A Textbook on the Open File

When I lived in Moscow, one of the strongest local masters in the city was Evgeny Dragomaretsky, whose games I frequently witnessed in tournaments held in the Central Chess Club. His excellent technical command, allied to first-rate tactical awareness, made his games very instructive. The following is a favourite example, a veritable textbook on the seizure and exploitation of the open file.

Starting at move 19, White commences a standard manoeuvre to triple on the open d-file, and thereby seize control of it. Having done so, he soon finds Black has covered all the entry squares, so he then moves to a classic kingside pawn advance, to drive away a key defender and create targets. The climax comes with the pawn sacrifice 32.g6!, which undermines Black’s entire kingside pawn structure and sets up targets along the 6th rank. The rook then penetrates along the open d-file, to pick up material.

The whole game is a classic example of the theme of the open file, and a careful study of it will teach you more than any half-dozen opening books in existence.

Steve Giddins