A position came up during a session with a young student in which I wanted to illustrate to him the power of gambits, because he has a materialist bent and likes to snatch Pawns.
While showing him a gambit, we happened to reach one of those positions in which Black has a Pawn on d5 and White has a Pawn on e5, but Black’s light-squared Bishop is no longer covering e6, and therefore White has the opportunity to push the Pawn all the way to e6. The point is that Black’s dark-squared Bishop is shut in and therefore White can work to develop quickly and launch an attack with, in essence, an extra piece.
I first saw this theme in my youth in the famous game Spielmann-Landau, 1933. It has popped up again and again (often in the Caro-Kann) and I was pleased that the theme came up spontaneously in an even easier context for him to understand.
My little demo
We were just knocking around pieces when I was showing him gambits when an opportunity to get a Pawn to e6, even without a sacrifice, turned up. I had him play Black while I knocked out moves as White: not necessarily the best moves at all, but moves that I felt would illustrate certain themes well for his level of play:
- The cramping power of the Pawn on e6.
- The value of quick development even at the cost of a further sacrifice.
- A final sacrifice to break through for mate.
Just as the games of Paul Morphy and Adolf Anderssen were instructional and inspirational to me when I was young, I thought an improvisational creation together of something in their spirit would intrigue him and stick in his mind. I made sure to point out that in this game, he might as well not have had the King Bishop and King Rook on the board.
The Spielmann-Landau 1933 game