It is axiom often taught to beginners: Passed pawns must be pushed. In this game, White is able to force through his d pawn and when it arrives at the 7th rank, Black is basically left helpless.
Markus Ragger is a talented Autrian grandmaster who has flirted with the magic rating threshold of 2700. In this game, he gets into a theoretical duel with the female half of the Polish Socko grandmasters (Bartosz and Monika). The result is an interesting game and an instructive example of the power of a passed pawn.
Ragger, M. vs. Socko, M.
Graz Open A 2016 |Graz AUT |Round 8.5 |18 Feb 2016 |ECO: D85 |1-0
1. Nf3Nf62. c4g63. Nc3d54. cxd5Nxd55. e4Nxc36. bxc3Bg77. d4c58. Rb1By an unusual move order, the players have reached one of the Grunfeld's main tabiyas. 8... O-O9. Be2b6This has always struck me as a bit passive
( 9... cxd4I have
played both this and Nc6 in this position before )
( 9... Nc6 )
10. O-OBb711. Qd3Qc712. Bg5Nc613. d5!?Very direct. White did not need to rush with
this move, but it might be strong nonetheless 13... Ne514. Nxe5!?
( 14. Qe3Looks
more natural to me )
14... Qxe515. f4Qxc316. Bxe7And now the fun begins! 16... Rfe817. d6Qd4+18. Qxd4Bxd4+19. Kh1At this point, the players begin to exchange
one blow after another. But ultimately, the pawn on d6 will carry the day. 19... Bxe420. Bb5Reb8?!
( 20... Red8!This looks stronger to me.
If Black could win the d6 pawn for just an exchange, she would be doing very well 21. Rbe1f522. Bxd8Rxd823. d7Kf7I would prefer Black's position -- a6 will
come and d7 will fall )
21. Rbe1Bd522. d7a623. Bd6!It's possible Black
missed this move when she played Rbe8 23... Be6
( 23... axb5Fails to: 24. Bxb8Rxb825. Re8+Winning )
24. Bc6Bf625. g4!White pays no heed
to the rook on a8 and instead goes about opening the kingside for his rooks
and aims to dislodge the bishop on e6.
( 25. f5Was even stronger, but Ragger's move is
quite sufficient )
25... Rd8Now f5 would fail, but... 26. g5!Forces the other bishop back 26... Bc327. Rxe6!fxe628. Rd1!And oddly enough, despite
being up an exchange and a pawn, Black can just resign. White's d7 pawn is too strong and his pieces are too active. Right away, Bxa8 is a big threat 28... Kf729. Bc7
( 29. Bxa8Was also good enough 29... Rxa830. Bc7 )
29... Ke730. Bxa8Rxd731. Rxd7+Kxd732. Be5A bit too fancy for my liking, but definitely winning. The
rest requires no comment
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 7 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
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