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

Point Count Chess, NO. 151, p215
Capablanca v. O. Bernstein, 1914

Again, like the other example (No. 150), we see White using his Queen Rook to apply an important Pin against Black's Backward c6-Pawn, which enables White to break into Black's territory.

The Pin acts as a bridge to further, countable advantages (Passed Pawn, in White's favor; Greater Space, on the Queenside; as well as further weakening Black's Queenside, giving him Isolated Pawns clearing Pawns for the benefit of White's Passed Pawns).

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.215, No. 151, after 13...Qc7
Additional analysis includes the:

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

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.215, No. 151, after 13...Qc7

After: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 c6 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 b5 9.Bd3 a6 10.e4 e5 11.dxe5 Ng4 12.Bf4 Bc5 13.O-O Qc7

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Page 215
After: 13...Qc7
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 7...dxc4
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2),
After 7...dxc4
After 7...dxc4, the c-file is Half-open, for White's benefit.

Note that Black gains the Half-open d-file, at the same time. However, the focus of this example is how White manages to triumph with his Half-open c-file.

White's light-Bishop completes the trade of Pawns (8.Bd3xc4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 8...b5 9.Bd3
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2),
After 8...b5 9.Bd3
After 8...b5 9.Bd3. This could a key mistake by Black ...

The idea seems plausible -- advance the b-Pawn (8...b7-b5) to clamp down on the c4-square, both repelling White's light-Bishop (9.Bc4-d3) and reducing its mobility along the a6-f1 diagonal.

However, noting that the c-file Half-open in White's favor, the advance of the b-Pawn has resulted in the c6-Pawn becoming Backward (similar to the example in No. 150).

White's Queen Rook, having access to the Half-open c-file, makes Black's c6-Pawn vulnerable.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 10.e4 e5 11.dxe5
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2),
After 10.e4 e5 11.dxe5
After 10.e4 e5 11.dxe5, White puts his 2-v-1 Center Pawn advantage to work, to take-out Black's remaining Center Pawn.

The result forces Black's Nf6 to flee (11...Nf6-g4), and leaves White with his e-Pawn, occupying the Center and helping to claim Control of the Center.

White does have Doubled Pawns (e4,e5), but the leading Pawn (e5) has done its job, and White lets leaves it to its fate -- it's captured by Black's f-Pawn, after 14...f7-f615...f6xe5 -- to focus on matters surrounding Black's Backward c6-Pawn.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 13.O-O and 14.Rc1
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2),
After 13.O-O → 14.Rc1
After 13.O-O → 14.Rc1, White occupies the Half-open file with a Rook ...

White waits until after Castling (13.O-O) to occupy the Half-open c-file, with his Rook (14.Ra1-c1).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 16.b4
Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2),
After 16.b4
After 16.b4, White advances his b-Pawn, which denies Black's dark-Bishop access to attack White's Rc1, via the a3-c1 diagonal; that's in addition to forcing the retreat of that Bishop (16...Bc5-a7), which removes a layer of cover from Black's Backward c6-Pawn.

White is now ready to launch a devastating combination, which takes advantage of the potential Pin, applied by White's Rc1 against Black's c6-Pawn, which covers Black's Qc7. This is the result White was aiming for, from his Rook on the Half-open file.


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The Result of the Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2)...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 17.Bxb5
(RESULT) Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit
(2 of 2), After 17.Bxb5
After 17.Bxb5, White kickstarts a Combination that will lead to his capture of Black's Backward c6-Pawn, and also the creation of the first of two Passed Pawns (a2).

To achieve it, White sacrifices his light-Bishop, to take-out the b5-Pawn. He also makes use of the greater value of a Bishop versus a Pawn, giving Black an offer it can't refuse -- capturing White's Bishop, for a Pawn (17...a6xb5).

Note the position of White's:

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 18...Qd8 19.Nd6+
(RESULT) Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit
(2 of 2), After 18...Qd8 19.Nd6+
After 18...Qd8 19.Nd6+, White continues to gain more advantages, as White's advanced Knight forces Black to lose his right to Castle, as it has to move out of "check" ...

This keeps Black's King Knight ineffective in its corner, unable to help repel White's penetration into his territory.

With nothing protecting Black's c6-Pawn, it's free for White's Rc1 to capture, which happens immediately, following the fleeing move by Black's King.

Black now has acquired two Isolated Pawns (c6 & e5), which White can target and attack -- the c6-Pawn is already on White's radar!

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 151 - Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit (2 of 2), After 20.Rxc6
(RESULT) Half-open File, Queen Bishop File in Queen's Gambit
(2 of 2), After 20.Rxc6
After 20.Rxc6. The removal of Black's c6-Pawn not only creates another Passed Pawn, for White (b4); but they're sitting on adjacent files, meaning they can work together, becoming Protected Passed Pawns -- this actually happened (35.a2-a437.a4-a539.b4-b541.a5-a6).

In summary: like the other example (No. 150), White takes advantage of a Pin against Black's c-Pawn, as White attacks it with his Queen Rook, after it's been placed on the Half-open c-file.

Once again, the Rook Pin, on the Half-open c-file, acted as a kind of bridging strategy, to enable White to expand his army into enemy territory, gaining subsequent, countable advantages in the process:

After gaining the Half-open c-file, White's next objective was to develop a plan that would enable him to capture Black's Backward c6-Pawn.

This was achieved with a Combination involving White's Nc3 and the light-Bishop, which successfully removed the two outer Black Pawns (a6 & b5), creating White's Passed Pawn (a2), all before driving back Black's Queen, to enable White's Queen Rook (Rc1) to capture the target (Black's Backward c6-Pawn).

It's worth noting that, in order to kickstart that Combination, White committed to sacrificing the light-Bishop. As H&M-S pointed out, "Owing to the pin, White can now win all three queen-side pawns for a bishop. Materially, this is an even exchange, but White in addition penetrates with his pieces and holds the Black king in the center."


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PGN

[Event "St Petersburg"]
[Site "St Petersburg"]
[Date "1914"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "6"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[Black "Ossip Bernstein"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "91"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5 9. Bd3 a6 10. e4 e5 11. dxe5 Ng4 12. Bf4 Bc5 13. O-O Qc7 {PCC p.215 No.151} 14. Rc1 f6 15. Bg3 fxe5 16. b4 Ba7 17. Bxb5 axb5 18. Nxb5 Qd8 19. Nd6+ Kf8 20. Rxc6 Nb6 21. Bh4 Qd7 22. Nxc8 Qxc6 23. Qd8+ Qe8 24. Be7+ Kf7 25. Nd6+ Kg6 26. Nh4+ Kh5 27. Nxe8 Rxd8 28. Nxg7+ Kh6 29. Ngf5+ Kh5 30. h3 Nc8 31. hxg4+ Kxg4 32. Bxd8 Rxd8 33. g3 Rd2 34. Kg2 Re2 35. a4 Nb6 36. Ne3+ Kh5 37. a5 Nd7 38. Nhf5 Nf6 39. b5 Bd4 40. Kf3 Ra2 41. a6 Ba7 42. Rc1 Rb2 43. g4+ Kg5 44. Rc7 Rxf2+ 45. Kxf2 Nxg4+ 46. Kf3 1-0

End.

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