Pawns are far from pushovers

Pawns might the smallest unit on a chess board but their value must never be underestimated. They keep on plugging, trying to make inroads into the enemy territory, weakening the defence and opening up the gates for his own pieces to infiltrate.

In the game which follows, the pawn thrust ‘e5’ in the middle-game is decisive as it rattles black’s forces and thereafter black is unable to get the correct defence and ends up on the losing side after a few inaccuracies.

White:Hulak Krunoslav (2545) – Black: Zlatko Ilincic (2520)
European Club Cup, 1996
King’s Indian Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 Nbd7
Black has a choice of playing 6. ..Na6 or 6. ..Nc6
7.0–0 e5
Black could have considered 7. ..c5
8.e4 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.h3
Here 10. Be3 appears better
10. ..Nc5 11.Re1 h6 12.Rb1
White can also play 12.Nb3
12. ..Bd7 13.f4
A move which makes White’s aggressive instincts clear
13. .. a5. If 13...Nfxe4 14.Bxe4 And if 14.Rxe4 Nxe4 15.Nxe4
14.Kh2. If 14.b3 c6 15.Kh2 Qc7 16.Rb2 Rad8 17.Rbe2 Bc8 18.Bb2 Qb6
14...Kh7 15.b3 c6 16.Ba3 Qb6
If 16...Qc7 17.Qd2 (17.e5 dxe5 18.Bxc5 exd4 19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.Bxd4)
17.Nc2 Rad8 18.Qd2
If 18.Qxd6 Ncxe4 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.Rxe4 Rxe4 21.Bxe4 Qf2+ 22.Kh1 Bf5–
18...Be6 19.Re3 Qa7
Worth a look is19...Qc7
20.Qe2 h5
If 20...a4 21.Bxc5 Qxc5 22.Nxa4
21.Rf1 Bh6 22.Bb2 Ncd7
If 22...a4 23.Nxa4 Nxa4 24.Bxf6
23.Kh1. White could have tried to shift the knight to the kingside with 23.Nd1 Bg4  24.hxg4 Nxg4+  25.Kh3 Nxe3
23. ..Re7. If 23...h4 24.g4 And if 23...Nc5 24.Nb5 cxb5 25.Bxf6 Rc8 26.cxb5 And if  23...Bg7 24.f5
24.Qd1 Ne8 25.Re2 Nc5 26.Nd4
White had an interesting move in 26.Nd5 cxd5  27.exd5 or even tried to break through on the kingside with 26.f5 Bc8  27.Qd4 Bg7
26. ..Bc8 27.Rd2
White can play 27.f5
27. ..Bd7. If 27...Bg7 28.Re1
28.Qc2 Na6. The Queen can try to get back into the game with 28. ..Qb8. If 28...b6 29.a3, and if 28...Bc8 29.Nf3 Kg8 30.Re1
29.Nf3 Kg8 30.Qd1 Nc5 31.Re1
If 31.e5 dxe5 32.Nxe5 Rxe5 33.fxe5 Bxd2 34.Qxd2 Ne6 35.Ne4
31...Rc8 32.Ba3 b6
Diagram 1
33.e5! A pawn break in the centre which weakens Black’s defence
33. ..dxe5 34.Nxe5 Nf6. If 34....Bg7 35.Na4 Bxe5 36.Nxc5 bxc5 37.Rxe5 Rxe5 38.fxe5 Be6 39.Qg1
35.Na4 h4 36.Rd6 Re6
A mistake! He can offer better resistance with 36. ..Bg7. If 36...Nxa4 37.bxa4 Nh5 38.Rxd7
37.Nxc5 bxc5 38.Nxd7 Rxe1+
If 38...Rxd6 39.Qxd6 Nxd7 40.Re7 Rc7 41.Re8+ Bf8 (41...Kh7 42.Qe7 Nf8 43.Qxh4) 42.Bxc5 Qxc5 43.Qxc7
39.Qxe1 Nxd7 40.Qe7 Rc7 41.Qxh4 Bf8. If 41...Bg7 42.Bxc6 Nf8 43.Qd8
42.Bb2. White is attacking relentlessly and setting up checkmating traps
42...Bg7. If 42...f6 43.Rxc6
43.Bxg7 Kxg7 44.f5! Qb8. After long hibernation, the queen moves but it is too late! If 44...gxf5 45.Rh6
45.fxg6 Nf8. If 45...fxg6 46.Qe7+ Kh6 47.Rxg6+ Kxg6 48.Be4+ Kh6 49.Qh7+ Kg5 50.Qh4 checkmate
46.Qf6+ Kg8 47.Rd8
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Qxh5+ Kxh5 2.Rh8+ Kg6 3.h5 checkmate
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