Control of a Useful Open File:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 1) and the
Chess Strategies Guide (Section 3: Studying the Pieces)

Control of a Useful Open File
Point Count Chess: [+]


About This Article...

Advanced Beginners Chess Teaser pccThis article includes my notes, additional images and interactive chess positions from my study of Horowitz & Mott-Smith's book, Point Count Chess.

Source:
Point Count Chess,
Chapter 19. The Open File, (p228-238)


Point Count Chess, Examples:
  • The Doubled Rooks
  • The Fight to Open a File
  • Neutralizing an Open File

An Open File is one stage on from a Half-Open File, and is where both adverse Pawns are no longer sitting on their file.

According to H&M-S (PCC, Summary, p. 238), the 'useful' bit refers one side having a Rook on an Open File that cannot be immediately challenged by an adverse Rook.

In Diagram 1, below, there are no adverse Pawns on the d-File, enabling White's Queen to have an "Open" view (hence the term Open File) all the way to Black's back rank. In comparison, Black's Queen stands on a Half-Open e-File, owing to one Pawn (e2) still sitting on the File, preventing Black's Queen being able to have the same back rank view, as White's Queen.

Control of a Useful Open File, Image 1, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 1: White's Queen stands
on an Open d-File.
BUT, neither army has the advantage of the Open File until:
  1. one has a Rook on an Open File,
  2. and the Rook cannot be immediately challenged by an adverse Rook (without serious disadvantage).
In Diagram 2, below, we can see White's Re1 satisfies the first criteria, being a Rook on the Open e-File.
Control of a Useful Open File, Image 2, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 2: White Controls the Open e-File.
The second part of the criteria is fulfilled by White's Nb5, which prevents Black's Rd8 from challenging White's Rook (...Rd8-e8), as it would cause "serious disadvantage" to Black, with White's Nb5 capturing Black's d6-Pawn (Nxd6), and initiating a Fork Attack against Black's Queen and Rook. White gets the advantage and the plus point.

Two Rooks facing one another on the same file are challenging one another, and there would be no point awarded. This can be seen in Diagram 3, below, where adverse Rooks face each other on the d-file.
Control of a Useful Open File, Image 3, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 3: Adverse Rooks challenging each
other on the d-file.
To move a Rook to a file which is already occupied by the "adverse" Rook is difficult and constricting. So the point would go to your opponent.

Doubled Rooks on an Open File can also combine to help Control a File, just like White's Rooks, in Diagram 4, below:
Control of a Useful Open File, Image 4, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 4: White's Doubled Rooks on the e-file.
Diagram 4 shows an actual position, that occurred in a real game, which is available, below for you to play through, so you can observe how the Doubled Rooks played their part in a Win for White (see Interactive Example: The Doubled Rooks, NO. 161A to NO. 161B ... p231-232, Denker v. Polland, 1933, after 5. Kf2).

Moving On: Control of a Useful Open File, PCC Examples (Page 2).



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Return to the Chess Strategies Guide,
Studying the Pieces (Major Pieces)
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