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To my parents.

The Slav

The Slav

CHESS PRESS OPENING GUIDES

Other titles in this series include:

1 90125 9 05

6

Caro-Kann Advance Byron Jacobs

1 901259064

Closed Sicilian

Daniel King

1 90 1 25 9 03

X

Dutch Leningrad

Neil McDonald

1 90 1 25 9 10

2

French Advance Tony Kosten

1 90 1 25 9

02

1

Scandinavian

John Emms

1 90 1 25 9

OS 0

Semi-Slav

Matthew Sadler

1 90 1 25 9 01

3

Sicilian Taimanov

James Plaskett

1 901259099

Trompowsky

Joe Gallagher

For further details for Chess Press titles, please write to The Chess Press c/o Everyman Chess, Gloucester Mansions, 140a Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H SHD.

titles, please write to The Chess Press c/o Everyman Chess, Gloucester Mansions, 140a Shaftesbury Avenue, London

Chess Press Opening Guides

The Slav

Matthew Sadler

ir

[1Illj

The Chess Press, Brighton

First published 1 9 97 by The Chess Press, an imprint of First Rank Publishing, 23 Ditchling Rise, Bright on, East Sussex, BN1 4QL, in association with Everyman Books plc Reprinted with corrections 1 999

Copyright © 1 997 Matthew Sadler

Distributed by Everyman Chess, Gloucester Mansions, 140a Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H SHD.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a ret rieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means , electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from the publishers.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the Brit ish Library

ISBN 1 90 1 259 00 5

Cover design by Ray Shell Dcsign

Printed and bound in Great l3ritain by l:3iddles Ltd, Guildford and King's Lynll

Cover design by Ray Shell Dcsign Printed and bound in Great l3ritain by l:3iddles Ltd, Guildford
Cover design by Ray Shell Dcsign Printed and bound in Great l3ritain by l:3iddles Ltd, Guildford
CONTENTS
CONTENTS
8

8

 

1

d4 d5

2 c4 c6

Bibliography

 

Introduction

 

9

 

The Old Main Line (3 ttJf3 ttJf6 4 ttJc3 dxc4 5 a4 �fs 6 e3 e6 7 �xc4 �b4 8 0-0): Black plays to prevent e4

13

2

The Old Main Line (3 ttJf3 ttJf6 4 ttJc3 dxc4 5 a4 �fS 6 e3 e6 7 �xc4 �b4 8 0-0) : Black allows e3-e4

27

3

The New Main Line (3 ttJf3 ttJf6 4 ttJc3 dxc4 5 a4 �fS 6 ttJeS) :

Black fights for control of e4

 

39

4

The New Main Line (3 ttJf3 ttJf6 4 ttJc3 dxc4 5 a4 �fs 6 ttJeS) :

Black counterattacks

 

53

5

The Smyslov Variation (3 ttJf3 ttJf6 4 ttJc3 dxc4 5 a4 ttJa6)

62

6

The Bronstein Variation (3 ttJf3 ttJf6 4 ttJc3 dxc4 5 a4 �g4)

72

7

The 4

a6

Slav (3 ttJf3 ttJf6 4 ttJc3 a6) : White plays 5 e3

87

8

The

4

a6

Slav

(3

ttJf3

ttJf6 4 ttJc3

a6) :

Aggressive options for White

 

98

9

The Exchange Variation (3 cxds cxdS)

108

10

Move-Orders and Transpositions

 

1 18

11

Odds and Ends

 

130

Index of Complete Games

 

142

BIBllOGRAPsH Y
BIBllOGRAPsH Y

Books

Encyclopaedia o/ Chess Openings vol. D (ECO), Sahovski Informator 1987

Bats/ord Chess Open ings 2 (BCO), Kasparov & Keene (Batsford 1989) Wi nn ing with the Sla v, Schipkov & Markov (Batsford 1994)

The Slav for the To urnamen t Player, Flea r (Batsford 1988 )

Periodicals

In /orma tor ChessBase Magazine New In Chess Yearbook British Chess Magazine Chess Monthly

INfRODUCrlON
INfRODUCrlON
INfRODUCrlON 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 The skill of preparing an opening is frequently misunderstood:

1 d4 d5

2

c4 c6

INfRODUCrlON 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 The skill of preparing an opening is frequently misunderstood:

The skill of preparing an opening is frequently misunderstood: many play­ ers (including some strong grand­ masters) believe that to play an open­ ing well, it is necessary to analyse a great many variations; that no prepa­ ration is complete without at least one queen sacrifice and that to stop before move 20 is akin to criminal negli­ gence. I know from experience that the sheer volume of opening theory can be overwhelming, and this is es­ pecially true for the non-professional player who has little time to keep up with the latest fashions. And yet, having been a professional player now for six years, I know that I have won more games from 'nor-

mal' openings than from any 30-move piece of analysis (and it's not because I haven't done any!). The brilliant 'I had this position after move 80 on my board at home' games that we see in magazines are the exceptions: beauti­ ful, treasured by every chessplayer, but very, very rare. Chess is a sport and most games are a struggle, and we win games because we fight harder than our opponents, or because we understand the position better. In my opinion, opening prepara­ tion can be successfully reduced to three simple steps:

1. Knowing the main aim of our opemng.

2. Knowing the value of move­

orders.

aim of our opemng. 2. Knowing the value of move­ orders. 3. Understanding typical positions. Therefore,

3. Understanding typical positions.

Therefore, let's apply these ideas to

the Slav.

Opening Aims

With 2 c4, White challenges the black

allowing

Black to develop his kingside pieces, has the drawback of blocking the

light-squared bishop inside the pawn

centre. The natural 2

e6,

chain. 2

to develop the light-squared bishop

aims to hold the centre,

c6

Th e

Sla v

outside the pawn chain, and then to

and conclude the black

development. However, the course of chess ideas, like love, never runs smoothly! Black must be careful when he develops his light-squared bishop: after 1 d4 ds 2 c4 c6 3 CDf3 CDf6 4 CDc3

play

e7-e6

bishop: after 1 d4 ds 2 c4 c6 3 CDf3 CDf6 4 CDc3 play e7-e6 but

but

he will have great difficulty defending b7 after S cxds cxds 6 'iYb3!

Black would like to play 4

�fS,

S cxds cxds 6 'iYb3! Black would like to play 4 �fS, loses a pawn to

loses a pawn to 7

CDxds 'iYxb3 8 CDxf6+ exf6 9 axb3 and

6

squares too much: 7 e4! dxe4 8 CDeS e6 (to stop 'iYxf7+ mate) 9 �bs+ CDfd7 10 g4 �g6 11 h4!, intending h4-hS, trap­ ping the bishop. The general rule is

b6 weakens the queenside light­

Now 6

'iYb6

that Black can only play a quick

if he can successfully defend b7

with his queen. Thus, 1 d4 ds 2 c4 c6 3 CDf3 CDf6 4 e3 �fs

�fs

queen. Thus, 1 d4 ds 2 c4 c6 3 CDf3 CDf6 4 e3 �fs �fs is

is fine for Black since S cxdS cxdS 6

'iYc7;

however 1 d4 ds 2 c4 c6 3 CDc3 CDf6 4 e3 �fS?!

'iYb3 can easily be met by 6

c6 3 CDc3 CDf6 4 e3 �fS?! 'iYb3 can easily be met by 6 S cxds

S cxds cxds 6 'iYb3 is not good,

since 6

So how can Black carry out his main idea? Black either has to stop White from playing 'iYb3, or he has to find a good way to defend b7. This is a typi­ cal opening dilemma: whether to pre­ vent an opponent's threat directly, or whether to arrange the pieces in such a way that the threat is nullified.

loses a pawn to 7 CDxdS.

'iYc7

In troduc tio n

The main line of the Slav runs 1 d4 dS 2 c4 c6 3 tt'lf3 tt'lf6 4 tt'lc3 dxc4.

1 d4 dS 2 c4 c6 3 tt'lf3 tt'lf6 4 tt'lc3 dxc4. First, Black wins a

First, Black wins a pawn and

threatens

permanent. Second, the b3-square is cunningly taken away from the queen, which means that White can­

not attack b7, and hence that

becomes possible. While White recap­ tures the c4-pawn, Black will develop the light-squared bishop to f5 or g4

and will be looking to complete his

kingside development: 5 a4 (surroun­

b7-

bS) 5

6 e3 (intending �xc4) 6

main lines. So far I have been very enthusiastic about Black's strategy, but now I have to reveal the downside of his play. This sort of schizophrenia

is necessary when you play both sides of the Slav, as I do!

relinquishes control of e4,

which makes it easier for White to cramp Black with two central pawns on d4 and e4. But White must be care­ ful that his pawns do not become weaknesses as Black first immobilises, then attacks them. The bottom line is that the player who has the better

are the

6 tt'le5 (intending tt'lxc4) or

ding the c-pawn by preventing

gain

b7-b5,

making this

�f5

�f5

e6

4 dxc4

understanding of the line will get the best results with either colour. The second idea is to play 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 tt'lf3 tt'lf6 4 tt'lc3 a6.

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 tt'lf3 tt'lf6 4 tt'lc3 a6. was first played in

was first played in

Britain by Grandmaster Jon Levitt, but it is Grandmaster Julian Hodgson who has upheld this variation at the highest level, and introduced the most significant ideas. The original idea of 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 tt'lf3 tt'lf6 4 tt'lc3 a6 was to meet iVb3

moving the pawn to a

with

protected square. However, ways

were found to exploit the drawbacks

the dark-square weak­

of

nesses on c5, b6, as and the slightly exposed black queenside. Then, in a

brilliant piece of unstereotyped think­

a7-a6

ing, Hodgson realised that

could allow the rook to defend b7 from a7. No one had dared to play such a strange move before, but Julian

did, and this has made some previ­ ously dodgy lines completely viable. However, although avoiding

helps to prevent e2-e4, Black's

position is less dynamic than in the

lines, as it is much harder to

break against White's centre with

The move 4

a6

b7-b5,

b7-b5:

d5xc4

d5xc4

Th e

Sla v

My own prefer­

dxc4 lines,

as they are richer in content and offer

ence as Black is for the 4

c6-cS

and

e7-eS.

a wider range of possibilities to suit

many different styles.

Move-Orders

Move-orders are a much underrated part of opening preparation. Oppo­ nents don't always play fair! Imagine the scene: you sit down to play, con­ fident that you know your opening at least as well as your opponent, and what happens? He plays the opening

in some unusual move-order, and you

emerge a bit dazed to find yourself playing a different line to the one you wanted! And unless you work out your move-orders thoroughly, this

will continue to happen, time and time again.

So how can this happen in the Slav?

If you want to play the 4

Slav,

then there is nothing that White can

do to muddy the water, which is one

dxc4

lines, however, require some care. First, White can try to sidestep them by playing an early e2-e3, protecting c4, e.g. 3 !bc3 !bf6 4 e3 . Black has

many reasonable moves here, but none of them fit in with the idea we want to play. The other way for

White to play is c4xdS, leading to the

Slav fans

should study these positions particu­ larly carefully, since this sort of posi­ tion is very typical of this line, and there are many transpositions.

Exchange variation; 4

of the attractions of this line. 4

a6

a6

Understanding Typical Positions

Well, for this part, read on

CHAPTER ONE
CHAPTER ONE

The Old Main Line:

Black plays to prevent e3-e4

CHAPTER ONE The Old Main Line: Black plays to prevent e3-e4 3 LiJf3 LiJf6 4 LiJc3

3 LiJf3 LiJf6 4 LiJc3

dxc4 5 a4 .§i.f5 6 e3 e6 7 .§i.xc4 .§i.b4

8 0-0

This traditional system of devel­ opment for White is especially popu­ lar at club level. White quietly recap­ tures the pawn and puts his king to safety before he starts his plan of e3- e4, to obtain a 'perfect' pawn centre. This chapter examines Black's at­ tempts to prevent White from achiev­ ing this goal. First, we need to ask ourselves a few questions in order to establish our approach:

Question 1: How will White try and achieve e3-e4? Answer: White has two major ap­ proaches:

a) 'i'e2 . This is the most dangerous idea, which we shall examine first. b) ctJh4, to remove the bishop on f5, which is helping Black to prevent

e3-e4.

Question 2: How can Black fight against 'i'e2 and e3-e4? Answer: Black has three pieces at­ tacking the e4-square: the bishops on b4 and f5 and the knight on f6. When White plays 'i'e2 he is supporting the e3-e4 push with only two pieces: the

1

d4

d5

2 c4

c6

queen and the knight on c3. How­ ever, he will achieve the e3-e4 advance with tempo because the e-pawn at­ tacks the bishop on f5. If Black wants to, he can simply pre-empt this by re­

treating the bishop to g6, so that e3-e4 no longer attacks the bishop. Now if White plays e3-e4 regardless, Black

can win a pawn by playing

and

Question 3: What move-order should I play this in? Answer: My own favourite has

0-0 9 'i'e2 �g6;

9 'i'e2 �g6 is sharper since

White can offer a dangerous pawn

sacrifice.

�xc3

ctJxe4.

been to play

8

ctJbd7

Gamel Richardson-Sadler Islington Open 1995
Gamel
Richardson-Sadler
Islington Open 1995

This was a crucial game for me: I was leading the Islington Open by only half a point and only a win would guarantee first place. However, even more importantly, only a win would be good enough to pip Keith Arkell for the Leigh Grand Prix!

3 LiJf3 LiJf6 4 LiJc3

dxc4 5 a4 .§i.f5 6 e3 e6 7 .§i.xc4 .§i.b4

1

d4 d5

2

c4 c6

Th e

Sla v

Th e Sla v S 0-0 0-0 9 'iVe2 jLg6 10 LDe5 10 e4?! �xc3! 11

S 0-0 0-0 9 'iVe2 jLg6 10 LDe5

10 e4?! �xc3! 11 bxc3 tbxe4 wins a safe pawn. Consequently, White re­ verts to 'Plan B': he exchanges his knight on f3 for my bishop on g6 and removes an attacker of e4.

on f3 for my bishop on g6 and removes an attacker of e4. 10 LDbd7 11

10 LDbd7

11 LDxg6 hxg6 12 .lci.d 1

ing to prevent e3-e4? Well, smce White's aim was to push a pawn within his own territory, it was al­ ways unlikely that we could prevent it for ever. However, by resisting for as long as possible, we have forced White to make a concession, namely that he has had to play tbe5xg6 before being able to play e3-e4. Although White gains the two bishops with this manoeuvre, he exchanges off the piece that would be most affected by the e3- e4 advance; on g6, the bishop has little scope if White can maintain his pawn on e4. Moreover, the departure of the knight from f3 means that White loses some control over the central dark squares, d4 and e5 . This last point is seen to great effect in this game.

12 e4 tbb6! wins a pawn as 13 e5 (or

13 Mdl �xc3 14 bxc3 tbxc4 15 'i'xc4

14 �xe6 fxe6

15 exf6 'i'xf6 with a clear extra pawn.

tbxe4) fails to 13

'i'xd4

12 'iVe7!?

An interesting move, though I

imagine that it is not the most accu­

rate - for Kramnik's 12 next game.

'i'a5, see the

13 e4

for Kramnik's 12 next game. 'i'a5, see the 13 e4 Wait a minute! Wasn't Black play-

Wait a minute! Wasn't Black play-

13 . e5 14 d5 nacS !

I spent a great deal of time at this stage and realised that I had to force White to release the tension in the centre and play d5xc6. The explana­ tion for this has a lot to do with the central dark squares: without the d­ pawn, I can transfer a knight to e6 (via c5) and exploit the outpost that my pawn on e5 creates on d4. By placing my rook on c8, I was hoping to get my opponent worried about possible threats on the c-file, in order to tempt him into playing d5xc6.

15 jLg5 :!:;lfdS 16 dxc6?

Here it is! After this mistake, White has to be very careful to avoid a dis­ advantage. The correct plan is ex­ tremely ingenious. Black has two ave­

nues of pressure: he has possible threats along the c-file and he can de­ velop some pressure against e4 by

means of

How can White deal

tbc5.

Th e

O ld Main

L in e :

Bla ck

pla ys

to

pre ven t

e 3-e4

with both these threats? With the manoeuvre 16 l':rd3! 4.Jc5 17 l':re3 !! On e3, the rook covers e4 and defends the knight on c3 along the rank, thus pro­ tecting White's queenside against c-file

game, I was very impressed with White's attitude: realising that his po­ sition had worsened considerably, White regrouped and concentrated totally on defence.

play. White is slightly better after 16

19

iLxe6

�xe6

20

.!:Id 3

gxd 3

21

l':rd3, but the game is still very compli­

�xd3

�b3

22

.t:!.b 1

l:!:b8

23

iLd2

cated.

iLa5!

1 6 .�.bxc6!

1 l:!:b8 23 iLd2 cated. iLa5! 1 6 .�.bxc6! My opponent had underestimated this recapture. Although

My opponent had underestimated this recapture. Although it weakens Black's queenside pawn structure, Black protects the central light squares, over which he previously had little control due to the exchange of his light-squared bishop. This move is so strong, because White's queenside is so weak: the pawn on a4 gives Black a comfortable slot on b4 for the queen, from which it can attack the a4- and b2-pawns.

17 .!:Id3? CLlc5 18 .!:Ih3? CLle6 !

White's 17th and 18th moves were

18 .!:Ih3? CLle6 ! White's 17th and 18th moves were Protecting the d8-square, so that the

Protecting the d8-square, so that the rook can use either of the open files on the board.

24 f3 .!:Id8 25 �e2 CLle8 !

Black's knight is the least active of his piec€s. The text prepares to bring it to d4 via c7 and e6. When this hap­ pens, all of Black's troops will be on their optimal squares.

�c2

�b6+ 29 �f2 CLld4

31 �xc3 4.Je2+

winning the exchange, as 32 '>jVxe2 is impossible since the queen is pinned

to the king.

26

iLe 1

CLlc7

27

l:!:c 1

ihc3

CLle6

28

Intending 3o

excessively optimistic as he had no

30

�h 1

�b3

31

�b 1

l:!:b8

32

h3

chance of an attack along the h-file.

�c4

33

f4

exf4

34

�xf4

ge8

35

Meanwhile, Black threatens

4.Jd4.

�d 1

iLxc3

36

iLxc3

CLle2

37

�f3

With his control of the d-file, and

gxe4

 

White's weakened queenside as a clear

The first weak pawn falls.

 

target, I believe that Black can already

38

a5

a6

39

�d3

CLlxc3

40

�xc4

be thinking about victory. During the

gxc4 41

bxc3 .!:!.c5!

 

Th e

Sla v

Th e Sla v I think that the rook ending is winning now. 41 43 Ma8

I think that the rook ending is

winning now. 41

43 Ma8 would have regained the a­

pawn, but now after 42 Md8+ �h7 43

Ma8, Black can simply play 43

.Mxc3 42 Md8+ �h7

Mxa5.

42 .l:i.d8+

'it>g6 45 'it>f2 �f5 46 �c7 f6 47 .l:i.xg7 .l:i.xa5 48 �e3 .l:!.e5+ 49 'it>d4 �f4 50 ga7 ge6 !

'it>h7

43

gc8

g5

44

'it>g 1

50 ga7 ge6 ! 'it>h7 43 gc8 g5 44 'it>g 1 what both sides should be

what both sides should be aiming for in this variation.

Game 2 Karpov-Kramnik Monte Carlo (blindfold) 1995
Game 2
Karpov-Kramnik
Monte Carlo (blindfold) 1995

1 d4

dxc4 5 a4 jLf5 6 e3 e6 7 jLxc4 3l.b4

8 0-0 0-0 9 �e2 jLg6 10 CZJe5 CZJbd7

11 CZJxg6 hxg6 12 .lld1 �a 5!

CZJf6 4 CZJc3

d5

2 c4

c6

3 CZJf3

hxg6 12 .lld1 �a 5! CZJf6 4 CZJc3 d5 2 c4 c6 3 CZJf3 This move

This move is more active, and

'iYe7.

While Black is not threatening to win

�xc3

due to 14 bxc3 'iYxc3 15 �d2 'iYc2 16

�d3! 'iYb2 17 Mdb1, winning the

queen, it does prevent 13 e4, as with White's centre slightly weakened, Black can get away with taking the

a pawn immediately with 13

probably more logical, than 12

 

pawn: 13

�xc3

14 bxc3 'iYxc3 15

51 �b7

 

�d2 'iYxd4 (15

'iYc2!?)

16 �b4 'iYe5

 

51 Mxa6 c5+! wins a rook.

 

17 �xf8 Mxf8 when with two pawns

5 1

'it>g3

52

.l:i.b2

.l:i.e5

53

llb6

c5+

for the exchange, Black stands very

54

'it>c4 f5 55 gxa6 'it>xg 2 56 .llg6 f4

well. Note that 13 ctJa2 allows

57

h4

f3

58

.llxg 5+ .l:i.xg5

59

hxg5

13

'iYxa4

14 ctJxb4 'iYxa1 15 ctJa2

f2

60

�xc5

f 1 �

61

c4

�f5+

62

(hoping to trap the queen) 15

'iYb

1!,

'it>d6 �g6+ 0-1

 

escaping to f5!

 

This was a very important game for me, and an instructive example of

13 jLd2

Protecting c3, and intending e3-e4,

Th e

O ld Main

L ine:

Bla ck

pla ys

to

pre ven t

e 3-e4

13

e5 14 d 51Iad8

14 cxds?

15 ctJxds ctJxds 16 �xds

'i'xds 17 �xb4 wins for White.

33 �a2 �h2+ 34 \t>f1 �xh3+ 35 We2 tLJe5 36 iLe2 �xg4+ 37 Wd2 !!ed8+ 38 We 1 �xd 1+ 39 iLxd 1 �g 1 40 iLd2 tLJd3+ 41 <;t>e2 ldb2+ 0-1

15 dxe6 bxe6 16 iLe1

e4!

Securing an outpost on d3 for the knight.

So White's plan of 9 'iVe2 and 10 ctJes seems harmless. Let us take a look at the more direct 9 ctJh4.

harmless. Let us take a look at the more direct 9 ctJh4. Game 3 Yusupov-Kramnik Riga
Game 3 Yusupov-Kramnik Riga 1995
Game 3
Yusupov-Kramnik
Riga 1995

1 d4

dxe4 5 a4 iLf5 6 e3 e6 7 iLxe4 iLb4

8 0-0 0-0 9 tLJh4!

The most testing idea: White elimi­ nates the bishop on fs without wast­ ing time on 'iVe2.

tLJf6 4 tLJe3

d5

2 e4

e6

3 tLJf3

g3

tLlc5 20 \t>g2 �f5 21 lId2 1Le5! 22 gad 1 J::i:b8 !

17

iLb3

The

�e5

white

18

1Le2

iLd6

is

19

gad 1 J::i:b8 ! 17 iLb3 The �e5 white 18 1Le2 iLd6 is 19 tLJbd7 !

tLJbd7 ! ?

looking

very weak.

iLxe3 24 bxe3 tLJxa4 25

ga2 tLJb2 26 Ud2 tLJe4 27 1::i:d 1 tLJe 5

23 iLb1

queenside

28

h3 tLJf3 29 lIa4 tLJg5 30 g4 �e5

31

�e2 lIfe8 32 !!xa7 tLJf3

lIa4 tLJg5 30 g4 �e5 31 �e2 lIfe8 32 !!xa7 tLJf3 Threatening 'iVh2+. Now Black is

Threatening

'iVh2+. Now Black is

9

A typical stratagem: Black's dou­ bled f-pawns will take over the bishop's task of preventing e3-e4. Question 4: What is wrong with

9

Answer: White can play 10 ctJxg6 hxg6 11 'iVc2! Question 5: Why is it important to put the queen on c2 and not e2?

just winning. Answer: First, the queen neutralises

�g6?

Th e

Sla v

'iYa5,

threatening

queen on c2, Black must be careful

he does

has opened

up the a2-g8 diagonal and the f7-pawn

is now pinned to the king, so Black

cannot

we are dealing with subtle nuances rather than big differences, but it is

important to understand them none­ theless.

10 tLlxf5 exf5 11 �c2 g6 12 f3 �b6

recapture on g6) . Of course,

that when he plays not allow 'iYxg6! (

. Second, with the

Black's most active plan of

jl,xc3

e6-e5

e6-e5

with the Black's most active plan of jl,xc3 e6-e5 e6-e5 Preventing e3-e4 by attacking the d4-pawn,

Preventing e3-e4 by attacking the d4-pawn, which has been weakened by the absence of the white knight from £3 .

13

.ld:cS !?

a5 �a6 19 �fd 1

�h 1

�aeS

14

�f2

�h4

17 jLd2 tLlfS 1S

c5

15

16 jLa2 �fdS

c4

Shutting out White's light-squared bishop.

20

fxe4 23 d5 tLlSd7 24 �d4 Y2 - Y2

jLe 1

.l:!.eS

21

e4 jLxc3

22

jLxc3

The

draw

was

murky position.

agreed in

a very

It is now time to consider the other

move-order: 8

tLlbd7,

intending to

meet 9 'iYe2 with 9

jl,g6

as above.

Game 4 Ivanchuk-Bareev Dortmund 1995
Game 4
Ivanchuk-Bareev
Dortmund 1995

4 tLlc3

dxc4 5 a4 jLf5 6 e3 e6 7 jLxc4 jLb4 S 0-0 tLlbd7

1

tLlf3 d5 2 d4 tLlf6

3 c4

c6

e6 7 jLxc4 jLb4 S 0-0 tLlbd7 1 tLlf3 d5 2 d4 tLlf6 3 c4 c6

Question G: What does Black gain from delaying castling?

tLlbd7 is directed against

the plan of an early tLlh4, which we

saw in Yusupov-Kramnik. After 9

10

tLlxg6 hxg6 is extremely dubious for White. Since Black has not castled, his

rook is well placed on the semi-open

h-file, pointing towards White's king!

(attacking h2) ,

castle queenside and then double rooks on the h-file, which is not what White was hoping for when he sensi­ bly (he thought!) took the bishop pair!

So what does White do after

8

9 tLlh4 jl,g6? Give up? Cry?

Black will play

tLlh4, Black will reply 9

Answer: 8

jl,g6,

as

'iYc7

tLlbd7

Well, if he's a genius like Ivanchuk, he chooses a third option: he gets sneaky.

9 tLlh4 jLg6 10 jLe 2!?

Th e

O ld Main

L in e :

Bla ck

pla ys

to

pre ven t

e 3-e 4

White wants to take on g6 only once Black has castled; so he plays a useful consolidating move while he waits for Black to commit his king.

The text prevents the bishop on g6 from escaping the knight's attentions

by 10

move, 10 h3, is considered in the next

game.

The alternative waiting

]LhS!?

considered in the next game. The alternative waiting ]LhS!? 10 0-0 Fans of tactics can investigate

10

0-0

Fans of tactics can investigate

waiting ]LhS!? 10 0-0 Fans of tactics can investigate 12 . . J:lc8!? Since the white

12

.

.J:lc8!?

Since the white queen i s o n the c2, Black tries to inconvenience it by opening the c-file. The immediate

would be met by 13 l2la2!, net­

ting Black's other bishop since

loses a pawn to 14 dxcS, in­

tending b2-b4. Bareev therefore plays

the rook to the c-file in order to facili­

tate

is

e6-eS in the

played less often than

12 cS

13

]LaS

c6-cS.

The

c6-cS

break

10

]Lxc3

11 l2lxg6 (not 11 bxc3 l2lds

Slav, but it is a typical idea that is well

12

l2lxg6 l2lxc3! 13 iVc2 l2lxe2+ 14

worth remembering.

'iYxe2 hxg6, winning a pawn) 1L.]Lxb2 12 l2lxh8 ]Lxa1 13 ]La3 or

13 iVc2 (unclear - Ivanchuk) and

when they have, 1'd be grateful if they

could tell me what is going on! How­ ever, more positional players can be

happy with Bareev's move. Although White's queen will go straight to c2, the bishop is more passive on e2 than

on c4: after

, Black no longer

has to fear iVxg6 (in fact he'd be quite pleased to see it!) as the white bishop

is not on the a2-g8 diagonal; and this also means that White cannot reply so

c6-

easily with d4-ds after

c5.

e6-eS

e6-eS

or

11 ct:Jxg6 hxg6 12 'iVc2

13 e4!?

c5. e6-eS e6-eS or 11 ct:Jxg6 hxg6 12 'iVc2 13 e4!? Since White does not want

Since White does not want the c-file to be opened, he prepares to meet

cS with 14 ds. If only he still had

his bishop on c4! This move

13

Th e

Sla v

introduces a sharp pawn sacrifice that is probably not quite good enough, so

13 Md1 was suggested by Ivanchuk as an alternative, when he claims a slight

ds

exdS 15 ttJxds ttJxds 16 Mxds VlJie7 17 b3 ! is indeed rather better for White. Black's main problems are the weak­ ness of his light squares and his bishop on b4, which is shut off from the rest of Black's pieces by the pawn on cS.

is stronger:

14 e4 (also interesting is 14 b3!?,

more

sensible] 15 dS iLxc3 16 d6! and VlJixc3

intending

The immediate 13

advantage for White. 13

cS

14

VlJie7

[ 14

eS

14

cS

is

with advantage) 14

ttJxds ttJxds 17 exdS (17 Mxds loses

15 dS exdS 16

cS

the e-pawn to 17

ttJf6)

exdS (17 Mxds loses 15 dS exdS 16 cS the e-pawn to 17 ttJf6) freeing the

freeing the bishop and pre­

venting White from establishing a light-squared blockade of the queen­ side with b2-b3 and iLc4. After 18

iLxc4, Black can regain the pawn with

20

iLb2! [20 iLxds Mxc2; 20 Mxds VlJiel+!J leaves White more active due to his two raking bishops) 20 bxc4 VlJih4!, when 21 f4 (the only move to save the

Mel+ is now a

threat) 22 g3 VlJig4 gives Black danger-

c-pawn) 21 .Mfe8 (22

17 c4!,

18

.tZJb6

19

b3 ttJxc4 (19

ttJxdS

ous play due to his threat of

Me2.

13

.c5 14 d5 exd5 15 exd5!? l:l:e8? !

The start of a series of slight inaccu­ racies that Ivanchuk exploits brutally.

Is

ttJ7f6! 18 iLf3 (18 c4 ttJb4! unpins)

is Ivanchuk's recommenda­

tion, as 19 iLxdS ttJxdS 20 MxdS al­

16 bxc3 ttJxds 17 Md1

iLxc3

VlJie7!

18

lows mate after 20

VlJiel .

16

IId 1

c4

Md1 iLxc3 VlJie7! 18 lows mate after 20 VlJiel . 16 IId 1 c4 17 d6!

17 d6!

A very strong move: the d6-pawn exposes the light-squared weaknesses in the black position by opening the hl-a8 diagonal and freeing dS for the knight on c3.

17

l:l:e6

18 i.f4 "i'b6

19 l2lb5 i.c5

20

i.g3!

diagonal and freeing dS for the knight on c3. 17 l:l:e6 18 i.f4 "i'b6 19 l2lb5

Th e

O ld Main

L in e :

Bla ck

pla ys

to

pre ven t

e 3-e4

Calmly protecting f2.

20

23 CiJc7 ge5 24 tLJd 5 gxd 5 25 !!xd5 lLlxg3 26 a5 1 -0

26 hxg3 would also have won. White is just the exchange up with a winning pOSltlOn.

.liLg4 f5 22 .liLf3 ! <;t>h7

'ctJe4

21

pOSltlOn. .liLg4 f5 22 .liLf3 ! <;t>h7 'ctJe4 21 Game 5 Topalov-Gelfand Belgrade 1995 1 d4
pOSltlOn. .liLg4 f5 22 .liLf3 ! <;t>h7 'ctJe4 21 Game 5 Topalov-Gelfand Belgrade 1995 1 d4
Game 5 Topalov-Gelfand Belgrade 1995
Game 5
Topalov-Gelfand
Belgrade 1995
'ctJe4 21 Game 5 Topalov-Gelfand Belgrade 1995 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 tLJf3 tLJf6

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 tLJf3 tLJf6 4 tLJc3

 
1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 tLJf3 tLJf6 4 tLJc3  

Black's

passive

play

has

gIven

dxc4 5 a4.liLf5 6 e3 e6 7 .liLxc4.liLb4

White a huge space advantage.

 

8 0-0 tLJbd7 9 tLJh4.liLg6 10 h3!?

19

tLJd6

20

tLJxg6

hxg6

21

.liLf4

Another waiting move. However,

tLJe8

22 \\Wf3 .liLd6

23 .liLe3

tLJdf6 24

Black's bishop has a square!

g5 tLJh 5 25 !:tfd 1 tLJc7

bishop has a square! g5 tLJh 5 25 !:tfd 1 tLJc7 10 .liLh 5 11 g4

10

.liLh 5 11

g4 tLJd 5!

Black makes a discovered attack by the queen on the knight on h4. Once the knight retreats, Black will again have g6 for his bishop.

12 tLJg2.liLg6 13 tLJa2.liLe7 ?!

.�d6

14 f3 hS! as an improvement, striking

immediately against the exposed king­ side pawns.

Topalov rightly suggests 1

14 \\We2 tLJ5b6

15 .liLb3

c5

16 tLJc3

rightly suggests 1 14 \\We2 tLJ5b6 15 .liLb3 c5 16 tLJc3 26.liLc2? ! 26 dS !

26.liLc2? !

26 dS ! eS 27 liJe4 (Topalov) would

have led to a clear edge for White.

26

l:haS \\WxaS 30 \\WxaS J::!.xaS 31 d5 exd 5 32 tLJxd 5 tLJxd5 33 .liLb3 <;t>fS 34 .liLxd5 l:!.a4 35 .liLxb6 l:!.xh4 36 .liLc6 .liLe7 37 J::!.a1 tLJf4 3S .l:!.aS+ <;t>f7 39 .liLeS+ �e6 40 J::!.a6 �d 5 41 .liLf7+

<;t>e4 42

.f5! 27 h4 b5 2S axb6 axb6 29

Yz - Yz

0-0

17

a5

cxd4

18

exd4

tLJcs

19

Instead of 9 liJh4, White has a more

lLlf4

testing plan: 9 ik'e2 and 10 e4!

Th e

Sla v

Game 6 Ivanchuk-Lautier Linares 1994
Game 6
Ivanchuk-Lautier
Linares 1994

ctJf6 4 ctJe3

dxe4 5 a4 iif5 6 e3 e6 7 iixe4 iib4

8 0-0 ctJbd7 9 'iWe2 iig6 10 e4!?

This pawn sacrifice is the problem with this move-order.

1 d4

d5

2 e4

e6

3

ctJf3

10

iixe3

The more restrained 10 sidered in the next chapter.

11

bxe3 ctJxe4 12 iia3!

0-0 is con­

in the next chapter. 11 bxe3 ctJxe4 12 iia3! 0-0 is con­ Question 6: What is

Question 6: What is going on? Answer: In return for the sacrificed centre pawn, White has gained the two bishops and prevented Black from castling kingside. Question 7: Can't Black just grab

another pawn with 12

Answer: NO!! 13 'i'b2 (hitting the

QJxa4

14 'i'b3!, threatening both 'i'xa4 and

knight and the pawn on b7) 13

.ct:Jxc3?

.ixe6, is horrible for Black.

Question 8: Can't Black just block

and

then castle kingside? Answer: This is logical, but 13 dxc5

the a3-f8 diagonal with 12

c5

is awkward, meeting 13

0-0 with 14

c6! and 13

15 .ixd7 QJxd7 16 .ixf8 . Question 9: How then can Black get

his king to safety? Answer: Black can castle queenside instead of kingside. Question 10: You don't sound very impressed! Answer: Black's position is horrible! White has a simple and extremely ef­ fective plan: a4-a5-a6, softening up the black queenside, and then, after mov­ ing the bishop on c4, c3-c4-c5 finish­ ing off the job. In reply, Black must

e6-e5 and activate his

seek to play kingside pawns.

with 14 .ib5! 0-0

QJexc5

12

�e7

13

afe 1

From el, the rook protects the c3- pawn and supports the c3-c4-c5 push.

13 0-0-0

15

QJxg6 wins a piece) 15 dxe5 'i'xe5 (or else White plays f2-£3 and h2-h4, trap­

ping the knight) 16 £3 wins a piece,

while

fxe6 15

'i'xe6+ is crushing) 15 .ib3 favours White due to his bishop pair.

diagonal) 14 .ixe6! 0-0 (14

(blocking the a3-f8

13

c5

14 QJe5! QJxe5 (14

0-0

13

QJd6

14 a5

bishop pair. diagonal) 14 .ixe6! 0-0 (14 (blocking the a3-f8 13 c5 14 QJe5! QJxe5 (14

14

ctJd6!?

Th e

O ld

Main

L in e :

Bla ck

pla ys

to

pre ven t

e 3-e4

The young Rumanian player Gab­

J;fhe8

against Razuvaev in Dortmund 1993, but after 15 a6! b6 16 ttJh4 ttJd6 17

jLb3 es 18 ttJxg6 hxg6 19 iVg4!

(preventing Black from activating his kingside pawns with .f7-fS by attack­

ing g6) 19

jLxf7 �e7 22 iVxg6, White stood

clearly better. 19

bishop

provement, but after 20 dxcS bxcs 21

due to 22

jLxf7+)

�cd1! (eyeing the knight on d6) the only positive course of action open to Black is to wring the neck of the man

on a3 , was suggested as an im­

-,,�?b8 20 jLxd6! iVxd6 21

riel Schwartzman tried 14

cS

cutting out the

�b8

�ab 1! (preventing 21

21

�e7

(defending f7) 22

who made this suggestion!

15 1l.b3 1l.h5

An idea of Bareev's I believe, trying to inconvenience White by the pin on

the knight. Note that 1s by 16 ttJh4!

�he8 is met

16 h3

16 'iVe3 unpinning, and eyeing the a7-pawn, is also interesting.

16

J!he8

and eyeing the a7-pawn, is also interesting. 16 J!he8 17 a6! Softening up the protection around

17 a6!

Softening up the protection around the black king.

17 b6 18 c4 !

Threatening c4-cs.

18

c5

19 �a4 e5 20 dxc5 bxc5 21

�e3 ge6 22 tLlg 5 .l::rf6 23 �b2 h6 24

tLle4 tLlxe4 25 �xe4 ge6

22 tLlg 5 .l::rf6 23 �b2 h6 24 tLle4 tLlxe4 25 �xe4 ge6 I would not

I would not recommend this posi­ tion to anyone . The game finished:

26 ge 1 �g6 27 �a8+ �b8 28 1l.xd7+ gxd7 29 �xb8+ 'it>xb8 30 gxe5 gdd6 31 .l:!.xc5 .l:!.xa6 32 gxa6 gxa6 33 �xg7 h5 34 f4 f5 35 �e5+

'it>b7 36 gc7+ 'it>b6 37 'it>h2 'it>a5 38 'it>g3 �e8 39 'it>h4 'it>b4 40 g3 gg6

41 .l::rxa7 'it>xc4 42 1::!.a8 �c6 43 .l:!.a3

�e8 44 ge3 �d5 45 �f6 �d7 46 �c3 �e6 47 �b4 �d7 48 �xh5 gg8 49 �c3 �d6 50 'it>h6 �e6 51 �h7 ga8 52 �b4+ �d7 53 �g7 l::!.a4 54 'it>f6 �d5 55 �c3 �e4 56

g4 fxg4 57 hxg4 �c2 58 .l:!.e7+ �d8 59 �e5 ga6+ 60 l::!.e6 gxe6+ 61 �xe6 �e8 62 �d6 �d 1 63 g5 1l.c2

64 f5 1 -0

Game l Ehlvest-Schwartzman New York Open 1996
Game l
Ehlvest-Schwartzman
New York Open 1996

tLlc3

dxc4 5 a4 �f5 6 e3 e6 7 �xc4 �b4

1

tLlf3

d5

2 d4 tLlf6

3

c4

c6 4

Th e

Sla v

8 0-0 ttJbd7 9 '¥We2 �g6 10 e4 �xe3

11 bxe3 ttJxe4 12 �a3 '¥We7 13 J:l:fe1

0-0-0 14 a5 �b8 15 �e7!?

12 �a3 '¥We7 13 J:l:fe1 0-0-0 14 a5 �b8 15 �e7!? An interesting manoeuvre, transfer­ ring

An interesting manoeuvre, transfer­ ring the bishop to the annoying h2-b8 diagonal. The bishop has already ful­ filled its task on a3 by preventing the black king from castling kingside.

prepares to activate the light-squared bishop on the long diagonal.

44 'i'xf3

loses simply to 45 'i'd6+.

44 a5 45 iLg2 �e6 46 '¥Wd8+ �a6

47 '¥We7 ttJd7 48 f4 '¥We7 49 �e6+ ttJb6 50 '¥Wxg6 a4 51 '¥We8 a3 52 'i1\Vf8 a2 53 'i1\Va3+ ttJa4 54 'i1\Vxa2 'i1\Vd 7 55 �d4 1 -0

If this isn't enough to convince you

of the danger in accepting the pawn

sacrifice, then try this!

Game 8 Hubner-Beliavsky Munich 1994
Game 8
Hubner-Beliavsky
Munich 1994

1 d4

dxe4 5 a4 �f5 6 e3 e6 7 �xe4 �b4

3 ttJe3 ttJf6 4 ttJf3

d5

2 e4

e6

8 0-0 ttJbd7 9 'i1\Ve2 �g6 10 e4 �xe3

15

.i:!.de8

ttJd2

16

�h4 �a8

f4

19

f3

ttJxd2

17 '¥Wb2 f5

20 '¥Wxd2

11 bxe3 ttJxe4 12 �a3 'i1\Ve7 13

18

J::!.fe 1 !?

J:l:hf8

21

�f 1

e5

22 dxe5 J:l:xe5

23

A

very aggressive alternative to the

a6

Ehlvest criticises this move, prefer­ ring White after 23 Ma4 Md5 24 'i'a2

old 13 Mfcl. White sacrifices yet an­ other pawn, reasoning that this will merely open more lines for his pieces.

ctJc5 25 Md4. This may well be more

13

ttJxe3

accurate, but the essential point is that White will always have very good chances because Black's king is weak and White's bishops are strong.

0-0-0

was extremely unpleasant for Black in the game Beliavsky-Akopian, No­ vosibirsk 1993: 14 'i'b2 Mhe8 15 as e5

Best and the most critical. 13

23

b6

24 :!la4 .i:!.d5 25 :!ld4 :!lxd4

16 Mab1 c5 17 �f1 f6 and now 18

26

'¥Wxd4 ttJe5 27 .i:!.d 1 :!le8 28 �e4

ctJh4! ctJxc3 19 'i'xc3 exd4 20 'i'b3

iLe2 29

J::!.e1 llxe 1 + 30 1i.xe 1 1i.f5

JiLxb 1 21 Mxb 1 gives White an over­

31

1i.d2

'¥Wd7

32

'li'xf4

b5

33

�f 1

whelming initiative, as Beliavsky

ttJxa6 34 �e3 �b7 35 �f2 �g6 36

pointed out. Clearly in such lines, the

h4 e5 37 '¥We3 �b6 38 �h2 '¥We8 39 '¥Wg5 h6 40 '¥Wd2 '¥We6 41 �g3 �f6

42 �d7 e4 43 �f2+ ttJe5 44 g3!

After a time-scramble and a little confusion, White re-establishes con­ trol with this evil little move, which

king's rook is much more actively placed on e1 than on c1 (as in lines we have seen previously). This is also true

of

as in Hubner-Hertneck,

Munich 1994, when 14 d5! e5 15 �d3! ctJef6 16 ctJxe5 0-0-0 17 ctJxd7 Mxd7 18

13

c5,

Th e

O ld Main

L in e :

Bla ck

pla ys

to

pre ven t

e 3-e4

c4 (Hubner) is the (unpleasant) best that Black can hope for.

14 'i'b2 ctJe4 15 a5!?

now becomes a little random, due to mutual time pressure, but White pulls through in the end.

To break up the black queenside with a5-a6. 15 I[ac 1 is also interesting.

 
To break up the black queenside with a5-a6. 15 I[ac 1 is also interesting.  

15 ctJdf6

 

15

.liJd6 (intending

0-0)

is met by

 

16 .!xe6! (16 Vib4 c5! [not 16

lZ'lxc4??

17 'ife7 mate] 17 dxc5 lZ'lxc4 18 c6

4Jxa3 ! 19 cxd7+ Vixd7 20 Vixa3 Vie7

21 'ifa4+ Vid7 22 Via3 [preventing

kingside castling], which leads to a

draw by repetition after 22

Vie7)

22

. 0-0 17 ltxd7 Vixd7 18 lZ'le5 Vic7

 

19

a6!, breaking up the queenside with

 

an advantage.

 

22

ctJd6 23 �c7 .l:i.d7 24 �c3 0-0

Instead 15

a6

(preventing a5-a6) is

25 ctJe5 Il:.dd8 26 �c6? �xc6 27

best, when Hubner suggests 16 I[e3 4Jd6 17 .!xe6 0-0-0 18 ltxd6 Vixd6 19 .!c4 and I[b3 with a dangerous attack.

.l:i.xc6 ctJb5 28 jLxf8 �xf8 29 gxa6 ctJxd4 30 f3 f6?! 31 ctJxg6+ hxg6 32 f4 Il:.d 5 33 .l:i.e4 g5 34 �a4 e5 35

16

tLJe5 a6 17 .l:i.ac1 .l:i.d8 18 jLxa6 !!

fxe5 fxe5 36 �a7 �g8 37 JJ.e7

 
 
 

18

bxa6

19

ctJxc6

ctJg4

20

ctJe5!

Now White is winning again.

'i'xa5 21 ctJxg4 �b5 22 �c 2?!

37

ctJc6

38

JJ.e6

gc5

39

�g6

�f7

This is White's first inaccuracy in

40 �xg 5 g6 41

h4 �f6 42 �h2 ctJe7

this fascinating game! Hubner notes

43

�a4

�c6

44

.l:i.g3

ctJf5

45 gf3

that the simple 22 Vixb5 axb5 23 I[c7

�g7

46

l:te4

�e6

47

h5

ctJe7 48

I\,a8 24 ltb4 I[a4 25 I[c8+ 'it'd7 26

hxg6 ctJxg6 49

�h3

ctJe7

50 �g3

I\,xh8 I[xb4 27 lZ'le5 'it'c7 28 I[c1+ 'it'b7

ctJg6

51

�f5

�e7

52

�g4

l:ta7

53

29 f3 lZ'lf6 30 lZ'lxg6 would have been

clearly better for White. The game

�g5 ctJh8 54 �g4 ctJf7+ 55 <;t>h5+

�f8 56 �g6 �e8 57 �h4 1 -0

Th e

Sla v

Summary

'bbd7

9 'i'e2 �g6 10 e4 �xc3 11 bxc3 'bxe4. I honestly cannot understand the at­

traction of these lines for Black. Therefore, if Black wishes to try to prevent

e3-e4, then Kramnik's 8

a quick 'bh4 is the most testing response.

9 'i'e2 �g6 is the line for you; Yusupov's plan of

The alert reader will have noticed my profound mistrust of the line 8

0-0

1

d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 ttJt3 CUt6 4 ttJc3 dxc4 5 a4 .ltf5 6 e3 e6 7 .ltxc4 .ltb4

8

0-0

8

0-0

8

'bbd7

(D)

 
 

9

'bh4 �g6

 
 

10

�e2 - game 4

 

10

h3 - game 5

 

9

'i'e2 �g6 (9

�g4

- see next chapter) 10 e4 �xc3 (10

�g6

-

see next chapter) 11 bxc3 'bxe4 12 �a3 'i'c7

 
 

13

.sfe 1

- game 8

 

13

.sfc1 0-0-0 14 as (D)

 
 

14

'bd6

- game 6

14

c,t>b8

- game 7

9

�e2

9 'bh4 - game 3

 

9

.ltg6

9 'bbd7

- see next chapter

 

10 ttJe5 ttJbd7 11 ttJxg6 hxg6 12 .l:td 1

12

'i'e7 - game 1

12

'i'aS - game 2

(D)

hxg6 12 .l:td 1 12 'i'e7 - game 1 12 'i'aS - game 2 (D) B

B

ttJbd7

14 a5

12 'iJ.d1

CHAPTER TWO
CHAPTER TWO

The Old Main line:

Black allows e3-e4

CHAPTER TWO The Old Main line: Black allows e3-e4 3 l2lf3 l2lf6 4 l2lc3 dxc4 5

3 l2lf3 l2lf6 4 l2lc3

dxc4 5 a4 i.f5 6 e3 e6 7 i.xc4 i.b4

1

d4

d5

2 c4

c6

8 0-0

This chapter deals with lines arising

from 8

.cubd7 9 'Wie2 0-0 10 e4 iLg6

(or 9

iLg6

10 e4 0-0 , turning down

the dangerous pawn sacrifice on the

way) and 9

Question 1: When White plays e3- e4, he gains a commanding central presence with pawns on e4 and d4. Why is Black playing this position? Isn't he just worse? Answer: Central pawns are strong if they are dynamic and able to advance and chase away the opposing pieces. Otherwise, they can present easy tar­

gets for the enemy pieces. In this case, White cannot advance d4-dS, and e4- eS leaves a hole on dS for the black pieces. Moreover, Black is threatening

and

tiJxe4, now that his king is safely cas­

tled. Therefore, while the d4-e4 centre

to win a pawn with

iLg4.

iLxc3

gives White a definite space advantage, Black has plenty of threats against the white centre, which is the basis of his counterplay. Question 2: What is the difference

or

between playing 9

iLg6

first

9

0-0

10 e4 iLg6?

Answer: Good question! Generally, black players play 9 . iLg6 to pretend that they are willing to take on the pawn sacrifice after 10 e4. Even if they don't intend to take the pawn, the idea is to make White waste a lit­ tle time on the clock thinking about his variations! You never know - a few minutes might be handy later!

Game 9 Gofshtein-Sadler Ischia 1996
Game 9
Gofshtein-Sadler
Ischia 1996

1 d4

dxc4 5 a4 i.f5 6 e3 e6 7 i.xc4 i.b4

8 0-0 tLlbd7

11 i.d3

e4 i.g6

3 l2lf3 l2lf6 4 tLlc3

d5

2 c4

c6

9 �e2 0-0

10

i.b4 8 0-0 tLlbd7 11 i.d3 e4 i.g6 3 l2lf3 l2lf6 4 tLlc3 d5 2 c4

White had to deal with the threat

Th e

Sla v

It is a general

rule that the longer you can delay committing your centre, the better, since the later you reveal your hand, the less time your opponent has to adjust to it.

of

iLxc3

and

tbxe4.

11 ith5

opponent has to adjust to it. of iLxc3 and tbxe4. 11 ith5 Question 3: What is

Question 3: What is the pomt of this move? Answer: The first place to look for counterplay, is with your pawn breaks. Pawn breaks have two func­ tlons:

a) They attack the opponent's

pawn structure and force him to react to you.

b) They are a 'breakout': they gain

space and therefore give more room

they gain space and therefore give more room the knight on f3 to the queen and

the knight on f3 to the queen and

thus threatens

e6-eS. The alternative

1 1

h6

is considered in Game 12.

12 itf4

Trying to avoid e4-eS for a while longer, White brings another piece to bear on eS. Strangely enough, this is probably not the best move. The di­ rect 12 eS is considered in the next game.

12 'Vj'e7 !?

.iLxf3 14 'iVxf3

eS!, equalising comfortably. I think

that this is a novelty: 12 been played before.

had

Black threatens 1

Me8

13 e5

Absolutely necessary.

13 tZ:ld5 14 tZ:lxd5 cxd5

1 Me8 13 e5 Absolutely necessary. 13 tZ:ld5 14 tZ:lxd5 cxd5 for your pieces to become

for your pieces to become active. Black has two pawn breaks in this

White has a space advantage due to his pawns on d4 and eS. Normally,

position:

e6-eS

and

c6-cS.

Usually

with his bishops, knight and queen

he prefers to aim for

e6-eS,

since this

pointing towards the black king,

stops White from playing e4-eS him­ self, inconveniencing the black

White could consider launching a kingside attack, but here Black's

cS

12 eS!

bishop on hS interferes with this plan:

knight. For example, 1 1 tbdS 13 tbxds exdS (13

iLxd3

14

it can exchange itself for the knight

'iVxd3

exdS 15 tbgS ! is unpleasant)

14

on f3 or return to g6 to block any

iLxg6 hxg6 15 tbgS, with threats of eS-and 'iVg4-h4 and 'iVh7 mate, is nasty for Black. The move in the game pins

white attack on the b 1-h7 diagonal. Meanwhile Black will challenge for the c-file, exchanging the bishop on

Th e

O ld

Main

L ine:

B la ck

a lia ws

e3-e4

d3 for the one on g6 in order to free c2 as an entry square for the black major pieces. Black will also transfer his knight to c6 via b8 from where it not only attacks d4, but can invade the white queenside by as-b3 or via b4. So what on earth can White do? Stay calm! White does not want to exchange pieces on the c-file since this would help Black to free his cramped position, so he has two plans. First (my own favourite) , he can concen­ trate on the kingside where White holds most of the trumps: a space ad­ vantage and a large concentration of minor pieces. I would try to push my kingside pawns: 15 h3 !!fc8 16 g4 ltg6

17 h4, intending h4-hs. This plan

demonstrates the drawback to ltf4, however: White would like to throw the f-pawn forward as well, but the bishop gets in the way. The chances after 15 h3 are, I believe, about equal. White's choice is interesting, but there is always a danger in choosing plans based mainly on tactical points: if there is just a little hole in your calcu­ lations, then you often find that you have just wasted time and must retreat in disarray. On the other hand, such plans are often the most unexpected and the most difficult for the oppo­ nent to deal with!

15 �e3 1:He8 16 a5!? Jig6 17 .l:!.a4!?

At first I thought about playing

16 a5!? Jig6 17 .l:!.a4!? At first I thought about playing 17 Jixd3 18 �xd3 .l:!.e4

17

Jixd3

18 �xd3 .l:!.e4 !

and

when 20

'ik'bS does not win a piece as Black has

20 ltc3,

ing that his activity on the queenside

has come to naught, White goes back to 'Plan A' and expands on the king­ side, but he is several tempi down on what he could have had earlier.

when he stands well. Realis­

Black is now planning

19 b3 is met by 19

b7-bs

Mc7!,

19 h4 h6 20 h5 ctJe5!

19 b3 is met by 19 b7-bs Mc7!, 19 h4 h6 20 h5 ctJe5! .Mab8, intending

.Mab8, intending 18

bS

to drive

Oops! My opponent had missed

21

dxc5 nxf4 22 a6 ! bxa6 23 c6 a5

away the white rook. Then to my horror I noticed 18 ltbS! White is threatening to take the knight on d7

that one. However, after a big think, he came up with an active defence.

and then take my bishop on b4, so

24

.l:!.e 1

ge8

25

b3

ge7

26

.l:!.e2

18 .ctJf8 is natural, but then 19 'ik'b3!

ne4? !

 

and my bishop is trapped!

A

rather casual move. 26

Mfs

27

Th e

Sla v

Mal Mxh5 28 g4 Mh3 29 'It>g2 �h4!! (this lovely move was pointed out to me by Julian Hodgson after the game) was the way to play.

27 '!::!'a1 jLc5? ! 28 .!::!.xa5 �xc6 ??

to play. 27 '!::!'a1 jLc5? ! 28 .!::!.xa5 �xc6 ?? 29 .!::!.b5?? My God! I had

29 .!::!.b5??

My God! I had missed that White could simply win a piece with 29 �b5, forking rook and bishop. I had

�xf2+

with a discovered attack on the rook on c2, but White just plays 30 Mxf2! Luckily White shared the same blind spot! After 29 Mb5, White is just lost.

thought that I could play 29

29

�c7

30 �a2 iLb6

Trapping the rook.

31 <;t>h2 .l::!. c3 32 �d2 �c6

axb6 34 lLld4 .!::!.h4+ 0- 1

33

gxb6

c3 32 �d2 �c6 axb6 34 lLld4 .!::!.h4+ 0- 1 33 gxb6 35 'It>gl Mc1+ leads

35 'It>gl Mc1+ leads to immediate mate.

So 12 �f4 doesn't seem all that promising for White. What about 12 e5 instead?

Game 10 Gelfand-Lautier .t-urich 1994
Game 10
Gelfand-Lautier
.t-urich 1994

3 lLlf3 lLlf6 4 lLlc3

dxc4 5 a4 jLf5 6 e3 e6 7 iLxc4 jLb4

1 d4

d5

2 c4

c6

8

0-0 lLlbd7

9

�e2

jLg6

10 e4 0-0

11

jLd3 iLh5 12 e5

 

Probably the best move.

11 jLd3 iLh5 12 e5   Probably the best move. 1 2 lLld 5 1 3

12

lLld 5 13 lLlxd5

The alternative, 13 with in the next game.

13

cxd5

liJe4, 1S dealt

13 with in the next game. 13 cxd5 liJe4, 1S dealt has been suggested, but since

has been suggested, but

since White already has a space advan­

tage on the kingside, I am sceptical about conceding a pawn majority as well in that area.

13

exd5

14 �e3 h6? !

A debatable decision. I would pre­

�e7, followed by a rook to

fer 14

the c-file and

liJb8-c6.

15 lLle 1 !

Th e

O ld Main

L in e :

Bla ck

a I/a ws

e 3-e4

Th e O ld Main L in e : Bla ck a I/a ws e 3-e4

A very instructive plan: White in­

tends to play f2-f4 and f4-f5, which is particularly dangerous once Black has

h7-h6.

weakened his kingside with

pletely dominates the black knight.

29

'i'xg6 30 'i'e3 �h7 31

3i.f4 'i'f7

32

3i.e 5 'i'd7 33 h4 \tlg8 34 h5!

32 3i.e 5 'i'd7 33 h4 \tlg8 34 h5! Fixing the g7-pawn. Moreover, the knight will

Fixing the g7-pawn.

Moreover, the knight will eventually

34

'i'd8

35 'i'g3 'i'd7

36 3i.d6 'i'f7

come to d3 with tempo, hitting the

37

'i'e5 'i'f5 38 'i'e2 b4 39 g4 'i'f6

bishop on b4.

40

3i.e5 'i'g 5 41 �g2 b3 42 3i.d6!

15

18tLld3! a6

.f5

16 exf6 'i'xf6

17

3i.b5 ttJb8

1td6 19 tLJe5 is not pleasant for

Black.

19 tLlxb4 axb5 20 a5 ttJa6 21 ttJd3!

l:tfe8 22 3i.d 2 ge2 23 gae 1 gae8 24

l:tx e2 gxe2 25 ge 1

iLg6 27 ttJe5 'i'f5 28 h3 'i'e2 29

lLlxg6!

18

gx e1+ 26 3i.x e1

28 h3 'i'e2 29 lLlxg6! 18 gx e1+ 26 3i.x e1 Excellent judgement. In the result­

Excellent judgement. In the result­ ing position, White's bishop com-

Preventing the knight from becom­ mg active.

bishop com- Preventing the knight from becom­ mg active. 42 45 3i.e5 'i'h4 46 3i.g3 'i'f6

42

45 3i.e5 'i'h4 46 3i.g3 'i'f6 47 'i'd2 'i'e7 48 'i'e3 'i'f6 49 3i.d6 �h7 50 'i'xb3 'i'xd4 51 'i'e2+ \tlh8 52 'i'e8+ �h7 53 'i'e2+ �h8 54 'i'e8+ �h7

55 'i'xe6!

44 3i.g 3 'i'f6

�f7

43

'i'd 1

\tlg8

Protecting g4.

55

'i'xb2

56

3i.e 5

'i'c2

57

'i'e7

'i'e4+ 58 �g3 'i'd3+ 1 -0

Th e

Sla v

After 59 f3 , Black cannot stop mate. His knight has not moved since move 20!

Black should be fine after the ex­ change of knights on dS, providing he

avoids weakening his kingside . Let us

take a look at 13 tbe4.

Game 11 Xu Jun-Akopian Moscow Olyrt;lpiad 1994
Game 11
Xu Jun-Akopian
Moscow Olyrt;lpiad 1994

1 d4

dxc4 5 a4 �f5 6 e3 e6 7 �xc4 �b4

8 0-0 CLlbd7

e4 0-0

3 CLlf3 CLlf6 4 CLlc3

d5

2 c4

c6

9 �e2 �g6

10

11 �d3 �h5 12 e5 CLld5 13 CLle4!?

c4 c6 9 �e2 �g6 10 11 �d3 �h5 12 e5 CLld5 13 CLle4!? Many white

Many white players do not enjoy the positions that we have seen in the first two games of this chapter. With the centre closed, and the prospect of exchanges on the c-file, they feel un­ easy about their winning prospects; so recently the plan with 13 tbe4 has come to prominence. Of course, Black keeps his knight outpost on ds and his pawn-break against the centre

with

However, White's space

advantage remains and he retains e4 to transfer first his knight, then his

c6-cS.

queen to the kingside. Yes, this is the hacker's option!

13 �e7

is unpleasantly met by 14

ltgS! 'i'aS 15 ltbS! Once Black moves the knight on d7, he will lose the cs­ pawn, and he cannot protect it with a rook due to the bishop on gS. If he

'i'c7,

protects the knight with lS

then 16 Mac1 is unpleasant. The text

prevents ltgS and prepares

13 cS

c6-cS.

14 CLlg3

The direct approach. 14 as has also been tried.

14 CLlg3 The direct approach. 14 as has also been tried. Question 4: Why does White

Question 4: Why does White play 14 as? Answer: a4-aS gains queenside space, preventing Black from using

the as or b6 squares for his pieces. Question 5: So what's the verdict? Is it a good move? Answer: Absolutely not! These

cS

aims are completely irrelevant. 14

is logical, striking at the d4-pawn. Neither 15 dxcs tbxeS nor 15 tbxcs

tbxcs (lS

course not 16

1S iVc2+ �gS 19 tbgS ltg6 20 iVxcs,

ltxcs

or

winning a pawn) , followed by

16 dxcS MCS (of 17 ltxh7+ �xh7

ltxcS!?)

ltxcs

MxcS,

promise White anything.

Th e

O ld Main

L ine:

Bla ck

a //o ws

e3-e4

14

.JLg 6

 

17

tZJc3

This is a perfectly reasonable plan, challenging Black's knight on ds once Black has weakened

This is a perfectly reasonable plan, challenging Black's knight on ds once Black has weakened its support by

playing

c6-cS,

but why did the Chi­

nese player avoid 17 CLlegS ? 17

cxd4

18

'iVe4 's'e8 19 'iVh4 CLlf8 seems to be

a good reason. The knight on f8 de­ fends against 'iVh7 and if by some miracle White manages to threaten to get a rook on h3, then Black can hit

the 'panic button' and chase the

 

knight away with

.£7-f6. White

15

JLxg6 hxg6

could, however, try and open up the

15

fxg6

used to be played almost

automatically, primarily for defensive reasons: black players were worried that if they recaptured with the h­ pawn, White would play his knight

black kingside with h2-h4-hS, possibly after 16 'iVe4 cS 17 h4 cxd4 18 hS!?

And now it's up to you, the reader! We'll have to wait for practical tests before a conclusion can be reached.

on g3 to gS via e4 and his queen to h4,

17

�b6

when Black would have no defence to

'Ih7 mate. By taking with the f-pawn

to

keep a knight out of gS, and of course,

he gains the semi-open f-file for coun­ terplay. And then people realised that White's attack was hardly automatic

Black retains the option of

h7-h6

after 15

became the main line!

hxg6,

so this move gradually

16 tLle4 c5

the main line! hxg6, so this move gradually 16 tLle4 c5 17 CLl7b6 18 as CLlxc3

17 CLl7b6

18 as CLlxc3 19 bxc3 CLlds

20 c4 CLlb4 also seems reasonable.

18

tZJxd5

�e6

exd5

21

19

a6

dxc5

22

tZJxc5

.l:!.ac 1

20

.l:!.ac8

JLe3

23 .l:!.fd 1

a5

tZJb3 24 .l:!.xc8 .l:!.xc8

Black has an isolated d-pawn, but White's queenside is weak. The posi­ tion is about equal.

25

�e 1 ? !

JLb6

JLd8 ?!

26

JLxd8

.l:!.xd8

27

but White's queenside is weak. The posi­ tion is about equal. 25 �e 1 ? !

Th e

Sla v

Black's slightly incautious 25th move allowed White the chance to activate his queen by the lovely 27

'iYe4!, intending 12Jg5 and 'iYh4, as

27

ttJg5+ winning the queen (analysis by Xu Jun) . The rest is hard-fought, but it was always going to be a draw.

clxe4 allows 28 lIxd8+ �h7 29

has a similar idea. After 12

�xc3

loses to 14 �d2 'iYc2 15 �d3 'iYb2 16

lIfb l) 13 h3 lIac8 14 12Ja2!, White had a slight advantage in Beliavsky-Short,

'iYxa4

�f4! lIfe8 (12

13 bxc3 'iYxc3

l1

'iYaS

Linares 1995, as 14

15 ttJc3! 'iYb3 16 �c4 wins the queen)

15 b4! gains queenside space with

�f8

(14

27

:Viiie7 28 'Viiic3 tLJc5 29 'iVb4 �f8

tempo: 15

'iVxa4

16 lIfbl and 12Ja2-c3

30

�f 1 tLJe6 31 'Viiixe7+ c!;xe7 32

traps the queen, while 15

�xb4

16

J::id3 d4 33 J::ib3 J::id7 34 g3 tLJd8 35

J::ib6 J::id5 36 b4 d3 37 c!;e 1 c!;d7 38

12Jxb4 'iYxb4 17 lIfbl 'iYaS 18 lIxb7 is unpleasant for Black.

�d2 c!;c7 39 J::id6 J::ixd6 40 exd6+

12

�f4 J::ic8

13

l:Ifd 1

J::ie8

14 h3

a6

�xd6 41 �xd3 �d5 42 tLJd2 tLJc6

15

l:Iac 1 !

43 c!;c3 tLJe5 44 tLJb3 tLJc4 45 f4 f6

lh -lh

Game 12 Sadler-Miles British Championship 1998
Game 12
Sadler-Miles
British Championship 1998

1 d4

d5

2

c4

c6

3 tLJf3 tLJf6 4 ct:Jc3

After 15 ttJa2 �f8 16 b4 Back has

(an excellent idea, breaking

White's grip on the c5-square) 17 bxaS

'iYxaS 18 �d2 'iYc7 19 e5 �xd3 20 'iYxd3 12JdS 21 ttJc3 ttJxc3 22 �xc3 ttJb6 23 as ttJdS 24 �el c5 and Black had no problems in LSokolov-Oll, Moscow Olympiad 1994.

16

aS!

dxc4 5 a4 �f5 6 e3 e6 7 �xc4 Si.b4

15

�b6

8

0-0 tLJbd7

9 'Viiie2 Si.g6

10 e4 0-0

No better is 15

'iYaS

16 ttJd2! b5

11

�d3 h6

(16

�xc3

17 bxc3 'iYxa4 18 lIal traps

h6 (16 �xc3 17 bxc3 'iYxa4 18 lIal traps A slightly risky idea. Black devel­ ops

A slightly risky idea. Black devel­ ops quietly and waits for an opportu­

or

e6-e5. The problem is that, as in this

game, Black can really get sat on!

nity to break with either

c6-c5

the queen) 17 axb5 axb5 18 12Jb3 'iYb6 19 e5 12Jd5 20 12Jxd5 exdS 21 �xg6 fxg6 and Black was probably happy he couldn't see his position in Lautier­ Gelfand, Monaco (blindfold) 1999.

16 �b 1!

I really like this development scheme. White consolidates his queen­ side and mobilises all his pieces, ready for any of Black's breaks.

16 �h7?!

Black should really have taken the

although 17 12Ja2!

wins the bishop pair with a nice ad­

vantage for White.

plunge with 16

c5,

17 tLJe5?

This is rather careless though!

Th e

Old

Main

L ine:

Bla ck

a llo ws

e3-e4

17

:i'd 8?

dxeS

�f8 is okay for Black.

18 ClJc4!

17

ctJxeS

18

"iVc7!

19

"iVc4

Now Black is suffering.

18

ClJb6 19 ttJa2! .ll.f8 20 b3!

Maintaining the knight on c4, as Black will now have to improve White's structure to get rid of it.

ttJd7

23 ClJc3 i.b4 24 ttJa4 Wiie7 25 Wiig4

itJf6 26 �f3 ttJa7 27 .ll.g3 ttJd7 28

d5! exd 5 29 exd 5 i.xb 1 30 J::i.xb1 cxd5 31 ttJcb6 ttJxb6 32 ttJxb6 gad8

20

J::i.a8

21

�h 1

ttJc8

22

a5

tremely solid and has no pawn weak- nesses.

1 ttJc8 22 a5 tremely solid and has no pawn weak- nesses. 33 ClJxd 5 'i'f8

33

ClJxd 5

'i'f8 34 ttJc7 ge7 35

J::i. xd8

15

a6

16

J::i.fd8

17

ga4

 

�xd8 36 ttJd5 J:i.e 1+ 37 J::i.xe 1 i.xe 1

18

f4

CLle8

19

.ll.e3

gac8

20

.ll.f3

38 b4 Wiie8?? 39 ttJc7 ! �c6 40 'iVe3 ixb4 41 Wiixa7 .ixa5 42 �b8+ �h7

ttJd6 21

i.e2 g6 22 J::i.aa 1

1h - Y2

43

ClJe8 b5 44 ttJd6 f6 45 Wiia7 i.b4

Here Kasparov shows a more criti­

46

ClJf5 i.f8 47 �f7 'i'c8 48 CLld4

cal approach for White.

ia3 49 ttJe6 'i'g8 50 'iVd7 �h8 51 ic7 .ib4 52 f4 .ic3 53 f5 b4 54

id6 1 -0

Occasionally 9

.,tg4 is seen instead

of 9

.

.,tg6, as in the next two games.

Game 13 Khalifman-Kir . Georgiev Elenite 1994
Game 13
Khalifman-Kir . Georgiev
Elenite 1994

1 d4

d5

2

ttJf3

ttJf6

3

c4

dxc4

4

itJc3 c6

5

a4 Jl.f5

6

e3

e6

7

i.xc4

ib4 8 0-0 ttJbd7 9 �e2 i.g4!?

A rather unusual move that aims to bore White to tears by exchanging off into a dull ending.

h3

ixf3 13 'i'xf3 'i'xf3 14 gxf3 0-0 15

a5

White has the two bishops and a space advantage, but Black is ex-

10