Malcolm Pein shows how to exploit weak squares in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column and demonstrates a number of dancing knights.

Malcolm Pein on…Dancing Knights

It’s always nice to win solely by exploiting weak squares. In this game, Black has five weak squares in the centre and on the queenside, while the corresponding squares in the white position cannot be attacked. White’s knights are the better placed and take full advantage.

A. Pashikian – S. Ter-Sahakyan
Armenian Higher League
Catalan

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 a5 6.Qc2 0–0 7.Bg2 c5 (A setup with c7–c6 blunting the Catalan bishop on g2 also makes sense) 8.a3 Bxd2+ 9.Nbxd2 cxd4 10.Nxd4 e5 11.Nb5 Bd7 12.a4 Bc6 (12…d4!? 13.Bxb7 Na6 14.Bxa8 Qxa8 15.f3 Nb4 was a promising idea to change the course of the game) 13.cxd5 Nxd5 14.0–0 Nb4 15.Qc3 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 N8c6 17.Rad1 Qe7 18.Ne4! (White’s knights are headed to c4 and c5 to exploit weaknesses, d3 is defended, d6 is not) 18…Rad8 19.Qc5!

Dancing Knights

19…Qe6 (19…Qxc5 20.Nxc5 b6 21.Nd7 Rfe8 22.Nxb6) 20.Nbd6 Rd7 (20…Qg6!) 21.Qc4 Qxc4 22.Nxc4 Rfd8 23.Rxd7 Rxd7 24.Nc5 Rc7 25.Rd1 (a5, b7 and e5 are vulnerable, b2, a4 and e2 are not. The position looks close to winning for White) 25…f6 26.Rd7 Rxd7 27.Nxd7 Na6 

28.Nd6 Nc7 29.Nxb7 Kf7 30.Ndc5 Nd5 31.Nd6+ Ke7 32.Nc4 1-0 Nb7 and takes a5 follows.

A game with many of the same themes. The queen exchange facilitates penetration.

M. Pein – A. M. James
4NCL, 2014
Catalan

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d4 dxc4 7.Na3 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Nxc4 Nc6 10.Qc2 Qe7 11.a3 a5 12.b3 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4 14.Bb2 Bxb2 15.Qxb2 Ra7 (15…Ra6 16.Qe5 Nd7 b6 17.Qb5 Bb7 18.Bxb7 Qxb7 19.Rfc1) 16.Qe5 Nd7 (16…Rd8 17.Nxa5) 17.Qd6 Qg5 18.Rac1 Qc5 19.Qxc5 Nxc5

Test Your Strength

White to play and win material

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20.Nb6 1–0

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