25 August 2012

Annotated Game #60: Hung by Hanging Pawns

This third-round tournament game features an unusually quick rout of my English Opening, with the game effectively over after 20 moves.  Black chooses to enter a Queen's Indian Defense setup and White fails to take into account the specific requirements of the developing position, instead playing his own opening setup by rote (for example on move 7).  White continues to make developmental mistakes, including prematurely moving and misplacing his queen on move 9, where it will later become a liability.

Strategically, the decision to go for a hanging pawns structure (with Black pawns on c5 and d5 as occurred in the game) was an interesting one by White, but probably not the best choice.  Hanging pawns that are that well-protected from the start will be difficult to attack and White was not developed well enough to target his pieces against them.  Black's use of the hanging pawns to subsequently dominate the center and pressure White is instructive, as are some of White's other erroneous choices (such as 16. h4) which eventually lead to his downfall.

That particular error is worth noting, as earlier this week while reviewing Bronstein's Zurich 1953 tournament book, I found in his annotations a criticism of a similar type of h-pawn move.  Bronstein made the useful point that these types of moves should only ever be played when no alternative exists; here, White had the alternative of simply retreating the knight to avoid Black's tactical threat.  I enjoy finding these types of examples in my own analysis which reinforce master-level guidance, as it helps my ability to identify and eliminate errors.  This is also a good illustration of how analyzing your own games and studying master-level annotated games can generate a real synergy in your training.

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