The Second Front (1)

With the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings only recently having passed, it seems an appropriate time to to look at the second front in action on the chessboard. It is a basic rule of thumb of positional play that a single weakness is rarely enough to lose by itself. The key to the winning plan is usually to create and attack a second weakness, so as to stretch the defender’s resources beyond their limit.

This week’s game is a typical example. Exploiting his opponent’s errors in the early middlegame, Epishin establishes a monster passed d-pawn, which he pushes all the way to d7. But by move 29, he seems to have reached an impasse, as Black has managed to blockade the pawn at the last moment, and it is not obvious how White can force its further advance.

Epishin’s solution is very simple. At move 30, he pushes the h-pawn, intending to shove it all the way to h6, setting up mating threats against the black king. The combined task of defending against these threats, as well as maintaining the blockade of the d-pawn, soon proves too much for Black, and he loses in a few moves.

Steve Giddins