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Half-open File
Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2)

Point Count Chess, NO. 150, p213-214
Najdorf v. Pilnik, 1955

This example features a Rook on a Half-open File, being used to attack an enemy Pawn.

Specifically, it shows how White's Rook on the Half-open c-file was used to attack Black's c-Pawn, exerting an important Pin that enables White to create two subsequent advantages (Advanced Chain; Strong Outpost Station on the 6th Rank), which play a significant part in White's victory.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.213, No. 150, after 11.Be2
Additional analysis includes the:

Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.213, No. 150, after 11.Be2

After: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Rc1 h6 7.Bh4 b6 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Be2

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Page 213
After: 11.Be2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit, After 8.cxd5
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2),
After 8.cxd5
After 8.cxd5, the Half-open File is created (c-file).

After this, there comes a series of exchanges to simplify the position. This takes some of the Pieces off the board, which helps accentuate White's main advantage (Rook on the Half-open File).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit, After 9...exd5
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2),
After 8...Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5
After 8...Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5, White immediately follows up the creation of the Half-open c-File, with an exchange of Knights (8...Nf6xd5 9.Nc3xd5).

This also earns White a 2-v-1 Pawn advantage in the Center (9...e6xd5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit, After 10.Bxe7 Qxe7
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2),
After 10.Bxe7 Qxe7
After 10.Bxe7 Qxe7, White immediately follows up the Knight exchange, with an exchange of dark-Bishops (10.Bh4xe7 Qd8xe7).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit, After 11...Qb4+ 12. Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2),
After 11...Qb4+ 12. Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2
After 11...Qb4+ 12. Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2, the Bishop exchange is immediately followed up with the exchange of Queens. This is forced by Black, but White appears content to go along with it, even though the recapture with the King ends White's right to Castle.

However, in the King's favor is the fact that the diagonal dangers from Black's Queen and dark-Bishop have been extinguished ...

White's Pawn structure in the Center is adequate to keep Black's Rooks from being able to get at his King.

White can also easily keep his King protected from the slow-moving Knight -- Nb8 would have to take too many turns to get into White's territory, by which time White could walk his King across to g1 (the position reached by the King when Castling Kingside).

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit, After 14.Nf3 and 15.Ne5
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2),
After 14.Nf3 → 15.Ne5
After 14.Nf3 → 15.Ne5, White's King Knight is sent to occupy the e5-Outpost, where it adds another unit attacking Black's Backward c6-Pawn (already under frontal attack from White's Rc1, on the Half-open File).

Black can force White's Knight off the e5-Outpost, by advancing his f-Pawn (15...f7-f6). However, to do so will give Black a "Weak-square Complex" on the light-squares.

Given that White still has his light-Bishop, this is likely to be why Black chose not to attack White's Ne5, with his f-Pawn.

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The Result of Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit...

As mentioned at the top of the page, this example shows how the Rook on the half-open file can be used to exert an important Pin (against Black's c-Pawn).

The "important Pin" is shown to full effect after 17.b4-b5 ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2), After 1.x
(RESULT) Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit
(1 of 2), After 16.b4 a5 17.b5
After 16.b4 a5 17.b5, White, content that his Ne5 is safe (for now), launches into an attack, with his b-Pawn, which bypasses the threat from Black's a-Pawn (16...a7-a6), to increase the pressure on Black's beleaguered c6-Pawn.

Note White's Rook Pin that's applied to Black's c6-Pawn, as it is forced to maintain cover of the recently arrived Rc8, instead of being able to capture White's b5-Pawn.

If the capture took place (17...c6xb5), the resulting Rook exchange (18.Rc1xc8 Bb7xc8) would leave White's King Rook controlling the Open File (19.Rh1-c1), which H&M-S say would be "catastrophic", for Black.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 150 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (1 of 2), After 17...c5 18.a4
(RESULT) Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit
(1 of 2), After 17...c5 18.a4
After 17...c5 18.a4, Black avoids the capture, advancing the c-Pawn (17...c6-c5) so as to not Open the c-file, for White's benefit.

White reinforces his b5-Pawn, marching the a-Pawn forward to create an Advanced Chain, which in turn creates a Strong Outpost Station on the Sixth Rank (c6) ...

Black thought it enough of a threat that he chose to trade his Rook for White's Ne5 (18...Rc8-e819...Re8xe5 20.d4xe5), to stop White occupying the c6-Outpost.

So, in summary, the Rook can be posted to a Half-open File, to exert an important Pin on the enemy Pawn, which enables the creation of other advantages, in more-advanced positions.

I guess you could look at it as a kind of "bridging" strategy, linking one key advantage (Rook on the Half-open File) to the next key advantage (in this case, two advantages: Advanced Chain and Sixth Rank Outpost, both on the Queenside of the board).


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PGN

[Event "Mar del Plata"]
[Site "Mar del Plata"]
[Date "1955"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "5"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Miguel Najdorf"]
[Black "Herman Pilnik"]
[ECO "D54"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "79"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Rc1 h6 7.Bh4 b6 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Be2 {PCC p.213 No.150} Qb4+ 12.Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2 c6 14.Nf3 Bb7 15.Ne5 Rc8 16.b4 a5 17.b5 c5 18.a4 Re8 19.Bg4 Rxe5 20.dxe5 Kf8 21.f4 Ke7 22.Rhd1 Nd7 23.Ke2 Rd8 24.Rd2 Nf8 25.Rcd1 Ne6 26.Bf3 Nc7 27.h4 g5 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.f5 Rh8 30.g4 f6 31.e6 Kd6 32.Rh1 Rxh1 33.Bxh1 c4 34.Bxd5 c3 35.Bxb7 cxd2 36.Kxd2 Ke7 37.Bc6 Kd6 38.Kd3 Ke7 39.Kd4 Kd6 40.e4 1-0

End.

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