The Transformation Problem (1)

Students of Marxist economics will know that the transformation of values into prices is one of the central issues of their system (Marx’s proof of how this happens was flawed!). On the chessboard, transforming one type of advantage into another is a key technique, but one which most club players ignore. Perhaps because of a lack of confidence, the typical club player, once he has a certain advantage, will cling onto it for dear life, whereas stronger players will often exchange that advantage for something else entirely. Such transformations are frequently the most effective way to realise an advantage.

In this week’s game, the key position arises after White’s 22nd move. As the diagram shows, the feature which strikes one in the face at once is the backward pawn on c3. However, closer inspection reveals that this is not so easy to attack, as the white bishop on e1 defends it securely. In view of this, Averbakh plays a move which I am sure would not occur to most players. He exchanges on b4, eliminating White’s backward pawn, but opening the c-file, which Black is able to seize at once, and use to penetrate to the 7th rank with his rook. The result is a larger advantage, which he duly converts.

Steve Giddins