15 September 2011

Spassky on Hanging Pawns

In my previous post, 'This Pawn Is Garbage', I mentioned Spassky's annotations in the tournament book of the Second Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966, almost the only written notes I have ever seen by Spassky. A great example of his objective thinking is in a note to the first game in the book, against Petrosian, their 'first meeting after the [1966] championship match', a match which Spassky lost. Referring to the position in the diagram, Spassky wrote,

The so-called 'hanging Pawns' position was created. The shortcoming of hanging Pawns is that they present a convenient target for attack. As the exchange of men proceeds, their potential strength lessens and during the endgame they turn out, as a rule, to be weak.

That constitutes the general thinking on hanging Pawns, which experienced players learn early in their chess careers.

1966 Santa Monica
Spassky, Boris

Petrosian, Tigran
After 16...b6-c5(xP)

Spassky takes it further, noting the positive side of the Pawns, which many experienced players might not know.

The power of hanging Pawns is based precisely in their mobility, in their ability to create acute situations instantly. It should be kept in mind that the semi-open files b- and e- are a component of these hanging Pawns, which frequently serve as an excellent springboard for the development of aggressive play on the part of Black.

But generalities aren't sufficient. Along with the hanging Pawns, there are other pieces on the board that require particular attention.

In the situation at hand, there is an essential shortcoming in Black's position. The Bishop is unsatisfactorily placed on b7 and Black is unable to take advantage of the b-file. Thus, the basic failing in Black's formation lies in its passiveness. Of course, White is here in a position to begin a systematic siege of Black's center.

Spassky's emphasis on activity also came through on the Garbage post. To play though the complete game, see...

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Boris Spassky; Santa Monica (01) 1966

...on Chessgames.com.

1 comment:

Mark Weeks said...

Received an email:-

Subject: Spassky Annotation 1974
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 2:14 AM

I have an old copy of Chess Life and Review, May 1974, where Spassky analyzes the Karpov-Polugaevsky Candidates match.