Suffocate the Heavies!

Incorporating opening patterns into the Chunky Rook project proves difficult, but I’m going to give it a shot with this pattern from a recent tournament game of mine.

The idea: always consider the breathing space of heavy pieces. We all know that bringing your queen out too early is dangerous because the lady might be chased around (or even hunted down) by minor pieces. But it’s easy to forget that the same goes for rooks: when you see a rook in a cramped position in which your minor pieces are well developed and the pawns near the rooks are hindering the rook or allowing access to your pieces, think about the breathing space of the rook and whether it can be exploited. In this case, the rook at a8 has only two squares to go, allowing an attack with a double threat: gaining the exchange and threatening mate.

The opening: this position arose from a Smith-Morra gambit. The Smith-Morra (or simply “Morra”) is an anti-Sicilian (1. e4 c5 2. d4!? 3. cxd4 c3!? 4. dxc3 Nxc3). Generally, the gambit is not supposed to be uber-sound, but not unsound, either. In other words, it’s perfectly playable until you reach 2000+, at which stage you might want to consider other options.

Be that as it may, the Morra features some interesting attacking ideas, especially if White manages to prevent the Black king from castling. One of the key ideas of the Smith Morra is that three or four of your minor pieces can lead a devastating attack against an uncastled and underdeveloped Black position. Sometimes, the result is mate, and sometimes it’s snatching up a heavy for a minor piece. So when you play the Smith-Morra and exchange queens, consider the attacking potential of your minor pieces against the cramped position: Heavy breathing for the heavies!

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2 Responses to Suffocate the Heavies!

  1. chesstiger says:

    Many moves of white, few for black. The pattern is nice but I wonder how it happens when black and white have the same amount of moves.

  2. chunkyrook says:

    Thanks once again for stopping by and taking the time to comment. The position in the original game was a bit different, and so was the continuation: my opponent defended against the mate with e6 after Bxf7 and lost the exchange in an inferior position. I included the mating idea here because I think it illustrates well the potential of the minor pieces against a cramped position.

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