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Half-open File
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3)

Point Count Chess, NO. 156, p224
Example Sequence

This example sees White initially gain the Half-open e-file, but then he decides to swap it to gain the Half-open d-file, giving Black the Half-open e-file.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.224, No. 156, after 11.Nd4
  2. Result of the Queen File in the Ruy Lopez.
  3. Summary of the Queen File in the Ruy Lopez.
  4. PGN

Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.224, No. 156, after 11.Nd4

After: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Be7 10.Re1 O-O 11.Nd4

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Page 224
After: 11.Nd4

The creation of the Half-open files

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), After 5...Nxe4
Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), After 5...Nxe4
After 5...Nxe4, Black's King Knight captures White's e4-Pawn, to give White the Half-open e-file.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), After 6.d4 and 7...d5 8.dxe5
Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), After 6.d4 » 7...d5 8.dxe5
After 6.d4 » 7...d5 8.dxe5, White swaps the Half-open e-file, and creates for himself the Half-open d-file.

Black's e-Pawn was already at e5, after Black's very first move (1...e7-e5).

Following the creation of White's Half-open e-file, White marched his d-Pawn out to the front line (6.d2-d4) and then, when Black Blockaded with his d-Pawn (7...d7-d5), White captured Black's e-Pawn (8.d4xe5), to create his Half-open d-file, and giving Black the Half-open e-file.

This is a great move, as the move to e5 turns White's d-Pawn into an Advanced Pawn (e5), which is instantly protected by White's Knight (Nf3).


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The Result of Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3)...

After the creation of White's Half-open d-file, White continues to develop and expand his army, building up to his main objective: Pinning Black's d5-Pawn, to capture Black's e4-Outpost Knight ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), After 9.c3
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), After 9.c3
After 9.c3, White gives his light-Bishop an escape route (Bb3-c2).

White's c-Pawn (9.c2-c3) also becomes the support point for his Fourth Rank Outpost (d4), ready to be occupied by White's King Knight (Nf3-d4), once White has provided alternative support for his Advanced e5-Pawn (e.g. Bc1-f4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), After 10.Re1
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), After 10.Re1
After 10.Re1, White develops his King Rook to apply frontal pressure against Black's e4-Outpost Knight.

As soon as White can get rid of Black's Ne4, White will have the Re1 supporting his Advanced e5-Pawn.
Note: H&M-S's example, No.156, only goes as far as the 12th move. And even then, the example they offer requires what they suggest is a mistake, by Black (as seen, below).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), After 11.Nd4
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), After 11.Nd4
After 11.Nd4, White expands his King Knight, sending it to occupy the d4-Outpost.

So, why leave the e5-Pawn unguarded?

The answer appears to be the fragile support of Black's d5-Pawn, allied to the strength of White support for his d4-Outpost and the potential for a wicked Pin against Black's d5-Pawn ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), After 11...Qd7
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), After 11...Qd7
After 11...Qd7, according H&M-S, we get Black's mistake (11...Qd8-d7).

They suggest Black would be better off capturing White's d4-Outpost Knight (11...Nc6xd4).
At first, I thought this wasn't a very good example, as it ignored the possibility of Black capturing White's unguarded e5-Pawn.

However, the following analysis highlights that, even by capturing White's e5-Pawn, Black's e4-Outpost Knight would still be free for White's Re1, because of the d-file Pin.

So, if 11...Nc6xe5, then ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), If 11...Nc6xe5
Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), If 11...Nc6xe5
After 11...Nxe5 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Rxe4 , White's Pin would still be on (Qd1 against Black's d5-Pawn, covering its Qd8), and would still have lost his e4-Outpost Knight to White's Rd1.

In Black's favor, he would have gained 2-v-0 in Center Pawns; a Half-open f-file, with his Rf1 bearing down against part of White's Pawn Guard (f2) that's protecting White's Kingside Castled King.

A problem for Black, given the location of his King, might be White's Qualitative Pawn Majority, on the Kingside.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), After 12.Nxe6
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), After 12.Nxe6
After 12.Nxe6, White captures Black's dark-Bishop (12.Nd4xe6), and now has a clever Pin against Black's d5-Pawn.

White's Re1 can win Black's e4-Outpost Knight, from either of Black's plays to capture White's Ne6 ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), If 12...f7xe6
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), If 12...f7xe6
If 12...f7xe6, then 13.Re1xe4, and Black's d5-Pawn cannot capture as it would expose its Qd7 to White's Qd1, for a free capture.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 156 - Half-open File, Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3), If 12...Qd7xe6
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Queen File in the Ruy Lopez
(1 of 3), If 12...Qd7xe6
If 12...Qd7xe6, then 13.Re1xe4, and Black's d5-Pawn cannot capture as it would expose its Qe6 to White's Bb3, again, for a free capture.

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Summary of the Queen File in the Ruy Lopez (1 of 3)...

The following events took place after the Ruy Lopez opening sequence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5) ...

  1. First came the creation of the Half-open files. Black created White's Half-open e-file (5...Nf6xe4), but then White set about swapping it, for the Half-open d-file, which White created (6.d4 » 8.d4xe5). This also left White with an Advanced Pawn at e5.

  2. Then came a short period of Development and Expansion, which saw White create the support point for his d4-Outpost (9.c2-c3), develop his King Rook to attack Black's Ne4-Outpost (10.Rf1-e1), and then leave his e5-Pawn unguarded, to occupy his own d4-Outpost (11.Nf3-d4).

  3. White's result came by way of a clever Pin (revealed after 11...Qd8-d7 12.Nd4xe6), against Black's d5-Pawn, which would enable White's Re1 to safely capture Black's e4-Outpost Knight.

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PGN

[Event "PCC, p224 Diagram NO. 156"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Horowitz"]
[Black "Mott-Smith"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "23"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 Be7 10. Re1 O-O 11. Nd4 {PCC, p224 Diagram NO.156} Qd7 12. Nxe6 *

End.

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