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On Carlsen blowing up the foundations

AnalysisStrategyTacticsChess
If we wish to undermine a building, we do not of course begin with the architectural ornaments, rather we should blow up the foundation.

"The ornaments will then be dispatched automatically."

No, it is not Tyler Durden instructing the Fight Club squad on explosion techniques. Instead, it's good old Aron Nimzowitsch explaining an attack against the pawn chain.

The Story

Here is the position that occurred in the 4th round of the Norway Chess 2021 in the game between Carlsen and Nepo:

https://lichess.org/study/DOBXjbdE/raLT3lec

White made significant progress on the queenside. Their heavy pieces control the only open file in the position; the rook has already invaded the 7th rank. White has a spatial advantage and a pair of bishops. The latter should fortify the attack against Black's light-squared pawn chain since the rival of White's light-squared bishop is nowhere to be seen:

https://lichess.org/study/DOBXjbdE/ZuIwUWpw#41

As if the queenside was not enough, Carlsen finished the game with the explosion on the kingside, logically completing the modern demonstration of the classic principle:

https://lichess.org/study/DOBXjbdE/VAZkD6tt#69

One last time:

"If we wish to undermine a building, we do not of course begin with the architectural ornaments, rather we should blow up the foundation. The ornaments will then be dispatched automatically."

Aron Nimzowitsch, My System

Take-aways

  • Know your classics.
  • Pawn chain? Attack the base - it's almost always the most promising strategy.
  • Don't forget about the base of your end of the chain - keep it as safe as possible.
  • Even strategic decisions should involve proper calculation.
  • Bishop absent? All the squares of its color are potentially vulnerable - like the light-squared complex in the game above.

PS.

Every chess position tells a story, even though the language it's using may often feel somewhat hard to grasp. Good news: the more stories one explores, the clearer the language of chess sounds. Hopefully, this one slightly improved your chess comprehension.

Thanks for listening ;)

Reconnecting