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Rooks On The 7th Rank
Gaining the Seventh Rank

Point Count Chess, NO.172, p245
Capablanca v. Vidmar, 1922

Like No.171, this is another example where White uses his Rook strategically, on the 7th Rank.

However, instead of the Queen Rook, it's White's King Rook that gets the honor of the long-term invasion of Black's camp.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.245, No.172, after 11.O-O
  2. Result of Gaining the Seventh Rank.
  3. Summary of Gaining the Seventh Rank.
  4. PGN

Gaining the Seventh Rank (2 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
CC, p.245, No.172, after 11.O-O

After: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 O-O 7.Rc1 c6 8.Qc2 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.O-O

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Page 245
After: 11.O-O

1. The Open c-file is created

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 8...dxc4 9.Bxc4
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
The Open c-file is created,
After 8...dxc4 9.Bxc4
After 8...dxc4 9.Bxc4, the c-file becomes Half-open.

Once again, just like in No.171, it came from the Queen's Gambit, with Black's d-Pawn leading the exchange of Pawns on the c-file (8...d5xc4).

White's light-Bishop completes the trade (9.Bf1xc4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 12.Nxd5 cxd5
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
The Open c-file is created,
After 12.Nxd5 cxd5
After 12.Nxd5 cxd5, the c-file becomes fully Open.

This time, White leads its creation, making the first move of a Knight exchange, with his Queen Knight (12.Nc3xd5). Black's c-Pawn completes the trade (12...c6xd5), Opening the c-file.

2. White's Queen invades the 7th Rank, first

Due to the nature of White's Opening development, his Queen ends up at the head of a Queen-Rook Battery, on the Open c-file.

Therefore, to save wasting time, and because it safe to do so, White sends in his Queen, first -- there's nothing currently attacking the c7 invasion square; so she's good to go in.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 14.Qc7
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White's Queen invades the
7th Rank, After 14.Qc7
After 14.Qc7, White's Queen occupies the 7th Rank, with support from the Rc1.

3. White's Queen buys it's army Expansion Time

Usually, as seen in No.170, the Rook is the one that causes the enemy to waste time defending against the threat(s) on the 7th Rank. That gives the attacking side time to develop their army, into better -- usually more advanced -- positions.

However, here it's White's Queen that buys key expansion time, while Black is forced into the panicked defensive moves.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 15.a3 » 16.h3
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White's Queen buys it's army Expansion Time, After 15.a3 » 16.h3
After 15.a3 » 16.h3, White's Pawns are involved in trying to repel a counter-invasion:

First, by Black's Queen, on the Queenside (15.a2-a3 Qb4-a4).

Second, a potential invasion on the Kingside (16.h2-h3, to keep out possible diagonal threats, from Black's Bc8, along the c8-h3 diagonal (if it becomes clear), and secondly from Black's Nd7, which could come via f6, to g4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 17.Ne5
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White's Queen buys it's army Expansion Time, After 17.Ne5
After 17.Ne5, White brings his remaining Knight up (17.Nf3-e5).

This Knight will be involved in an exchange that takes-out Black's light-Bishop (otherwise, it will be able to prevent the invasion of White's Rc1, to c8).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 18.Bc2
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White's Queen buys it's army Expansion Time, After 18.Bc2
After 18.Bc2, White's Bishop is pulled back (18.Bd3-c2), to force Black's Queen off the a4-d1 diagonal.

However, it crucially remains on the b1-h7 diagonal, ready to play its part in getting White's Rc1 up to the 7th Rank (and beyond).

4. Making the 7th Rank Safe for Rook Invasion

It would appear the diagonal threats from Black's Queen and light-Bishop were the ones White identified as being of greatest concern to being able to bring his Rc1 up into Black's camp. It's those two Black units that White deals with, before invading with his Rook.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 19.a4 Qxb2
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
Making the 7th Rank Safe for Rook Invasion, After 19.a4 Qxb2
After 19.a4 Qxb2, it would seem like White's blundered, with a-Pawn having caused Black's Queen to take White's b-Pawn and invade White's camp.

However, this is actually a clever Decoy, which has worked brilliantly to pull Black's Queen away from the a6-square (where it would be able to defend the c8-square from White's Rc1, denying it's invasion).

White's a4-Pawn also prevents Black's Queen from returning up via the b5-square.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 20.Nxd7
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
Making the 7th Rank Safe for Rook Invasion, After 20.Nxd7
After 20.Nxd7, White's Knight takes-out Black's light-Bishop (20.Ne5xd7).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 22.Bh7+
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
Making the 7th Rank Safe for Rook Invasion, After 22.Bh7+
After 22.Bh7+, White's uses a Clearance Sacrifice, to remove his light-Bishop from c2 (22.Bc2-h7+), where it blocked the path of the Rc1, along the Open c-file.

Black's King is forced to capture the Bishop (22...Kg8xh7).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Qxc8
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
Making the 7th Rank Safe for Rook Invasion, After 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Qxc8
After 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Qxc8, White's Queen and Rook have successfully traded Black's two Rooks off the board.

White is now ready for the long-term (strategical) invasion of Black's camp, by his remaining Rook.

5. White gets his King Rook onto the 7th Rank

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 25.Rc1
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
White gets his King Rook onto the 7th Rank, After 25.Rc1
After 25.Rc1, White brings his King Rook to the Open c-file.

Because of the position of White's Queen (Qc8), it's safe from capture by Black's Queen (Qb2).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 25...Qb4 to 28.Qa8+
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
The Open c-file is created,
After 25...Qb4 to 28.Qa8+
After 25...Qb4 to 28.Qa8+, White's Queen is involved in a short chase, to prevent Black's Queen capturing the Rc1, while also maneuvering herself out of the way, so White's Rook can be elevated up into Black's camp.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 28...Kh7 29.Rc7
Gaining the Seventh Rank,
The Open c-file is created,
After 28...Kh7 29.Rc7
After 28...Kh7 29.Rc7, Black's King is forced to flee from White's Queen (28...Kg8-h7), denying Black Queen the chance to capture White's Rc1.

That buys White just the time he needs to elevate his remaining Rook up onto the 7th Rank, successfully invading Black's camp. Once there, it never leaves (see the Result, below).

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

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 172 - Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 30.Rxf7
(RESULT) Gaining the Seventh Rank, After 30.Rxf7
After 30.Rxf7, White's Rook captures Black's undefended f7-Pawn (30.Rc7xf7), taking full advantage of a Pawn's inability to defend itself on its flanks.

After that, White maintains his Rook in Black's camp, keeping it out of the way of threats (Black's Queen), while combining with his Queen to torment Black's King, until Black resigns.

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

  1. The Open c-file is created, following on from the Queen's Gambit. Black strikes first, creating the Half-open c-file (8...d5xc4 9.Bf1xc4), and then White initiates a Knight exchange (12.Nc3xd5), on d5, which causes the c-file fot become fully Open, by way of Black's c-Pawn (12...c6xd5).

  2. White's Queen invades the 7th Rank, first (14.Qc2-c7), due to being at the head of the Queen-Rook Battery, owing to the nature of White's development.

  3. White's Queen buys it's army expansion time. White's Queen enables other units of White's army to get into better positions, ready for their part in making the 7th Rank safe for the King Rook's long-term invasion. The main Pieces that are repositioned are White's King Knight (17.Nf3-e5) and light-Bishop (18.Bd3-c2).

  4. White makes the 7th Rank Safe for Rook invasion. This is achieved with a Decoy, which drags Black's Queen away from Black's camp (19.a3-a4 Qb5xb2), into White's own camp, no less! White's Ne5 takes-out Black's light-Bishop (20.Ne5xd7), and White Queen settles the last exchange, which takes-out both Black Rooks (23.Rc1xc8 Rf8xc8 24.Qb7xc8).

  5. White gets his King Rook onto the 7th Rank. There's a bit maneuvering by White's Queen, to prevent Black's Queen capturing the Rc1, and also so that White's Queen can safely get out of the way. But, once done, White's King Rook is elevated to the 7th Rank (29.Rc1-c7).

  6. White's King Rook is maintained in Black's camp, right to the very end of the game, when Black resigns. All White had to do was ensure his Rook stayed clear of Black's Queen. In the process, White also captured one of Black's vulnerable Pawns on White's 7th Rank (30.Rc7xf7).

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PGN

[Event "London"]
[Site "13"]
[Date "1922"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[Black "Milan Vidmar"]
[ECO "D64"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "83"]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 O-O 7.Rc1 c6 8.Qc2 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.O-O {PCC p.245 No.172} b6 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Bd3 h6 14.Qc7 Qb4 15.a3 Qa4 16.h3 Nf6 17.Ne5 Bd7 18.Bc2 Qb5 19.a4 Qxb2 20.Nxd7 Rac8 21.Qb7 Nxd7 22.Bh7+ Kxh7 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Qxc8 Nf6 25.Rc1 Qb4 26.Qc2+ Kg8 27.Qc6 Qa3 28.Qa8+ Kh7 29.Rc7 Qxa4 30.Rxf7 Qd1+ 31.Kh2 Qh5 32.Qxa7 Qg6 33.Rf8 Qf5 34.Rf7 Qg6 35.Rb7 Ne4 36.Qa2 e5 37.Qxd5 exd4 38.Rb8 Nf6 39.Qxd4 Qf5 40.Rxb6 Qxf2 41.Qd3+ Kg8 42.Rb8+ 1-0

End.

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