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Half-open File
The Minority Attack (2 of 2)

Point Count Chess, NO. 153, p218
Bogoljubov v. Capablanca, 1924

H&M-S say: "An instance in which Black obtained the minority attack is No. 153."

In this case (and in contrast to No. 152), it's not the Pawns that carry out the Minority Attack, since by the time they're mobilized to attack White's Pawns, (27...b7-b5), there no longer is any Minority/Majority situation.

Black's Minority Attack is actually spearheaded by his Queen, which takes advantage of Holes in White's position, that develop when White's b-Pawn creeps forward onto b3.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.218, No. 153, after 13...Bxc6
  2. Result of Black's Minority Attack.
  3. Summary of Black's Minority Attack.
  4. PGN
Additional analysis includes the:

The Minority Attack (2 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.218, No. 153, after 13...Bxc6

After: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 Nc6 6.O-O Bd6 7.Bb2 O-O 8.Nbd2 Qe7 9.Ne5 cxd4 10.exd4 Ba3 11.Bxa3 Qxa3 12.Ndf3 Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Page 218
After: 13...Bxc6
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 5.b3
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 5.b3
After 5.b3, White has created Holes on the Queenside (a3 & c3).

This is significant, as Black occupies the a3-Hole, with his Queen, soon after he's gained both the Half-open c-file, and the Queenside Pawn Minority.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 8...Qe7
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 8...Qe7
After 8...Qe7, Black forms a Queen-Bishop Battery, along the f8-a3 diagonal.

This is significant, as the Queen is in position to complete the trade of dark-Bishops, which results in Black's Queen gaining occupation of White's a3-Hole.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 9...cxd4
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 9...cxd4
After 9...cxd4, the c-file is Half-open, for Black's benefit.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 10.exd4
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 10.exd4
After 10.exd4, Black has a Queenside Pawn Minority, to create the Minority Attack.

Incidentally, that gives White a Pawn Minority, but over on the Kingside. However, we'll continue to focus on the Queenside Minority, as that contains the example Minority Attack.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 10...Ba3 11.Bxa3 Qxa3
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 10...Ba3 11.Bxa3 Qxa3
After 10...Ba3 11.Bxa3 Qxa3, Black has struck immediately, to Simplify the position, by trading dark-Bishops. This will help Black build for his Minority Attack.

Note: Black's Queen has gained occupation of White's Hole (a3).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 13...Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 13...Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6
After 13...Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6. More Simplification. This time, there's a trade of Knights, at c6.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 14...Rac8
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 14...Rac8
After 14...Rac8, Black has posted his Queen Rook to the base of his Half-open c-file, rather than behind the b-Pawn ...

This is different to what happened in No. 152 (see the comparison, below).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 15...a6 16.Ne5 Bb5
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 15...a6 16.Ne5 Bb5
After 15...a6 16.Ne5 Bb5, the advance of Black's a-Pawn appears not to be as part of the Minority Attack, but to support the light-Bishop (16...Bc6-b5), as it winds-up to trade White's light-Bishop off the board.

In actual fact, Black's a-Pawn advance plays an integral part in the Minority Attack, enabling Black's Queen to evade capture, after having captured the primary target (White's b-Pawn).
See the Result, below, for the outcome.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 17...Bxd3 18.Nxd3
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 17...Bxd3 18.Nxd3
After 17...Bxd3 18.Nxd3, More Simplification, as the light-Bishops are traded off the board.

This is critical, for Black's successful Minority Attack ...


The reason is White's b3-Pawn is the target -- or, it will be, just as soon as Black coaxes White's a2-Pawn to advance to a4.

Keep watching; it's smart the way Black engineers this! ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 18...Rc7 and 19...Rfc8
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 18...Rc7 » 19...Rfc8
After 18...Rc7 » 19...Rfc8, Black has created his Rook Battery, along his Half-open c-file, which bear down on White's Backward c3-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 20...Ne8 and 21...Nd6
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 20...Ne8 » 21...Nd6
After 20...Ne8 » 21...Nd6, Black begins to bring his Knight across to occupy the d6-square ...

From d6, it will co-support the advance of the lead Rook, to c4-Outpost (albeit after Black's Queen has taken-out White's soon-to-be-Backward b3-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 22...Qa5 23.a4
Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 22...Qa5 23.a4
After 22...Qa5 23.a4, Black engineers the creation of White's Backward b3-Pawn, as he cunningly pulls his Queen back to a5, enticing White to lock-down the a4-square, with a Pawn Chain (b3,a4).

However, that removes the defender from White's b3-Pawn. Black's Queen can now attack it!

Capturing the Pawn will be the result, or the desired outcome, of Black's Minority Attack.

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

The Result of Black's Minority Attack...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 23...Qb6
(RESULT) Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 23...Qb6
After 23...Qb6, Black's Queen now takes up her position to attack White's Backward b3-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 24.Nd3 Qxb3
(RESULT) Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 24.Nd3 Qxb3
After 24.Nd3 Qxb3, despite White's attempt to bring in reinforcements (24.Ne5-d3), his b3-Pawn is lost, as Black's Queen immediately captures it (24...Qb6xb3), not even needing support before going in.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 153 - Half-open File, The Minority Attack (2 of 2), After 25...Qb6 26.Rb2 Qa7
(RESULT) Half-open File,
The Minority Attack (2 of 2),
After 25...Qb6 26.Rb2 Qa7
After 25...Qb6 26.Rb2 Qa7 ...

IMPORTANT: I've just seen the real purpose behind Black's earlier a-Pawn advance (15...a7-a6) ...

I'd thought it was just to support Black's light-Bishop, prior to the Bishop exchange (17...Bb5xd3 18.Ne5xd3). However ...

By vacating the a7-square, Black's a-Pawn's also creates an ESCAPE ROUTE for Black's Queen, in the Minority Attack ...

After Black's Queen captures White's Backward b3-Pawn, she retreats back up to b6, and, under frontal attack from White's Rook (26.Rc2-b2), then nips through the gap to a7, and safety.


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Summary of Black's Minority Attack...

In summary, Black got his c-Pawn to its 4th Rank (c5), before White, who was still concentrating on developing his Kingside units.

Black noted the structural weakness on White's Queenside, following the advance of White's b-Pawn (5.b2-b3), which created the key a3-Hole. Black took action, by developing his dark-Bishop (6...Bf8-d6) and Queen (8...Qd8-e7) into a Queen-Bishop Battery in the direction of the a3-Hole, with the objective of a trade of dark-Bishops, followed by occupation of the a3-Hole, by his Queen.

With the dark-Bishop & Queen attack primed and ready, Black created his Half-open c-file, and also cleared the diagonal path to the a3-square, by capturing White's d4-Pawn (9...c5xd4).

The almost predictable capture by White's e3-Pawn (10.e3xd4) created Black's Queenside Minority, which would lead to his Minority Attack.

With the Queenside Minority created, Black launched into the dark-Bishop exchange (10...Bd6-a3 11.Bb2xa3), with his Queen completing the trade to occupy White's a3-Hole (11...Qe7xa3).

Trading Bishops began a process of Simplification, which aimed to clear enemy threats from the board, that would otherwise threaten to ruin the success of Black's intended Minority Attack.

More Simplification followed, as Black allowed an exchange of Knights, with his light-Bishop completing the trade (13.Ne5xc6 Bd7xc6).

Then came Black's decision to move his Queen Rook to the Half-open c-file, where it would form a Rook Battery, attacking White's Backward c-Pawn. In hindsight, that confirmed Black's Queen would be involved in the capture of White's b-Pawn.

An important Pawn advance (15...a7-a6) enabled more Simplification, as Black was able to trade light-Bishops soon after (16...Bc6-b5 » 17...Bb5xd3 18.Ne5xd3). However, Black's a-Pawn advance would also prove critical in completing a successful Minority Attack, as it cleared the a7-square, providing an escape route, for the safe return of Black's Queen, following her capture of White's b-Pawn.

Prior to the attack on White's b-Pawn, Black formed his Rooks into a Battery formation, on the Half-open c-file, and then cleverly engineered the creation of White's Backward b-Pawn, after his Queen retreated to a5 (22...Qa3-a5) and White advanced his a-Pawn up to a4 (23.a2-a4).

After the creation of White's Backward b-Pawn, Black's Queen attacked it (23...Qa5-b6) and then captured it (24...Qxb3), before retreating, under fire from White's Rook (26.Rc2-b2), back up to the safety of the free a7-square (26...Qb3-b6 » 27...Qb6-a7).

And that concluded a successful Minority Attack, by Black.


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Key Difference, regarding how Black Gains the
Half-open c-File and the Minority Attack...

The difference lies in the Pawn structure, (4th Rank; c- & d-files).

In No. 152 (below-left), White gets his c-Pawn up to his 4th Rank (c4), to attack Black's d-Pawn (d5).

Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference, White's 4th Rank c-Pawn -- Diagram 152
White's 4th Rank c-Pawn,
No.152, After 2.c4
Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference Black's 4th Rank c-Pawn -- Diagram 153
Black's 4th Rank c-Pawn,
No.153, After 4...c5

In No.153 (above-right), it's a total reversal of positions. After the d-Pawns are locked in the Center (d4,d5), Black brings his c-Pawn up to his 4th rank (c5), to attack White's d-Pawn (d4).

In No. 152 (after 6.cxd5, below-left), White's c-Pawn captures Black's d-Pawn (c4xd5), to gain himself the Half-open c-file.

Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference, White gains Half-open c-file -- Diagram 152
White gains Half-open c-file,
No.152, After 6.cxd5
Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference, Black gains Half-open c-file -- Diagram 153
Black gains Half-open c-file,
No.153, After 9...cxd4

In No.153 (after 9...cxd4, above-right), the situations are reversed, again. Black gains the Half-open c-file, when he captures White's d-Pawn, with his c-Pawn (...c5xd4).

It all depends on White's order of development ...

In No. 152 (after 2.c4, below-left), White is quick to get his c- & d-Pawns to the 4th rank, after 1.d4 d5, 2.c4.

Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference, White's 4th Rank c-Pawn -- Diagram 152
White's 4th Rank c-Pawn,
No.152, After 2.c4
Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference Black's 4th Rank c-Pawn -- Diagram 153
Black's 4th Rank c-Pawn,
No.153, After 4...c5

However, in No.153 (after 4...c7-c5, above-right), following the initial Queen Pawn Opening (1.d4 d5), White focuses on developing his Kingside units (2.Ng1-f3, 3.e2-e3, 4.Bf1-d3), which enables Black to be the first to get his c-Pawn out to its 4th rank square (4...c7-c5).

Following the capture of the enemy's d-Pawn, the side that has the Half-open c-file is more likely to gain the Pawn Minority, when the enemy completes the Pawn exchange, with his e-Pawn ...

In No. 152 (after 6...exd5, below-left), White gets the Half-open c-file, after 6.c4xd5, and the Pawn Minority follows immediately, after 6...e6xd5.

Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference, White gets the Pawn Minority -- Diagram 152
White gets the Pawn Minority,
No.152, After 6...exd5
Point Count Chess - IE - Key Difference, Black gets the Pawn Minority -- Diagram 153
Black gets the Pawn Minority,
No.153, After 10.exd4

In No.153 (after 10.exd4, above-right), Black gets the Half-open c-file, after 9...c5xd4, and the Pawn Minority follows immediately, after 10.e3xd4.

The side with the Pawn Minority, then focuses on building up to the Minority Attack.


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Comparison between No.152 & No.153, regarding
the choice of Queen Rook placement...

In No. 152 (after 21.Rab1, below-left), White's Queen Rook supported the b-Pawn, in the Minority Attack. It was his Queen and King Rook that form a Queen-Rook Battery, on the Half-open c-file, attacking the enemy's c-Pawn.

Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison, White's Queen Rook supports the b-Pawn, in the Minority Attack -- Diagram 152
White's Queen Rook supports the b-Pawn, in the Minority Attack
No.152, After 21.Rab1
Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison, Black's Queen Rook occupies the c-file, attacking White's c-Pawn -- Diagram 153
Black's Queen Rook occupies the c-file, attacking White's c-Pawn
No.153, After 14...Rac8

In No.153 (after 14...Rac8, above-right), Black's Queen Rook joins the King Rook to form the Battery, on the Half-open c-file (again, to attack the enemy's c-Pawn), while the Queen spearheads his Minority Attack.

Is it just down to personal preference, or is there a reason for the differing placement of the Queen Rooks?

I think it largely comes down to enemy Pawn Structure, prior to the point when the Queen Rook is ready to be developed ...

There are certainly differences in structure, surrounding the enemy c-Pawn, prior to the positional moves of the respective Queen Rooks:

In No. 152 (after 20...Ne6, below-left), Black's c-Pawn is sitting in the protective structure of a Pawn Chain (b7,c6).

White had to advance the b-Pawn, in order to force Black into creating the Pawn weakness (he chose the option that gave him Isolated Pawns).

White had already developed his Queen to c2 and it would have lost a Tempo to have to move it again, just to support the b-Pawn. Far more efficient was to develop the Queen Rook (its first developing move) to b1, so it could support the b-Pawn, in the Minority Attack.

Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison, Prior to the move of White's Queen Rook -- Diagram 152
Prior to the move of
White's Queen Rook
No.152, After 20...Ne6
Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison, Prior to the move of Black's Queen Rook -- Diagram 153
Prior to the move of
Black's Queen Rook
No.153, After 14.Qd2

In No.153 (after 14.Qd2, above-right), White had already created the a3-Hole (after 5.b2-b3), which enabled Black to trade dark-Bishops and complete that exchange with his Queen occupying the a3-Hole.

With the Queen already out and within striking range of White's b-Pawn, Black probably chose to spearhead the Minority Attack with his Queen, rather than waste precious Tempos bringing the Queen back to occupy the c-file (e.g. ...Qa3-a5-c7).

So, with the attack on the enemy b-Pawn decided, that left Black's Queen Rook with the role of forming the Battery with the King Rook, on the Half-open c-file, and attacking the weak enemy c-Pawn, which is Backward.

So, it would appear that it doesn't matter which function the Queen Rook performs (b-Pawn support for the Minority Attack, or c-file occupation for enemy c-Pawn attack).

What seems to matter more is that both Queen and Queen Rook go about their roles without wasting time (losing Tempos in development). The characteristics of the development will largely dictate which function they end up performing, with regards to carrying out the Minority Attack.


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PGN

[Event "New York "]
[Site "New York "]
[Date "1924"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "9"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Efim Bogoljubov"]
[Black "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[ECO "D05"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "64"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 Nc6 6.O-O Bd6 7.Bb2 O-O 8.Nbd2 Qe7 9.Ne5 cxd4 10.exd4 Ba3 11.Bxa3 Qxa3 12.Ndf3 Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 {PCC p.218 No.153} 14.Qd2 Rac8 15.c3 a6 16.Ne5 Bb5 17.f3 Bxd3 18.Nxd3 Rc7 19.Rac1 Rfc8 20.Rc2 Ne8 21.Rfc1 Nd6 22.Ne5 Qa5 23.a4 Qb6 24.Nd3 Qxb3 25.Nc5 Qb6 26.Rb2 Qa7 27.Qe1 b6 28.Nd3 Rc4 29.a5 bxa5 30.Nc5 Nb5 31.Re2 Nxd4 32.cxd4 R8xc5 0-1

End.

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