19. Prophylactic Thinking

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There are a few difficult areas in chess strategy which serve as a line of demarcation between mere good players and masters. One example is the detachment from material which culminates in the art of executing long-term positional sacrifices. Another difficult topic is featured in this game: Prophylactic Thinking. Most individuals, including even experienced tournament players are too much focused on contemplating how to actively unfold their own plans and ideas. I admit, that this task alone sometimes is challenging enough. However, by doing so, they easily lose sight of their
opponents prospects and the respective counter measures. Strong masters by contrast always try to detect their opponent’s plans in order to disable them already in an infant state. They are aware, that apart from its objective value, such a destructive tactic also can have a devastating psychological effect.

[Event "Biel op"] [Site "Biel"] [Date "1989.??.??"] [Round "4"] [White "Wahls, Matthias"] [Black "Pigusov, Evgeny"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B38"] [WhiteElo "2535"] [BlackElo "2560"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "1989.07.??"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "SUI"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1996.11.15"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 {Diagram [#] The
Maroczy Bind is the best reply to the Accelerated Fianchetto. White's space
advantage will be undisputed for a very long time.} Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O
8. Be2 b6 {The main move is 8...d6.} 9. O-O Bb7 {Diagram [#]} 10. Nxc6 {
An interesting side line. Black already has to make a fundamental decision.} (
10. f3) 10... dxc6 $2 {This leaves White with a comfortable space advantage.
Black's position is practically void of any winning potential.} (10... Bxc6 11.
f3 $14) 11. e5 Nd7 (11... Ne8 12. f4 Nc7 13. Qa4 Ne6 14. Rad1 Qc7 15. Bg4 {
does also not solve Black's problems.}) 12. f4 Qc7 (12... f6 13. e6 Nc5 14. f5
gxf5 15. Bxc5 bxc5 16. Qc2 $16) (12... f5 13. c5 $16 {Smikovski,I (2545)-Kron,
V (2430) Moscow 1996}) (12... Re8 13. Qc2 f5 14. Rad1 Qc7 15. Rd3 (15. g4 {
Neubauer,M (2417)-Certek,P (2275) Vienna 2003}) 15... Rad8 16. Rfd1 Nf8 17. c5
b5 18. Qb3+ Kh8 19. Bf3 $16) 13. Qc2 Rfe8 $2 {Diagramm [#] The deficiency of
this move will show in the course of the game. If you look at the
alternatives, it becomes clear how difficult to play Black's position is. Only
one move is able to keep White's advantage in reasonable proportions.} (13...
e6 $2 {Creating an ugly weakness on d6.} 14. Rad1 f6 15. Bg4 $1 Rfe8 $2 (15...
Rae8) 16. Rd6 Nf8 $2 (16... f5 17. Rfd1 Nf8 18. Bf3 $16) 17. exf6 $1 Qxd6 18.
fxg7 Kxg7 19. Ne4 $18 Qc7 20. Qc3+ e5 21. fxe5 Rxe5 22. Bd4 Rae8 23. c5 h5 24.
Nd6 {1-0 (24) Sunye Neto,J (2470)-Sion Castro,M (2365) Salamanca 1990}) (13...
Rfd8 $2 14. h4 $1 {Executing my game plan.} f6 15. h5 Nf8 16. hxg6 hxg6 17. c5 bxc5
18. Bc4+ (18. Bxc5 Bc8 $16 {Umudova,N (2239)-Kaya,E (1946) Ankara 2010}) 18...
e6 19. exf6 Bxf6 20. f5 Bd4 21. Bxd4 cxd4 22. fxe6 $18) (13... Rad8 $1 {
The king's rook has to be left on f8, in order to counter my plan.} 14. Rad1 (
14. h4 $2 f6 15. h5 $2 fxe5 16. hxg6 exf4 {That's the point. With the rook on
f8, this pawn is defended now.}) (14. Bf3 Nc5 15. Rad1 Rxd1 16. Rxd1 Rd8 17.
Bxc5 bxc5 18. Ne4 Bc8 $14) 14... Rfe8 $6 (14... Nc5 $14) 15. Bf3 (15. Qa4)
15... f6 16. Bf2 $1 {The idea is either 17.e6 Nf8 17.f5 or 17.exf6 exf6 18.Ne4
Nf8 19.f5.} (16. exf6 exf6 $11 {Spassov,L (2379)-Petrov,M (2534) Sunny Beach
2011}) (16. e6 Nf8 17. f5 Qe5) 16... fxe5 17. f5 $16) 14. h4 $1 {Diagram [#] The key move. With his last move, Black clearly revealed his plan: 14...Nf8
followed by f6, in order to eliminate the annoying pawn on e5. It is this
standard method my pawn thrust is directed against. A good example of
prophylactic thinking.} (14. Rad1 $14 {Ghitescu,T (2425)-Kouatly,B (2435)
Bagneux 1982}) 14... Nf8 15. h5 f6 $2 {Black stubbornly carries out the plan I
just prevented. The only explanation can be an oversight. Maybe he overlooked
17.c5. Also after more prudent action, Black's life isn't easy:} (15... Rad8
16. hxg6 hxg6 17. c5 b5 (17... Ne6 18. Bc4 Bc8 19. cxb6 axb6 20. a4 $16) 18.
Bf3 {with clear advantage, e.g.} Bc8 (18... a5 19. Qe4 (19. Ne2 $6 Ne6) 19... f5
$6 20. Qc2 Ne6 21. Ne2 Bc8 22. g4 fxg4 23. Be4 $16) 19. Qe4 Bd7 20. a4 b4 (
20... a6 21. axb5 axb5 22. Ra6 $16) 21. Qxb4 Rb8 22. Qc4 $1 Rxb2 (22... a5 23.
Qe2 Rb4 24. Rad1) 23. Nb5 $1 Qa5 (23... cxb5 24. Qc3 $18) 24. Qc1 Rb3 25. Nd4
Rc3 (25... Rb7 26. Nxc6) 26. Qd2 Rxc5 27. Qxa5 Rxa5 28. Nb3 $18) 16. hxg6 hxg6
(16... Nxg6 17. Bh5 fxe5 18. f5 Nf4 19. Bxe8 Rxe8 20. g3 Nh5 21. Qg2 Rf8 22.
Rad1 $18) 17. c5 $1 {Diagram [#]}$18 {[%cal Rc2b3,Rb3g8] After opening up the diagonal
a2-g8, Black's position soon collapses. His pieces are passive and his king is
exposed. That's the opposite of how one could describe my position.} b5 (17...
fxe5 18. cxb6 axb6 19. Nd5 Qb8 20. Nxb6 $18 exf4 21. Rxf4 Qe5 22. Bc4+ e6 23.
Re4 Qxb2 24. Qxb2 Bxb2 25. Rb1 Ba3 26. Nxa8 Bxa8 27. Rb3 Bd6 28. Bh6 {1-0 (28)
Ninov,N (2528)-Lerch,P (2339) France 2009}) (17... e6 18. Ne4 fxe5 19. Nd6 exf4
20. Rxf4 Re7 21. Raf1 Rd8 22. Bc4 Rxd6 23. Rxf8+) 18. Qb3+ e6 (18... Kh8 19.
Qf7 $1 $18 {[%cal Rg1f2,Rf1h1]}) 19. exf6 Bxf6 20. Ne4 Qg7 (20... Bg7 21. f5
gxf5 22. Rxf5 a5 23. Nf6+ Bxf6 24. Rxf6 $18) 21. f5 $1 {Diagram [#]} {It's all straight
forward.} Red8 (21... a5 22. Nxf6+ Qxf6 23. fxg6 Qxg6 24. Rf4 $18) 22. fxe6 Be7
23. Nd6 Bc8 (23... Bxd6 24. e7+ Kh8 25. cxd6 $18) 24. Bg4 Qe5 25. Nf7 Qe4 26.
Nh6+ {Diagram [#]} {[%cal Gb3c3,Gf1f7] The next move will be either Qc3 or Rf7, depending on
the square Black chooses for his king.} 1-0

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