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How Wojo Won: Part I Print E-mail
By Jonathan Hilton   
December 22, 2006

by Jonathan Hilton

There once was a man who could defeat amateurs and masters alike without ever stopping to think. My friends and I were amazed by the speed with which he played his moves, and pitied those who were unfortunate enough to play him! Who was this man, and what magic did he possess? His name was Wojtkiewicz, and his works of “magic” were the result of his deep understanding of typical chess structures. In fact, Wojtkiewicz played the same structures time and again in his games; it was not so much theoretical knowledge that allowed him to play so quickly as it was his ability to rapidly construct a plan based around the position’s pawn structure. Why, then, should Wojtkiewicz’s strategies be inaccessible to amateurs such as myself?

This column is the work of a young amateur who hopes to present Wojtkiewicz’s strategies in such a way that players of all levels can gain an understanding of them. In each installment, I hope to examine one of those structures and explain the ideas behind it, while also providing illustrative games from Wojtkiewicz’s own tournament experience. As an added bonus, I will also attempt to show how it is possible even for us amateurs to take a lesson from Wojo’s wisdom and play some of his key strategies for ourselves. In this article, I will examine a closed structure from one of Wojo’s favorite openings, the Catalan.

Wojtkiewicz often reached the Closed Catalan structure using this move order for White: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0–0 0–0 6.d4 Nbd7 7.Qc2. White’s idea is to pressure Black’s central d5 pawn by playing Nbd2 and e2-e4, usually after first developing his queenside pieces. For instance, play could continue 7. … c6 8.b3 b6 9.Rd1 Bb7 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.e4. Many grandmasters have had the guts to refrain from moving the d5 pawn, choosing instead to brave the dangers of White’s e4-e5 push. However, the vast majority of Wojtkiewicz’s opponents made the logical choice of conceding the center with 11. ... dxe4 12.Nxe4, after which the following position is reached:

Position after 12.Nxe4

Let us examine the pawn structure of the position. This structure generally offers White attacking possibilities on the kingside due to his control of the center and well-placed pieces. Consider, for example, the following hypothetical situation:

Typical Catalan set-up

White, with more freedom to maneuver, has the better game. His queen, posted on c2, eyes h7; this often allows him to embark upon thematic attacking excursions. For instance, White to play may consider 1. Ng5! After 1. … g6?! he will then reroute the knight to e4, threatening to play c4-c5 and Nd6. If 1. … Nf6 2. Be4! forces Black to move one of his kingside pawns, thus creating weaknesses; for example, if …h6, White might find an opportune moment for Ng5xf7 and Bg6+. If 1. … Nxe4, White will recapture 2. Nxe4 and have a good knight versus a bad bishop. He can follow up with c4-c5 and Ne4-d6.

Considering the dangers for Black should White begin this kind of active play, Black’s plan should be to undermine White’s control of the center with …c5. Black hopes that the lines opened by this pawn break will distract White from his attack. What made Wojtkiewicz an expert in the Closed Catalan structures was his deep understanding of this central break from Black. He had three different methods for dealing with …c5: capturing the pawn with d4xc5, pushing past the pawn with d4-d5, and preventing Black’s …c5 break altogether by playing c4-c5 himself. We will examine each case individually.

1. White captures the pawn on c5.

If Black plays the …c5 break under the most favorable conditions, White generally has little choice but to allow the exchange of his d4 pawn for Black’s c5 pawn. There is somewhat of a misperception that White’s queenside 3-2 majority will be enough to win after d4xc5. This is probably a throwback to the Capablanca days, when the World Champion beat out lesser opponents by simply trading into an endgame and marching a 3-2 queenside majority up the board. To illustrate this point, consider the following endgame position with Black to move:

Typical Catalan Endgame Structure

White, after having played d4xc5 – thus inviting Black to centralize his knight with Nd7xc5 – has traded off into an endgame. However, White will encounter great difficulty converting his majority. Black can simply play 1. ... f6, keeping the White knight out of e5 and preparing to centralize his king with 2. ... Kf7. White may harass Black's pawns with Nd4-c6, however, the lost time that should be spent activating his king would more than make up for Black's troubles. If Black is allowed to play ...e5 and bring his king up to e6, the initiative may well swing to him, as he has possibilities such as ...Nc5-d3-c1, or ...Nc5-e4, hitting the f2 pawn in some situations.

When Wojo’s opponents managed to get in …c7-c5 under favorable circumstances, he was usually not averse to simply shake hands and split the point.

Illustrative Game #1

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Qc2 e6 5.g3 Be7 6.Bg2 0–0 7.0–0 b6 8.b3 Bb7 9.Nc3 Nbd7 10.Rd1 Qc7 11.Bb2
Black achieves equality in this game by simply putting his pieces on good squares, and, after White plays e2-e4, capturing on e4 and playing ...c5. In 1988, the game Razuvaev - Ilincic, White gained a slight advantage after he played 11. Bf4! Bd6 12. Bxd6 Qxd6 13. e4. Here, the absence of the dark-square bishops made the pawn push c4-c5 more of a concern for Black, who dared not capture on e4. (White built up in the center, played e4-e5, and eventually won.)
11...Rfd8 12.Rac1 Rac8 13.e4

Here, Black is so well positioned that he can equalize against White's thematic thrust. 13...Nxe4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Qxe4 c5 16.Qe2 Bf6 17.dxc5 Qxc5 18.Bxf6
and the players agreed to a draw. It would be highly problematic for White to ever exploit his 3-2 majority on the kingside, given all Black's activity. ½–½

2. White reacts to …c7-c5 by playing d4-d5.

When Wojtkiewicz needed to play for a win against …c7-c5, creating a passed pawn with d4-d5 was one of his most dangerous weapons. Because White’s pawn on d5 could either prove a strength or a weakness, these games with d4-d5 proved very exciting. Consider the following pawn structure:

White’s extra freedom to maneuver gives him kingside attacking chances similar to those discussed in Diagram 1. For instance, a queen on c2 could combine forces with a knight on g5 to attack h7. White also has possibilities along the e-file, and often his knight jumps into e5, sometimes threatening to go to c6. It is crucial the White overprotect his d5 pawn a la Nimzovitch, because Black, will do his utmost to blockade the d6 and e5 squares. Black also generally tries to create counterplay by throwing his b- and c-pawns down the board. A knight on d7 could travel to c5 and even d3 after the move …c5-c4 has been played. Black’s blockading strategy on the d6 and e5 squares is especially important. The dark-squared bishops play crucial roles for both sides as they struggle to control these key squares.

Illustrative Game # 2


1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Qc2 e6 5.g3 Nbd7 6.Bg2 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Rd1 b6 9.Nc3 Bb7 10.b3 Rc8 11.e4 dxe4
This natural capture gives White an excellent game. Some players prefer 11. ... Nxe4
to prevent the possibility of Wojo's 12. Ng5; others, such as Tal, have played the highly complex 11. ... c5!?
An enterprising move. In Epishin-Belotti 1995, White made the natural recapture12. Nxe4. After 12. ... c5 13. Nxf6+ Bxf6 14. Ng5 Bxg5 15. Bxb7 Rc7 16. Be4 f5 17. Bg2 cxd4 18. Bxg5 Qxg5 19. Rxd4 e5 20. Rd5 Qe7 21. Re1, White had pressure on Black's position and eventually won.
12...h6 13.Ngxe4 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Nf6
Black seeks to relieve the pressure on his position through exchanges, but White does not oblige.
15.Nc3 Qc7 16.Qe2
Securing the e5 square. 16. Bf4 instead might have been met by 16. ... Bd6, again trying to manage a swap of minor pieces.
Black tries to prepare his break ...c7-c5 by securing the b5 square.
17.Bf4 Bd6 18.Be5
The point behind White's 16. Qe2.
A good defense by Black. With this move, he prompts Wojo to trade bishops on Black's terms.
19.Bxd6 Qxd6 20.Rac1 Qc7
The final preparation for Black's central strike.
21.Ne4 c5 22.d5! exd5 23.cxd5
The opening struggle has reached its climax. Black has achieved his ...c5 break and has command of the central dark squares. Throughout the rest of the game he tries to exploit this control, culminating in an advance of the h-pawn to h4. White, on the other hand, has gained a powerful passed d-pawn. This keeps Black's forces at bay. White slowly maneuvers on the kingside, trying to gain space. He also eyes Black's queenside pawn formation, which is slightly weakened after Black advanced ... b5. White avoids trades, as he wants to keep on the pressure; Black seeks trades, hoping to set up an effective blockade on the d6 square in the endgame. White may have a slight advantage, but the winner of this game will be the one who can more skillfully maneuver his pieces while avoiding the urge to lash out unnecessarily. 23...Qe5 24.Qd2
White supports his d5 pawn and takes control of some dark squares.
24...Nf6 25.Nc3!
Avoiding trades.
This move weakens the c5 pawn, but White had ideas of Nc3-a4, targeting b6 and c5. Still, perhaps this advance is unnecessary, since it would not have proved too hard to defend the b6 pawn.
26.h3 Rfe8 27.Kh2 Red8
The opposing sides are shadow-boxing.
28.f4! Qd6 29.Qf2 h5!
A good move. The point is not so much to prevent an immediate g3-g4 as an attempt to gain control of squares.
30.Rd2 Re8 31.Re1 Rxe1 32.Qxe1 Re8 33.Qf2
White eyes the c5 pawn and sures up the dark squares around his king. The position is approximately even; the two sides must now embark on a waiting game, making slight improvements in their positions and waiting for the opponent to make a mistake.

A poor decision. It is hard to recommend other ideas for Black; in fact, it is very hard to improve the positions of either side. In any case, this move by Black weakens his position for the ensuing endgame. I would have played 33. ... Kf8, keeping the status quo. Wojo would have been much harder pressed to prove any advantage in that position. However, after so many hours of fighting, it is understandable that Black wants to take a course of action rather than to play a waiting game.
34.g4 g5 35.Kg1
Stepping out of the pin. White is not afraid to go down a pawn in the endgame, because he knows Black's pawns will prove very weak.
35...Qxf4 36.Qxf4 gxf4 37.Kf2 b4?
A mistake. Black should have kept calm and simply held the position by bringing his rook to d8 and his king toward the center.
38.Na4 Rd8??
The losing move. Instead, 38. ... Nd7 or 38. ... Rc8 would have been better, simply holding the fort for the time being.
39.Nxc5 Bxd5 40.g5
The winning tactic. 1–0

Illustrative Game #3


1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0–0 0–0 6.b3 c6 7.Bb2 b6 8.d4 Bb7 9.Qc2 Nbd7 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Rad1 Qc7 12.e4 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 dxe4 14.Qxe4 Rfd8 15.Rfe1 Bf6 16.Bc1
White brings his bishop to the more promising h2-b8 diagonal. Also possible was the safer 16. Qe2, a quiet retreat the might have brought about equality.
16...c5 17.d5
The battle begins!
17...exd5 18.cxd5 c4!?
Without even taking the time for a preperatory ...b7-b5, Black launches into a tactical battle. White, as we have mentioned earlier, should begin kingside tactics in these kinds of open positions. White does so with his next move. I think Black might have done better with the safer 18. ... Nf8, in view of how violent White's kingside tactics now become.
19.Ng5 Nf8 20.Bf4 Qc5 21.Qf5!
White takes a tremendous initiative.
21...Bxg5 22.Bxg5 Re8 23.bxc4 Qxc4 24.Be7
Look at how active White's pieces are in this position! Compare the activity of the Bishop on e7 and the knight on f8, for instance, or the rook on e8 and the rook on e1. However, Black may have the opportunity to grab some of White's queenside pawns. The moves of both sides in this game are highly inaccurate; any computer program ought to be able to point out several tactical opportunities for both sides. However, I would like to draw the reader's attention to the extreme complications of this kind of position. Both humans and computers can agree the White, with his passed d-pawn and active pieces, is to be preferred; Black managed to win this game because he was more tactically alert than his opponent.
24...Qb5 25.Bf1
The light-squared bishop was the only pieces White had that wasn't performing at its maximum capibilities; therefore, White sought to activate it. Unfortunately, this move is an inaccuracy. It chases Black's queen to a5, a better square. With Black's queen on a5, White's bishop on e7 becomes pinned, something that is a severe tactical hindrance for White. Better was 25. Bh3! right away, not allowing Black the possibility he had on his 27th move.
25...Qa5 26.Bh3 Rc5!
Taking advantage of the aforementioned pin.
27.Bg2 Rc7 28.Bb4 Rxe1+ 29.Bxe1 Qa4
Black probably did not take the a-pawn because he was worried about the consequences of 30. Bb4, and he wanted to keep that square under his control. 30.Qb1 Rd7 31.Bb4
Wojo seeks dynamic play. However, the tide of the game has shifted. White no longer has the impressive position he had on his 25th move; such is how fast the advantage of activity can dissipate. However, had Wojo sensed the tide of the game changing, he could have preserved his advantage in other ways - for instance, he could have offered a queen trade with 31. Qb3. Had Black obliged and gone into the ending, White's two bishops might have given him chances for an edge.
Black's pieces seek activity. Black has twice been helped by pins to activate his pieces!
32.Rd2 Nc7 33.d6 Ne6 34.f3 a5!
Black is now on top and begins to play like it.
35.Bc3 Qc6 36.Qd3 h6 37.h4 Ba6
Here, according to my database, Black won; perhaps this was a win on time, as White can still maintain a decent game after first taking the bishop on a6 followed by playing his queen to d3. Quite a magnificent struggle! 0–1

3. White prevents Black’s …c7-c5 altogether by playing c4-c5 himself.

I’ve saved the best for last. White’s first two options, taking on c5 or playing d4-d5, both have their downsides. However, Wojo could often capitalize on even the smallest mistake by Black in the opening by squashing his dreams of counterplay with the bold move c4-c5. Consider the following pawn structure:

With c5, White prevents Black's counterplay, but releases tension in the center.

Here White has played the cramping c4-c5, ceding the d5 square but stopping Black’s central counterplay. Just as in the structure after d4-d5, White’s strong outpost on e5, combined with his possibilities on the b1-h7 diagonal, give him the possibility of starting a kingside attack similar to the method outlined in Diagram 1. This time, however, it is much more difficult for Black to drum up any counterplay in the center. If he plays the break …b6, his c6 pawn often comes under fire from White’s knight on e5 and bishop on g2. In fact, should kingside play not be enough for White to win, he can push b4-b5 in order to open lines on the queenside as well. Black must always consider the consequences of White playing a knight to d6 via c4. Should he play …b7-b5 to halt this plan, White can undermine Black’s queenside position with a2-a4. Given all of the pluses in White’s position, it is no surprise that Wojo often terminated his opponents convincingly from this structure.

In the following two games, Wojtkiewicz goes for the quick kill with this structure.

Game #4


1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.d4 d5 4.Qc2 e6 5.g3 Be7 6.Bg2 Nbd7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Nbd2 Re8?

Black realizes the necessity of having a freeing pawn advance available to him, but unfortunately he shoots for the wrong one. His next few moves revolve around eventually getting in ...e6-e5; however, it would have been much wiser to prepare the ...c5 advance with ...Bb7 and ...Rc8.
9.b3 Bd6 10.Bb2 Qc7 11.e4
After developing his queenside minor pieces, White adds more pawn pressure in the center.
11...Nxe4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Qxe4 Nf6 14.Qc2
The queen calmly repositions herself on c2, where she stands poised at the h7 square.
An ineffectual square for the bishop; attempting to fianchetto it with ...b6 was probably a better idea, but this would considerably weaken the c6 pawn. Either way, Black is hopeless to stop White from creating a deadly bind with c4-c5. It is a tribute to the subtlety of the Catalan Opening - and the depth to which Wojtkiewicz understood it - that Black's position has become decidedly inferior although his errors looked nearly insignificant.
15.Rad1 Rad8
Note that should Black have attempted 15. ... c6-c5, White's better-positioned pieces could have swiftly overwhelmed Black's kingside: 16. dxc5 Bxc5 17. Be5! followed by 18. Ng5 and 19. Bxf6. 16.c5! The moment has arrived!
16...Bf8 17.Ne5 Re7 18.Bc1!
White relocates his bishop, in accordance with the position shown in Diagram 3. Note that this relocation of the bishop to c1 is most likely the reason Wojtkiewicz waited to play c4-c5 until after he had played Ra1–d1; he understands far in advance where his pieces are going to go, and finds the move order that allows them to have the greatest possible harmony.
18...Nd5 19.Be4! g6?
Black cracks under the strain and misses a simple tactic for his opponent. Stiffer resistance was offered by 19 ... h6, after which White could either switch his attention to the queenside with an eventual b3-b4-b5 break, prying open the b-file, or attempt a buildup against Black's king culminating in the g3-g4-g5 break.
20.Bxd5 exd5 21.Bg5
And White's win was quite simple.
21...Bf5 22.Qc3 Rde8 23.Bxe7 Rxe7 24.Rfe1 f6 25.Nd3 Be4 26.Nc1 Rg7 27.f3 Bf5 28.Nd3 g5 29.g4 Bd7 30.Nf2 h5 31.gxh5 g4 32.fxg4 Bxg4 33.Nxg4 Rxg4+ 34.Kh1 Rh4 35.Rg1+ Kf7 36.Rg2 Bh6 37.Qd3 Re4 38.Rf1 Be3 39.Re2 Qe7 40.Rfe1 1–0

Game #5


1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.d4 Nf6 4.g3 c6 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0–0 0–0 7.Qc2 Nbd7 8.b3 Re8?
Again Black wastes time with this move.
9.Nc3 b6 10.e4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 Bb7 12.Rd1 Nxe4 13.Qxe4 Bf6?!
An interesting idea aimed at taking control of the a1–h8 diagonal before breaking with ...c5. As Wojo proves, however, Black cannot afford the time for such luxuries and should get on with playing his pawn break. Better was 13. ... Qc8, defending the bishop on b7 and thus preparing ...c5.
14.Bf4 Qc8 15.Ne5!
Unveiling the bishop on g2.
15...Nxe5 16.Bxe5!
Wojo has assessed the position correctly. This is much stronger than taking with the pawn, which would allow Black to retreat his bishop to e7 and control the key invasion point d6. White seeks to trade off Black's defender of the dark squares in order to tighten his grip.
16...Qd8 17.b4!
Turning the screws on Black's position. White is now prepared to make the crushing advance c4-c5!
17...Qe7 18.c5 Bxe5
Black is lost. Faced with White's threat of b4-b5, he allows White full access to the d6 square.
19.dxe5 bxc5 20.b5! Rac8 21.Rd6 Rc7 22.bxc6
Complete domination.
22...f5 23.Qc4 1–0

Game 6, Wojtkiewicz-Privman, is a heated fight when Wojtkiewicz makes a daring attempt to liven up a somewhat sterile position by playing this signature c4-c5 pawn push.

Game 6


1.Nf3 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c6 4.0–0 Nf6 5.c4 Bd6 6.d4 0–0 7.Nc3!?
White seeks to increase the pressure on d5 as rapidly as possible, taking advantage of the fact that Black's bishop on d6 interferes with the Black queen's defense of the d5 pawn. However, I would have preferred 7. Qc2 followed by 8. Nbd2, to avoid the possibility mentioned in Black's next note.
7...b6 8.b3 Bb7
Here, 8. ... Ba6 looks like a better way to develop the bishop. White's pawn on c4 would then be under some pressure.
9.Bb2 Nbd7 10.Qc2 Rc8 11.e4 dxe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Qxe4 Qc7 14.Rad1 Rce8!?
A critical turning point in the game. Black was probably as ready as possible to play ...c7-c5, but he decides instead to threaten ...e6-e5 first. He was possibly worried that if he played 14. ... c5 right away, White could answer with 15. d5. This would lead to a highly complex position that would probably be somewhat favorable for White, as his darksquare bishop is working at its maximum potential and his advanced d-pawn could prove a great strength given the extra tactical possibilities it could provide, considering all the open lines. By lining up with White's queen with 14. ... Rce8, Black tries to eliminate the possiblity of White playing d4-d5 after ...c7-c5. Here Wojtkiewicz must make a critical decision. Should he continue to simply put pressure on Black's position with 15. Ne5, or should he go for his thematic kill...
An exciting decision! It is quite possible that 15. Ne5 was stronger, as Black's pawn on b5 gives him the opportunity to undermine the d4-c5 pawn chain. In the complications that ensue, Wojtkiewicz stays more tactically alert than his opponent. 15...Be7
Forced, as Black cannot win a pawn by taking twice on c5 due to White's possibilities on the a1–h8 diagonal!
16.b4 Nf6 17.Qc2 Nd5
Black has occupied the d5 square, and in this case his the d5 knight is more powerful than White's possibility of occupying e5 with a knight. Note that Black's minor pieces are working together to undermine White's newly created pawn chain, while White's minor pieces will require a few more moves to become active. For instance, his bishop on b2 would be best placed on g5, and White needs two moves to play Ne5 and Be4. This extra time is enough for Black to seize the initiative; however, White fends off the attack well.
18.a3 a5! 19.Qd2 axb4 20.axb4 Bf6
Increasing the pressure on d4. White counters this by shutting the bishop on f6 out with Ne5, a thematic move.
21.Rfe1 Ra8 22.Ne5 Bxe5
A controversial decision. However, it must be noted that if Black did not decide to take this knight, he would have had to cope with the threats of Bg2xd5 followed by c5xb6 and Ne5-d7. At such a rapid time control, chopping off the aggressive knight is the easiest - although perhaps not objectively best - thing to do.
23.dxe5 bxc5 24.bxc5 Ra2 25.Be4
Another thematic move - the Catalan bishop is developed toward the kingside. White has ideas of playing his bishop back to b1 and lining up a bishop-queen battery against h7.
25...Qa5 26.Qc1 Qb4 27.Bd4
White's queenside hangs on by a thread, giving him just enough time to start targetting the Black king.
27...Ba6 28.Bb1 Re2??
A terrible oversight. Of course the Black rook needed to retreat along the a-file. White could then choose between a somewhat clumsy attack by swinging his king's rook to the kingside via e4, or he could offer a trade of queens and go into a relatively even endgame. In the latter case, although Black would have temporary control of the open queenside lines, White could probably develop his bishop on b1 back to e4 and compete for the files on relatively even footing.
29.Rxe2 Bxe2 30.Qc2 1–0

Game 7 is one of my own games, and I use it to demonstrate that even amateurs can use Wojo’s strategies to good effect, having learned the rudiments of his play.

Game 7- My own Catalan effort


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 c6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.0–0 0–0 7.Qc2 h6?
My opponent wastes time. I skip the move b2-b3, hastening to open the center with e2-e4.
8.Nbd2 Re8 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Qxe4 Nd7
Black is ready to play the ...e5 break, so I found the best way to prevent this. 12.Ne5
It was also possible to play c4-c5 right away. However, I realized that if I traded off Black's knight first, I would retain both my bind and my kingside attacking chances while also preventing ...Nf6-d5.
12...Qc7 13.Nxd7 Bxd7 14.c5! Be7 15.Bf4 Qd8
Here I have achieved a stupendous bind. I realized that I should attempt to take over the b1–h7 diagonal, just as Wojo always did by playing Qc2 and Be4. Here, however, I realized it would be best to keep the queen in front of the bishop so as to threaten checkmate.
Preparing Bf1–d3.
16...b5 17.Bf1 f5
Black tries to stave off my assault on the kingside, but now my position is winning due to Black's many weaknesses.
18.Qe2 Bf6 19.Be5 a5 20.a4 b4 21.Qf3 Rf8 22.Bc4 Qe8?
Black cracks under the pressure and misses a tactic.
23.Qxf5 Bxe5 24.Qxe5 Rf6 25.Rf1 Qf7 26.Rae1 Kh8 27.f4 Qg6 28.Qe2 Raf8 29.Bd3 Qf7 30.Qe4 g6 31.Qe5 Kh7 32.h4 Rf5 33.Bxf5 gxf5 34.Qe2 Rg8 35.Kh2 Qg7 36.Qf2 Bc8 37.Re5 Ba6 38.Rfe1 Bc4 39.Rxe6 Bxe6 40.Rxe6 Qd7 41.Qe3 Rg7 42.Qe5 Qf7 43.Rf6 Qe7 44.Qxf5+ Kg8 45.Qe6+ 1–0

I hope that through this series of articles I will be able to explain how Wojtkiewicz won. This incredible Grandmaster was able to formulate winning plans because he understood the ideas behind the structure he played. I hope that you, the reader, will be able to see the beauty behind Wojo’s ideas and benefit from them in your own games. In the next installment, I hope to finish off our discussion of the Catalan by examining how Wojtkiewicz tackled open Catalan structures. Until then, good chess and happy hunting!

Jonathan Hilton is a sixteen-year-old high school student and an occasional contributor to Chess Life. He is currently rated 2163 and aspiring to become a National Master.