Complex of Squares

I asked my friend and supporter Nosherwan Minwalla what he would like to read about. He mentioned the control and usage of dark (light) squares. After removing Shirov’s light-squared bishop, Kasparov used unprotected f5 square to break into the black’s position.

White is trying to exploit open f-file and pressure on f7 pawn. She was hoping to win the exchange after…

  1. Nxc6 bxc6 30. Bc5

…but completely underestimated transformation after unbalanced trade.

30… Nxc5! 31. Rxd8 Raxd8

If 31. Qxc5 Qe8 and black is comfortable. In the current position, black has rook, bishop, and pawn for white queen material wise. But looking deeper, we can notice that black light pieces are very well coordinated and he is controlling the entire complex of dark squares in and around the center.

  1. Ne2

Natural aim to cover at least some of the dark squares. The transformation after the trades must have had negative psychological impact on Yoseliani. She was expecting to “crush” her opponent after winning the exchange (in case black didn’t play 31.. Nxc5), but instead, she is forced to defend the position with badly coordinated pieces. Still, there was some tactical potential left. White could have tried 32. Nd5 with the idea of covering d-file after 32… cxd5 33. Qxc5. Possible line is 32. Nd5 Nxe4 33. Ne7 Kh8 34. Ng6! Kg8 (best) 35. Ne7 with repetition.

32… Na4

More active then Ne6. Black is inviting better endgame after 33. Ra1 Nxb2 34. Rxa5 Rd1 35. Bf1 Nc4 36. Rc5 Nd2 37. Rxe5 Rxf1 38. Qxf1 Nxf1 39. Kxf1 Ne6. White is playing better move, aiming to regroup its pieces.

  1. Qe3 Ne6 34. Rf5

Another good move. Position is already unbalanced and pieces are counting in its relative value (not absolute). Be5 is worthy controller of dark squares complex. White wants to be ready for Rxe5 at the convenient moment.

34… f6 35. Qb3 Nac5 36. Qc4 Kg7

  1. c3

Again, psychology – white is afraid of shadows and tries to take away d4 square. Instead of prophylactic defence, white should have played more aggressively in order to ruin excellent coordination of black pieces. Nc5 stands like a milestone, supporting black pieces and actively pressuring white’s position. Therefore, correct move was 37. b3 with idea of playing c3-b4 next.

37… a4!

Taking advantage of white’s inaccuracy. b4 is not possible anymore and Nc5 becomes eternal. Also b2 weakness is now fixed and ready to suffer after black moves his rook to b-file.

  1. Rf3 Rd1 39. Bf1 Rb8 40. Ng3

Trying to achieve active counterplay. Probably a bit too late since black has upper hand after 37… a4.

40… Rxb2 41. Nf5

  1. Nh5 Kf7 42. Nf6! was tricky but black can simply go to 41… Kg6.

41… Kf7

  1. Nd4
  2. Nh6 gives away crucial tempo, 42… Kg6 43. Nf5 a3 and pawn is unstoppable.

42… a3 43. Nxe6 Nxe6 44. Qa4 Rdd2!

White was looking for double attack on a3 and Rd1 but black has strong counter-threat 45. Qxa3 Bd6! with next Bc5 and Rh2 mate. Rest of the game goes without comments.

  1. Bc4 Bh2 46. Kh1 Rb1 47. Rf1 a2 48. Bxe6 Kxe6 49. Qxc6 Bd6 50. Qc4 Ke7 51. e5 Bxe5 52. Qc5 Kd7 and white resigned 0-1