GW-KW, Point Count Chess,
Raw Discussion, June 2nd-3rd 2011,
GW, Game 1, GW's Opening 6 Moves, Attempting to Understand
Control of the Center

[June 2nd 2011]

Up until reading Point Count Chess, I wasn't aware of the term "Control of the Center". Instead, I'd only just become aware of the term "Center Domination", through reading Yasser Seirawan's Winning Chess series of books, hence the sole focus of the following game was about Center Domination, with no mention of Control of the Center.

(GW, June 2nd) Ken, I think Center Domination will be better discussed while working through an, or a series of, openings. At the moment, I feel I'm just going round and round in circles with the book-info; I "kind of get" some of the issues covered by H&M-S and Dan Heisman. Then, when I attempt to turn what I've read into practice - by playing openings against Fritz - ideas clash and progress grinds to a halt.

I've started off an Opening sequence (White) v. Fritz:


[Event "Center Domination, Game 1, Opening 5 Moves"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2011.06.02"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Wadden, Graham"]
[Black "Fritz 12"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "10"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c5 4. O-O e6 5. d3 Nc6 *

Commentary ...

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c5 4. O-O
(GW, June 2nd) I've gone for the Barcza Opening, recommended by Yasser Seirawan (Winning Chess Openings, p201).}

4. ... e6
(GW, June 2nd) At this point, Black has 2 units guarding e4; 3 units guarding d5; and just 1 guarding d4. With e4 being in my territory and being twice attacked, I think I should start to fight back, focusing on that square? Candidate Moves: 5. Nc3, 5. d3. I've chosen the latter (5. d3), as it does more with that single tempo; it adds a unit of pressure to e4, guards c4 (holding off c5-c4) and releases the Queen Bishop.

5. d3 Nc6
(GW, June 2nd) But, now Black's got a Pawn on 4th (c5) v. Pawn on 3rd (d3). This is where I grind to a halt, or end up moving material without certainty that I'm making the correct move / least-bad move.

I don't even have to look at the COA Center Domination to see Black is already ahead in dominating the Center.

The only thing that's stopping me from starting again is awareness that beginning with a Flank Opening, like the Barcza Opening, lets the opponent gain a lead in development in the center, while I complete Castling and safeguarding my King.

6. ???
(GW, June 2nd) Here's an example of where decisions, for my next move, really start to clash.

  • [6. Nc3] With Black's 2 Knights on their optimum first-move squares, 6. Nc3 would be one option. But, that's tempered by the potential for Black's d-pawn to attack it, with 6. ... d4. I'd then be forced to move the Knight TWICE in the opening, for a loss of tempo or potential loss of tempo?

  • [6. Bg5] I've seen Yasser Seirawan send his Queen Bishop out to attack Black's King Knight, only to be instantly repelled by Black King Rook Pawn to h6. If/when attacked, I could drop my Bishop down to h4, to keep pin attack on the Knight & Queen. While it's threatening Black's King Knight, which has an impact on Black's Center control, from h4 my Bishop wouldn't be having any direct impact on the Center.

  • [6. c4] I don't particularly like the Black Phalanx (c5,d5) and have toyed with the idea of trying to dismantle it with immediate effect.

  • [6. Nd2 v. 6. Re1] If, instead, I wanted to push the e-Pawn into action, I'm struggling to decide whether to bring the Queen Knight across first, to d2, which attacks e4. Or, sidestep the Rook to e1. At the risk of answering my own question, I recall advice saying to move Knights before Bishops, Bishops before Rooks. So, should it be 6. Nd2, first? The Knight would block the Queen Bishop, but that could be fianchettoed, to attack the Center from b2.

... As always, it doesn't seem to matter which move I decide upon, as soon as the opponent moves, my original plans/ideas seem to crumble (not that they were much in the first place. But, that'll come with training and practice).

Furthermore, should I have bothered to complete the Barcza Opening (1. Nf3, 2. g3, 3. Bg2, 4. 0-0) when Black's d-pawn advanced to d5? E.g. should I have played 3. d4, to prevent Black's c-pawn advance, creating the 5th Rank Phalanx; or, would that have been unnecessarily chickening-out of following through with the planned Barcza Opening?

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