The Transformation Problem (2)

This week, we continue our discussion of the topic of transforming one type of positional advantage into another.
In the diagram below, I suspect 99% of players would play 30.f5, leaving Black with his backward d6-pawn. However, Black’s position would be extremely hard to break down in that case, as he has only one weakness.
Instead, Karpov exchanged pawns on e5, which at first sight, looks crazy, as it eliminates Black’s most obvious weakness. However, the resulting position leaves White with a queenside pawn majority, which immediately produces a passed pawn, plus control of the open d-file and potential pressure against e5 and down the f-file. The combination of these various weaknesses eventually induce the serious weakening f7-f6, and by combining threats against the black king with the advance of the passed c-pawn, Karpov is able finally to break his opponent’s stubborn resistance.

Steve Giddins