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Old 11-15-2012, 03:44 PM   #1
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Break Points? Confused...

Hey guys,

I've read one of Heisman's Novice Nooks several times and can't seem to understand what he means by "break points." The article is here (June 2002):

Specifically, he says that Nc6 is bad because it blocks your break point in a 1. d4, d5 opening...

Anyone mind explaining this a bit?

Thanks for the help,
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Re: Break Points? Confused...

Think of your pawns and your opponents pawns as two walls. You want to create holes in the walls, but only in the places that you can take advantage of them better than your opponent can.

With a white pawn on d4 and a black pawn on d5, the only good way to break that wall up for black is by pushing a pawn to c5, which you can't do if you have a knight on c6.

A "break move" is literally the move that breaks up the pawns of your opponents and opens up the board for your pieces.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:53 PM   #3
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Re: Break Points? Confused...

I'm not a great player but I think he's talking about blocking the pawn move you will likely want to play to smash the position open. In a lot of queen pawn openings black wants to play c5 and sticking a knight on c6 blocking that pawn can lead to a lot of static rubbishy positions where you can't do anything interesting.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:02 AM   #4
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Re: Break Points? Confused...

Of course, sometimes "can't do anything interesting" just means "can't prematurely commit to a faulty plan" and you just have to play tactically solid moves that develop your pieces and avoid making any weaknesses while waiting for the other guy to screw up and let you attack something.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:17 PM   #5
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Re: Break Points? Confused...

Think of it like this. After the moves 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4, Black has a variety of good options:
1. Support the centre with e6 and c6 - leading to a very solid structure (the main disadvantage being the passive Bishop on c8) - for example 3...e6 4.Nc3 c6.
2. Support the centre with c6 and try to develop the Bishop quickly. For example 3...c6 4.Nc3 dxc4 (4...Bf5 is considered inferior due to 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Qb3) 5.a4 (Otherwise Black plays b5 next, making it difficult for White to recover his pawn) Bf5.
3. Strike back in the centre with a quick c5. For example, 3...dxc4 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 or 3...e6 4.Nc3 c5

After 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c4 Black has fewer options. If he supports the centre with 3...e6, his position is inferior - the support for the centre is less secure with the Knight on c6 and there is no chance for Black to free his game with c5. 3...dxc4 is also not an option because of 4.d5 giving White a dominant position in the centre. (It is possible to defend Black's position starting with 3...Bg4, and some strong players play this way with Black, but it is much less popular than the other alternatives).
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: Break Points? Confused...

Break points are pawns that can help to break up your opponents center. Usually, they are pawns in the outer rims of the board (a-c, f-h files) but sometimes can be center pawns as well (such as the d-pawn in the Caro-Kann or French for black).

These break pawns help us create tension in the center, and if done at the right time, can give us a significant edge in the game.
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