An Instructive Position

I was looking at the game Petrosian – Olafsson from the first round of the Candidates Tournament in 1959.

This position was reached with White to move:

My first instinct was to put the knight on d2.  After all, who wants to put a piece on the bank rank intentionally when they don’t have to.

But then I looked at this position much closer.  I asked myself why I would want to put the knight on d2 other than “it’s not the bank rank.”

Superficially it looks like the e4 pawn is being pressured, but there’s nothing to that in truth since White can’t bring enough pressure for that to mean anything.

So then I asked myself what future does the knight have on d2 and what future would it have on e1?

On e1 the knight can easily go to c2-e3 and play a role.  On d2…not much.

What makes the position so interesting to me is understanding that even just a month or two ago if I had this position in a game I would have instantly put the knight on d2.

I’m hopeful that this is a sign that my positional play is in fact improving in the manner I’d like it to.

Here is the entire game.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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