Moving on from some Ruy Lopez classics, this time we’ll look at a game in the Queen’s Gambit Declined. I’ve long held that this is a great opening to play for learning positional play as the planning tends to be much clearer than with more modern openings. If you want to learn something it’s good to start with straightforward examples rather than diving into incomprehensible material.
With an opening such as the QGD, old games are indispensable. This is because the theory was largely developed in the early part of the 20th Century by such giants as Rubinstein, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine and Euwe. And Rubinstein in particular developed many new plans and ideas.
Here’s a game in which Rubinstein shows a number of concepts which may mistakenly be associated with more modern times. First of all he plays the ‘trendy’ 5.Bf4, around 50 years before Victor Korchnoi popularized it when he played it against Anatoly Karpov. And then he allows Black to shatter his pawn structure with 11…Nxf4, rightly assessing that the resulting grip on e5 was more than enough compensation: