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The Advanced Pawn
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2)

Point Count Chess, NO.36, p58
Dus Chotimirsky v. Capablanca, 1925

According to H&M-S, the Advanced Pawn at KB5 (f5, for White / f4, for Black) is usually stronger if the f-Pawn is able to advance into that position, rather than if their Pawn made it there by Capture (e.g. for White, e4xf5; for Black ...e5xf4).

In support of the f-Pawn at KB5 (f5/f4), by simple advance (f2-f4-f5, for White; ...f7-f5-f4, for Black), they explain:

The example explored below, shows the odd occasion when the Pawn at KB5 by Capture is a strong option.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.58, No.36, after 25.Nf1
  2. Result of the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture (1 of 2).
  3. Summary of the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture (1 of 2).
  4. PGN

The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.58, No.36, after 25.Nf1

After: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Bd3 O-O 5.O-O d6 6.e4 Nbd7 7.h3 c5 8.c3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.a4 Qc7 11.Na3 c4 12.Nxc4 Nc5 13.Qe2 Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Rd8 15.Qe2 Be6 16.Na3 h6 17.Re1 a6 18.Qc2 Bd7 19.Be3 Bc6 20.Nd2 b5 21.axb5 axb5 22.f3 Nh5 23.Rad1 Bf8 24.Nab1 Bd7 25.Nf1

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - Page 58
After: 25.Nf1
In their study of this situation (PCC, p58), H&M-S focus on a hypothetical Pawn to KB5 by Capture, which takes place after 25...Nh5-f4 ...

The hypothetical opportunity arises when Black could get his e-Pawn onto f4, IF White were to enter into an exchange of his Be3 for Black's newly-landed Nf4 (26.Be3xf4 and then 26...e5xf4 gives Black his Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture).

However, late on into the actual game (Chotimirsky vs. Capablanca), close to the end, Black does actually gain a Pawn at KB5 by Capture, after 43.g3xf4 Ne6xf4 44.Bd3xf4 g5xf4).

My focus, for my analysis of this example, will stay with H&M-S's hypothetical example, as Black gains the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture, when White still has his Pawn Guard, surrounding his Kingside Castled King, largely intact -- they've advanced a little, but all three Pawns are still covering their King (Kg1). Whereas, in the real game (Chotimirsky vs. Capablanca), White has lost two of the three Pawns that were covering their King, which is now exposed and vulnerable -- Black has already done the hard work to expose White's King, at the point when he gains his Pawn at KB5 by Capture).

1. Black gets his e-Pawn into position (at e5)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 1.Nf3 to 4...O-O
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 1.Nf3 to 4...O-O
After 1.Nf3 to 4...O-O, as White develops toward the Center, Black's focus is on building a House for his King and Castling Kingside, before developing any of the Center Pawns.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 5...d6 to 8...e5
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 5...d6 to 8...e5
After 5...d6 to 8...e5, Black initially develops a Chain (e7,d6,c5), and then switches it to a Reverse Salient formation (8...e7-e5).

This is the tipping point, where White chooses to trade d-Pawns onto e5 (9.d4xe5) and Black's d-Pawn completes the trade (9...d6xe5), taking up occupancy on the e-file, and is in position to reach KB5 (f4) by Capture, if the opportunity presents itself.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 9.dxe5 dxe5
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 9.dxe5 dxe5
After 9.dxe5 dxe5, Black's d-Pawn reaches e5 by Capture.

White initiates the exchange, capturing on e5, with his d-Pawn (9.d4xe5). And Black's d-Pawn completes the trade, relocating onto the e-file, in the process (9...d6xe5).
If the game were to follow H&M-S's hypothetical analysis, then Black's newly landed e5-Pawn would complete a Minor Piece exchange on f4, to become the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture.

This is what I'm going to focus on. But, there's still another 15-16 moves played in the game, to reach that point (some of which I look at, below).

2. First Minor Piece exchange (Black Knight for White's light-Bishop)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 11.Na3 c4 12.Nxc4
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 11.Na3 c4 12.Nxc4
After 11.Na3 c4 12.Nxc4, Prior to the Minor Piece exchange, Black appears to sacrifice his c-Pawn to White's Na3 (11.Nb1-a3 c5-c4).

Black's c-Pawn is pushed to c4, to attack White's Bd3. This seems to be the catalyst for White to capture Black's c4-Pawn, with his Na3 (12.Na3xc4).

But, why did Black sacrifice his c-Pawn, in this way? My best guess is that White's Knight may have been heading for, or at least threatening to go to the b5-Outpost. Offering the c-Pawn has tempted White into dragging his Knight to a different path.

It would waste time to move the Nc4 back to a3 and then, potentially onto b5 -- actually, White did return his Knight to a3 (16.Nc4-a3), under attack from Black's Be6. However, the b5-square was soon guarded by Black's a-Pawn (17...a7-a6).

Anyway, the Minor Piece exchange took place after this ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 12...Nc5 13.Qe2 Nxd3 14.Qxd3
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 12...Nc5
13.Qe2 Nxd3 14.Qxd3
After 12...Nc5 13.Qe2 Nxd3 14.Qxd3, the first Minor Piece exchange takes place (Black Queen Knight, for White's light-Bishop).

In successive moves of his Queen Knight (12...Nd7-c5), Black initiates the exchange of this Knight, by capturing White's light-Bishop (13...Nc5xd3).

White's Queen completes the trade (14.Qe2xd3).

3. Black's Rooks occupy the two Open Files (D, then A)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 14...Rd8 15.Qe2
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 14...Rd8 15.Qe2
After 14...Rd8 15.Qe2.

Rewind a few moves and we see the d-file was the first to become fully Open, following the exchange of Pawns onto the e5-square (9.d4xe5 d6xe5).

Fast-forward a bit and, following the first Minor Piece exchange, Black's King Rook is sent to occupy the Open d-file (14...Rf8-d8), which chases off White's Queen (15.Qd3-e2).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 20...b5
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 20...b5
After 20...b5, with the a6-Pawn in place to support it, Black's b-Pawn advances to challenge White's a-Pawn (20...b7-b5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 21.axb5 axb5
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 21.axb5 axb5
After 21.axb5 axb5, the a-file is the second file to become fully Open.

Both adverse Queen Rooks are still sitting on the a-file, when it becomes fully Open, following an exchange of Pawns onto b5.

White trades his a-Pawn, to capture Black's b-Pawn (21.a4xb5) and Black's a-Pawn completes the trade (21...a6xb5), which Opens the a-file.

Only White's Na3 prevents any immediate action from White's Queen Rook -- e.g. an exchange of Rooks (Ra1xa8, then probably ...Bc6xa8, to avoid removing the Rd8 from the Open d-file).

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 23.Rad1
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 23.Rad1
After 23.Rad1, White's Queen Rook takes advantage of the covering Nd2, to switch from co-occupying the Open a-file, (with Black's Ra8) to co-occupying the Open d-file (23.Ra1-d1), along with Black's Rd8.

Note: On each file, the presence of a Minor Piece (a White Knight), prevents Black's Rooks from attacking -- they won't capture the lower-value Knight, just to be captured (e.g. by White's Rook).

4. Reaching the position of H&M-S's Hypothetical Black Pawn to KB5 (f4) by Capture.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 23...Bf8 24.Nab1
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 23...Bf8 24.Nab1
After 23...Bf8 24.Nab1, Black's dark-Bishop (23...Bg7-f8) forces White's Queen Knight to retreat back onto its back rank (24.Na3-b1), which is akin to "un-developing" itself (despite it having ventured out, to where it capture Black's c-Pawn).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 24...Nd7 25.Nf1
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 24...Nd7 25.Nf1
After 24...Bd7 25.Nf1, the relocation of Black's light-Bishop, onto the d-file (24...Bc6-d7), provides cover that enables White to take his King Knight off the d-file (25.Nd2-f1), without exposing his Rd1 to Black's Rd8.
In the actual game, White went on to move his King Knight on, from f1 to g3. But that takes us beyond the position of H&M-S's Hypothetical sequence that would result in an opportunity for Black's e-Pawn to become the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 25...Nf4
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 25...Nf4
After 25...Nf4, we reach the position of H&M-S's Hypothetical Black Pawn to KB5 (f4) by Capture.

Black has just posted his Knight onto the f4-Outpost (25...Nh5-f4), and now tempts White into an exchange of Minor Pieces ...

H&M-S appear to suggest that White is in a spot of bother whether he makes the trade or not. If White leaves Black's Nf4 alone, they say: "Black moves 1...N-B5! (25...Nh5-f4) and the outpost is powerful."

But, this example looks at Black's Pawn at KB5 (f4), by Capture; so, lets see White's trouble if he enters into the Minor Piece exchange ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 26.Bxf4
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 26.Bxf4
After 26.Bxf4, supposing White's dark-Bishop captures Black's Nf4 (26.Be3xf4), it enters into the Minor Piece exchange and invites Black's e-Pawn to complete the trade ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Advanced Pawn, The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 26...exf4
The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 26...exf4
After 26...exf4, And, if Black's e-Pawn does complete the trade (26...e5xf4), it will become the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture.
This is where we'll look at the Result (still keeping in mind that this is purely a hypothetical outcome, as it didn't actually take place in Chotimirsky vs. Capablanca) ...

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The Result of the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture (1 of 2)...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 26...exf4 (hypothetical)
(RESULT) The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 26...exf4 (hypothetical)
After 26...exf4 (hypothetical), Black gets Doubled Pawns on the f-file, but this seems another occasion when having Doubled Pawns isn't the weakness it often can be (it's not currently harming Black's attack, and the f7-Pawn remains at home, to guard the Kingside position).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 26...exf4 (hypothetical)
(RESULT) The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 26...exf4 (hypothetical)
After 26...exf4 (hypothetical), Black's Advanced Pawn at KB5 (f4), guarding both the e3- & g3- Holes, prevents White's King Knight expanding out of the Kingside.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 36 - The Pawn at KB5 by Capture (1 of 2), After 26...exf4 (hypothetical)
(RESULT) The Advanced Pawn,
The Pawn at KB5 by Capture
(1 of 2), After 26...exf4 (hypothetical)
After 26...exf4 (hypothetical), Black's Advanced Pawn at KB5 (f4) is quite safe from capture ...

If attacked by White's g-Pawn (27.g2-g3), then due to the diagonal support from Black's Qc7, Black can quite happily capture (27...f4xg3), putting White's King in even greater jeopardy, since White's Nf1 wouldn't be able to capture (28.Nf1xg3 Qc7xg3+ = BIG TROUBLE for White's King!)

These three factors suggest that, in this situation, Black's Pawn to KB5 (f4) by Capture (26...e5xf4) would give Black a very strong Advanced Pawn (a countable advantage, in H&M-S's book).


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Summary of the Pawn at KB5 (f4) by Capture (1 of 2)...

  1. Usually, a straight-forward f-Pawn advance, to gain a Pawn at KB5 (f5/f4) is stronger than having to gain the Pawn at KB5 by Capture. However, there are occasions when the "by Capture" option is strong (this is one of those occasions).

  2. Black's Pawn to KB5 (f4) by Capture (26...e5xf4) is strong, because while it gives Black Doubled Pawns on the f-file, neither Pawn weakens Black's position -- the f7-Pawn continues to provide good defensive cover, surrounding its King; the f4-Pawn applies Cramp to White's Kingside, attacking the Holes at e3 & g3, which prevents White's King Knight from developing out on the Kingside.

  3. Black's Pawn to KB5 (f4) by Capture (26...e5xf4) is strong, because long distance support from Black's Qc7, combined with the potential exposure to White's Kg1, prevents Black's Pawn at KB5 (f4) from being removed, without significant disadvantage to White.

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PGN

[Event "Moscow"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1925.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "12"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Dus Chotimirsky"]
[Black "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[ECO "A48"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "96"]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Bd3 O-O 5.O-O d6 6.e4 Nbd7 7.h3 c5 8.c3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.a4 Qc7 11.Na3 c4 12.Nxc4 Nc5 13.Qe2 Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Rd8 15.Qe2 Be6 16.Na3 h6 17.Re1 a6 18.Qc2 Bd7 19.Be3 Bc6 20.Nd2 b5 21.axb5 axb5 22.f3 Nh5 23.Rad1 Bf8 24.Nab1 Bd7 25.Nf1 {PCC p.58 No.36} Nf4 26.Ng3 (26.Bxf4 exf4 {... This is the Hypothetical example of Black's Pawn at KB5 by Capture.}) b4 27.Ne2 g5 28.Nc1 Rdc8 29.c4 b3 30.Nxb3 Ba4 31.N1d2 Bb4 32.g3 Ne6 33.Qd3 Rd8 34.Qe2 Rab8 35.Rf1 Bxd2 36.Nxd2 Bxd1 37.Qxd1 Rxb2 38.Qc1 Ra2 39.Rf2 Rd3 40.Nf1 Raa3 41.f4 Rac3 42.Qe1 exf4 43.gxf4 Nxf4 44.Bxf4 gxf4 45.Qe2 f3 46.Qa2 Rc1 47.Rxf3 Rxf3 48.Qg2+ Rg3 0-1

End.

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