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Strong Outpost Station
Stations on the Sixth Rank

NO. 100 ... p146-147, Stations on the Sixth Rank,
Furman v. Smyslov, 1949

H&M-S confess that Sixth Rank Outposts are "not easily achieved", but they go on to say that "...once your opponent has created a hole in the heart of his camp it's occupation is worth some trouble and sacrifice."

In this example, White creates a two 6th Rank Outposts (c6 & e6), after creating an Advanced Chain (e4,d5), with the d5-Pawn securing the two aforementioned Outposts.

Usually, it's the Knight that is chosen to occupy the Outposts, but in this game White's light-Bishop gets the honor, occupying the e6-Outpost, where it remains for a large chunk of the game -- certainly long enough to create the game-winning advantage of two Passed Pawns.

H&M-S mentioned sacrificing material is often worth it, in order to occupy a 6th Rank Outpost, and in this example, the following are all sacrificed to get White's light-Bishop onto the e6-Outpost, and then also to maintain it there (until the Outpost is no longer needed):

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position / of the two/three positions featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.146, No. 100, after 17.Rxc1
  2. Result of the Station on the Sixth Rank.
  3. PGN

Stations on the Sixth Rank
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.146, No. 100, after 17.Rxc1

After: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 c5 7.Bc4 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bg7 9.Ne2 Nc6 10.Be3 O-O 11.O-O b6 12.Rc1 Bb7 13.Bb5 Rc8 14.Qa4 Na5 15.d5 Qd6 16.Bd2 Rxc1 17.Rxc1

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Page 146
After: 17.Rxc1

For this analysis, I'm looking at the Pawns and Pieces that contribute to White's Outpost Station; their first moves and their last positions (whether they get captured or remain there for the duration of the example), up to the point when the Outpost Station no longer exists ...

1. White's: d-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 1.d4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's d-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 1.d4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 7...cxd4 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's d-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 7...cxd4

After being positioned at d4 (1.d2-d4) since the very first move of the game, White's d-Pawn is sacrificed to entice Black's c-Pawn off the c-file, by capturing White's d-Pawn (7...cxd4), so that White's original b-Pawn (the new c-Pawn) can leave the c-file to become the new d-Pawn (8.cxd4).

After the 8th Move, the c-file is now an Open File, and Black currently has the Half-Open File (d-file) in his favor.

2. White's: c-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 2.c4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's c-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 2.c4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 4.cxd5 Nxd5 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's c-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 4.cxd5 Nxd5

White's c-Pawn is sacrificed to take Black's d-Pawn off the board, with Black's Nf6 completing the trade.

This Pawn exchange creates two Half-Open Files (c & d).

3. White's: Nb1 (Queenside Knight) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 3.Nc3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Nb1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 3.Nc3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 5...Nxc3 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Nb1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 5...Nxc3

White's Queenside Knight is allowed to be sacrificed to trade one set of adverse Knights off the board (3.Nb1-c35...Nd5xc3), with the result enabling White's b-Pawn to move onto the c-file, prior to it moving on again onto the d-file.

4. White's: e-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 5.e4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's e-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 5.e4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 19...Qxe4 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's e-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 19...Qxe4

White's e-Pawn forces Black's Nd5 to leave d5, which more or less provokes the capture of White's Nc3 (5...Nd5xc3), which in turn leads to White's b-Pawn completing the Knight exchange and moving onto the c-file.

White's e-Pawn eventually becomes the support point for the d-Pawn to move into an advanced position (15.d4-d5) at the head of the Advanced Chain (e4,d5), which secures the Sixth Rank Outpost (the e6-square is the main Outpost used in this game, but c6 is also an Outpost).

White's e-Pawn is finally captured off the board, by Black's Queen (19...Qxe4), but it has done its job by then.

5. White's: b-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 6.bxc3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's b-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 6.bxc3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 42...Bxd5 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's b-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 8.cxd4 → 15.d5 → 42...Bxd5

White's b-Pawn secures the Station on the Sixth Rank, after becoming quite the traveler, capturing across onto the d-file, before advancing to the d5-square, where it becomes the head of an Advanced Chain (d5,e4).

After a handful of moves. the Base Pawn (e4) is captured, leaving the d5-Pawn as an Advanced Pawn, guarding TWO possible 6th Rank Outposts (c6 & e6), as Black doesn't have any Pawns to guard either of those two squares, which are Holes in Black's position.

White's former b-Pawn stays put at d5 until late into the game, when Black takes it off the board (the approach of White's King appears to force Black into capturing the d5-Pawn). By this stage, the Sixth Rank Outpost appears not to be required any longer, and the game has moved into the Endgame phase, with the two Kings having moved in toward the Center of the board.

6. White's: Bf1 (Light-Bishop, Kingside) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 7.Bc4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Bf1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 7.Bc4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 43.Bxf5 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Bf1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 13.Bb5 → 18.Bd7 → 20.Be6+ → 42...Bxd5 → 43.Bxf5

White's light-Bishop gets about quite a bit, eventually moving to occupy White's Sixth Rank Outpost (e6).

Prior to getting onto the e6-Outpost, White's light-Bishop forms the head of a Queen-Bishop Battery along the a4-e8 diagonal (after 13.Bc4-b514.Qd1-a4).

Black appears incapable of destroying White's Battery, which is pivotal for White managing to get the light-Bishop onto the e6-Outpost, via the d7-square (18.Bb5-d7 → 20.Bd7-e6+).

Within two moves, Black has destroyed the d5-Pawn that was securing the e6-Outpost (42...Be4xd5) and White's light-Bishop moves on, taking-out Black's f5-Pawn and creating a Protected Passed Pawn (g3,f4) in the process.

7. White's: Ng1 (Kingside Knight) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 9.Ne2 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Ng1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 9.Ne2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 30.Nxg6+ Qxg6 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Ng1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 26.Nf4 → 30.Nxg6+ Qxg6

White's Kingside Knight temporarily supports the light-Bishop on the e6-Outpost, (after 9.Ng1-e226.Ne2-f4).

However, it seems the main purpose for White's Kingside Knight is to be sacrificed (30.Nf4xg6+ Qg7xg6) to create a key weakness in the Pawn Guards in front of Black's Kingside Castled King (Isolated Pawns, f5 & h7).

8. White's: Bc1 (Dark-Bishop, Queenside) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 10.Be3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Bc1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 10.Be3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 21.Bxg7+ Kxg7 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Bc1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 16.Bd2 → 19.Bc3
→ 21.Bxg7+ Kxg7

It seems the sole purpose of White's dark-Bishop is to get into position to trade both adverse dark-Bishops off the board, which occurs after White's light-Bishop has occupied the e6-Outpost, during the Middlegame phase (21.Bxg7+ Kxg7).

Black's dark-Bishop was a key part of the defence of Black's Kingside Castled King, following the advance of the Pawn Guards, which have formed a Chain (h7,g6,f5) to partially secure the e4-Outpost Station for Black's Qe4.

9. White's: Ke1 + Rh1 (King + Kingside Rook) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 11.O-O - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Ke1 + Rh1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 11.O-O
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 11.O-O - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Ke1 + Rh1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 11.O-O

The usual reason to Castle: gets the King to relative safety, while transfers the Kingside Rook quickly to the inside, so it can cooperate with the Rook on the Queenside.

10. White's: Ra1 (Queenside Rook) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 12.Rc1 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Ra1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 12.Rc1
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 16...Rxc1 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Ra1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 16...Rxc1

White's Queenside Rook slides across onto the Open c-file (12.Ra1-c1), but that's as far as it gets as it's sacrificed in an exchange of Rooks, with Black's Rc8 coming down to exchange on c1 (16...Rc8xc1), and White's Kingside Rook, having Castled earlier, completes the trade (17.Rf1xc1).

11. White's: Qd1 ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 14.Qa4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Qd1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 14.Qa4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 32.Qxg7+ Kxg7 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Qd1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 22.Qa3 → 29.Qb2
→ 32.Qxg7+ Kxg7

As has already been mentioned, White's Queen forms a Queen-Bishop Battery, along the a4-e8 diagonal, after 14.Qd1-a4, which helps support the light-Bishop, until said Bishop works its way onto the e6-Outpost.

Once the light-Bishop is safely occupying the e6-Outpost, it appears the sole purpose of White's Queen is to be sacrificed in order to trade Queens off the board, which makes it easier for defending the Sixth Rank Outpost, and the d5-Pawn, which secures the e6-Outpost.

12. White's: Rh1 (Kingside Rook) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 17.Rxc1 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Rh1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 17.Rxc1
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 1.x - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Rh1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 23.Rc7 → 24.Rxe7 → 25.Rc7 → 27.Rc1 → 28.Rc3 → 31.Rxc4+
→ 33.Rc7+ → 35.Rxa7 → 37.Ra6
→ 39.Ra7+ → 42...Bxd5

Having Castled a little earlier (11.O-O), White's Kingside Rook becomes an extremely busy and influential Piece for White, all throughout the light-Bishop's occupation of the e6-Outpost, and it's still going even after the e6-Outpost is demolished by Black's light-Bishop (42...Be4xd5).

Earlier in the game, White's Kingside Rook completes the Rook exchange on the Queenside (17.Rf1xc1), which is the position featured by H&M-S in diagram NO.100, (Position #1).

After that, as White's light-Bishop continues to occupy the e6-Outpost, White's Kingside Rook makes it up onto the 7th Rank, where it takes out the e7-Pawn (24.Rc7xe7).

After a brief spell defending its King back home (25.Re7-c727.Rc7-c128.Rc1-c3), White's Kingside Rook is involved in a Discovered Check, with White's Queen (31.Rc3xc4+).

And then it's back up to the 7th Rank (Rook on the 7th), to take out Black's weak a7-Pawn, all prior to the end of White's e6-Outpost, as already mentioned.

13. White's: f-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 34.f4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's f-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 34.f4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 34.f4 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's f-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 42.Bxd5

White's f-Pawn blocks any further advance of Black's f5-Pawn, which is eventually captured by White's light-Bishop (43.Be6xf5), when the f-Pawn becomes a Protected Passed Pawn, by which point White's Sixth Rank Outpost has been demolished (by Black's light-Bishop, after 42...Be4xd5).

14. White's: h-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 36.h3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's h-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 36.h3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 36.h3 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's h-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 42.Bxd5

White's h-Pawn just clamps down on the g4-square, after 36.h2-h3, prior the advance of White's g-Pawn.

15. White's: g-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 38.g3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's g-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 38.g3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 38.g3 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's g-Pawn
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 42.Bxd5

White's g-Pawn advances to support the f4-Pawn (38.g2-g3), eventually helping White to gain the Protected Passed Pawn, after White's light-Bishop takes out Black's f5-Pawn (43.Be6xf5), which is after the e6-Outpost has been demolished.

16. White's: Ke1 ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 41.Kf2 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Ke1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 41.Kf2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Strong Outpost Station, After 42.Ke3 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Ke1
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 42.Ke3

Having Castled quite a bit earlier (11.O-O), White's King is involved in the action that sees White's e6-Outpost demolished.

After his Pawn Guards have moved forward (34.f4, 36.h3, and 38.g3) to meet the advance of Black's THREE Isolated Pawns (b6, f5 & h5), White's King heads toward the Center (41.Kg1-f242.Kf2-e3), closing in on Black's light-Bishop, and it's this threat that appears to be the catalyst for Black's light-Bishop to capture White's d5-Pawn, removing the Pawn that had been securing the e6-Outpost. With that d5-Pawn gone, the Sixth Rank Outpost is also gone.

But, that also helps speed up the creation of the Protected Passed Pawn (f4), and with Black's other weaknesses (the three Isolated Pawns, already mentioned), that could be a signal to tell White that he no longer needs his Sixth Rank Outpost.


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

The Result of White's Station on the Sixth Rank (e6)...

In the images (below), we see that White's d5-Pawn is in position to secure two 6th Rank Outposts (c6 & e6) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 15.d5 - No Highlights
(RESULT) White's
Stations on the Sixth Rank,
After: 15.d5
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 15.d5
(RESULT) White's
Stations on the Sixth Rank,
After: 15.d5

At the moment, the c6-Outpost looks a little more inviting to fight for occupation, since there are no Black Pawns to attack the square and drive away White's Piece. However, as it turned out, White played for occupation of the e6-Outpost.

The next set of images, (below), show the point when White claims the e6-square as the 6th Rank Outpost, as a result of the advance of Black's f-Pawn (the final Pawn that could prevent White claiming the e6-Outpost) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 17...f5 - No Highlights
(RESULT) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 17...f5
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 17...f5
(RESULT) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 17...f5

Next, as seen in the images (below), following Black's Queen capturing to occupy his e4-Outpost, comes the occupation of the e6-Outpost, by White's light-Bishop ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 20.Be6+ - No Highlights
(RESULT) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 20.Be6+
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 20.Be6+
(RESULT) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 20.Be6+

Black's King is put in a series of checks, enabling White to take out more Black targets, while Black is forced to move the King out of check, each time. The result of the checks can be seen in the images (below) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 33...Kf6 - No Highlights
(RESULT) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 33...Kf6
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 33...Kf6
(RESULT) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6),
After: 33...Kf6

White has really taken Black apart, and stands to capture a further Pawn (a7), plus create a third Isolated Pawn (b6) for Black, in the process. And all throughout that, White's Be6 remained untouched on the e6-Outpost, which just goes to show the merit of fighting to gain an Outpost on the 6th Rank.

And, finally, White's e6-Outpost is demolished by Black's light-Bishop, as White's King closed-in on it ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 42...Bxd5 - No Highlights
(END) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6)
DEMOLISHED by Black's Bishop,
After: 42...Bxd5
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 42...Bxd5
(END) White's
Station on the Sixth Rank (e6)
DEMOLISHED by Black's Bishop,
After: 42...Bxd5

And as soon as White's e6-Outpost was demolished, White's light-Bishop leaves the e6-square, captures Black's f5-Pawn, and in the process creates a Protected Passed Pawn (f4) -- this could be considered a game-winning advantage in itself! ...

But, with the Kingside Pawn Majority, White went on to create a second Passed Pawn (h-Pawn), which proved too much for Black, who resigned as both Passers advanced towards Promotion.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 100 - Result, Stations on the Sixth Rank, After 55.Kh3
(RESULT) White's Passed Pawns is the result of the Sixth Rank Outpost, After: 55.Kh3
As the image (left) shows, Black cannot capture either of White's Passed Pawns.

Black's King cannot capture the f5-Pawn, because it's defended by White's Bg6.

And none of Black's Pieces are in attacking range to capture White's h7-Pawn. Black's only other option would be to attack the White Pieces defending the two Passed Pawns, but White is coordinated so well that it's just not possible without enabling White to Promote the h7-Pawn, anyway. So, Black resigned.

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

PGN

[Event "Ch URS, Moscow"]
[Site "Ch URS, Moscow"]
[Date "1949.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Semyon Abramovich Furman"]
[Black "Vasily Smyslov"]
[ECO "D88"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "109"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5 7. Bc4 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bg7 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. Be3 O-O 11. O-O b6 12. Rc1 Bb7 13. Bb5 Rc8 14. Qa4 Na5 15. d5 Qd6 16. Bd2 Rxc1 17. Rxc1 {PCC p.146 No. 100} f5 18. Bd7 Qe5 19. Bc3 Qxe4 20. Be6+ Kh8 21. Bxg7+ Kxg7 22. Qa3 Qh4 23. Rc7 Kh8 24. Rxe7 Qf6 25. Rc7 Ba6 26. Nf4 Qa1+ 27. Rc1 Qg7 28. Rc3 Rd8 29. Qb2 Nc4 30. Nxg6+ Qxg6 31. Rxc4+ Qg7 32. Qxg7+ Kxg7 33. Rc7+ Kf6 34. f4 Bd3 35. Rxa7 Be4 36. h3 h5 37. Ra6 Rb8 38. g3 Ke7 39. Ra7+ Kd6 40. a4 Bd3 41. Kf2 Be4 42. Ke3 Bxd5 43. Bxf5 Kc5 44. Bg6 h4 45. gxh4 b5 46. axb5 Rxb5 47. f5 Rb4 48. h5 Re4+ 49. Kf2 Kd6 50. h6 Rh4 51. h7 Rxh3 52. Rg7 Ke5 53. Rg8 Rh2+ 54. Kg3 Rg2+ 55. Kh3 1-0

End.

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