Weak Pawns As Targets
Seirawan Strategy Example #4

Winning Chess Strategies, Diagram 87, p143

Like Example #3, this is another featuring the Minority Attack.

The other similarity with Example #3, worth mentioning is, once again:

* Whether this is a common theme or pattern developing, or just a coincidence, I'm not sure. But it's certainly worth keeping in mind, for the sake of your strategy!

This time, though, we get to see the Minority Attack begin from a long way back, with White's b-Pawn starting all the way back on its 2nd Rank (from where it starts each game). For the uninitiated, this is good viewing!

In Example #4, below, Seirawan suggests that this type of Minority Attack is more commonly found during games. This example shows how quickly the enemy's position can collapse after the Pawns in the Minority group are used to seek out and attack enemy targets ...

There's some key moments in this example that are worth seeing with a bit more clarity, so I've extracted the juicy bits of the Minority Attack and plastered them beneath the ChessFlash viewer.

Key Moments from the Minority Attack, in Example 4

The build-up: I've begun at the position just before White's dark-Bishop captures Black's Nf6. Note that White's b2-Pawn cannot begin its Minority Attack while Black's Be7 guards the b4-square ...

After: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 c6 7.Qc2 g6 8.e3 Bf5 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 O-O 11.O-O Re8

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Before the Minority Attack
After 11...Re8

Now, let's assess the Key Moments.

Before White can launch his Minority Attack, he must Deflect Black's Be7 away from guarding the b4-square, along the a3-f8 diagonal ...


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Minority Attack: Key Moment #1
Removal of the Guard (Be7)

After: 12.Bxf6 Bxf6

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Minority Attack - Key Moment 1
After: 12...Bxf6

Done. This is a classic example of the concept of Removal of the Guard.

White's b-Pawn is good to go!

It begins to seek out its target (Black's c6-Pawn) ...


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Minority Attack: Key Moment #2
Begin the Advance of the Minority Attack!

After: 13.b4 Nd7 14.b5

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Minority Attack - Key Moment 2
After: 14.b5

With Nc3 guarding the b5-square, and with no other Black unit in the region to attack it, White's b-Pawn was able to be pushed on immediately, initiating the Minority Attack.


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Minority Attack: Key Moment #3
White keeps focused on his Minority Attack,
even as Black rearranges his Knight
near White's attacking b-Pawn.

After: 14...Nb6

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Minority Attack - Key Moment 3
After: 14...Nb6

Spotting the inevitable threat, Black's Knight evacuates from the d7-square, before White's b5-Pawn attacks it, as a direct result of taking-out the current c6-Pawn in Black's Chain.

White can see the Black Knight's movement doesn't threaten his b5-Pawn, so calmly keeps focused on his objective: the Minority Attack ...


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Minority Attack: Key Moment #4
Once White has started the Minority Attack,
White FINISHES the Minority Attack!

After: 15. bxc6

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Minority Attack - Key Moment 4
After: 15.bxc6

See how White didn't waste time with any other move. He was committed to carrying out the Minority Attack, so has captured the Target (c6-Pawn) immediately.


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Minority Attack: Key Moment #5
The Result of White's Minority Attack

After: 15...bxc6

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Minority Attack - Key Moment 5
After: 15...bxc6

The Result: Black now has multiple groups of Weak Pawns, which White actively created:

  1. Black has 3x Pawn Islands: #1 (a7), #2 (c6,d5), #3 (f7,g6,h7);
  2. Black has 1x Isolated Pawn: (a7);
  3. Black has 1x Backward Pawn: (c6)

White's New Objective: Having created the Weak Pawns in Black's position, White targets ONE of the Weak Pawns. His victim is Black's Backward c6-Pawn, and he builds up pressure against its vulnerable position ...


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Minority Attack: Key Moment #6
After the event ... White's New Objective is
to Target and Attack another Weak Pawn

After: 16.Rac1 Be7 17.Rc2 Bd6 18.Nb1 Rc8 19.Rfc1 Qf6 20.Nbd2 Rc7 21.g3 Rec8 22.Kg2 Qe7 23.e4 Bb4 24.h4 Qd8 25.e5 c5 26.dxc5

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Minority Attack - Key Moment 6
After: 26.dxc5

...and White's pressure pays off!

White kept adding units to attack Black's Backward c6-Pawn, and when he could no longer directly attack it with more units (without weakening his position elsewhere), he pushed his e-File Pawn to the e5-square, which created the Advanced Chain.

And it appears this was the final threat that forced Black to sign the death warrant of his own Backward c6-Pawn.

Black had also exhausted the number of units he could bring across to defend the Backward Pawn. And so, White gets the satisfaction of another Target successfully Attacked and captured off the board. This is followed by a series of Exchanges that serves to Simplify the Position ...


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Minority Attack: Key Moment #7
The Position is Simplified

After: 26...Rxc5 27.Rxc5 Rxc5 28.Rxc5 Bxc5 29.Nb3 Be7

Seirawan Strategy Example - Diagram 85 - Minority Attack - Key Moment 7
After: 29...Be7

The Position is Simplified! and the game, in that blurred haze between Middlegame and Endgame, continued all the way to Black's resignation, on Move 41.

As you scroll through the remainder of the game, notice White is true to Seirawan's advice about relentlessly pursuing Weak Pawn after Weak Pawn ... that is, until an opportunity presents itself to attack the enemy King with a game winning attack!


[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

PGN

Diagram 87, which can be found on page 143, is achieved after Black's 11th Move (11...Re8), of the PGN sequence.
[Event "?"]
[Site "Beverwijk"]
[Date "1962.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Averbakh"]
[Black "Donner"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "81"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 c6 7.Qc2 g6 8.e3 Bf5 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 O-O 11.O-O Re8 {...THE EXAMPLE STARTS HERE...} 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.b4 Nd7 14.b5 Nb6 15.bxc6 bxc6 16.Rac1 Be7 17.Rc2 Bd6 18.Nb1 Rc8 19.Rfc1 Qf6 20.Nbd2 Rc7 21.g3 Rec8 22.Kg2 Qe7 23.e4 Bb4 24.h4 Qd8 25.e5 c5 26.dxc5 Rxc5 27.Rxc5 Rxc5 28.Rxc5 Bxc5 29.Nb3 Be7 30.Nbd4 Qc8 31.Qb5 Kf8 32.Nc6 Qb7 33.Nfd4 a6 34.Qa5 Ke8 35.Nxe7 Kxe7 36.Qc5+ Ke8 37.e6 Nc8 38.exf7+ Kxf7 39.Nc6 Kg7 40.Qd4+ Kh6 41.Qf6 *

End.