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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Classic Lunge of the Isolated d-Pawn

     One of my favorite P-structures is the isolated d-Pawn and the best book on the subject I ever read was GM Alex Baburin's tome, Winning Pawn Structures which has more instructions on how to play this position than you will ever want to know. I see on Amazon that there are 17 used books available from $70.95, 4 new from $169.80 and one collectable from $142.84. Seriously, who is going to be foolish enough to pay that kind of money for a book published in 2004? True, it's the best book ever on the subject of isolated d-Pawn formations, but the price is ridiculous! 
     Knowing how to play the Isolated d-Pawn formation is important because it can arise from the Queen's Gambit Accepted and Declined), the Reti Opening, French Defense, the Caro-Kann or many others and either side can end up with one. Many players will avoid the isolated d-Pawn, especially if they have ever read Nimzovich's My System, but this is wrong because these positions are very dynamic and offer good attacking chances.

The basic ideas are:
1) Avoid simplification 
2) Position your pieces to support the advance of the P to d5 
3) Occupy e5 with a N and attack on the K-side or occupy c5 and operate on the c-file 

1) Prevent the advance of the d-Pawn. This is usually best done by posting a N (or in rare cases a B) on d5 
2) Post pieces to force white to defend the P. For example a N on c6 and a B on f6. 
3) Try to simplify and reach an ending 

     The following instructive game played in the West European Zonal tournament demonstrates these principles. The tournament was won by O'Kelly in the last round when he defeated Charles Doerner of Luxemburg while Pachman lost to the Bulgarian Alexander Cvetkov. The final standing were: 

1) O'Kelly 10.5 
2-3) Pachman and Trifunovic 9.5 
4) van Scheltinga 9.0 
5-6) Alexander and Szabo 7.5 
7-8) Blau and Rossolimo 6.5 
9) Castaldi 6.0 
10) Cvetkov 5.5 
11) Foerder 5.5 
12) Plater 4.5 
13) Doerner 3.0 
14) O'Sullivan 0.0 (!) 

     Originally, Tartakower was supposed to represent France but he couldn’t come and the Scottish champion Combe canceled. A Romanian player didn’t show up. 

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