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Strong Outpost Station
The Fourth-Rank Outpost

NO. 96 ... p141-142, The Fourth-Rank Outpost,
Tarrasch v. Teichmann, 1912

This example, in H&M-S's words, focuses on "the importance of the White station Q4" (Q4 is the Descriptive reference for the Algebraic system's d4-square).

H&M-S point out that, while White's Knight on d4 attacks squares in Black's territory, it's not enemy territory that the Knight is focused on. White's Nd4 is tasked with guarding the c2-Pawn, which becomes a weakness that Black could exploit, if given the chance.

In case you're wondering, White's c2-Pawn is weak because, if you look at the ChessFlash position, (below), you'll see it's on the end of a Pawn Island. The significance of this is it now only has ONE Pawn (White's b2-Pawn), instead of the maximum two Pawns (White's d-Pawn is no longer on the board), that can help protect it in the event of an attack by Black.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.141, No. 96, after 15...Nxc5
  2. Result of the Fourth-Rank Outpost.
  3. PGN

The Fourth-Rank Outpost
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.141, No. 96, after 15...Nxc5

After: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Qd2 O-O 8.f4 c5 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.g3 a6 11.Bg2 b5 12.O-O cxd4 13.Nxd4 Nxd4 14.Qxd4 Qc5 15.Qxc5 Nxc5

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Page 141
After: 15...Nxc5

For this analysis, I'm looking at the Pawns and Pieces that contribute to White's Outpost Station; their first moves and their last positions (whether they get captured or remain there for the duration of the example) ...

1. White's: e-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 1.e4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's e-Pawn,
After: 1.e4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 5.e5 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's e-Pawn,
After: 5.e5

White's e-Pawn is used to block the potential for Black's own e-Pawn to threaten White's Outpost from e5. White's e-Pawn becomes the Advanced Pawn in an Advanced Chain, supported by the d4-Pawn. This means White only has to focus on securing the outpost from the c-file (as the Outpost is created on the d-file, at d4 -- the 4th Rank Outpost).

2. White's: d-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 2.d4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's d-Pawn,
After: 2.d4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 12...cxd4 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's d-Pawn,
After: 12...cxd4

White's d-Pawn is allowed to be sacrificed in order to remove Black's c-Pawn from the c-file. It's actually Black who clears the c-file himself, in the process of capturing White's d-Pawn (12...c5xd4).

Now White has the conditions to begin focusing on the 4th Rank Outpost (at d4), since there's no c-Pawn to attack any Piece that goes onto the outpost (namely, White's Queenside Knight), and Black's e-Pawn cannot get beyond White's e5-Pawn, so it's almost as if it weren't on the e-file to trouble the Outpost, anyway.

3. White's: Nb1 (Queenside Knight) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 3.Nc3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Nb1,
After: 3.Nc3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 22.Nxc6 Bxc6 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Nb1,
After: 16. Ne2 → 17.Nd4
→ 24.Nxc6 Bxc6

White's Queenside Knight sits on c3 (3.Nb1-c3) until conditions are right for it to be maneuvered onto the d4-Outpost.

After occupying the d4-Outpost for a time, H&M-S highlight the point when the Outpost has served its purpose, as the Knight is removed from the Outpost, by White, to be traded for Black's own Knight.

I'll look at this when assessing the Result (below). For now, I just want to focus on the creation of the Outpost, to the point where White occupies it with the aforementioned Knight.

4. White's: Bc1 (Dark-Bishop, Queenside) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 4.Bg5 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Bc1,
After: 4.Bg5
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Bc1,
After: 6.Bxe7 Qxe7

White's dark-Bishop is sacrificed to take Black's own dark-Bishop off the board, in an exchange (6.Bg5xe7 Qd8xe7). The reason for this may well be that White's e-Pawn, once on the e5-square, will be stuck on the dark-square, and so would otherwise be vulnerable to Black's dark-Bishop.

If White's e5-Pawn is captured, that would free Black's blocked e6-Pawn, which in turn would threaten the existence of White's Strong Outpost at d4 (once created, that is).

5. White's: Qd1 ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 7.Qd2 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Qd1,
After: 7.Qd2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 7.Qd2 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Qd1,
After: 14.Qxd4 → 15.Qxc5 Nxc5

White's Queen serves two functions ...

  1. First, she completes the exchange of one of the pairs of adverse Knights, on d4 (13.Nf3xd4 Nf6xd4 14.Qd2xd4).

  2. Second, White trades Queens to "simplify the position", as this makes the job, of maneuvering the slow-moving Knight (Nc3) onto the d4-Outpost (16. Ne2 → 17.Nd4), plus the subsequent exchange of Knights (24.Nxc6 Bxc6), easier to carry out.

6. White's: f-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 8.f4 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's f-Pawn,
After: 8.f4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 8.f4 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's f-Pawn,
After: 8.f4

White's f-Pawn advances to create an Advanced Salient formation (d4,e5,f4). However, this is incidental to the main purpose, or function of White's f-Pawn being at f4 ...

White's f-Pawn is used to support the e5-Pawn, so that, if Black were to capture White's e5-Pawn, White would be able to maintain a Pawn on e5 (e.g. f4xe5), and continue to block Black's e6-Pawn, which effectively helps to secure the d4-Outpost.

White's f-Pawn remains at f4 throughout the remainder of the example, even way beyond the point when White's Queenside Knight, having occupied the d4-Outpost, has already been traded off the board.

Afterwards, White's f-Pawn is involved in White's Mobile Pawn Wing, on the Kingside, eventually leaving the f-file to help demolish Black's Kingside flank Pawns (after 32.f4xg5, and 36.g5-g6 f7xg6).

7. White's: Ng1 (Kingside Knight) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 9.Nf3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Ng1,
After: 9.Nf3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 13.Nxd4 Nxd4 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Ng1,
After: 13.Nxd4 Nxd4

White's Kingside Knight completes the exchange of Pawns on d4 (12...c5xd4 13.Nf3xd4), and in the process is sacrificed to take Black's Nf6 off the board (13...Nf6xd4 14.Qd2xd4), as it was attacking d4, from f6, causing problems for White's intended d4-Outpost Station.

8. White's: g-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 10.g3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's g-Pawn,
After: 10.g3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 10.g3 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's g-Pawn,
After: 10.g3

White's g-Pawn moves to g3, where it reinforces White's Advanced Chain (h2,g3,f4,e5) leading up to the key e5-Pawn.

White's g-Pawn only moves again to take part in the advance of White's Mobile Pawn Wing on the Kingside (26.g3-g4). But that's after White's Nd4 no longer occupies the d4-Outpost (having effectively traded itself off the board at c6).

9. White's: Bf1 (Light-Bishop, Kingside) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 11.Bg2 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Bf1,
After: 11.Bg2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 22.Bd3 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Bf1,
After: 21.Bf1 → 22.Bd3

The first move of White's Kingside Bishop is the Fianchetto to g2, which enables White to Castle Kingside (12.O-O).

White's light-Bishop doesn't move again until the 21st Move (21.Bg2-f1), when it starts making its way to e3 (22.Bf1-e3) to contest the Center (e4) and the squares all the way up to h7.

10. White's: Ke1 + Rh1 (King + Kingside Rook) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 12.O-O - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Ke1 + Rh1,
After: 12.O-O
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 12.O-O - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Ke1 + Rh1,
After: 12.O-O

The Kingside Castling is actually more significant for White's King, than the Rook, in relation to keeping the Outpost Station secure, (see, below).

The subsequent moves / images takes the position beyond H&M-S's example (see Position #1, above), but I feel it's necessary to see this extra detail, from a beginner's perspective.

11. White's: Kg1 (King after Castling) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 18.Kf2 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's Kg1,
After: 18.Kf2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 25.Kd4 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's Kg1,
After: 19.Ke3 → 25.Kd4

White's King actually plays a very active role at the d4-Outpost Station, coming across to occupy the secure Outpost (18.Kg1-f219.Kf2-e325.Ke3-d4). But that's after H&M-S's example has ended.

This is worth seeing, as the King helps White claim Superior Development, which, allied with Control of the Center, gives White the Mobile Pawn Wing on the Kingside.

12. White's: b-Pawn ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 22.b3 - First Move
(FIRST MOVE) White's b-Pawn,
After: 22.b3
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Strong Outpost Station, After 22.b3 - Last Position
(LAST POSITION) White's b-Pawn,
After: 22.b3

White's b-Pawn steps forward to secure the c4-square against the occupation threat from Black's remaining Knight (21...Nb7-a5 22.b2-b3).

That's all the Pawns & Pieces mentioned in the build up to and the creation of White's Fourth Rank Outpost Station (d4). To wrap things up, I'll focus on analyzing the Result, which is next ...


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

The Result of White's Fourth Rank Outpost ...

First, I'll just clear up what happened to White's Knight, when it more-or-less evacuated the d4-Outpost ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Result, White's Fourth Rank Outpost, After 23...Nc6 - No Highlights
(RESULT) White's Knight to Leave the Fourth Rank Outpost,
After: 23...Nc6
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Result, White's Fourth Rank Outpost, After 24.Nxc6 Bxc6
(RESULT) White's Knight Leaves to Exchange Knights, on c6,
After: 24.Nxc6 Bxc6

Black's Knight was always one of those Pieces that could have broken through the Closed Center and undermined White's Outpost, at some point, so White had to neutralize that threat, even by sacrificing the Knight that had been occupying the d4-Outpost.

But, just because the Knight is gone, that doesn't mean the Outpost no longer exists, with White quick to ensure it's sufficiently defended -- with the King taking an active role in its survival, as can be seen, below ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Result, White's Fourth Rank Outpost 25.Kd4 - No Highlights
(RESULT) White's
Fourth Rank Outpost,
After: 25.Kd4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Result, White's Fourth Rank Outpost 25.Kd4
(RESULT) White's
Fourth Rank Outpost,
After: 25.Kd4

The position in the image, (above), takes the sequence beyond H&M-S's example (see Position #1, above).

I've already pointed out White's King occupying the d4-Outpost, so all that's really left to note is the security of the d4-Outpost -- if Black could get at the square, especially with a Pawn, then White would no be able to claim d4 as an Outpost, let alone a Strong Outpost Station.

The contributing factors to White being able to maintain the Strong Fourth Rank Outpost include:

  1. The blocking of Black's e-Pawn, by White's e5-Pawn. Despite Black having a Pawn on the a file adjacent to the d4-Outpost, it is immobile while White's Pawn remains solid on e5.

  2. There's no Pawn on the c-file, which could otherwise threaten any White Piece occupying the d4-Outpost.

  3. Black's Queenside Pawns are all stuck on light-squares, either unable to challenge White's occupation of the d4-Outpost, or unable to attack White's Queenside Salient and open safe positions for the infiltration of White's Pieces.

    Incidentally, Black's light-Bishop is Bad -- the red arrows show the Black Pawns that get in the way in all forward directions.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 96 - Result, White's Fourth Rank Outpost at End of Game, After 42.Ra8 - No Highlights
(RESULT) White's Fourth Rank Outpost at End of Game,
After 42.Ra8 (1-0)
Finally, as the diagram (left) shows, it's a testament to how durable White's 4th Rank Outpost is, as White's King and e5-Pawn both remain in position, right to the very end of the game, contributing to White's victory.

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

PGN

[Event "San Sebastian"]
[Site "San Sebastian"]
[Date "1912.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "14"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Siegbert Tarrasch"]
[Black "Richard Teichmann"]
[ECO "C14"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "79"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Qd2 O-O 8.f4 c5 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.g3 a6 11.Bg2 b5 12.O-O cxd4 13.Nxd4 Nxd4 14.Qxd4 Qc5 15.Qxc5 Nxc5 {PCC p.141 No. 96}16.Ne2 Bd7 17.Nd4 Rac8 18.Kf2 Rc7 19.Ke3 Re8 20.Rf2 Nb7 21.Bf1 Na5 22.b3 h6 23.Bd3 Nc6 24.Nxc6 {... PCC example ends here.} Bxc6 25.Kd4 Bd7 26.g4 Bc8 27.h4 g6 28.Rh1 Kg7 29.h5 Rh8 30.Rfh2 Bd7 31.g5 hxg5 32.fxg5 Rxh5 33.Rxh5 gxh5 34.Rxh5 Kf8 35.Rh8+ Ke7 36.g6 fxg6 37.Bxg6 b4 38.Rh7+ Kd8 39.Bd3 Rc3 40.a3 a5 41. Rh8+ Ke7 42. Ra8 1-0

End.

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