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Passed Pawn
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2)

Point Count Chess, NO. 179, p253-254
Ed. Lasker v. Capablanca, 1915

This real-game example attempts to reinforce what was explained in No.178, with the added benefit of seeing the build-up, thus getting to see how one might find themselves in a similar predicament to White -- with a Crippled Majority, that your opponent's likely to try and exploit.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.253, No. 179, after 24.Nxa5
  2. Result of the Crippled Majority.
  3. Summary of the Crippled Majority.
  4. PGN

The Crippled Majority (2 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.253, No. 179, after 24.Nxa5

After: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.e3 c5 7.Bd3 Qa5 8.Qb3 Ne4 9.O-O Nxg5 10.Nxg5 cxd4 11.Nb5 Nc5 12.Qc2 Nxd3 13.Qxd3 a6 14.Nxd4 dxc4 15.Qxc4 Bd7 16.Nb3 Qxg5 17.Qxb4 Bc6 18.e4 a5 19.Qd2 Qxd2 20.Nxd2 O-O-O 21.Nc4 Bxe4 22.Rfc1 Kb8 23.f3 Bd5 24.Nxa5

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - Page 253
After: 24.Nxa5

1. How White gets himself into his predicament

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.e3
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.e3
After 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.e3, White sends his dark-Bishop out to apply a Relative Pin against Black's Nf6 (5.Bc1-g5).

Black counters with an Absolute Pin against White's Nc3 (5...Bb4).

And then White closes-off the c1-h6 diagonal (6.e2-e3), preventing his dark-Bishop from returning to break the Pin against his Nc3. This could be the first of White's mistakes, as Black's Bb4 remains a nuisance within White's territory on the Queenside, hampering development there.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 6...c5 7.Bd3
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 6...c5 7.Bd3
After 6...c5 7.Bd3, I'm just looking at the different positions of the two adverse King Bishops ...

Black has developed so his Bishop (Bb4) is on the outside of its c-Pawn (c5 supports Bb4), and has both attacking options (it's already applying the Pin to White's Nc3) and an escape route, if attacked by a2-a3 (via a5-c7).

White's Bishop (Bd3), by contrast, is on the inside of its c-Pawn (c4 blocks Bd3), and now has limited scope for further expansion (b1 & c2 hamper his side's own development; e4, f5 & g6 are guarded by Black Pawns; and h7 is defended well by Nf6 & Rh8).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 7...Qa5
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 7...Qa5
After 7...Qa5, Black develops his Queen (7...Qd8-a5), breaking the Pin from White's Bg5, while adding diagonal support to Black's Bb4.

Even if White plays to exchange his Bg5 for Black's Nf6, Black's Nd7 can complete the trade, without Black having to weaken the structure of his Kingside Pawns (e.g. via ...g7xf6).
Just a thought about Black's Nd7 ...

After Black's Queen breaks the Pin (7...Qd8-a5), White decides against capturing Black's Nf6.

I've already mentioned that, due to the presence of Black's Nd7, defending the Nf6, there's no need for Black to weaken his Kingside Pawn structure (with ...g7xf6), if, say, White played to exchange his Bg5 for the Nf6 (Bg5xf6). Because of that, there's no real gain for White, in taking-out the Nf6 (Bg5xf6).

Furthermore, the adverse c- & d-Pawns are at a point of tension -- there's nowhere else for them to go, other than to exchange, which will result in the opening of the diagonals in the Center (and, if you're faced with an Open board situation, you often want to hold onto your Bishops; you're less concerned about losing your Knights, usually. That would add to White's reluctance in exchanging his Bg5, to capture Black's Nf6.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 4...Nbd7
After 4...Nbd7, perhaps the presence of Black's Nd7 should have halted White's 5.Bc1-g5?
So, to me, 5.Bc1-g5 seems to be a wasted move, for White.

That leads me to my main thought, here: perhaps the presence of Black's Nd7, should have been like a red flag, warning White against wasting precious development time on his attempt to Pin Black's Nf6 against his Queen, which came immediately after Black's Queen Knight moved to d7 (4...Nb8-d7 5.Bc1-g5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 8...Ne4 9.O-O Nxg5
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 8...Ne4 9.O-O Nxg5
After 8...Ne4 9.O-O Nxg5, Black attacks White's Bg5, with his un-Pinned King Knight (8...Nf6-e4).

White appeared unwilling to trade his light-Bishop (Bd3xe4), and opts to Castle Kingside (9.O-O), instead.

That lets Black exchange his Ne4 for White's Bg5 (9...Ne4xg5), with White's King Knight completing the trade (10.Nf3xg5).

Question: If this exchange was inevitable, why didn't White take it earlier, (e.g. 8.Bg5xf6)? White must have seen trouble by doing so, choosing to leave Black's Nf6 alone, and move his Queen (8.Qd1-b3), instead.

To me, this further reinforces the possibility that White's Bishop Pin (5.Bc1-g5) was an early mistake -- it's gained no advantage, other than a relatively equal material exchange; and it also leaves White's Ng5 at risk to Black's Queen (once Black expertly gets his c- & d-Pawns out of the way).

From this moment onwards, White's game really begins to unravel, as Black goes on the offensive. White seems on the back-foot, with moves made to desperately repel Black's steady wave of attacks, rather than being able to further expand his army, under his own terms.

Eventually, we reach the point where White is forced to take on the Crippled Majority (his Queenside Pawns) ...

2. White gains the Crippled Majority

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 16...Qxg5 17.Qxb4
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 16...Qxg5 17.Qxb4
After 16...Qxg5 17.Qxb4, Black gains the Bishop v. Knight advantage, as Black's Queen gets White's Ng5 (16...Qa5xg5), and White's Queen captures Black's dark-Bishop (17.Qc4xb4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 19.Qd2 Qxd2 20.Nxd2
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 19.Qd2 Qxd2 20.Nxd2
After 19.Qd2 Qxd2 20.Nxd2, the Queens are exchanged (19.Qb4-d2 Qg5xd2), with White's remaining Knight completing the trade (20.Nb3xd2).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 20...O-O-O 21.Nc4
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 20...O-O-O 21.Nc4
After 20...O-O-O 21.Nc4, Black's Queenside Castling (20...O-O-O) brings the Rook to the d-file, forcing White's Nd2 to flee (21.Nd2-c4), leaving the e4-Pawn undefended and free for Black's Bc6 to capture, which happens immediately (21...Bc6xe4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 22.Rfc1 Kb8 23.f3
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 22.Rfc1 Kb8 23.f3
After 22.Rfc1 Kb8 23.f3, White seems to be putting up a good fight-back, bringing his King Rook to the Open c-file (22.Rf1-c1), which forces Black to spend a turn hiding his King behind its b-Pawn (22...Kc8-b8).
Note: White's Rook hasn't gone to a Useful Open File; it's too close to Black's King, who acts as a useful extra defender, instead of having to be kept out of the action until the Endgame phase.

And then, White brings his f-Pawn out to attack and repel Black's Bishop (23.f2-f3). But that f-Pawn advance is what leads to White's fateful move, which results in his Crippled Majority ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 23...Bd5 24.Nxa5
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 23...Bd5 24.Nxa5
After 23...Bd5 24.Nxa5, Black puts his Bishop onto the Fourth Rank Outpost (d5), attacking White's Nc4, in the process (23...Be4-d5).

White's response is to capture Black's unguarded a5-Pawn (24.Nc4xa5).

H&M-S say "To maintain equality of material, White has had to capture a Pawn on his QR5 (a5)."

But, now, White's Knight has no safe escape route. If 25.Na5-b3, then 25...Bd5xb3 26.a2xb3 gives White a Crippled Majority (Doubled Pawns on the b-file). White's Knight is currently trapped, and Black now plays to exchange both Rooks ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 24...Rc8 to 27...Kxc8
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 24...Rc8 to 27...Kxc8
After 24...Rc8 to 27...Kxc8, Black has exchanged Rooks, with his King completing the trade (27...Kb8xc8).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 28...Kc7 and 29...Kb6 30.Nc4+
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 28...Kc7 » 29...Kb6 30.Nc4+
After 28...Kc7 » 29...Kb6 30.Nc4+, Black's King advances towards White's Knight, forcing it to go to c4 (30.Na5-c4+), thereby initiating the exchange with Black's Bd5 ...
But, just look at White's two Queenside Pawns (yellow squares). The b3-Pawn will be forced to complete the Bishop-Knight exchange, resulting in the "crippling" of the Pawn Majority, as they become two Isolated Pawns, pulled out of their stronger Chain formation.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 30...Bxc4 31.bxc4
The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 30...Bxc4 31.bxc4
After 30...Bxc4 31.bxc4, White gains the Crippled Majority, when his b-Pawn is forced to complete the Knight-Bishop exchange (31.b3xc4).

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The Result of the Crippled Majority (2 of 2)...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 179 - The Passed Pawn, The Crippled Majority (2 of 2), After 31.bxc4
(RESULT) The Passed Pawn,
The Crippled Majority (2 of 2),
After 31.bxc4
After 31.bxc4, Black is now clear to force a Passed Pawn, by taking advantage of White's Crippled Majority on the Queenside, and White's Pawn Minority on the Kingside.

It works in a similar way as was shown in No.178: Black can allow his Kingside Majority to succeed or be sacrificed, in order to keep White's King over on the Kingside. Meanwhile, Black's King can focus on removing White's Crippled Majority, in the process of escorting his Queenside Pawn down to gain Promotion.

White's King cannot sort out his Kingside problems AND stop Black's King and Pawn on the Queenside. White resigned not long after this, when faced with the inevitable.


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Summary of the Crippled Majority (2 of 2)...

  1. It would seem White has a hand in contributing to gaining the Crippled Majority, specifically during the development phase, where he launched his dark-Bishop into a Pin against Black's Nf6, when Black's Nd7 ruled out any significant gain from making the trade (which is probably why it never took place).

  2. A key part of creating a Crippled Majority, in your opponent's army, seems to involve an exchange of Minor Pieces just in front of one of their Pawns, forcing the Pawn to complete the exchange, and creating the "crippled" weakness, in the process (e.g. Doubled Pawns, a Backward Pawn, or, in this case, Isolated Pawns). In this game (No.179), Black manages to trade down to a Bishop v. Knight advantage, and it's his Bishop that he uses, exchanging it for White's Knight, in such a position that it forced White to recapture with the b-Pawn, which created White's Crippled Majority (two Isolated Pawns, on the Queenside).

  3. To capitalize on your opponent's Crippled Majority, complete the transition into the Endgame phase, where it's just Kings and Pawns on the board (all Pieces have been traded off the board -- the position has been totally Simplified). You should have a Pawn Majority on the opposite side of the board, which are there to occupy the enemy King; to be sacrificed if necessary (just keep their King tied to the one side of the board!). Your primary focus will be with your King, on your opponent's Crippled Majority versus your Pawn Minority: take out the enemy Pawns, to give yourself a Passed Pawn, and in the process, use your King to escort it to gain Promotion.

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PGN

[Event "New York National"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1915.04.19"]
[Round "1"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Edward Lasker"]
[Black "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "80"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Bb4 6. e3 c5 7. Bd3 Qa5 8. Qb3 Ne4 9. O-O Nxg5 10. Nxg5 cxd4 11. Nb5 Nc5 12. Qc2 Nxd3 13. Qxd3 a6 14. Nxd4 dxc4 15. Qxc4 Bd7 16. Nb3 Qxg5 17. Qxb4 Bc6 18. e4 a5 19. Qd2 Qxd2 20. Nxd2 O-O-O 21. Nc4 Bxe4 22. Rfc1 Kb8 23. f3 Bd5 24. Nxa5 {PCC p.253 No.179} Rc8 25. b3 Rxc1+ 26. Rxc1 Rc8 27. Rxc8+ Kxc8 28. Kf2 Kc7 29. Ke3 Kb6 30. Nc4+ Bxc4 31. bxc4 Kc5 32. Kd3 e5 33. g4 f6 34. h4 g6 35. Ke4 Kd6 36. f4 exf4 37. Kxf4 Kc5 38. h5 Kxc4 39. Ke4 b5 40. a3 Kc5 0-1

End.

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