it several times. Black would have gained more space for his pieces by breaking White's center.

I wanted to play 20.Be4 fxe4 21.Rf7 Qxf7 22.Nxf7 Kxf7 23.Nxe4, which is good for White. But I didn't play 20.Be4 because it threatens nothing, and Black could play, say, 20...Qb4. Post-mortem analysis showed that 22...Nf5! ruins my variation above.


This move must be dubious, was my first impression. I tried to look at the position like an outsider, and asked myself: What is White's compensation for the pawn?

The answer is mobility. I evaluated the mobility of the troops by counting the number of sensible moves of each piece. I came up with the numbers 22/11, that is, White's pieces have altogether twice as many sensible moves as Black's pieces.

Rybka suggests 20...Nf6 =.


This changes "mobility numbers" to 24/9. Finding this decisive move was easy, thanks to my analysis of the move 20.Be4.

21...fxe4 22.Rf7 Qxf7 23.Nxf7 Kxf7 24.Rf1+ 1-0

Game over: 24...Nf4 25.Qxg5 or 24...Kg8 25.Bxe4 or 24...Ke7 25.Qxg5+.

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