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Accumulating small advantages

User Rating: / 5
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 11 September 2013

By GM Lars Bo Hansen, PhD, MBA

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In the short space between the World Cup in Tromsø and the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, the traditional Karpov tournament was held in Poikovsky, won by Pavel Eljanov. In the first round of that tournament, Dmitry Jakovenko won an instructive positional game against Viktor Bologan. The game was played in the style of the 12th World Champion after which the tournament is named and is very instructive if you want to study the art of patiently accumulating small advantages.

When I got into GM chess in the late 1980s, the move order 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 was considered slightly inaccurate according to the theory books, based on games played on the top level in the 1950s and 1960s, because it allows White to become active in the center with 4. e3 and 5. d4.

But times change and now top GMs like Gelfand, Short, Vallejo Pons, and Bologan are willing to defend the position after the sequence 5cxd4 6. exd5 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 Nxc3 9. Bc4! Nd5!?

(Petrosian drew Game 4 against Botvinnik in their 1963 World Championship match with 9e6 10 bxc3, but White is considered to be somewhat better here with his pawn center) 10. Bxd5 e6 11. Bxc6+ bxc6.

In his game against Bologan, Jakovenko shows the dangers for Black in this position, though. His c6-pawn is weak and Whites knight has a wonderful square on c5, closing out Blacks light-squared bishop.

16. Nd2! is an instructive move, with the idea of f2-f3 and Ne4-c5, and so is the maneuver 22. Qa5 and 23. Qc7, tying Black up.



With 25. Qxe7! White exploited Capablancas concept of transformation of advantages, trading his middlegame bind for a favorable strategic endgame in which Black has weak pawns on c6 and a7 and the more passive rook and bishop.


40h5?! may have been the decisive mistake, allowing Whites king to penetrate, but it was also unpleasant for Black to just wait passively.


Replay the game

If you like the article, you can learn more about GM Lars Bo Hansen & his
books at

Related materials:
Patterns & biases
h2-h4 revolution
How to beat higher-rated players
Rook and pawn vs. rook
Thinking in schemes
Does the "Draw with Black, Win with White" approach work anymore?
Boris Gelfand & maintaining a strong center
How to react to a chess novelty
A lesson from the Ukrainian Chess Champion
Carlsen-Anand @ Tal Memorial
Strategy of Restriction

Comments (2)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 14:18 11 2013 .
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Can your page be formatted a little better for a print version?
2. Written by Peter on 14:27 11 2013 .
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Formatted better in what sense? Are you trying to print it using the "print" button on the left side of the website? Or in some other way?

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 September 2013 )
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