White L. Pachman Black C. H. O'D Alexander

Notes by Alexander in "Chess"


RUY LOPEZ


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4

The open form of the Morphy Defence.  in this defence Black plays for a queen's side pawn-advance while White attempts to build up a king's side attack.  For no very good reason the defence was unpopular for many years until revived by Euwe.

6.d4 b5 7.Bb3

If 7.d5 then 7...bxa4 8.dxc6 d6 9.Re1 f5! and unless it is possible for White to exploit immediately the slightly exposed position of the black king (and I do not see how this can be done) Black will gain the upper hand by ...Be7; ...Bd6; ...0-0; followed by advance of the central and king's side pawns.

7...d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3

Necessary to avoid the exchange of his bishop by ...Na5.  this is the end of the first stage of the opening - the next few moves are the transition from the opening to the middle game,  Reviewing the position we see tyhat White has a solid position with his pawn on e5 as the spearhead of a later king's side advance.  he is, however, a little behind in development.  Black has an aggressive but slightly insecure position:  it is, for example, hard to say whether his knight at e4 is an asset or a liability.  His aim is now to straighten out the queen's side pawns as soon as possible and to resist the pressure on his advanced knight as long as he can.

9...Be7

The "thematic" square for the bishop since on c5 it blocks the c-pawn and the only good retreat for the knight. 9...Bc5 is a tactical move, attempting - somewhat in defiance of the strategical demands of the position - to exploit White's backward develoment.  There are two main lines after 9...Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 (1) the Dilworth Variation 11...Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 most simply met by 13.Qe2 fxe5 14.Nb3 Bxf2 15.Qxf2 e4 16.Qe1 Qf6 17.Nfd4 Ne5 18.Be3 and White has a considerable advantage since he can simply blockade the Black pawns with his minor pieces.  (2) the Mackenzie Variation 11...f5 12.Nb3 Bb6 13.Nfd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.cxd4 f4 16.f3 Ng3 17.hxg3 fxg3 18.Qd3 Bf5 19.Qxf5 Rxf5 20.Bxf5 Qh4 21.Bh3 Qxd4 22.Kh1 Qxe5 23.Bd2 and despite Black's extra pawns the rook and two bishops are too strong.  Of course, black need not play this sacrificial line, but close examination of the alternatives will show that if Black plays more cautiously the inherent positional drawbacks to ...Bc5 quickly make themselves felt anf he gets the worse game.  I have given some very long variations here to show readers the lengthy analysis on which the events of a move in the opening may depend.  Should someone improve the Mackenzie Variation, say, or show the queen-v- rook and two bishops position on move 23 is really all right for Black, then 9...Bc5 would become a very formidable line and this in turn may lead to 5.Qe2, or 5.Nc3 being preferred to 5.0-0.

10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Qe2

Forcing Black to make a decision about his knight.

11...Nxd2

The alternative is 11...Nc5 12.Nd4 Nxb3 13.N2xb3 Qd7 14.Nxe6 Qxe6 15.Be3 This would have the advantage of reducing White's attacking chances by the immediate elimination of two minor pieces - on the other hand it also results in Black's queen side advance being held up owing to the White control of c5.

12.Qxd2

If 12.Bxd2 d4 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.cxd4 Nxd4 with good prospects for Black, who can immediately start operations on the queen's side while his isolated king's pawn is only theoretically weak since White cannot get at it.

12...Na5 13.Bc2 Nc4 14.Qd3

If 14.Qd4 f6 with a good game.

14...g6 15.Bh6 Re8

15...Nxb2 16.Qe2 Re8 17.Nd4 Bf8 18.Bxf8 Rxf8 19.f4 c5 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Bxg6 hxg6 22.Qxb2 also leads to a very critical game with equal chances.

16.b3 Na3

Best.  On b6 the knight would be out of play.  Now White cannot satisfactorily avoid the exchange of his bishop since Bd1, will hold up the development of his rooks too much.  The knight is in no danger since it can be supported by ...Qa5 and ...b4.

17.Nd4 Qd7

Not 17...Nxc2? 18.Nc6 Qd7 leaving black hopelessly weak on the black squares.  Black must retain his king bishop.

18.f4 Nxc2 19.Qxc2 c5 20.Nxe6

Not 20.f5 cxd4 21.fxe6 Qxe6 22.cxd4 and wins a piece.

20...fxe6 21.g4

If White delays this move, playing say  first, then Black can play 21...Bf8 22.Bg5 Bg7 holding up the attack indefinitely.

21...c4

Now 21...Bf8 22.Bg5 Bg7 23.Bf6 is less comfortable since if 23...Bxf6 24.exf6 followed by g5.

22.f5

22.b4 d4 23.f5 d3 24.Qg2 Bf8 25.Bxf8 ( 25.f6 Bxh6 26.f7 Qxf7 27.Rxf7 Kxf7 and Black has equal chances at least.)  is rather better for White and should result in a draw.


White: Pachman; Black: Alexander
London, 1947

22...Bc5 23.Kh1 exf5 24.gxf5 Qc6

Slightly better would be 24...Rxe5 25.fxg6 Qc6! (anything else loses) 26.Rf3! Rh5 27.gxh7 Kh8 and black has, I think, a slight advantage.

25.e6

The only move.  If 25.f6 d4 26.Qg2 Qxg2 27.Kxg2 Kf7! and black should win because the White centre pawns are "dead".  If 25.fxg6 d4 etc; and again Black has the better ending.  If 25.Qg2 Re6 again with advantage.

25...d4 26.Qg2 Qxg2 27.Kxg2 gxf5 28.Rxf5

Not 28.Rae1 dxc3 29.Rxf5 Bf8 and Black has the better endgame.

28...Rxe6 29.Rxc5 Rxh6 30.cxd4

1/2-1/2

With so few pawns and two rooks on the board, neither side has any real winning chances.  A game of some theoretical interest.

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