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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Boleslavsky’s Hole

     Backward Pawns and holes are bad except when they’re not. What about when black plays ...e5 in the Sicilian leaving his d-Pawn backward and a hole on d5? The idea is that black wants to:

1) obtain superiority in the center by controlling d4 and f4 and prevent white from occupying d4 
2) build a solid center and prevent white from playing ...e5 
3) prepare quick development with moves like ...Be7 and Be6 and, at the same time, control d5 
4) often black will be able to play ...d5 after which he will have a clear superiority in the center 

      If white is to prevent this he must generally occupy d5 with a N and after black exchanges on d5 and white retakes with the e-Pawn the result will be black has a superiority on the K-side. Finally, the move ...e5 considerably reduces white’s attacking prospects on the K-side which allows black better chances of carrying out his plans on the Q-side. 
     For black, the Q-side operations mean that the c-file is of great importance. Oddly, black’s play on the c-file is often of greater effect than white’s against the backward P on the d-file; that’ because black’s d-Pawn is well protected by the B on e7. 
     The short version is that playing ...e5 gives black active piece play that outweighs the weakness of the backward Pawn. 
     The following model game was played at the Gothenburg Interzonal in 1955. The top nine players qualified for the Amsterdam Candidates tournament in 1956. Samuel Reshevsky and Larry Evans qualified, but withdrew, opting to play in the US Open instead. 
     Of particular theoretical note was that the 14th round saw three unsuccessful tries of a novelty in the Sicilian by players from Argentina against their Soviet opponents. 
     The case of the brilliant Yugoslav player Andrija Fuderer was also significant. After 12 rounds Fuderer’s score was 7.5-3.5 with one bye. But in the remaining rounds he totally collapsed and scored only 1.5-7.5. He lost to Szabo, Donner, Keres, Geller, Bronstein, and Pachman, drawing with Petrosian, Spassky and Ilivitzky. After this tournament Fuderer left chess for a University career.



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