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 10th-11th 2011]


Commentary

RECENT MOVES: 8. e3 Bd6

(GW, June 10th) PROPOSED MOVE: 9. Qd2

Reasoning: First, I think we need to look at how Black's dark Bishop has affected the scene ...

  1. It clears the back rank for Black to Castle KS;
  2. it maintains its support for Black's c5-pawn, so nothing's really been enhanced here;
  3. it finally adds one unit of pressure to e5, against White's potential attempt to further enhance our control of that square (our current Nf3 is, for the time being, shut out from that outpost); 4) it adds more interest for Black's army down to White's Kingside territory.
Okay ...

Upon first observations, I don't think we can move any of our pawns without weakening the current structures, of which I see three, individual arrangements:
  1. Queenside Salient: a2,b3,c2;
  2. Chain: f2,e3,d4;
  3. Kingside Salient & King's guards: f2,g3,h2.
Our two Bishops have already had their single, developing moves for the opening phase, with both having fianchettoed. The QR cannot move and needs freeing, as well as getting it connected with its counterpart (currently Rf1).

So, that leaves Nb1, Qd1 and Re1 as our candidate pieces ... but, which piece to which square?
  • 9. Nc3 & 9. Nd2
    These have already been discussed, during an earlier move; we both concluded they'd block either our fianchettoed QB (Bb2), or Queen (Qd1), weakening the protection of our d4-pawn. So, at present, these two moves are not really the moves for us.

  • 9. Qd2
    This would get our Queen off the back rank, leaving just the QN to shift, in order to connect our two Rooks. In addition, and I'm trying to play this forward in my mind ...

    Could this move facilitate that c2-c4 move, with potential pawn exchanges, that I proposed during Move 8? The problem then was our QB would be left free ("En Prise") for Black's Queen to capture.

    However, this time round, our Queen, from d2, would - for one move, at least - prevent the loss of our QB to Black's Queen. What I do see, though, is Black could simply play Rb8, creating the Battery with the Black Queen and strengthening Black's position on the b-file.

  • 9. Re1
    With Black's dark Bishop having added that unit of pressure to e5, we further strengthen our activity along the e-file, towards e5.

Having thought through all that, I'm quite torn between 9. Re1 and 9. Qd2. As we're looking to focus on the dark squares (judging by the proportion of pawns on dark v. light squares), our Queen on d2 would add a unit of pressure to the dark squares of the a5-e1 diagonal. That's in addition to the points put forward, above, in our Queen's favor.

So, that's my proposed move, 9. Qd2.

Ken's Comments ...

(KW, June 11th) Another good assessment on your part.

Qd2 continues to hold d4, and actually does more for our counterattack than any other move. Yes, it puts pressure on the dark squares (although in this position, tactical considerations are primary and strategic, although immensely important, come in a slight second). It defends the QB, as you noted, but it also prepares our attack in one other way:
  • It allows 10. Rfc1.
    The Kingside is not under serious threat (I do not consider Bd6 a major threat to the Kingside, even though there are now 2 pieces in the vicinity - if we get a third, we will need to reevaluate). The Rook move would support our c2-c4 push from behind, and could end up on c4 itself, thus again defending the d4 pawn (as you can see in this game, the battle for one square -d4 - is the focus of both sides in determining Center Control - later it will be d5).
One or two squares can be the focal point, and as they go, so does Control of the Center). If we have the Rc4, we will probably be able to move our QN soon, and the best spot may be (gasp!) a3! This would also support the advance on c4.

I normally don't like to move my Knights to the edge of the board, but soon we may have one of those wonderful exceptions we see sometimes in chess, based on position. It would there attack b5 and defend c4.

I think our attack is coming together, but we must not be impatient to start it. It is better to build our forces to near optimum, and then proceed. We are only at move 9, and I think we are in a good position to wrestle the initiative away from Black in a few moves.

Our prime objective is to remove the pawn at d5, which removes the base of a potential outpost on e4, and opens the a8-h1 diagonal for our Bishop. If that pawn goes, Black's Queenside is vulnerable.

So I agree, 9. Qd2.

SELECTED MOVE: 9. Qd2



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