GW-KW, Point Count Chess Raw Discussion, File #8:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

# Game 3, GW-KW v. Fritz 12 (Level 5), for Control of the Center[June 18th 2011]

Commentary

RECENT MOVES: 13. c4 dxc4

(GW, June 18th) PROPOSED MOVE: 14. bxc4

Reasoning: I looked at three options, including the one proposed:

• 14. bxc4
This will leave us with an Isolate a-pawn, which I wanted to avoid last move, but Black's got the same problem, so would I be right in saying the two cancel each other out?

(KW, June 18th) Yes, they would here. An example of offsetting isolated pawns that would not be equal is if one of them were in front of the King.
• (GW, June 18th) 14. bxc4 (Continued ...)
Continuing on, then, with our old b-pawn now on c4, I may be wrong, but would assume Black won't play 14. ... Bxc4, else we recapture with 15. Rxc4 (even if we then need to retract the Rook (i.e. following 15. ... Qb5).

(KW, June 18th) Yes, he would not recapture, as he would lose a Bishop by doing so, without compensation. Qb5 would not force us to move, as the position can be defended by either Qc1 or Nd2, because the attacking piece is more valuable than the Rook. However, Na5 would force the Knight to move, as it is being attacked by a weaker piece, and White would lose the exchange.
• (GW, June 18th) 14. bxc4 (Continued ...)
Black might gear-up to advance the b-pawn: 14. bxc4 Qa5 (X-raying through to our Qe1, readying a Discovered Attack)

(KW, June 18th) Yes, however we have adequate resources in this situation. With the d5 pawn having captured on e4, if Black moves his Queen, then Nfd2 loses one Knight because of the skewer on a8-h1 diagonal of two unprotected Knights, and an x-ray attack all the way to the Rook.

No one move does as much: double attacks Ne4 (forcing it to move), frees the X-ray attack on the White Queen, protects c4, and prepares for Nb3, where we can attack c5 and further defend d4, as well as blockading the b4 pawn.
• (GW, June 18th) 14. a4
Trying again for Black to take En Passant with the b4-pawn, so: 14. a4 bxa3 e.p., but we'd then face a choice of potentially exchanging dark Bishop for a Knight: 15. Bc3 Nxc3, 16. Rxc3, to defend our b3-pawn. Then, if 16. ... cxb3 17. Nxa3 ... nah, we're still getting into trouble.

(KW, June 18th) I would be hesitant to do this anyway, as the b3 pawn would become backward on the same file where the Queen sits. All Black has to do is move everything out of the way, and the pawn would not be defended.
• (GW, June 18th) 14. Nfd2
With Black's d-pawn making that last capture, there's nothing defending the e4-Knight. If we relocated our KN to d2, Black may be tempted to an Exchange: 14. ... Nxd2 15. Qxd2 (or 15. Nxd2). Our light Bishop, from g2, would then be X-raying through to Black's QR.

WAIT ... I've just manually played that through in Fritz (Engine OFF). After either 15. Qxd2 or 15. Nxd2, 15. ... c3 Forks our dark Bishop and either piece on d2.

Looking at the position some more, I think if we do nothing about Black's c4-pawn, our dark Bishop's toast. It appears any other move we make would allow 14. ... c3, trapping Bb2.

(KW, June 18th) The move to make here is bxc4, as you have shown in your analysis.

What I want to comment on is how the position has changed in the last 2 half moves (with us moving bxc4). It is now White that has a Phalanx on c4 and d4. Black's c5 pawn is Backward at the base of a weak pawn chain (c5-b4), and White can take advantage of it in 2 moves (Nd2, Nb3).

As GW and I have mentioned above, the a8-h1 diagonal is now open, and both Knights and the a8 Rook are now targets. In particular, the e4 Knight is now not well placed (in fact,it is a loose piece, as is our Bb2), but does not have a lot of options of where it could move to help in the game, other than back on f6. Because of the opening of the diagonal, Black's Queen may be forced to stay in contact with the Nc6 to defend it, limiting its mobility, or place a Rc8.

The a6-f1 diagonal has closed to Black's Bishop, limiting its COA Control. We have gained in COA Territorial Domination where now we are equal with Black, and have a lot more mobility behind our forces.

Black still has a COA Space advantage in the enemy territory, but that is mainly because of his Knights, which may be forced to move or exchange soon. Two half open files have been created (the b and e files), which will need Rooks behind them to be countable. Black has 3 Pawn Islands (the a7 pawn is Backward and for all intents and purposes is a separate island) to White's 2, so White has a slight advantage there. Black has a dark square weakness, and White should keep his dark Bishop while exchanging Black's light Bishop at any opportunity. We can count the Black dark Bishop bad (as the pawn structure has clarified).

Let's look at the Center. E4 is occupied by a Knight, but it is undefended, thus Black does not control this square (as soon as White moves his Nf3, he will control it). D5 is equally controlled by the c and e pawns. E5 is controlled by White at the moment(Black cannot move a piece there without losing the exchange), but it could be challenged by f6. That leaves d4, which is firmly in White's Control.

Thus, even though Black has the initiative, White is gaining in Center Control, and Black has actually decreased in COA Center Domination with bxc4. White's game is getting better, while Black's game is getting more complicated and disjointed.

SELECTED MOVE: 14. bxc4

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