Pawn Imbalances – What Capablanca Would Aim For

Time is short for most of us. So when I go through my games with Nigel one key thing in my mind is to get clear on where I first go wrong.

It won’t usually be a blunder but rather an error in the opening or early middlegame that I can improve on next time.

In this game played in the Yorkshire Woodhouse Cup it was move 8 (8…a6 rather than 8…c5).

c5 is the most common pawn lever in the French and I should have played it. However, I was worried about White playing Bb5 and simplifications. I asked Nigel to give me a sample variation to understand how the game might unfold. He did this in the variation starting 8…c5 and talked about what Capablanca would be interested in. I have got out Chess Fundamentals and found it very good. I have played the resulting position against an engine.

The game is an good illustration of my lack of positional understanding and I should have grabbed White’s hand when he offered me a draw on move 32!

Dan Staples

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