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The Confined King (1 of 2)

Point Count Chess, NO.167, p239-240
Capablanca v. Tartakower, 1924

In this example, Black's King is kept confined on his back rank, by White's Rook on the 7th Rank. We see how this impacts on the remainder of Black's game, and how White improves his King's position, to take full advantage.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.239, No.167, after 34...gxf5
  2. Result of the Confined King (1 of 2).
  3. Summary of the Confined King (1 of 2).
  4. PGN

The Confined King (1 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.239, No.167, after 34...gxf5

After: 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.c4 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 O-O 6.e3 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.O-O Qe8 9.Qe2 Ne4 10.Bxe7 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Qxe7 12.a4 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nc6 14.Rfb1 Rae8 15.Qh3 Rf6 16.f4 Na5 17.Qf3 d6 18.Re1 Qd7 19.e4 fxe4 20.Qxe4 g6 21.g3 Kf8 22.Kg2 Rf7 23.h4 d5 24.cxd5 exd5 25.Qxe8+ Qxe8 26.Rxe8+ Kxe8 27.h5 Rf6 28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Rh1 Kf8 30.Rh7 Rc6 31.g4 Nc4 32.g5 Ne3+ 33.Kf3 Nf5 34.Bxf5 gxf5

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Page 239
After: 34...gxf5

1. How Black's King becomes Confined (on his Back Rank)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5
After 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5, Black rolls out a Chain, down to f5 (1...e7-e6 » 2...f7-f5), to try an get his King Knight to occupy the e4-Outpost that his f5-Pawn supports.

White goes on to exploit the diagonal routes (h4-e7; h5-e8) into Black's Kingside quadrant, to attack Black's King. It could be that, this early on, Black has already made a key mistake.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 3...Nf6 to 5...O-O
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 3...Nf6 to 5...O-O
After 3...Nf6 to 5...O-O, White has brought out his dark-Bishop (4.Bc1-g5) to Pin Black's Nf6.

Black develops his dark-Bishop (4...Bf8-e7), to provide cover for his Queen, against the threat from White's Bg5. This gives Black the option of exchanging dark-Bishops, by relocating his Nf6 onto the e5-Outpost (which, incidentally, is precisely what happened in this game).

Despite having slightly weakened his own Kingside, with the earlier advance of his f-Pawn, Black still chooses to Castle his King this side (5...O-O). This may be another oversight that contributes to the Black King's confinement, which White exploits en route to victory.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 6.e3 to 9.Qe2
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 6.e3 to 9.Qe2
After 6.e3 to 9.Qe2, further development prepares White's invasion through the e-file, during which White will Simplify matters by exchanging his Queen and King Rook, for Black's own Queen and King Rook.

But, that will come after White's e3-Pawn (6.e2-e3) is sacrificed to take-out Black's f5-Pawn (19.e3-e4 f5xe4), and after White has forced Black to exchange Pawns on d5 (23...d6-d5 24.c4xd5), which causes the e-file to become fully Open (24...e6xd5), leaving White's Queen and King Rook in Battery formation, ready for their self-sacrificing invasion.

The units highlighted in RED, (above), will all be cleared from the board, when the e-file becomes Open, and in the exchanges that follow.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 9...Ne4 to 11...Qxe7
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 9...Ne4 to 11...Qxe7
After 9...Ne4 to 11...Qxe7, Black allows the exchange of his dark-Bishop, to exchange his King Knight for White's Queen Knight. However, this surely plays into White's favor, as both of these Black Minor Pieces that are lost, could have played their part in defending their King, which becomes exposed, then confined.

Black relocates his Knight onto the e5-Outpost (9...Nf6-e4), allowing White to exchange dark-Bishops (10.Bg5xe7).

Black's Ne4 moves on swiftly again, to capture White's Nc3 (10...Ne4xc3).

While the Knight exchange gives White two weak Pawn structures (Isolated a-Pawn and Doubled c-Pawns), neither prove a problem for White, and the Doubled Pawns even help to enhance White's strength in the Center, which enables White to retain a connected Pawn presence on the c- & d-files, when White's c4-Pawn exchanges onto d5, to help force the e-file to become Open.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 12...Bxf3 13.Qxf3 and 16.f4
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 12...Bxf3 13.Qxf3 » 16.f4
After 12...Bxf3 13.Qxf3 » 16.f4, White accepts the exchange of his Nf3, for Black's light-Bishop (12...Bb7xf3 13.Qe2xf3). This also clears the path for White's f-Pawn to advance (16.f2-f4) and fix Black's f-Pawn on f5, which in turn is what enables White to exchange Black's f-Pawn off the board.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 17.Qf3 and 19.e4 fxe4 20.Qxe4
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 17.Qf3 » 19.e4 fxe4 20.Qxe4
After 17.Qf3 » 19.e4 fxe4 20.Qxe4, White forces Black to exchange his f-Pawn off the board. This contributes to the weakening of the defence surrounding Black's King, which will enable White to break through with a Rook, to keep Black's King confined on its back rank.

White brings his Queen back to f3 (17.Qh3-f3), to complete the exchange of Pawns on e4, which was initiated by White's e-Pawn (19.e3-e4 f5xe4).

White's Queen forms a Battery with the Re1, after completing the Pawn exchange (20.Qf3xe4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 21.g3 to 23.h4
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 21.g3 to 23.h4
After 21.g3 to 23.h4, White begins the march of his King, helping him claim the advantage of having a Better King Position.

It's as he brings forward his other Kingside Pawns (21.g2-g3 & 23.h2-h4), that White begins to advance his King (22.Kg1-g2). Contrast this to Black's King, which is still on its own back rank, and with a Compromised King-side (through the f-file).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 23...d5 to 24...exd5
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 23...d5 to 24...exd5
After 23...d5 to 24...exd5, Black carries out the forced exchange of Pawns on d5, which leads to the e-file becoming Open, which in turn enables White to exchange Queens and one set of Rook, to Simplify the position, prior to further ripping apart Black's Kingside.

White had threatened to bring his d4-Pawn forward, to form an Advanced Chain at d5, and it seems this was the catalyst that forced Black into the exchange (23...d6-d5 24.c4xd5 e6xd5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 25.Qxe8+ to 26...Kxd8
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 25.Qxe8+ to 26...Kxd8
After 25.Qxe8+ to 26...Kxd8, White has exploited the Open e-file, which contained his Queen-Rook Battery, to exchange Black's Queen and a Rook off the board, to Simplify the position.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 27.h5 and 28.hxg6 hxg6
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 27.h5 » 28.hxg6 hxg6
After 27.h5 » 28.hxg6 hxg6, White Opens the h-file, for his remaining Rook to invade Black's Kingside position, where it will keep Black's King confined to his back rank.

Having had the Kingside Pawn Majority (3-v-2), White is swift to force the exchange of h-Pawns (27.h4-h5 » 28.h5xg6), to cause the h-file to become Open, as Black's h-Pawn completes the trade (28...g7xg6).
Note: Black was unable to avoid the exchange, or capture White's h-Pawn), as either play would have given White an instant Passed Pawn. For example, if it captured White's h5-Pawn (27...g6xh5), White's f-Pawn would become a Passed Pawn. As things stand, White still has a bit of work to do, to force through a Passed Pawn (which he does, anyway).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 29.Rh1 » 30.Rh7
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 29.Rh1 » 30.Rh7
After 29.Rh1 » 30.Rh7, White's Queen Rook is brought up to the 7th Rank, on the Open h-file, to Confine Black's King to his back rank.

In successive moves, White invades Black's camp, quickly getting his Rook to the Open h-file (29.Ra1-h1), before raising it to the 7th Rank (30.Rh1-h7). Black's King is too slow to get close enough to force White's Rook away from its 7th Rank position. That just leaves his other two Pieces to try and do something. But, White has that covered ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 31.g4 to 33.Kf3
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 31.g4 to 33.Kf3
After 31.g4 to 33.Kf3, White prepares to generate a Passed Pawn, improving his King's position in the process.

White pushes his g-Pawn into an Advanced Position (31.g3-g4 » 32.g4-g5), forming an Advanced Chain with the f4-Pawn.

As Black brings his Knight across (31...Na5-c4 » 32...Nc4-e3+) in an attempt to deal with White's advancing Kingside Pawns, White is able to push his King further up the board and evade the Black Knight, in a single step (33.Kg2-f3).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2), After 33...Nf5 34.Bxf5 gxf5
Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 33...Nf5 34.Bxf5 gxf5
After 33...Nf5 34.Bxf5 gxf5, Black's King becomes totally Confined to his back rank, as White's g-Pawn becomes a Protected Passed Pawn.

Black makes the first move to bring about the exchange (33...Ne3-f5 34.Bd3xf5). Black's Isolated g-Pawn then completes the trade (34...g6xf5), which creates White's Passed g-Pawn.

Black's King is totally confined to its back rank, trapped there by White's Rh7, as neither said King nor Black's Rook, can evict White's Rook on the 7th Rank.

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The Result of the Confined King (1 of 2)...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2)), After 34...gxf5
(RESULT) Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 34...gxf5
After 34...gxf5, Black's g-Pawn (34...g6xf5) completes an exchange of Minor Pieces, but that turns White's g-Pawn into a Passed Pawn.

White now sets about the task of using his Better Positioned King, to escort his Passed Pawn closer to its Promotion square (g8), while White's Rh7 keeps Black's King confined to its back rank.

It's left to Black's Rook, to try do something ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2)), After 35.Kg3 to 38.Kg5
(RESULT) Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 35.Kg3 to 38.Kg5
After 35.Kg3 to 38.Kg5, White's King (35.Kf3-g3 » 36.Kg3-h4 » 38.Kh4-g5) escorts the Passed g-Pawn (37.g5-g6) closer towards its Promotion square. Meanwhile, Black's Rook (35...Rc6xc3+ » 36...Rc3-f3) makes the journey from Queenside, to Kingside, and has just freed Black's f5-Pawn (37...Rf3xf4+), which is now also a Passed Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 167 - Better King Position, The Confined King (1 of 2)), After 52.d6
(RESULT) Better King Position,
The Confined King (1 of 2),
After 52.d6
After 52.d6, Black resigns, with his King still confined to his back rank by White's Rook, and also by the need to blockade White's g7-Pawn, else it will gain Promotion.

Meanwhile White's Better Positioned King is now escorting the d-Pawn (52.d5-d6), which is his second Passed Pawn, toward its Promotion square (d8).

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Summary of the Confined King (1 of 2)...

  1. Black contributes to his own King's Confinement on the back rank, first by voluntarily weakening the Pawn structure where he intends to Castle (Kingside), but more so by allowing the exchange of Pieces (dark-Bishop, after 9...Nf6-e4 10.Bg5xe7; King Knight, after 10...Ne4xc3 11.b2xc3; and light-Bishop, after 12...Bb7xf3 13.Qe2xf3) that could otherwise have helped to defend the King.

  2. White takes-out two of Black's heavy Pieces (Queen and King Rook), further removing support for Black's King. In the process, White's e-Pawn takes-out Black's f-Pawn (19.e3-e4 f5xe4 20.Qf3xe4), and provokes/forces an exchange of Pawns on d5 (23...d6-d5 24.c4xd5 e5xd5) to Open the e-file, on which White had positioned his Queen (Qe4) and Rook (Re1) in Battery formation, prior to their sacrificial attack to remove Black's Queen and Rook (25.Qe4xe8+ Qd7xe8 26.Re1xe8+ Kf8xe8).

  3. White's Queen Rook is used to Confine Black's King on his back rank. First, White forces an exchange of h-Pawns (27.h4-h5 » 28.h5xg6 h7xg6), to Open the h-file, and then brings his Queen Rook across to the h-file (29.Ra1-h1) and up to the 7th Rank (30.Rh1-h7), to prevent Black's King from leaving its back rank.

  4. White gains a Passed Pawn, with the exchange of the final pair of adverse Minor Pieces (33...Ne3-f5 34.Bd3xf5). As Black's g-Pawn completes the trade (34...g6xf5), White's g5-Pawn becomes a Protected Passed Pawn, supported by the f4-Pawn.

  5. White's Better Positioned King is able to cause Black's resignation, as it's brought further up the board (35.Kf3-g3 » 36.Kg3-h4 » 38.Kh4-g5), to escort White's surviving Pawns (two Passed Pawns) closer toward Promotion. Black's King is still confined to his back rank, by White's Rook on the 7th Rank, at the point when Black resigns.

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PGN

[Event "New York"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1924"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[Black "Savielly Tartakower"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A80"]
[PlyCount "103"]

1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. c4 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. e3 b6 7. Bd3 Bb7 8. O-O Qe8 9. Qe2 Ne4 10. Bxe7 Nxc3 11. bxc3 Qxe7 12. a4 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nc6 14. Rfb1 Rae8 15. Qh3 Rf6 16. f4 Na5 17. Qf3 d6 18. Re1 Qd7 19. e4 fxe4 20. Qxe4 g6 21. g3 Kf8 22. Kg2 Rf7 23. h4 d5 24. cxd5 exd5 25. Qxe8+ Qxe8 26. Rxe8+ Kxe8 27. h5 Rf6 28. hxg6 hxg6 29. Rh1 Kf8 30. Rh7 Rc6 31. g4 Nc4 32. g5 Ne3+ 33. Kf3 Nf5 34. Bxf5 gxf5 {PCC p.239 No.167} 35. Kg3 Rxc3+ 36. Kh4 Rf3 37. g6 Rxf4+ 38. Kg5 Re4 39. Kf6 Kg8 40. Rg7+ Kh8 41. Rxc7 Re8 42. Kxf5 Re4 43. Kf6 Rf4+ 44. Ke5 Rg4 45. g7+ Kg8 46. Rxa7 Rg1 47. Kxd5 Rc1 48. Kd6 Rc2 49. d5 Rc1 50. Rc7 Ra1 51. Kc6 Rxa4 52. d6 1-0

End.

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