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I saw a game between two chess professional players :

Efimenko, Zahar (2566) vs. Kaliuzhny, Andrey (2213)

[fen ""]
1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. Nf3 c6 6. h3 O-O 7. Qd2 b5 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. O-O e5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxe5 dxe5 12. Bc5 Re8 13. a4 Nd7 14. Be3 b4 15. Ne2 a5 16. c3 Rb8 17. cxb4 Rxb4 18. Qc2 Nf8 19. Rfd1 Ne6 20. Qxc6 Bd7 21. Qc2 Qb8 22. Bc4 Rxb2 23. Qc3 Rc8 24. Rxd7 Rxe2 25. Rad1 Bf6 26. Qd3 Rb2 27. Rxf7 Rxc4 28. Rxf6 Qe8 1-0

In move 12 , efimenko which is white played Bc5 which I could not understand :

So I have two questions

1) why he did not play 12 . Bh6 , instead of Bc5 , to get rid of the dark square bishop on Bg7

which protects the king ? and 2) what is the reason of playing Bc5 ?

I am really confused and I do not understand . Help

3 Answers 3


We can note a few things about the position before Bc5 was played on move 12. First of all, white's dark squared bishop is both his good bishop (due to the fixed pawn on e4) and an active contributor in the position (dissuading black from playing c5 and taking more space in the center/queenside). Moreover, black's dark squared bishop is his bad bishop and is currently blocked in by the pawn on e5. There is not any foreseeable attack on the black king because the knight and light squared bishop are hemmed in by the e4 pawn (and the c6 pawn), there are no open diagonals or files on the kingside, and black has more defenders around his king than white has attackers.

Therefore to answer your first question, Bh6 doesn't make sense in this position. Yes it weakens black's kingside dark squares, but white has no way to ever take advantage of that. You are also willingly trading a good and active bishop with a bad, blocked bishop.

As to why Bc5 was played... that one's a little bit harder. It's basically a high quality passing move assuming black plays perfectly. Bc5 forces Re8, a move that black does not want to play (moving a rook from a closed file to another closed file), so black will have to spend another move later if he wants to activate the rook. But on the other side, the bishop on c5 can be attacked by Nd7, which is arguably not a demotion of the knight. So the bishop will have to return to e3 eventually, effectively trading tempi with black. Maybe white figured that "forcing" black to play Nd7 wouldn't ultimately be useful for black.

Personally, I would be playing 12. a4 and just getting on with it, as I agree it's unclear what white truly gains from this maneuver (especially because we later see that Nf6-d7-f8-e6 is a useful maneuver for black to make).


When I have a question about a GM move, I will look at the board and try to find out why. In this case, I have no idea other than he wants to push a pawn to a4 but he can't afford the b4 response. So Bc5 kicks the f8 rook with tempo, allowing a4 for free. But we see black pushes b4 anyway after using a simple tactic. I prefer Rfe1 because the pawn on e4 might need some help someday. It's a stock move for me.

So I asked Stockfish. For quite a while it suggested Bc5 too. Then it switched to Rfd1. The scores it assigned were within a few centipawns of Bc5. We see this move starts eyeing ownership of an open file and lines up on the black Queen. We can see simple tactics start happening. After (say) Qe2, then Bxb5 is possible because of the discovered attack on the Q.

Now that I know this, I can choose other moves and see the response. This will tell me what GM Efimenko was seeing.

(What I can see as I examine moves is that Black wants to play Be6 and we need to be ready for Qd7 or Qc8 threatening the pawn on h3. Be6 is such a nice developing move it is happening regardless of the variations Stockfish is flashing at me.)

My move (12. Rfe1) yields a 25 centipawn loss, and the next 4 moves for White are passive pawn moves and rook shuffles. I surmise that while not bad, this move cedes initiative.

How about 12. b4 to stop that b5 pawn? This move breaks the Queenside open, both bishops to slice into that area, and the rook on f1 can slide over too. But after 12... a6 Black doesn't have too many problems. Stockfish says this move is also loses about 25 centipawns. I think it gives White a more active game than 12. Rfe1 and if that's the sort of thing you like, it could be ok. One nice thing about this exercise is that I normally would not have considered b4 at all. And now I found a not-terrible move on my own.

For my last try, I see a lot of the variations White's knight on c3 gets kicked or is moved to e2 and black's Be6 move cannot be stopped. What if we accept that and move the Knight first? After 12. Ne2 Stockfish does indeed start a queenside attack, losing maybe 10 centipawns from the preferred move. Stockfish attacks the backward and weak c pawn with Qc3 which cannot be defended adequately. Black drops the pawn on a7 but White cannot hold onto it. Rolicking and dynamic.

[fen "r1bq1rk1/p4pbp/2p2np1/1p2p3/4P3/2NBB2P/PPPQ1PP1/R4RK1 w - - 0 1"]

1. Ne2 Be6 2.Qc3 Rc8 3.Bxa7 c5 4.Bxc5 Nd7 5.b4 Nxc5 6.bxc5 Qe7 7.Bxb5 Rxc5 8.Qb4 Rb8 9.a4 Qc7 10.Rfd1 Rxc2

Wow, that really is a lot of "engine" moves. Black has some monster rooks and queen for the pawn.

I probably would have been lame and defended the c6 pawn. For example, my b-player response might have been 1... Qc7 to defend a7 and c6... While not a bad move, it gives 10 centipawns away (+46 after my move) but avoids the razor-sharp engine moves (as if I could find them).

My next b-player move is the fugly Bb7. I would actually not play that because it turns a good bishop into a big pawn. But it does connect the rook and queen. Stockfish thinks it is better than my queen move. This move encourages White to weaken his Kingside with 'f3' to blunt the new pressure against the pawn on e4. In a way, this move refutes 12. Ne2. In retrospect, Ne2 does indeed remove a defender of e4... Who knew, lol!


White wants to play a2-a4 to open lines on the queenside and expose the weak black pawns to attack.

After the immediate 12. a4, play might continue ... b4 13. Ne2 a5 14. c3?! Ba6. Black has counterplay against e4, and is doing well after 15. Bxa6 Qxd2 16. Bxd2 Nxe4. So here White has to delay or omit c2-c3.

After the game continuation, ... Ba6 is not playable, and Black's position is more passive. White has a pleasant initiative.

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