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Monday, June 13, 2016

A Lesson on Control of the Center

     C.J.S. Purdy of Australia won the first World Correspondence title from 1950 to 1953, but it was so much work that he declined to defend his title again. The final results were: 

     The idea of a Correspondence Championship was first considered in Berlin in 1928 with Alekhine being one of the main advocates. It wasn't until 1938 that the idea finally became a reality, but things struck a snag in the form of the outbreak of World War II. Finally, in 1947 the preliminaries for the Championship started. There were 78 participants from 22 countries in 11 preliminary groups. This lead to a Final Tournament of 15 players. Play for this final commenced on May 1st 1950 with the tournament finishing on March 31st 1953. 
     At the start of the event Napolitano and Adam were the favorites. Mario Napolitano (10 February 1910, Acquaviva delle Fonti – 31 October 1995, Florence) was an Italian master. At the beginning of his career, Napolitano took 5th place in Venice in 1928. Then, he won at Milan 1934. He was a participant in many Italian championships and local tournaments around the World War II years with some success, but he is best known as a leading correspondence player of the 1940s and 1950s. In 1953 he finished 2nd-3rd with Harald Malmgren, behind Cecil Purdy, in the 1st World Correspondence Chess Championship. He took 7th in the 2nd WCC (1956-1959), and 5th in the 3rd WCC (1959-1962). He was as International Correspondence Grandmaster. 
     Dr. Edmund Adam was born in Sonneberg on May 18, 1894, died in Frankfurt am Main on January 19, 1958 at the age of 68. He was president of the German Correspondence Chess Association from 1946 to 1956. Dr. Adam won the last correspondence championship of Europe prior to World War II. 
    Pawn centers...we all learned early on that we should try and establish one. But later we learned s little about Hypermodern chess that taught control of the center is more important than occupying it. So, when is a P-center strong? When is it weak?. 
   Way back in 1913 in Wiener Schachzeitung, Nimzovich wrote that control of the center does not depend on mere occupation, but rather on one's general effectiveness there. Exactly how does one measure the "effectiveness" of one's control of the center? I am not sure there is a simple answer. Maybe learning by example is a good way to learn how to judge when a P-center is strong and when it is weak. 
     The following game between Napolitano and Adam is an instructive example on the center. White quickly gains space by occupying the center and hopes to cramp his opponent with the advance of his d-Pawn, but Adam blockades the center and launches a counterattack against it and before you know it, white's position is hopeless.

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