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Ludek Pachman vs Laszlo Szabo
Hilversum Zonal (1947), Hilversum NED, rd 12, Jul-29
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern Variation. Normal Line (D55)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-26-10  JG27Pyth: 9...f5 "f5? Here NxN was necessary. After the text-move the greater activity of the White Knights is apparent. In this case, such a lasting positional factor is more important than Black's purely tactical prospects on the King-side." -- Pachman
Apr-23-14  Sourav: Pachman, in his book 'Modern Chess Strategy', writes that 9...f5 is a mistake and that black should have exchanged Knights. But, black could have exchanged Knights in the subsequent moves also. The pawn push 9...f5 is not preventing that. Then, how is 9...f5 a bad move?
Apr-23-14  Sourav: Why does black play 18...ed5 instead of 18...cd5? Capturing with the e pawn allows white to have a passed pawn, which proves decisive later. Capturing with the c pawn will prevent this from happening.
Apr-23-14  Sourav: Why did white play 11.a3? What is the purpose of this move?
Apr-25-14  Sourav: I think I have found the answer to my first question above. The move 9...f5 is bad because it creates a hole on e5. White later exploits this on move 12. Is my analysis correct?
Jan-09-18  Sourav: Can someone please answer my questions?
Jan-10-18  Retireborn: <Sourav> I'm sorry you've had to wait nearly four years for a reply.

I would say that 9...f5 is not such a bad move in itself, but it starts a plan (...Rf6-h6, ...Ng5-h3) which leaves Black overstretched, with no real dynamic play on the K-side and difficulty in defending the Q-side if White should get an attack going there.

Even so he might have been OK if he'd left out the move 17...g5, which really is weakening.

11.a3 does not serve any special purpose. It is just a waiting move that invites Black to get on with his "attack".

Your comment about 18...exd5 is entirely correct. Probably Szabo was hoping to somehow include ...Bd7 in his "attack", but it never happens.

Feb-04-18  Sourav: Thank you <Retireborn>!
Apr-20-18  ModRQC: <Sourav>
I don't know if I tagged correctly, just subscribed here to answer this post, don't know how it works but I hope you'll get to read this.

I absolutely do not wish to go against the great answer provided by Retireborn, but about 18...exd5 instead of 18...cxd5
I have this bit to offer: Pachman in his book indeed looks at this game to provide insight about Knights needing strong bases of operation. If you look at the position after 18...cxd5, well I agree with you that it prevents the passed pawn; however it also provides a move which is 19.Nb5 (or perhaps played later in the game) with the idea of putting that Knight on a DEADLY base of operation that is d6!! Black was already losing control of the position because White's Knights were much better off already, and I'm quite sure that... Nc3-b5-d6 was the last thing he wanted to see happen.

Hope this might bring some insight to you!

Apr-20-18  Retireborn: "I absolutely do not wish to go against the great answer provided by Retireborn"

I should chuffing well hope not. Outrageous cheek. The very idea!


Apr-21-18  NBZ: <ModRQC>: I have seen the move 18. ... exd5 being played in similar positions coming out of the Stonewall Dutch. They key difference there is that the white pawn on e5 is on d4 and there is a black knight on e4, and so exd5 makes sense both to free up the bishop and open up a half-open e-file for Black. With the White pawn on e5 and the Black knight far from e4, exd5 makes less sense here, though cxd5 has the Nb5 problem.
May-12-18  Sourav: <ModRQC> Many thanks for the insight! And a nice remark on <Retireborn>!!
May-12-18  Sourav: <Retireborn> I do not think that 11.a3 is without purpose.

I have a feeling, but I have been unable to prove it so far, that White was preventing the Black Queen from landing on b4. But, then I ask myself, if Qb4 is such a nice move, then why didn't play 10...Qb4?

Do you think that you, or other members on this site, can shed some light?


Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: From Pachman in "Meine 100 besten Partien und meine Probleme" (Düsseldorf, 1978):

Comment on 9.. f5: <? Nach ♘xc3 10.♖xc3 dc 11. ♗xc4 ♘d7 12. 0-0 e5 entsteht die Grundposition der "Orthodoxen Verteidigung". Mit dem Zug h6 wäre sie für Schwarz deutlich günstiger - deshalb ist nach 6.. h6 7. ♗h4 ♘e4 8. ♗xe7 ♕xe7 der Zug 9.♖c1 nicht sehr beliebt.

Der Textzug schwächt jedoch auf die Dauer das Feld e5, es wird bald eine für Weiß strategisch sehr günstige Position entstehen. Dies alles war natürlich vor 30 Jahren nicht so gut bekannt wie heutzutage.>

Comment on 11. a3: <Weiß bereitet in aller Ruhe eine Aktion am Damenflügel vor, und Schwarz hat keine andere aktive Möglichkeit, als einen Rochadeangriff zu versuchen - dies wird jedoch seine Stellung weiter kompromittieren.>

May-12-18  SChesshevsky: One view of Szabo's was maybe 18...exd5 keeps the c-file closed and allows him to try to at least get some counter play going on the king side. Makes sense with the black pieces kind of stuck on the h-file.

Given that awkward rook and knight, Szabo might not have wanted to open the c-file figuring it might be tough to have to end up passively defending over there while also trying to get the off side pieces sorted.

May-17-18  Retireborn: <Sourav> Sorry, only just seen your comment.

I wouldn't expect Pachman to worry about ...Qb4, which is not a thematic or usual move in a Stonewall set up (or is it? Examples welcomed!) and the quotation from <Telemus> is probably closer to the mark, although I cannot see what realistic Aktion on the Q-side he was hoping for.

May-27-18  Sourav: <Retireborn> and <Telemus>, thank you for your responses. I agree that a3 does not really seem to serve any purpose. I will do further research and see if I can come up with a convincing answer. Also, I am prepared to realize that the move might not serve any purpose at all.
May-27-18  SpamIAm: <Sourav>, the strategy employed here by Pachman also is a great example of knowing your opponent. Szabo was a very tactical player, even with black, and here he is goaded into some bad moves.
May-27-18  zanzibar:

click for larger view

In <MillBase> there are forty games matching this position. Here's the tree window:


Move ECO Frequency Score AvElo Perf AvYear %Draws
1: Nd2 9: 22.5% 61.1% 2409 1977 56%
2: a3 7: 17.5% 78.5% 2472 1981 14%
3: Ne2 5: 12.5% 90.0% 2544 2003 20%
4: Qc2 5: 12.5% 70.0% 2497 1990 20%
5: Qe2 5: 12.5% 80.0% 2485 1957 40%
6: Ne5 4: 10.0% 50.0% 2250 1962 0%
7: Qb3 3: 7.5% 50.0% 2649 1946 33%
8: Rc2 1: 2.5% 50.0% 2455 1989 100%
9: cxd5 1: 2.5% 0.0% 1988 0%
TOTAL: 40:100.0% 67.5% 2479 2368 1977 30%


So, for a move without a purpose, 11.a3 sure gets played alot (and its scoring isn't so bad either)

Jul-19-18  henlima2: If 19...cxd5 maybe 20.Ne2 heading to the d4 outpost, isnt white supposed to be much better here? the knight completely crushes the bad bishop on this position

About 11.a3, I think white wants to grab some space on the queenside, wherelse would he focus his play? 11.Nd2 sounds reasonable either, but i dont see real reason for it to be better than a3.

May-11-20  RookFile: The basic problem with black's 9...f5 is he is trying to play a Dutch Defense without a dark squared bishop. His lack of dark square control is a major positional weakness.

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