« Back to the other Point Count Chess Examples

Rooks On The 7th Rank
Gaining the Seventh Rank (1 of 2)

Point Count Chess, NO.171, p244
Capablanca v. Alekhine, 1913

In No.170, the White's Rook on the 7th was a short-term objective (tactical). However, here, in No.171, White's Rook definitely serve long-term (strategical) purpose, as it never leaves the 7th Rank, once occupying it.

While there, it takes out two vulnerable Black Pawns, before preventing the escape of Black's King, after it becomes trapped on the h-file.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.244, No.171, after 19...Qd6
  2. Result of Gaining the Seventh Rank (1 of 2).
  3. Summary of Gaining the Seventh Rank (1 of 2).
  4. PGN

Gaining the Seventh Rank (1 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.244, No.171, after 19...Qd6

After: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Qc2 dxc4 9.Nxc4 c5 10.Nce5 cxd4 11.exd4 Nb6 12.Ng5 g6 13.Ngf3 Kg7 14.Bg5 Nbd5 15.Rac1 Bd7 16.Qd2 Ng8 17.Bxe7 Qxe7 18.Be4 Bb5 19.Rfe1 Qd6

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Page 244
After: 19...Qd6

1. The Open c-file is created

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 8...dxc4 9.Nxc4
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
The Open c-file is created,
After 8...dxc4 9.Nxc4
After 8...dxc4 9.Nxc4, The c-file becomes Half-open, as White lets Black capture his c-Pawn (8...d5xc4).

White's Queen Knight completes the trade (9.Nd2xc4)
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 9...c5 10.Nce5 cxd4
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
The Open c-file is created,
After 9...c5 10.Nce5 cxd4
After 9...c5 10.Nce5 cxd4, the c-file becomes fully Open, after White ignores the threat to his d4-Pawn, in order to put his Queen Knight onto e5.

Black's c-Pawn captures White's d-Pawn (10...c5xd4), to Open the c-file.

After 11.e3xd4, White has turned the e5-square into an Outpost Station, occupied by his Ne5, and supported by the d4-Pawn

So, it's worth noting that, in the build-up, White allowed the sacrifice of both c- & d-Pawns, to get the c-file Open, and to end up with his Knight occupying the e5-Outpost, where it remains for the majority of the game, almost until the Endgame phase (31...Re8xe5)

2. White posts his Queen Rook onto the Open c-file

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 12.Ng5 g6 13.Ngf3
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White's Rook posted onto the Open c-File, After 12.Ng5 g6 13.Ngf3
After 12.Ng5 g6 13.Ngf3, White has deliberately used his King Knight as a Decoy, which combined with the diagonal threat from White's Qc2 & Bd3, results in Black advancing his g-Pawn (12...g7-g6).

With the job done, White brings his Knight back to its favorite f3-square (13.Ng5-f3).

The purpose of the Decoy appears to have been to remove the Pawn Guard from Black's Nf6. It's worked a treat, as White immediately puts his Queen Bishop onto g5 (14.Bc1-g5), attacking Black's Nf6. The move also vacates the c-file, for the benefit of White's Queen Rook.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 15.Rac1
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White's Rook posted onto the Open c-File, After 15.Rac1
After 15.Rac1, White's Queen Rook occupies the Open c-file, where it waits while White makes sure the 7th Rank square is safe for the Rook's invasion.

3. Making the 7th Rank square Safe for Invasion

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 16.Qd2 Ng8 17.Bxe7
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
Making the 7th Rank square Safe for Invasion, After 16.Qd2 Ng8 17.Bxe7
After 16.Qd2 Ng8 17.Bxe7, White exchanges dark-Bishops, with Black's Queen completing the trade (17...Qd8xe7).

The reason is that c7-square, where White intends to send his Queen Rook, is a dark-square. Black's dark-Bishop could defend the c7-square, so it has to be removed.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 18.Be4 to 20.Bxd5
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
Making the 7th Rank square Safe for Invasion, After 18.Be4 to 20.Bxd5
After 18.Be4 to 20.Bxd5, White trades his remaining Bishop, to remove Black's Nd5, as it was guarding the key c7-square.

Black's e-Pawn completes the trade (20...e6xd5), resulting in a Fixed Center position.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 21.Qa5 a6 22.Qc7 Qxc7
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
Making the 7th Rank square Safe for Invasion, After 21.Qa5 a6
22.Qc7 Qxc7
After 21.Qa5 a6 22.Qc7 Qxc7, White trades Queens, which removes the last real threat that had been preventing the safe invasion to the c7-square.

White's Rc1 is now safe to be elevated to the 7th Rank.

4. White gets his Rook onto the 7th Rank

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 23.Rxc7
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White gets his Rook onto the 7th Rank, After 23.Rxc7
After 23.Rxc7, White's Queen Rook completes the Queen exchange, to safely occupy the 7th Rank (23.Rc1xc7).

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

The Result of Gaining the Seventh Rank (1 of 2)...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 24.Rxb7 and 29.Rxf7+
(RESULT) Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 24.Rxb7 » 29.Rxf7+
After 24.Rxb7 » 29.Rxf7+, White's Rook sweeps across from Queenside to Kingside, taking out two of Black's Pawns.

The result is a severe weakening of Black's Pawn structure, which is a useless collection of three Isolated Pawns (a6, d5 & h5).

Note the position of White's Ne5, still occupying the e5-Outpost, which had been gained during the Opening phase of the game, as the c-file was being Opened. Anyway, the Ne5 now serves to prevent Black's King from capturing White's Rook on the 7th Rank.

It's fair to assume the Knight was part of White's game-winning strategy, from the very outset. If not, it's a useful coincidence, where it's ended up -- for the sake of White's Rf7.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 171 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 29...Kh6 to 34...Kh3
(RESULT) Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 29...Kh6 to 34...Kh3
After 29...Kh6 to 34...Kh3, Black's King is virtually forced to walk all the way down the board, becoming trapped by White's Rook on the 7th Rank (34.Rf7-g7+ Kg4-h3).

Black resigns after White's next move (35.Nh4-g2).

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Summary of Gaining the Seventh Rank (1 of 2)...

  1. White played his part in creating the Open c-file. The c-file was White's chosen route up to the 7th Rank, so his focus was upon Opening the c-file. This he did by allowing both his c- & d-Pawns to be traded off the board. In exchange, he got his Queen Knight up onto what would become the e5-Outpost -- this would play a key role in White's winning Endgame attack, with his Rook on the 7th Rank.

  2. White occupied the c-file with his Queen Rook. This was made possible after White played a Decoy, with his King Knight (12.Nf3-g5 g7-g6 13.Ng5-f3), to remove the Pawn defender from Black's Nf6. White then moved his Queen Bishop into position (14.Bc1-g5), vacating the c1-square, for the benefit of his Queen Rook (15.Ra1-c1).

  3. White secured the c7 invasion square, with a series of exchanges, to remove the Black Pieces that could prevent his Rook's safe elevation to the 7th Rank. Black's dark-Bishop (17.Bg5xe7), d5-Knight (20.Be4xd5), and Queen (22.Qa5-c7 Qd6xc7) were all targets that White successfully traded off the board.

  4. White's Queen Rook was elevated to the 7th Rank, after those three previous exchanges had made safe the c7 invasion square.

  5. White's Rook is strategically involved in his game-winning attack. First, it takes out the two Black Pawns 24.Rc7xb7 & 29.Rb7xf7+, and then prevents the Black King's escape, as it's forced into fleeing down the board, before becoming trapped in a pocket on the h-file, with White's Rook in position on the g-file (34.Rf7-g7+ Kg4-h3). Black resigned.

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

PGN

[Event "St Petersburg m (01)"]
[Site "St Petersburg m (01)"]
[Date "1913.12.14"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[Black "Alexander Alekhine"]
[ECO "D30"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "69"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Nbd2 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 dxc4 9. Nxc4 c5 10. Nce5 cxd4 11. exd4 Nb6 12. Ng5 g6 13. Ngf3 Kg7 14. Bg5 Nbd5 15. Rac1 Bd7 16. Qd2 Ng8 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Be4 Bb5 19. Rfe1 Qd6 {PCC p.244 No.171} 20. Bxd5 exd5 21. Qa5 a6 22. Qc7 Qxc7 23. Rxc7 h6 24. Rxb7 Rac8 25. b3 Rc2 26. a4 Be2 27. Nh4 h5 28. Nhxg6 Re8 29. Rxf7+ Kh6 30. f4 a5 31. Nh4 Rxe5 32. fxe5 Kg5 33. g3 Kg4 34. Rg7+ Kh3 35. Ng2 1-0

End.

« Back to the other Point Count Chess Examples