Open Files

Creating an open file

Pawn tension

Rooks use open files to enter the opponent's position, often reaching the 7th rank, where they cut off the opponent's king and target his pawns, or the 8th rank with potential back rank mates. To open a file, you must first have some pawn tension. This gives you the opportunity to open the file. Lets see an example:

1. fxe4 fxe4 2. ♖f7! Notice that the rook now has a permanent position on the 7th because it has three free squares. The king can never chase it away, without losing his kingside pawns. In fact having a permanent rook on the 7th is worth at least a pawn. So, it's often best not to capture pawns if it means leaving the 7th rank and instead leave that task for the white king.

2... d5 3. c5! Obviously White wants to keep the structure closed to maximize the positional of his positional advantage.


Creating a permanent rook on 7th rank

1. cxd5!

1. ♖d1

1... cxd5 2. ♖c7 ♖b8 Black tries to avoid giving White a permanent rook on the 7th rank by taking away one of its three free squares.

3. ♖d7!

3. h4 ♔e8 4. ♖c5 e6

3... e6 4. h4 Now, White has achieved the permanent rook on the 7th and with the impending creation of an outside passed pawn, he is close to winning.


Practical example

35. g4! g6 36. gxf5 gxf5 37. ♖g1 ♔b6 38. ♖g7 ♖a7 39. ♖g5±


Attacking the king on the g-file

24. gxf5! ♘b8 25. a4 ♘d7 26. ♖c2 ♖a8 27. b3 ♖f7 28. ♖g2 ♔h8 29. ♔h2 ♘f8 30. ♕h4 h6 31. ♖fg1 ♘h7 32. ♖g6 ♖af8 33. ♕g4 ♘g5 34. h4 ♕d8 35. hxg5 hxg5 36. ♔g2 ♔g8 37. ♖h1 ♖e8 38. ♕h5


Classic game: Open, conquer and use the open file

16. dxc5! Opening the open file to fight for it.

16... dxc5 17. ♖ad1 ♖ad8 18. ♖d5! Using the outpost, Black can't really take, since White gets a protected passed pawn.

18... b6 19. ♖ed1 ♘a5 20. h3

20. ♖d7 g6 21. ♖xa7 ( 21. ♕d5 ♖xd7 22. ♕xd7 ♕e7 ) 21... ♖xd1+ 22. ♗xd1 ♖d8 23. ♖a8 ♖xa8 24. ♕xa8+ ♔g7 25. ♕d5 h5 26. ♗c2 e4! 27. ♗xe4 ♕xc3=/∞

20... ♖xd5 21. ♖xd5 ♕e7

21... g6 Slowly improving the position would have been much better.

22. ♗g4 ♕b7 23. ♗f5!+/= ♕b8 24. ♖d7!

24. ♕d3

24... ♖d8 25. ♕xe5 ♘xc4 26. ♕xb8 ♖xb8 27. ♗e4! Activity is more important than material!

27... ♘a3 28. ♗d5 ♖f8 29. e4 a5 30. c4 b5 31. cxb5 ♘xb5 32. e5! The pawn and bishop are complementary to each other.

32... a4 33. f4!+− ♘d4 34. ♔f2 g5 35. g3 gxf4 36. gxf4 ♘e6 37. ♔e3 c4 38. f5 ♘c5 39. ♖c7 ♘d3 40. e6 fxe6 41. fxe6


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