White to move.
Black just started an attack with a6 b5. He reackons that white is going to play g4 and that the course of the game is going to be a mutual pawnstorm and that he who works fast will have the most chances. But Nimzowitsch is thinking along other lines. His comments are rather meagre, yet this is a very importantant position for understanding positional play. Why isn't the plan of black working? Let me see what I can find.
At first sight the position looks pretty equal. And possibly it is. Rybka agrees with that assesment. What isn't equal is the aggressive plan of black. That plan isn't justified by the position. White is better represented in the center. That gives trouble to the supply lines to blacks front. Yet it is amazing how fast the attack bleeds to death after 1.Nd5.
That is an invasion in the sense that it is not easy to drive the overprotected knight away. From d5 it disturbs the communicationlines to the front. The fact that the knight is overprotected makes that black can't trade the problem away. Let's see how that works here. The game continued as follows:
1.Nd5 Nxd5 2.exd5 Nxd4 3.Bxd4
Of this position Nimzowitsch says:
White has the better of it. He has a centralized position which cannot possibly taken away from him by, for example 3. ... Bf6 14.f4 Re8 15. Bf3 Black has a disorganized queenside which exposes weaknesses for the endgame. See diagram below.
Black to move.
What to make of that? If there weren't computers, I had believed him on his word. But Rybka scores the positition even. Which of the following scenario's is true:
- Rybka is wrong. It looked 22 ply ahead, but the advantage lies beyond its horizon. The c-pawn cannot move without making d6 weak. That's not revealed by the evaluationprogram of Rybka.
- Nimzowitsch is wrong. Only the fact that his opponent is an attacking player who knows little about the endgame will make that he wins this position anytime.