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Half-open File
Half-Open King Rook File

Point Count Chess, NO. 159A to NO. 159B, p226-227
Bergsma v. Fischer, 1955

Prior to the creation of White's Half-open h-file, the featured starting position, of No.159A, is reached via the Ruy Lopez (Opening).

While similar, to both No.156 (after 7.Bb3) and No.157 (after 7.Bb3), it's not quite identical. The major difference surrounds the structure of his Center Pawns, plus the advance of his h-Pawn. (See the Comparison).

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the two positions featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.226, No. 159A, before 1...Nb6
  2. PCC, p.227, No. 159B, after 5.hxg4
  3. Result of White's Half-Open King Rook File.
  4. Summary of White's Half-Open King Rook File.
  5. PGN
Additional analysis includes the:

Half-Open King Rook File
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.226, No. 159A, before 1...Nb6

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159A - Page 226
Before: 1...Nb6

The build-up to White's Half-open h-file

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159A - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 2.Ne3
Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 2.Ne3
After 2.Ne3, White readies the Knight (2.Nf1-e3) that will be sacrificed, in an exchange with Black's light-Bishop (on g4), which will conclude with White gaining the Half-open h-file (his h-Pawn completing said exchange).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159A - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 4.Ng4 Bxg4
Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 4.Ng4 Bxg4
After 4.Ng4 Bxg4 , there's a Minor Piece exchange, between White's Ng4 (4.Ne3-g4) and Black's light-Bishop (4...Bc8xg4).

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Position #2, My Analysis
PCC, p.227, No. 159B, after 5.hxg4

After: 1...Nb6 2.Ne3 Na5 3.Bc2 Bc8 4.Ng4 Bxg4 5.hxg4

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159B - Page 227
After: 5.hxg4

The creation of the White's Half-open h-file

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159B - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 5.hxg4
Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 5.hxg4
After 5.hxg4, White's h3-Pawn completes the Bishop & Knight trade, to gain the Half-open h-file.

H&M-S point out that, while White takes on Doubled Pawns (g2,g4), it "is actually advantageous, since it provides an extra battering-ram on the king knight file (g-file)."

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The Result of White's Half-Open King Rook File...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159 - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 6.g3
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 6.g3
After 6.g3, White compacts his Doubled Pawns, by shifting the rearward g-Pawn up behind the vanguard (6...g2-g3).

White's intention is to march his Doubled Pawn formation up the board, to weaken Black's Kingside Pawn structure.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159 - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 8.d5
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 8.d5
After 8.d5, White locks down the Center, creating his Advanced d-Pawn (8.d4-d5), in an Advanced Chain structure (e4,d5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159 - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 8...Bg5
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 8...Bg5
After 8...Bg5, Black attempts to blockade the advance of White's Doubled Pawn battering ram, with his dark-Bishop (8...Bf6-g5).

However, White still has his f-Pawn to force Black's dark-Bishop to leave g5.

Before that, White prepares the ground work ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159 - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 9.Rh1
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 9.Rh1
After 9.Rh1, White places his King Rook onto the Half-open h-file.

Ultimately, once White manages to fully Open the h-file, he'll have his Rook in Control of a Useful Open File.

Meanwhile, the Rook provides the necessary support for his next move ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 159 - Half-open File, Half-Open King Rook File, After 10.Nh4
(RESULT) Half-open File,
Half-Open King Rook File,
After 10.Nh4
After 10.Nh4, White's King Knight takes advantage of the support from both the g3-Pawn and Rh1, to sit in the firing line of Black's Bg5 (10.Nf3-h4).

White will be able to force Black to exchange Bishop for Knight (...Bg5xh4), to un-Double his Pawns (g3xh4), with the advance of his f-Pawn (11.f2-f4).

Because of the arrangement of Black's Kingside Pawns, Black's Bg5 cannot retreat.

And Black won't take White's f-Pawn, with his e-Pawn (...e5xf4), because that would leave White with a 2-v-1 Center Pawn advantage. This is how White is able to force Black to trade his dark-Bishop, for White's Nh4.

The next step will be to blast Open the h-file, for the benefit of his Rh1. White will Control of a Useful Open File, for a game-winning advantage. That's the ultimate result, from having initially gained the Half-open f-file.


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Summary of White's Half-Open King Rook File...

  1. The Ruy Lopez opening featured in the build-up to White's Half-open h-file (before 1...Nd7-b6).

  2. White gained his Half-open h-file, following an exchange of Minor Pieces -- Black's light-Bishop for one White Knight (4.Ne3-g4 Bc8xg4). It was White's h-Pawn, completing that exchange (5.h3xg4), which created White's Half-open h-file.

  3. White gained useful Doubled Pawns (g2,g4), during the creation of his Half-open h-file, which he'd intend to use as a "battering ram," to weaken Black's Pawn Guard, surrounding their Castled King.

  4. White compacted his Doubled Pawns, by advancing the rearguard g-Pawn (6.g2-g3).

  5. White locked the Center Pawns (8.d4-d5), creating an Advanced Chain, in the process. The Advanced d-Pawn is a key variation over the Advanced e-Pawns acquired in No.156 & No.157, respectively.

  6. White Controls the Half-open h-file, with his King Rook (9.Rd1-h1), and also prepares for an exchange of Nf3 (10.Nf3-h4) for Black's Bg5.

  7. White intends to force a second exchange of Minor Pieces, to remove Black's Bishop Blockade, from the path of White's Doubled Pawn battering ram. This will be achieved because Black had closed off all escape routes with Pawns (...f7-f5 & ...h7-h5). White's f-Pawn will advance to f4, to force Black into the exchange.

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Comparison between No.156, No.157 & No.159A...

While similar, to both No.156 (after 7.Bb3) and No.157 (after 7.Bb3), it's not quite identical. The major difference surrounds the structure of his Center Pawns, plus the advance of his h-Pawn.

Comparison #1, Similarities
(No.156, No.157 & No.159A)

Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison #1 -- Diagram No.156 and No.157
Comparison #1, Similarities
No.156 & No.157, After 7.Bb3
Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison #1 -- No.156, No.157 and No.159A - Diagram 159A - Before 1...Nb6
Comparison #1, Similarities
No.159A, Before 1...Nb6

The first comparison, above, shows the similarities -- the units in identical positions (yellow squares).

Comparison #2, Similarity
(No.156 & No.159A)

Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison #2 -- Diagram No.156 and No.157
Comparison #2, Similarity
No.156, After 9.c3
Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison #2 -- No.156, No.157 and No.159A - Diagram 159A - Before 1...Nb6
Comparison #2, Similarity
No.159A, Before 1...Nb6

Like No.156 (9.c2-c3), White's c-Pawn goes to c3, giving White's light-Bishop an escape route (Bb3-c2), if needed.

Comparison #3, Differences

Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison #3 -- Diagram No.156 and No.157
Comparison #3,
No.156 & No.157, After 8.exd5
Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison #3 -- No.156, No.157 and No.159A - Diagram 159A - After 8.d5
Comparison #3,
No.159A, After 8.d5

However, the major difference surrounds the structure of his Center Pawns, plus the advance of his h-Pawn.

In both No.156 (after 8.e4xd5) & No.157 (after 8.e4xd5), White gains an Advanced Pawn on the e-file.

In No.159A (after 8.d4-d5), White gains his Advanced Pawn on the d-file.

As for his h-Pawn, its advance (h2-h3) heralds its involvement in White gaining his Half-open h-file.


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PGN

[Event "PCC, p226-227 Diagram NO. 159A to NO. 159B"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1955.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bergsma"]
[Black "Fischer"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r2q1rk1/1bpn1ppp/p1np1b2/1p2p3/3PP3/1BP2N1P/PP3PP1/R1BQRNK1 b - - 0 0"]
[PlyCount "18"]

{PCC, p226 Diagram NO.159A} 1... Nb6 2. Ne3 Na5 3. Bc2 Bc8 4. Ng4 Bxg4 5. hxg4 {PCC, p227 Diagram NO.159B} h6 6. g3 Nd7 7. Kg2 c5 8. d5 Bg5 9. Rh1 f6 10. Nh4 *

End.

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