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Rooks On The 7th Rank
Brief Tenure of the Seventh

Point Count Chess, NO.170, p243
Morphy v. Seguin, 1858

This example focuses on an instance where the Rook is used tactically, for short-term gain, rather than strategically (long-term gain).

White gets his Queen Rook onto the d-file, shortly before it becomes Open, then elevates the Rook onto the 7th Rank, where it causes Black to waste time defending various units. This enables White to take advantage, bringing his troops to better positions, ready for a swift transition into the Endgame phase.

When it has served its purpose, White allows his Rook to be sacrificed, in an exchange that takes-out one of Black's Rooks.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.243, No.170, after 18...dxc5
  2. Result of the Brief Tenure of the Seventh.
  3. Summary of the Brief Tenure of the Seventh.
  4. PGN

Brief Tenure of the Seventh
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.243, No.170, after 18...dxc5

After: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.f4 c5 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.O-O Bg4 10.Be3 a6 11.a4 h6 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nb4 14.Rad1 Qc7 15.b3 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Rfe8 17.d4 Qc6 18.dxc5 dxc5

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Page 243
After: 18...dxc5

1. The Open d-file is created

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, The Open d-file is created, After 18...dxc5
Brief Tenure of the Seventh,
The Open d-file is created,
After 18...dxc5
After 18...dxc5, the d-file becomes fully Open; White's Queen Rook is already in position, occupying the base of the file, having moved there earlier (14.Ra1-d1).

2. Making the 7th Rank square Safe for Invasion

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, Making the 7th Rank square Safe for Invasion, After 19.e5 Qxf3 20.Rxf3 Nh7
Brief Tenure of the Seventh,
Making the 7th Rank square
safe for Invasion,
After 19.e5 Qxf3 20.Rxf3 Nh7
After 19.e5 Qxf3 20.Rxf3 Nh7, White plays to ensure his Rook can safey invade Black's camp, on the 7th Rank (d7).

First, White provokes an exchange of Queens, with the advance of his e-Pawn (19.e4-e5 Qc6xf3 20.Rxf3).

Then, White's Advanced e5-Pawn, having played its part in the Queen exchange, forces Black's Nf6 away from guarding the d7-square (20...Nf6-g7) -- there's no point in Black moving it to d7, as White's Rd1 would capture it, for free.

3. White gets his Rook onto the 7th Rank

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, White gets the Rook on the 7th Rank, After 21.Rd7
Brief Tenure of the Seventh,
White gets his Rook onto the
7th Rank, After 21.Rd7
After 21.Rd7, White's Queen Rook is clear to invade Black's camp, landing on the 7th Rank square, on the Open d-file (21.Rd1-d7).

4. The White Rook's Brief Tenure of the Seventh Rank

H&M-S say "even the brief tenure of a rook on the seventh may have a powerful effect." But that it's worthwhile, when it "imposes the time-wasting maneuvers on the opponent to oust it."

Meanwhile, the side with the Rook on the 7th Rank, is able to spend his turns more effectively, regrouping them into more useful positions.

This is precisely what happens in this game ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, The White Rook's Brief Tenure of the Seventh Rank,<br /> After, After 21...Rab8 22.Nd5
Brief Tenure of the Seventh,
The White Rook's Brief Tenure
of the Seventh Rank,
After 21...Rab8 22.Nd5
After 21...Rab8 22.Nd5, Black is forced to waste time defending the b7-Pawn (21...Ra8-b8).

White, meanwhile, is able to move his Knight up to a more advantageous position (22.Nc3-d5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, The White Rook's Brief Tenure of the Seventh Rank,<br /> After, After 21...Bf8 23.Bf2
Brief Tenure of the Seventh,
The White Rook's Brief Tenure
of the Seventh Rank,
After 21...Bf8 23.Bf2
After 21...Bf8 23.Bf2, Black is forced to waste time defending his dark-Bishop (22...Be7-f8).

White, meanwhile, is able to bring his dark-Bishop to the clear e1-h4 diagonal (23.Be3-f2), giving it greater mobility options.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, The White Rook's Brief Tenure of the Seventh Rank,<br /> After, After 23...Red8 24.Nb6 Rxd7 25.Nxd7
Brief Tenure of the Seventh,
The White Rook's Brief Tenure
of the Seventh Rank,
After 23...Red8 24.Nb6 Rxd7 25.Nxd7
After 23...Red8 24.Nb6 Rxd7 25.Nxd7, the White Rook's "brief tenure of the seventh rank," has come to an end, with White allowing it to be sacrificed, in exchange for a Black Rook.

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The Result of the Brief Tenure of the Seventh...

White's Rook on the 7th Rank bought time for White to get his troops into useful positions, to complete the process of Simplification, which accelerates the transition into the Endgame phase, where White's Kingside Pawn Majority proves enough of a game-winning advantage.

This is how it happened ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 25.Nxd7
(RESULT) Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 25.Nxd7
After 25.Nxd7, White's Knight completes the Rook exchange.

White now begins to focus on removing Black's Queenside Pawn Majority, concentrating on Black's c5-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 25...Rc8 26.Rc3 Rc7
(RESULT) Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 25...Rc8 26.Rc3 Rc7
After 25...Rc8 26.Rc3 Rc7, Black defends the c5-Pawn, with his remaining Rook (25...Rb8-c8); White applies pressure with his remaining Rook (26.Rf3-c3); and Black then sees how White enjoys having his Knight attacked (26...Rc8-c7), while continuing to defend the c5-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 27.Nxf8 Nxf8
(RESULT) Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 27.Nxf8 Nxf8
After 27.Nxf8 Nxf8, White opts for an exchange of Minor Pieces, choosing to lose his Knight, in order to take-out Black's dark-Bishop (27.Nd7xf8 Nh7xf8).

White fared better from that exchange, as he got to remove a key defender of Black's vulnerable c5-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 170 - Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 28.Rxc5 Rxc5 29.Bxc5
(RESULT) Brief Tenure of the Seventh, After 28.Rxc5 Rxc5 29.Bxc5
After 28.Rxc5 Rxc5 29.Bxc5, White exchanges Rooks, to claim Black's c5-Pawn, which removes Black's Queenside Pawn Majority.

White's Bishop completes the trade (29.Bf2xc5), and White is now able to focus on his Kingside Pawn Majority, having now transitioned successfully into the Endgame phase, with this game-winning advantage.

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Summary of the Brief Tenure of the Seventh...

  1. White played his part in creating the Open d-file (18...dxc5), making sure to get a Rook posted at its base (14.Ra1-d1), from where it would be elevated to the 7th Rank.

  2. White ensured his Rook would be safe to invade Black's camp, onto the 7th Rank, attacking (19.e4-e5) and trading material (19...Qc6xf3 20.Rxf3 Nf6-g7) as necessary.

  3. White gets his Rook onto the 7th Rank (21.Rd1-d7), knowing its stay will be brief, but that it will cause Black to waste time. White is able to use that same time to get his army into better positions, ready to make their impact once his Rook on the 7th had served its purpose and was no longer required -- White let his Rook be exchanged for Black's King Rook (23...Red8 24.Nb6 Rxd7 25.Nxd7).

  4. White Simplifies the position (25.Nb6xd7 to 29.Bf2xc5), trading swiftly into the Endgame phase, knowing full well that his Kingside Pawn Majority & Bishop vs. Knight, were enough to win the game.

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PGN

[Event "Paris"]
[Site "Paris"]
[Date "1858"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Paul Morphy"]
[Black "C A Seguin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C41"]
[PlyCount "93"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Be7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. f4 c5 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 a6 11. a4 h6 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nb4 14. Rad1 Qc7 15. b3 Nxd3 16. cxd3 Rfe8 17. d4 Qc6 18. dxc5 dxc5 {PCC p.243 No.170} 19. e5 Qxf3 20. Rxf3 Nh7 21. Rd7 Rab8 22. Nd5 Bf8 23. Bf2 Red8 24. Nb6 Rxd7 25. Nxd7 Rc8 26. Rc3 Rc7 27. Nxf8 Nxf8 28. Rxc5 Rxc5 29. Bxc5 Ne6 30. Be3 g6 31. g4 Nd8 32. Kf2 Nc6 33. Ke2 b5 34. axb5 axb5 35. Kd3 Kf8 36. Bc5+ Ke8 37. Ke4 Kd7 38. Kd5 Nd8 39. f5 gxf5 40. gxf5 h5 41. Bb6 Nb7 42. e6+ fxe6+ 43. fxe6+ Ke7 44. Kc6 Nd8+ 45. Bxd8+ Kxd8 46. Kd6 Ke8 47. e7 1-0

End.

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