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AttackingThe English/Reti

A Black Repertoire with 1...e5/1...d5

Alexander Delchev
Semko Semkov

Chess Stars
Chess Stars Publishing
Current Theory and Practice Series

Attacking The English/Reti

Cover design by Rustam Taichinov

Copyright 1)2616 by Alexander Delchev and Semko Semkov

Printed in Bulgaria
ISBN: 978-619-7188-09-7

Bibliography 4
Introduction 5

The English Opening

1. l.c4 e5 2.g3 lllf6 3 ..ig2 c6 9
2. l.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 44
3. l.c4 e5 2.liJc3 liJf6 3.g3 c6 61
4. l.c4 e5 2.liJc3 liJf6 3.liJf3 liJc6 73
5. l.c4 e5 2.liJc3 liJf6 3.liJf3 liJc6 4.e3 85
6. 3.liJf3 liJc6 4.g3 .ib4 5.liJd5 101
7. 3.liJf3 liJc6 4.g3 .ib4 5..ig2 115
8. Rare Second Moves 133

9. l.liJf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 145
10. l.liJf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3 159
11. l.liJf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3 175
12. l.liJf3 d5 2.g3 c6 193
13. The King's Indian Set-np 215
14. l.g3 223

Index of Variations
The Modern Reti, Alexander Delchev, Chess Stars 2012
The English Opening Volume I, Mihail Marin, Quality Chess 2009
Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 3, John Watson, Gambit 2008
The English Opening, Zenon Franco, Gambit 2006
How to play the English Opening, Anatoly Karpov, Batsford 2007

Chess Informant
New in Chess

Internet resources
The Week In Chess (
10 Days (
Chess Publishing (
Chess Today (


This book aims to offer an active 1.g3 e5 2.i.g2 d5 3.d3 ltlf6 4.ltlf3
Black repertoire against The Eng i.d6 5.0-0 0-0;
lish Opening 1.c4, the Reti 1.ltlf3,
and their siblings that arise after
1.g3. More importantly, we try to
offer not only variations, but also
a philosophy of how to treat such

A century ago they called them
simply "irregular". Since then, no
body has revoked the importance
of the centre, but nowadays we
are so sweeped off by the torrents We apply the same approach to

of variations the engines provide the Reti:

that we tend to forget convention

al wisdom. 1.lilf3 d5 2.c4 d4! and if 3.b4 f6!

Our reasoning is simple: if White 4.e3 e5

gave us a chance, we should seize

central space; if he played passive
ly, we should advance. Our goal is
to reach an ideal pawn centre:
1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.i.g2 d5 4.cxd5 cxd5
5.d4 e4;

You may find old books or anno

tated games that criticize Black's
set-up on the first diagram. All the
better for you - this book will arm
you with an innovative approach
and thorough original analysis

which often refutes widely ac
cepted assessments. Many of our
main lines are nearly unexplored
and they are blank spots in theory.

Chapter 1 offers a repertoire based

on l.c4 e5 2.g3?! li:lf6 3.i.g2 c6!.

Chapter 2 presents an independ

This position has been in the lime
ent alternative repertoire based
light ever since the K-K match in
on l.c4 e5 2.g3?! c6!?.
1987 and it seems that it is hyper
We explain the pros and cons of
topical again. We analyse both 9...
the two move orders in the corre
e3!? and 9...exf3 in order to give
spondent "Main Ideas" chapters.
you alternatives.
Both are of equal worth and claim
the initiative since the first moves. I have always been eager to find
We have not tried to find equal an exploitative strategy against
izers. On the contrary, we believe passive opening play. I have star
that Black has all the reasons to ted with the set-up d5-e6. My idea
fight for an initiative so we chose was to advance slowly, gradually
enterprising lines, often connect rolling the pawns into the enemy
ed with pawn sacrifices. We dis territory. The following game il
covered amazing variety of posi lustrates the zest of this strategy:
tions where Black can give up one
of his central pawns to get a strong Sveshnikov-Semkov
attack in return. Albena, 1 987

Chapters 6 and 7 deal with a more l.g3 d5 e6 3.i.g2 i.d6 4.0-0
restrictive approach from White: li:le7 5.c4 c6 6.b3 e5 7.i.b2 f6
1.c4 e5! li:lf6! li:lc6
4.g3. This is played "by the ABC
book" and we have little ground
for an early activity here. Still, we
chose the most active options af
ter the move 4...i.b4. We do not
cover lines with 4...d5 at all.
Especially interesting is the line
5.i.g2 0-0 6.0-0 e4 hc3
8.bxc3 E1e8 9.f3. a6 9.d4 e4 f5 ll.f3


0-0 12.ltlc2 e6 13.fxe4 fxe4 This book presents a refined and

14.sxfs+ Wxfs 1s.wa2 ltld7 16.ia3 more aggressive version of the
ha3 17.ltlxa3 ltlg6 18.ltlc2 1Wf5 above strategy. We emphasized
19.ltle3 '!Wh5 20.sfl ltle7 21.ltlcdl on piece play, regarding the pawn
se8 22.sf2 1Wg5 23.Wlb4 centre as a mean and not as a goal.
We can always sacrifice it in order
to get to the enemy king.

Finally, I should mention the line

1.lilf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.c4 g4 - Chap
ter 12.

23...c5 24.1Wxb7 cxd4 25.ltlxd5

ltlxd5 26.cxd5 ltlc5 27.1Wc6 sc8
28.1Wd6 1Wxd5 29.Wixd5 hd5
30.e3 d3

It falls out of our general line of

preparing ...e5, but it is the best
way of meeting White's move or
der according to Delchev.

The book is written in first person,

31.fl ltld7 32.<i>el ltlf6 33.h3 but it is a collaborative work. Eve
sc2 34.sd2 scl 35.sb2 !k2 36.g4 ry line has been checked and dis
h6 37.a4 @f7 38.b4 e7 39.b5 cussed by both authors
a5 40.b6 b7 41.fl ltld5 42.sb5
sh2 43.ltlf2 d2+ 44.xd2 sxf2+ Semko Semkov
45.el sf6 0-1 June 2016

Chapter 1. 1.c4 e5 2.g3 lLlf6 3.i.g2 c6

Main Ideas

This is the most important chapter case, White does not actively attack
of our book. It presents a sharp at the centre.
tacking rep ertoire against White's I adhere to the classical school of
pop ular approach in the English chess. I believe in quick develop
Opening lately: ment and central strategy. A se
1.c4 e5 2.g3 quence of moves like l.c4 e5! 2.g3?!
defies my understanding of the
game. When I see the diagram posi
tion, I think we should immediately
switch to "p unishing mode" and try
to take over the initiative! The most
consistent retort, in my opinion, is to
occupy the centre by ...c6 and ...d5.
The big question is should we insert
2...lilf6 3.lilc3 and only then 3...c6,
or answer 2...c6. Both move orders
By delaying li:lc3, White leaves him are possible and have their own spe
self more options against the Re cifics. I discuss them in Chapter 1
versed Sicilian set-up when Black and Chapter 2 which propose two al
plays an early ...d7-d5. For instance, ternative, albeit similar, repertoires
after 2...lilf6 3.i!.g2 d5 4.cxd5 lilxd5 against White's fianchetto. Chapter
5.lilf3 li:lc6 6.0-0 lilb6 7.d3 i!.e7, 3 covers lilf6 3.g3 c6.
8.lilbd2 is preferred over 8.lilc3.
Another point against is 2 li:lf6 3.i!.g2 c6!
the line 3.g3 c6 4.d4 exd4
5.xd4 d5 i!.e6 when
would face 7...dxc4. Stayed the
knight on bl, White would have had
a4, li:lbd2 while from c3 it cannot re
capture the sacrificed pawn.
These two examples reveal the rea
son behind 2.g3. However, flexibil
ity always comes at a cost. In our

Chapter l

White has three major plans from Mastrovasilis played it in 2013 and
here: then it has occurred in practical
chess only 4 more times. Black has
1. White attacks the d5-pawn. scored a total of 4.5/5!

The tactical background of our set-

up was shown in the game Peter
sons-Tal, Riga 1958: 4.lilc3 d5
5.cxd5 cxd5 6.ll!'b3 lilc6!
Now 7.lilxd5 lild4 8.lilxf6+ 1ll'xf6 (or
8...gxf6), guarantees Black a lasting
initiative for the pawn.

The critical line is 9.1ll'b5 when we

shed in a pawn - 9...0-0!? 10.lilxd5
h6 n.lilxf6+ li:lxf6 12.M6 1ll'xf6
13.e3 a6!

He puts a rook on c8 and the threat

of forces the enemy to lose
his castling rights.
Throughout this chapter, we11 often
see Black sacrificing a pawn for the
initiative. That is not a speculative
approach to the game aimed at fish Now 14.1ll'd5 ib4+, 14.1ll'e2 ib4+
ing in muddy waters. It stems from and 14.1ll'b3 ie6 15.1ll'dl tb4+
purely positional factors. White has leave White's king in the centre, so
neglected basic laws of chess and we 14.1ll'a5 looks best - 14...tg4 15.h3
got the chance of taking the centre. ie6 16.lile21ll' e7 17.a3 f5 18.0-0 ic4
He might win a pawn in some lines, 19 .111'd2 1ll'f7 2 0.l'lfcl l'lad8!
but that would give us a lead in de
velopment. Thus we would transfer
our static edge (pawn centre) into a
dynamic advantage - active pieces.

The core of my repertoire is the line

4.d4 e4! 5.lilc3 d5 6.ig5 lilbd7
7.cxd5 cxd5 8.'lifb3 id6!
This position is nearly unexplored.

1.c4 e5 2.g3 <i:lf6 3.i.g2 c6

Black controls the centre. Grune 3 White is unable to preserve his beau
Hessenius-Grebenshchikov, ICCF tiful pawn centre after 14...te6;.
2014, shows his main plan - ...g5, After moving one of the pawns, his
...h6-h5-h4, but he should proceed dark squares will become sensitive.
carefully to forestall counterplay If White attacked our e4-pawn be
with d4-d5 or f2-f3. fore castling, we could leave it and
take over the initiative:
2. White attacks the e4-pawn. 11.<i:lf2 h6 12.txf6 <i:lxf6 13.<i:lfxe4
<i:lxe4 14.i.xe4 !le8 15.1Mi'd3 th3
4.d4 e4! 5.<i:lc3 d5 6.tg5 <i:lbd7
7.cxd5 cxd5 8.:f3

You can get this position via vari

We'll meet this break-through in ous move orders. It is promising for
a various settings - without i.g5,
without i.g2 (in the chapters to fol
If White does not attack d5 early, his
low), with <i:lh3, with c4-c6 pawn
still on the board. The general rule only plausible plan remains f3-f3.
is not to take on f3! There are excep We'll meet it with ...tb4, but then
tions where ...exf3 equalizes, but we have a choice:
commonly we should either hold 1. To transpose to the above-men
the e4-pawn, or sacrifice it. For that tioned examples by allowing i.g5.
aim, we should prepare to kill the
main e4-attacker with 8 tb4, e.g.

2. To prevent the pin with ... h6:
9.<i:lh3 0-0 10.fxe4 dxe4 11.0-0 6.<i:lh3 i.b4!? 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.f3 h6
txc3 12.bxc3 h6 13.txf6 <i:lxf614.c4 9.0-0 0-0 10.fxe4

Chapter l

10...b:c3 ll.bxc3 .bh3! 12..bh3 Attacldng guide

li:Jxe4. I analyse this position in
Chapter2,Game 5Nailer-Delchev, In the main line when White takes
Ordu 2016. the d5-pawn, we aim for this attack
ing scheme:
3. White does not play d4. e4 b6!

26.g4 f4!! (26...ib3 27.'&e2 ic4;) ib8 c7 29.e4
This rare move is the best way of ob
taining active play. I do not like the If White does not take on d5, but
common 5...d5 in view of 6.d3!. The decides to complete development
queen move pushes back White's first, we could offer b7 instead:
only active piece. Our idea is to grab
as much space as possible and use it
to attack the enemy. We often sac
rifice a pawn to activate our forces
more quickly: a5 7.a4 (7.d3 a4 8.ie3 '&d8!)

12...te6! 13.'l>l'xb7 h5!

Our dominance in the centre justi
fies such sharp onslaughts. White's
queen is far from the kingside and
he lacks any counterplay.

We often do not defend our central

pawns, but sacrifice them for activi
8... 0-0! li:Jxe4 10.b:e4 d5
ty. Thefollowing diagram is afterthe
ll.cxd5 ih3 with a rout.
moves 4.e4 d5! 5.exd5 cxd5 6.cxd5
Here are more examples: li:Jxd5 8.0-0 $.c5 9.Eiel
e5 2.g3 lilf6 3.g2 c6

11.i.g2 (11.12le3 h5) 11...0-0-0 12.b3


Or 4.12lf3 e4 5.12ld4 Wlb6 6.e3 d5

7.cxd5 cxd5 8.0-0 i.g4 9.3 exf3
10.hf3 fili3 11.i.g2 hg2 12.@xg2
12lc6 13.lilc3

9...0-0! 10.12lxe5 lildb4t.

As a rule, if White takes the e4-pawn

before having castled, we can keep
his king in the centre with ...i,h3.
Then his defence is not trivial:


Theoretical status

The set-up with ...c6 is not in the

limelight of modern theory. Your
opponents will often think that you
12...12ld7!. Then we simply put our chose a second-rate line and they
rooks on the central files. will tend to underestimate Black's
We could even castle long in some
positions with an open centre: Mihail Marin recommends in The
4.12lf3 e4 5.12ld4 Wlb6 6.lilc2 d5 English Opening Volume 1 4.d4 e4
7.12lc3 dxc4 8.0-0 i.e6 9.12lxe4 lilxe4 5.lilc3 d5 6.i.g5 12lbd7 7.cxd5 cxd5
10.he4 12ld7 8.Wfb3, and ommits 8 ...i.d6! alto

John Watson in Mastering the

Chess Openings Volume 3 does
not even mention 1.c4 e5 2.g3 lilf6
3.i.g2 c6 4.d4 e4 (there is only a
note on 4...i.b4+ ) .
I found a fleeting remark about
the sequence 1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.d4

Chapter 1

e4 4.1Zlc3. He points out that 4...d5 ... c6 set-up. My opponents confi

5.cxd5 cxd5 6.\Wb3 1Zlc6! is good for dently play 4.d4 e4 5.1Zlc3 d5 and
Black and concludes: "So perhaps 4 then start improvising. It is real
...d5 is a satisfactory move after all." ly rare to take over the psyhologi
That's all. cal initiative so early in the opening
with Black!
I could not find anything in The My analyses will probably boost the
English Opening by Zenon Franco. popularity of this line so we could
expect many important games in
near future. To ensure the longevi
Conclusion ty of my idea, I propose a twin back
up repertoire in Chapter 2, based on
In my own tournament and blitz the slightly altered move order l.c4
practice I observe that White does e5 2.g3 c6. It is up to you to decide
not know what to do against the which one you like more.
Chapter 1. 1.c4 e5 2.g3 ttJf6 3.i.g2 c6

Step by Step

1.c4 e5 2.g3 qif6 3.g2 6..ib2 d5 7.cxd5 qixd5 8..ixe5 0-0

9.a3 <Dd7 10..ib2 a5t.
The rare move order 3.qic3 trans
poses to Chapter 3 after 3 ...c6. 4.d3 d5 5.cxd5
5.qid2 .ic5! was in Black's fa
3.. c6!
vour in Bilek-Portisch, Teeside
1972. The game went on 6.cxd5
cxd5 7.qib3.ib6 (7....id6!) s.qif3
qic6 9.0-0 0-010..ig5 h6 11..ixf6
5.<Df3 dxc4 (or 5....id6) 6.0-0
(6.qic3 \!!lfc7 7.dxc4 .ie6=) 6...
.id6 7.dxc4 0-0 s.qic3 h6=.

A. 4.qic3; B. 4.qif3; C. 4.d4

Exotic alternatives are:

4.\!!lfa 4 is a clumsy attempt to pre

vent ...d5 which does not actual
ly stop it as 4 ...d5 5.cxd5 b5 6.\!!lfb3 6.qif3
<Dxd5 7.qic3 .ie6 is equal. A more 6.<Dc3 d4 (6...qic6 keeps the cen
ambitious approach is to prepare tre fluid) 7.qie4 <Dxe4 8..ixe4
quick castling with 4 ....ie7! when .ie7 - see line A, 6.d3.
5_qif3 e4 6.qid4 0-0 7.0-0 d5 is ra 6...<Dc6 7.0-0 .ie7 8..ig5 0-0 9.<Dc3
ther pleasant for Black. Playing in .ie6 and Black easily held the cen
gambit style is also possible: 4....ic5 tre in Mamedov-Rublevsky, Khan
5.b4 (5.qic3 0-0 6.b4 .ie7 7.\!!lfb 3?! ty-Mansiysk 2010.
could be punished by 7...a5 8.b5 a4
9.qixa4 d5 10.cxd5 qixd5t) 5....ie7 4.e4 does not prevent 4...d5!.

Chapter 1

4...tc5 d6 keeps more White should lose a tempo on 9.ig2

tension, but it offers White a free (9.id2 li:la6 10.E1cl 0-0 does not
hand on the kingside - change things much.) 9...0-0 10.ii:lf3
(The passive 6.h3 passes the ii:lc6 11.0-0 i.e6 12..id2 f6 13.1ll'a4
initiative to Black after 6... b5) 1ll'b6 14.E1fbl, Georgievski-Sofrevski,
6 ...0-0 7.0-0 ig4 8.h3, intend Skopje 1976, when 14...a5+ starts an
ing l!lh2, f4. offensive on the queenside where
5.exd5 cxd5 6.cxd5 li:lxd5 and the Black is clearly stronger.
game is level - li:lc6 8.0-0 ic5 0-0! li:ldb4) 6 lilc6 lild4 8.lilxf6+ 10.d4 ig4 11.1ll'a4+ id7=.
The gambit 6 ...ig4!? keeps the fight 8.'l!lc4 li:lxd5 9.ixd5 b5 gives Black
on. For instance: a strong attack. The main line of my
7.1ll'a4+ li:lbd7 id6 analysis runs 10.txf?+ l!le7 11.1ll'd5
0-0 10.d4 a6 11.h3 th5oo. li:lc2+ 12.Wdl li:lxal 13.11\'xaS 1ll'c7
7.1ll'b3 li:lbd7 e4 9.0-0 id6 14.1ll'e4 l!lxf715.'l!lbl ib7 16.ii:lf3 ie7 li:lc5 11.1ll'c2 E1c8 0-0 17.'l!lxal ie4 18.d3 E1d8 19.lilg5+
ixg5 20.ixg5 txhl 21.ixd8 1ll'xd8+.

8 'l!lxf6

Black has excellent counterplay:

13.f3 exf3 14.d4 Wb6 li:lce4,
or 13.b4 li:ld3 14.Wbl E1e8
ii:lxe4 16.ixe4 li:lf4! 17.ib2 1ll'g5i:::.

Practice has proved that Black's in

A. d5 5.cxd5 itiative more than compensates for
the missing pawn. Computer analy
5.d4 e4 transposes to line C. sis suggests that play is roughly bal
anced, but over the board Black' s
5 cxd5 6.Wb3 task is easier since he owns the ini
tiative. In many lines White must
6.d3 is a passive move. According to find series of only movesjust to stay
our general strategy, we should gain in the game.
even more space with 6...d4 I must add that 8...gxf6!? 9.1ll'dl 1ll'c7
ii:lxe4(7... li:ld5 8.1ll'b 3=) 8.ixe4 ie7. 10.l!lfl ie6(or 10...ii:lc2 11.E1bl ie6)

is also good and Black's play is quite
similar to 8... 'il'xf6.
I will consider from here: Al. 9.'il'dl
andA2. 9.'il'd3.

Al. 9.%1'dl Ms 10.d3 1k8 11.lflfl


A picturesque position. The bishop

pair rules over the board, for exam
ple: 19.!lel td3 20.'il'dl h6 21.lflgl

A2. 9.1!:1'd3 te7


9....if5 is more popular. Its only

It is dubious to grab another pawn:
drawback is that after 10..ie4 he4
12.hb7 !lc7 13..ig2 0-0 14.h4 h6
ll.'il'xe4 !lc8 12.lflfl 'il'e6 13.lllf3
15.td2 tg4 16.lllf3 1Zlxf3 17.hD e4
1Zlxf3 14.exf3 tc5 15.g2= White's
18.dxe4 hf3 19.exf3 !ld8 20.'il'e2
king finds a safe haven too easily.
'il'xb2 21..if4 11\'xal+ 22.lflg2 'il'c3
23.hc7 !ld2. Perhaps the most challenging op
tion is 9...td7!?, if you do not mind
12.lllf3 0-0 13.te3 li:lxf3 occurred in
positions with 2-3 pawns down for
Hausner-Baumbach, Leipzig 1978,
a great compensation. Then:
when 14..ixf3? he3 15.fxe3 should
10.e3 tc6 ll.f3 tb5 12.'il'e4 lllc6
be punished by 15...!lfdS!. 14.hc5
is clearly sad for White so he
!lxc5 15..ixf3 is more accurate, but
should take the second pawn:
Black retains a dominating posi
10.hb7 !lb8 ll.1Zlf3 !lxb7 12.lllxd4
tion with 15....ih3+ (15 ...!ldS 16.!lcl
!lb5 17.1!:\'a4 !lxb2 18.g2 'il'e6 19.h4
!lxa2 20.'il'b4 'il'd7 21.!lc5=)
'il'b6 17.tg2 te6 18.b3 !lfc8 19.h4
!lc2 20.tf3 f5t.

12 1!:1'a6! 13.exd4 hd3+ 14.liJe2

(or 14.lflel exd4 15.1Zle2 0-0-+)

14 hd4 15.M3 1k2 16.lflg2

1'xe2 17.he2 he2 18.'il'c2 0-0

Chapter 1

12...l'lb4! as are similar. He has full compen

Following the same ultra-ag sation thanks to his better develop
gressive tactic. 12...'i!id6 13.lilb3 ment and potential pressure along
1lifxd3 14.exd3 is "only" equal. the c- and d-files. Possible continu
13.lilc2 1lifc6 14.3 ations are:
White can castle, but it is unclear
a) 11...ie6 12.lile2 l'ld8 13.1lifb5 l'ld7;
how he could complete develop
ment after 14.0-0 fil:i3 15.f3 l'lc4 b) 11...lilb4 12.1lifb5+ id7 13.Wxb7
16.lile3 ic5 17.b3 l'ld4 18.1lifc3 l'ld8 14.a3 lilc2+ 15.hc2 ic6 16.1lifc7
1lifb6 19.l'ldl 0-0t. (16.1lifxa7 hhl 17.ia4+ l!?f8+) 16...
14...l'lc4 15.l!?dl e4 16.fxe4 l'lxe4 hhl 17.ia4+ l!?f8 with irrational
17.l'lfl ic5 18.b4 ie play.
Black needs two tempi to castle.
c) ll...g6!? (12.a3 0-0 13.b4
Then his attack on the enemy
l'ld8 14.1lifbl 1lifd6 ih3 16.f4
king could quickly become irre
M6 17.l'la2 We6) 12...0-0 13.0-0
sistible. White may grab a third
lilb4 14.Wbl Wa6 15.lilc3.ili3 16.l'ldl
pawn, but that would not help
f5 17.if3 f4.
his defence. For instance:
a) 19.'i!ic3 Wg6 20.d3 l'le6 21.lild4
l'lb6 22.1lifc7 l'ld6->;
B. 4.lilf3 e4 5.lild4
b) 19.a4 0-0 20.b5 1lifb7 21.ib2 ig5
22.h4 .ili6->.

10.e3 lilc6 n.te4

11.lile2 lilb4 12.1lifbl 1lifa6 13.ie4 f5

leaves White with horrible holes
on the light squares - 14.a3 fxe4
15.axb4 1lifc416.b3 1liff717.Wxe4 0-0.


5...d5 is ten times more frequent,

but I do not like 6.d3!
6.cxd5 1lifxd5 7.lilc2 1lifh5 is com
fortable for Black: 8.h3 (
fil:i3; 8.h4 if5 9.lilc3 li:la6
10.a3 lilc5 11.lile3 ie6) 8...1lifg6
9.lilc3 id6 (The email game
The pawn structure is the same as Utesch-Schuster, ICCF 2007,
in the Mora gambit and Black's ide- went through sharp complica-

1.c4 e5 2.g3 tilf6 3.2 c6

tions after 9... tila6 10.h4 ic5 middlegame was roughly equal
11.h5 tilxh5 12.tilxe4 ie7 13.d3 - 13.1!1'c5 <;Ja6 14.1!1'xe7 l'lxe7.
0-0 14.if3 tilf6 15.tile3 <;Jxe4 More challenging is 12.l'ldl, in
16.he4 f5 17.if3 1!1'f6 18.1!1'b3+ tending 12...<;Ja6 13.\Wd6.
l'lf7 19.id2 <;Jc5 20.1!1'c2 tile6 6...ib4+ 7.<;Jc3 1!1'e7 8.0-0
21.5 g6 22.ic3 <;Jd4 23.Wa4 dxc4 was already really grim
ic5 24.<;Jc2 <;Jxc2+ 25.1!1'xc2 for Black in Gajewski-Erdos,
Wd6 26.if3 f4 27.gxf4 1!1'xf4 Dresden 2016 - 9.<;Jxe4 <;Jxe4
28.id2 We5 29.ic3 1!1'd6 30.1!1'a4 10.dxe4 ic5 ll.ie3 0-0 12.\Wc2
ie6 31.Wh4 id5 32.hd5 cxd5 hd4 13.hd4 c5 14.ie3 ie6
33.e3 d4 34.exd4 ib4 35.0-0 when 15.f4! f6 16.e5 fxe5 17.1!1'e4
l'laf8 36.l'lael hc3 37.bxc3 1!1'a3 <;Jc6 18.f5 W 19.h4 would have
38.1!1'e4 \Wxc3 39.\Wd5 1!1'xd3 promised a strong attack, e.g.
40.l'le7 Wf5 41.1!1'xf5 gxf5+) 10.d3 19...<;Jd4 20.ig5 1!1'c7 21.e3 <;Jc6
(or 10.<;Je3 0-0 11.1!1'c2 l'le8 12.b3 22.l'ladl h6 23.f6 hxg5 24.Wf5-+.
<;Ja6) 10...exd3 11.Wxd3 1!1'xd3 7.cxd5! and Black's pawn centre is
12.exd3=, Miraglia-Dias, ICCF busted.
email 2002. The queen sortie aims to reject the
6...exd3 d4-knight to a passive position.
6...dxc4 7.dxe4 ic5 8.e3 <;Jbd7
(8...0-0 9.0-0 l'le8 10.<;Jc3) 9.f4 6.<;Jc2
0-0 10.0-0 <;Jb6 ll.h3! - White's
kingside pawn horde looks dan 6.e3 d5
gerous. 6... ic5 7.<;Jb3 ie7 pushes back
6... ic5 7.<;Jb3 ib4+ 8.id2 the centralised knight, but at the
hd2+ 9.\Wxd2 cost of a passive bishop. It would
stand better on d6. Still, 8.<;Jc3
d5 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.0-0 0-0 ll.d3
was not too impressive, Thiede
H.Stefansson, blitz, Berlin 2015.
7.cxd5 cxd5

n.<;Jlxd2 e3 12.fxe3 <;Jbd7
13.h3'1;) ll.<;Jc3 0-0 occurred in
Girl-Balogh, Germany 2015.
White chose to prevent ...e3 by
12.1!1'e3 l'le8 and the queenless 8.0-0

Chapter 1

8.f3 lilc6 9.lilxc6 exf3 10.1!1ixf3 b) 14.exd4 ie7 15.!lel

bxc6 11.0-0, Skembris-Baklan, !ld8 16.d3 !ld7 17.1!1ib3 1!1id8=.
Neustadt an der Weinstrasse a5 disturbs White's develop
2015. Black has an attack after ment. 7.a4
11...ia6 12.!lf2 id6 or ll...h5 The point is that 7.d4 a4 8.c5
12.b3 h6 13.!lel h4. could be met by 8...1!1ia7
8...ig4! Weakens White's king. d5 10.cxd6 1!1ixd4=.
8...lilc6 9.lilc3!? (9.d3 ig4=) is 7.d3 a4 (8.ie3?? cu
not really dangerous, but it gives riously loses to 8...c5
Wbite an initiative. The point is 1!1ixb2 and the lonely queen sud
that 9...ig4fails to 10.lilxd5, and denly inflicts serious damage
9...lilxd4 10.exd4 1!1ixd4 ll.d3 upon White's queenside.) 8...d5
1!1ixd3 12.1!1ib3 requires precision
from Black: 12...ic5! 13.!ldl 1!1ia6
14.Ml 1!1ib6 (14...111ia5=) 15.ib5+
@f8 1!1ic7 17.ig5 ie6
18.!lacl b6 19.1!1ic3 a6 20.ie2
9.f3 (9.1!1ib3 1!1ixb3) 9...exf3

9.cxd5 (9.dxe4 dxe4!

li:lxe4 11.he4 ih3) 9...exd3
10.dxc6 (10.0-0 cxd5 ll.exd3
ie7 1!1ia5)
ll.exd3 (11.0-0 dxe2 12.1!1ixe2+
ie6=) ll ...ig4 is balanced, e.g.
10.txf3 ib4+ 0-0 14.0-0 li:lc6 ll.d4 ie7 !lfd8 15.a3 hc3 16.bxc3 1!1ic5.
0-0 13.1!1ic2 g6 ie6=. 7...ib4
10...th3 ll.ig2 hg2 12.@xg2 li:lc6 8.0-0 li:lc5 is also ba lanced.
It looks that Black' s king is in
danger since if it castled short,
!lxf6 or iilfS would be serious
threats.However, Black can hide
his king on the opposite flank or
even take on d4:
a) 13...0-0-0!? 14.1!1ib31!1ixb3 15.axb3
ic5 (or 15... @bS=) bxc6
17.d4 ib6=.

i.c"+ eo z.g;j 't.:lto 0..&gz co

8.0-0 i.e7 12.b5 d4 li:lxe4 14.he4 0-0 li:lxe410.he4 Wxb5 15.a4oi;.
d5 ll.cxd5 fili3 spells a quick
8 ...0-0 !le8 10.d3 exd3
11.Wxd3 MS. The full control of
the queenside dark squares makes
Black's game somewhat preferable.

6 . d5 7.cxd5

7.d3 exd3 8.exd3 i.g4 provokes ugly

moves from White. dxc4 8.0-0 i.e6 li:lxe4
10.he4 li:ld7 is interesting. (The 0-0 11.dxe4 dxe4
quiet 10...i.e7 is also playable.) !ld8 li:lxd5 \!!lc5

This position occurred in Chibukh

chian -Minasian, Yerevan 2007. The
forcing variation 15.he4 i.e6 16.b4
li:lxb4 17.i.e3 !lxd5 18.hc5 !lxdl
19.he7 !lxal 20.!lxal led to a lev
el endgame. Minasian chose 20...
li:lc6 ( 21.i.g5 f5 22.i.f3
h6 23.i.d2 !lc8= is more natural.)
21.i.c5 !ld8 22.hc6 bxc6 23.ha7
!la8 24.i.c5 !lxa2, draw.
Now 11.d4 cxd3 12.exd3 li:lf6 13.i.e3
i.c5 14.d4 li:lxe415.dxc5 Wd8 16.Wd4
Wxd4 17.hd4 li:ld2 is equal.
C. 4.d4 e4!
11.i.g2 begs for 11 ...0-0-0 12.b3 h5
13.bxc4 h4 with active play.
4... i.b4+ 5.i.d2 hd2+ 6.Wxd2 h5! 12.Wc2 \!!lc5 13.b4 cxb3 d6 0-0 8.e3 is acclaimed
14.axb3 h4 was pleasant for Black by J.Watson. He believes that the
and he went on to win in Gabuzy trade of dark-squared bishops was
an-Istratescu, Legnica 2013. great for Black taking into account
that his central pawns stand on d6-
7 cxd5 8.0-0 (8.d3 li:lc6 trans
e5. However, the same reasoning
poses) 8 li:lc6 9.d3 i.e7
.. applies to White's set-up and at the
end of the day we have a spatial ad
9...i.e6 !ld8 11.b4! assures vantage for White, ensured by his
White of some pressure after 11... c4-d4 vs. c6-d6 pawns.


Marin considers also 4...exd4 which

looks somewhat ridiculous after
... c6. I have much more ambitious
plans for the opening!


White can play 5.d5 himself. Then

the question is whether to trade on
d5 immediately.
5...cxd5 6.cxd5 b4+ 7.d2 7...b4+! 8.liJc3 cxd5 9.e3 hc3+
V!ie7 8.hb4! (8.a3 hd2+ 10.bxc3 V!ic6 11.Vlib3 (11.l'lcl b5)
9.liJxd2 0-0 10.d6 V!ie5 ll.liJc4 ll...lild7 was fine for Black in Suba
V!Jb5 12.l'lcl b6 looks attractive Llorente Zaro, La Roda 2009.
for Black.) 8...V!Jxb4+ 9.V!id2
lilxd5 10.a3 V!Jxd2+ 11.liJxd2 f5 5...d5 6. g5
12.liJc4 0-0 13.l'ldl liJf6 14.lild6
lilc6 15.f3 gives White compen 6.cxd5 cxd5 defines the centre a bit
sation. Black still has enough early.
counterplay with 15...bS 16.fxe4 In some variations Black gets
fxe4 17.lilxe4 lilg4 18.M3 lile3 the c6-square for his knight as
19.l'ld3 liJc4. in the line 7. V!ib3 h6 8.f4 liJc6.
5...b4+ 6.d2 V!Je7 may be more Or 7.f3 b4 8.lilh3 exf3 9.exf3
accurate. 0-0 10.0-0 h6 followed by ...liJc6.
Now 7.hb4 V!ixb4+ 8.V!id2 V!Jxc4 7.g5 lilbd7 should transpose to the
does not work so White plays: main line.
7.lilc3 0-0
It makes sense to define the cen 6.lilh3 h6!? leaves White with the
tre with 7...cxd5!? 8.lilxd5 lilxd5 only possible plan of undermining
9.cxd5 0-0. the centre with 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.f3 (or
8.a3 hc3 9.hc3 cxd5 10.cxdS d6 8.0-0 lilc6 9.f3 exf3).
ll.lilh3 MS=.

5.g5 d5 6.hf6 V!ixf6 7.cxd5

Or 7.e3 b4+.
7.a3 allows, besides the sym
metrical 7...e6 8.lilc3 lild7, 7...
dxc4!? with double-edged play.
For instance: 8.lilc3 e3 9.fxe3
g6 10.liJf3 a6co or 8.he4 lild7
9.g2 liJb6, followed up by
...g6co. IfWhite has traded his dark-squared

l.c4 e5 2.g312lf6 3.ig2 c6

bishop on f6, we could let him take cxd5 7.12lh3 h6 8.0-0 ib4 9.f3 0-0 -
on e4, but here best is to aim forthe see Chapter 2, line B3.
symmetrical pawn structure - 8...
exf3 9.exf3 id6! 10.0-0 0-0 11.lilf4
12lc6 when 12.lilfxdS 12lxd5 13.lilxdS
ixg3 14.hxg3 'li.1xd5 15.ie3 if5 is at
least equal as White's bishop pair is

It is more challenging to save ...h6:

6...ib4!? 7.cxd5
If White delays this exchange
with 7.0-0 0-0 8.ig5, he should
also reckon with 8...ixc3 9.bxc3
dxc4oo (although 9...12lbd7! is 6... 12lbd7
fine for Black).
7...cxd5 8.0-0 0-0 9.'li.1b3 (9.f3 h6 The game Svane-Jakovenko, Cale
is covered in Chapter 2, Game 5 ta 2015, saw the plan with ...ie7:
Nailer-Delchev, Ordu 2016) 9... 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.ig5 ie7 8.e3 12lc6
ixc3 10.bxc3 9.12lge2 12ld7 10.ixe7 12lxe7 11.0-0
which looks passive, but resilient.

6...ib4 is a simple and good alter

native. After 7.cxd5 cxd5
It is not practical to elaborate on
the intermezzo 7...ixc3+ since
White could sidestep this move
order by 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.ig5.
White has three main continua
a) 8.!lcl lilbd7!
Marin considers only 8...0-0
Dubai 2012, saw 10 ...h6!? ll.f3
9.12lh3 12lbd7 10.0-0, when 10...
exf3 12.exf3 12lc6 when 13.g4
ixc3 11.!lxc3 h6 12.if4! al
12la5 14.'li.1c2 !le8 15.gS?! hxg5
lows White to preserve his bish
16.ixgS 'li.1d6 gave Black the bet
op, and 10...12lb6 11.12lf4 ixc3
ter pawn structure.
12.!lxc3 h6 13.ixf6 'li.1xf6 14.f3,
ll.ig5 (ll.f3 e3!) 11...12lbd7 12.f3
exploiting the clumsy placement
of the f6-queen. It is essential
The above-mentioned game Nailer to define the fate of White's g5-
Delchev shows that we could com bishop before castling.
bine both ...ib4 and ...h6 - 6.cxd5 9.12lh3 h6!

Chapter 1

Edouard gives 13.8b3 1/!l'xd4

14.ib4 \\Yxdl lS.fu:dl 8d8 16.lilf4
b6 17.lilxdS lilxdS 18.8xdS ib7
19.8dl lilf8=.

Now 10.kx:f6 only helps Black

to develop - 10...hc3+ ll.fu:c3
lilxf6 12.0-0 0-0 13.'l>l'b3 JS
14.8fcl 'i!l'd7!. The main mo
tif in this position is the lack of 13...8e8!=
prospects before the f3-knight. This move prepares ...lilf8 thus
1S.lilf4 gS 16.8c7 8ac8! 17.1/!l'xb7 solving the problem with the
gxf4-+, Migot-Demuth, Belfort development of the c8-bishop.
2012. The stem game saw 13...1/!l'xd4?!
10.id2 14.8dl 11>\'eS when 1S.ie3! 8d8
10.if4 takes this square from 16.if4 'l>l'e7 17.ic7 8e8 18.lilf4
the f3-knight. 10...0-0 11.0-0 lilb6 19.hb6 axb6 20.lilxdS
[ll.'l>l'b3 hc3+ 12.'l>l'xc3 (12. lilxdS 21.8xdS ie6 22.8dl f5
8xc3 lilb6=) 12...lilb8=] ll...lilb6 would have been slightly better
12.'l>l'b3 (12.ieS lilg4) 12...hc3 for White.
13.'l>l'xc3 ifs.
10 ...hc3 ll.8xc3 b) 8.f3 should be ignored by Black
11.hc3 would weaken e3 (after - 8...lilbd7 9.fxe4 dxe4 10.lilh3 h6
f3-f3) and it also blocks the c-file 11.kx:f6 hc3+ 12.bxc3 lilxf6 leads
- 11....0-0 12.0-0 8e8 13.f3 as to a typical position with mutual
14.lilf2 lilb6 1S.fxe4 dxe4, when chances. It is considered in line Cl.
White could maintain the bal
ance with 16.dS. c) 8.'l>l'b3 is best met by 8...hc3+
11... 0-0 12.0-0 9.'l>l'xc3
I have been following the game 9.bxc3 lilbd7 10.lilh3 h6 is pleas
Eljanov-Edouard, Istanbul 2012. ant for Black (10...0-0 11.IUf4 h6
Edouard suggests here the ma 12.h4!? 8e8 is also possible).
noeuvre 12...lild7-b8-c6=, but 9...o-o 10.lilh3 lilbd7 (10...Ms
the move he actually played is ll.kx:f6 'l>l'xf6 12.lilf4 8d8 deserves
more challenging. attention) 11.0-0 h6 12.if4 8e8
12... 'l>l'b6 13.'i!l'c2 13.8acl was tested in two games.

l.c4 e5 2.g3 ltlf6 3.ig2 c6

Cl. 8.f3; C2. 8.e3, C3. 8.'/!ib3

I mentioned 8.ltlh3 h6 9.M6 ltlxf6

10.0-0 d6 above.

8.'/!ia4 aims to drag Black's queen

to b6, which is tbe natural place for
tbe d7-knight. After 8...'/!ib6 9.W.d2
(9.0-0-0 is clearly dubious - 9...
W.b4 10.ltlb5 W.e7 11.llibl 0-0) 9 ...
Simplest is 13...ltlbS, but sending W.e7, White fails to win tbe d5-pawn:
tbe knight to tbe kingside after 13...
'/!ie7(or 13...ltlfS) 14.f3 ltlf8, intend
ing 15.fxe4 .b:h3 16..b:h3 '/!ixe4, is
also fine.


After 7.ltlh3, 7...h6 8.M6 ltlxf6

9.cxd5 cxd5 10.0-0 id6 equalizes
as ll.'l!ib3 ie6 12.'/!ixb7 0-0 would
be dubious for White. However, 10.g4 h6 11.h4 '/!ic6;
Black may also consider 7...dxc4!? 10.f3 e3 (tbe thematic sacrifice
witb asymmetrical double-edged 10...0-0 is also okay) 11.he3 '/!ixb2;
position, for instance: 8.ltlxe4 h6 10.ltlh3 0-0 11.ltlf4 'l!id6 12.'l!ib3 ltlb6
9.ltlxf6+ ltlxf6 b4+ 11.d2 13.a4 a5 - White's activity is tamed
a5 12.a3 hd2+ 13.'/!ixd2 0-0. and it is Black's turn to reject tbe
White's centre is not mobile since enemy pieces witb ...g5.
his pieces are passive.

7...cxd5 Cl. 8.f'3

This breakthrough does not fit well

witb W.g5. Black's most consistent
retort would be:
8 ...'/!ib6, pinpointing tbe weakness
es on b2 and d4. However, it only
weakens d5. Play is balanced after
9.fxe4 ltlxe4 10.ltlh3 h6 W.b4
12.'llid3, for example: 12...f5 13.ltlf4
hc3+ 14.bxc3 '/!ic6 15.c4! dxc4


Mastrovasilis chose against Don White would have been better

chenko, Legnica 2013, to define the stayed his knight on e3 instead of
fate of the g5-bishop with: h3. From there it would protect c4
8...h6 and got the slightly better and cover g4. In the diagram posi
game after 9.tf4?! tb4 10.1/iib3 'l!le7 tion, White is unable to preserve his
1Ltd2 when best was ll...a5 12.a3 beautiful pawn centre after:
ixc3 13.ixc3 0-0. In this sharp 14...te6
position tempi are more impor White should decide what conces
tant than the bishop pair so White sion to make as 15.!lcl !lc8 gives
should better play 9.ixf6 ltlxf6 only a short respite:
10.fxe4 dxe4 11.ltlh3 te7 12.0-0 0-0 15.d5 'l!lb6+ takes over the initiative
after either 16.lilhl tg4 17.ltlf2 !lacs
18.!lbl 'l!lc5, or 16.ltlf2 M5.
15.c5 offers the d5-square and de
fines a target which could be imme
diately attacked with 15 ...b6.
To sum up, White's kingside and
especially the e3-square are chron
ically weak.

b) ll...h6!? 12.ixf6 ltlxf6 13.ltlf2

13.ltlf2 e3 14.ltlfe4c:o. (13.!lcl ltlg4 14.'l!ld2 f5) 13...ixc3
Another consistent approach is to 14.bxc3 ltld5 15.\Wcl f5c:o.
start the fight for e4 with:
11...h6 12 .b:f6 ltlxf6 13.liJfxe4

8 tb4 9.ltlh3 (for 9.!lcl - see

liJxe4 14.he4 !le8 15.'l!ld3 th3
G3Ille 4 Troyke-Delchev, Wunsie
del 2016) 9 0-0 10.fxe4 dxe4


11.0-0 offers Black a choice:

a) It is unnecessary to rush with 11...

ixc3 although 12.bxc3 h6 is also
possible - 13.ixf6 ltlxf6 14.c4

White must find a series of strong

moves to stay in the game. He can
not castle in view of 16.0-0-0? !lc8
17.lilbl ixc3 18.bxc3 'l!la5.
Perhaps best defence is 16.a3 ta5

1.c4 e5 2.g3 12lf6 3.ig2 c6

17.b4 tb6 18.ldl as 19.b5 e7 9...tb4 10.12lge2 g5 n.te5 We7

20.th7+ l!ih8 21.ltldS e6 22.12lxb6 12.0-0 0-0
xb6 23.te4, but Black still retains
a pull after 23... !le7 24.3 f6.

C2. 8.e3 h6

Markowski-B.Socko, Warsaw 2014,

saw 8... td6 9.12lge2 0-0 10.b3 h6
11.txf6 12lxf6 12.0-0=. The point is
that after ll.tf4 Black could easi
ly defend d5 with ll...12lb6. There
fore, critical should be 9.1Wa4 when
I like Black's position. 13.\Wb3 12lxe5
the only reasonable answer 9...
14.dxeS hc3 15.exf6 txf6 16.xd5
1Wb6 takes away b6 from the d7-
!le8 is fine for him. Even better is
knight. Then 10.12lge2 0-0 11.!lcl h6
13.txf6 12lxf6. Adams tried to keep
12.tf4! gives White some initiative,
the bishop, but:
for instance: 12...!ldS 13.0-0 M4
14.12lxf4 12lf8 15.f3.
Black's problems ensued from the
bishop staying on d6. 8...id6 is
was dubious in view of 13...b6
good to 8.1Wb3, but slightly inferi
14.1Wa4 ib7 15.!lacl !lfc8. Instead
or to 8.e3.
Bogner opted for 13...ltlbS 14.hbS
Since White's eight move is not
(14.teS!) 14... !lxbS 15.a3 td6
threatening anything yet, let's de
16.b3 ig4 17.l!?hl?! when simplest
fine the plans of the enemy dark
would have been 17...1We6.
squared bishop. The game Adams
Bogner, Germany 2013, went:

C3. 8.1Wb3 td6!


At some point White will have to

part with his bishop via tf4-e5-f6,
but he hopes that ...g5 could be a
9.txf6 12lxf6 10.12lge2 obviously has
no venom as Black can choose be-
tween 10... ig4, 10...id6 and the
passive, but solid 10...td7 heading
for c6.


This move holds the position. It u.qixf6+ qixf6 12 .ixf6 l;l'xf6

improves on 8... h6?! 9.M4 g5 13.e3 a6

10..ie5 ig7 when White has sever
al good options. For instance: 11.h4
qixe5 12.hxg5 hxg5 13.!lxhS+ ixhS
14.dxe5 lg4 15.l;l'xd5 "l;l'b6 16.1ll'b5+
1l!lxb5 17.lxb5 he5 1S.he4 id7
19.lc3 lf6 20..id3 g4 21.e3;!;.

Let's consider now: C31. 9.1ll'b5;

C32. 9.f3; C33. 9.e3.

Practice has also seen:

9.lh3 h6 10..if4, Lederer-Mikha
levski, Beersheba 2014 (10.M6 The 1l!lb5 controls the fifth rank
lxf6 11.0-0 .ie6! 12.l;l'xb7 0-0t), and two important squares on the
10...M4 11.lxf4 lb6 12.a4 a5=. queenside - b4 and c4.

C31. 9.l;l'b5 0-0!? 14.l;l'a5

9...1l!lb6 was introduced in the If White allows a check from b4, he

will be unable to connect his rooks
correspondence game Flatz-Tyu
lenko, ICCF 2012, which showed anymore:
that Black easily defends the end 14.1ll'd5 ib4+ 15.@fl EleS 16.le2
game after 10.M6 gxf6 ll.lh3 id2 17.1l!lb3 .ie6 18.d5 when Black
can force a draw with 1S...hd5
1ll'xb5 12.lxb5 @e7 13.lxd6 @xd6.
The game went on 14.lf4 lb6 19.l;l'xd5 he3 20.f4 exf3 21.txf3
15.Elcl .ie6 16.b3 a5 17.a4 (17.f3 f5) !lads 22.1l!lxb7 !ld7 23.1Wc6 !le6
17...!lac8 18.@d2 ld7 19.e3 8bS 24.1ll'c8+ !ldS 25.1ll'b7 !ld7 26.1l!lcS+
draw. I propose a more enterprising or keep the tension with 1S ... id7!?
gambit approach which sets practi 19.lllgl !lacS.
cal problems to White. 14.1We2 ib4+ 15.@fl 1l!le7 16.'1!1dl f5
17.8e2 ie6 lS.@gl td6 19.a3 !lacs
10.lxd.5h6 20.ifl 1Wf7. This position resembles
the main line. Black can attack on
If Black changes the move or both flanks - with ... g5 or ... b5.
der with 10...a6 ll.l;l'a4 h6 12.M6
8xf6 13.8xf6+ 1ll'xf6, d4 is pro Black also has clear counterplay af
tected and White can eat a second ter 14.1l!fb3 .ie6 15.1/!fdl ib4+ 16.@fl
pawn - 14.he4 1l!le7 15..id5 M5 ic4+ 17.qie2 .id318.a3 !lac819.lllgl
16.1ll'b3 !lfdS 17.@fl !lacs 1S.1l!lxb7 !lc2 20.lf4 .id6 21.lxd3 exd3
!lc719.1ll'b3 !lc2 20.1ll'f 3 ih7 21.h4;!;. 22.tf31l!ff5.

LC4 eo z.g;; 'tltb ;5 .!:1.g Cb

14....tg4 15.h3 launch a march of the h-pawn up to

h4, preparing it with ...g7-g5 first.
The e4-pawn is immune due to the Let's go further:
double hit 15.he4?? Y!Je7.
15.12ie2 loses the right to castle ow 18.0-0
ing to 15... il.f3.
15.Y!Jd2 is solid, but rather passive. 18.!lcl b5 19.0-0 11.c4 20.'l;\1d2 is si
Black can follow up with natural milar.
moves like 15...!lacS 16.12ie2 he2 Although Black can already start
17.'i!lxe2 il.b4+ 18.rnfl 1We6 19.a3 his kingside offensive with 20...
il.d6 20.h4 f5 21.11.h3 !lf7 22.l!lg2 g5, I would recommend to im
!lfc7 23.!ladl g6 24.!ld2 l!lg7 25.!lfl prove our heavy pieces first.
g5? keeping pressure. White does not have any threats
so there is no need to rush. Why
15....te6 16.12ie2 give him chances to alter the
course of the game with 21.!lxc4
16.he4 may lead to a draw af bxc4 22.!lcl:;;;.
ter 16...1We7 17.a3 11.c4 18.11.f3 hg3 20...h5 21.h4 g5 is also pre
19.1Wc3 11.h4 20.1Wxc4 with repeti mature in view of 22.b3! hb3
tion of moves - 20...1Wxe3+ 21.1We2 23.hxg5 'l;\1xg5 24.!lc6t 'i!ld8
'i!lxd4 22.!ldl 1Wb6 23.@fl !lfe8 25.12if4. It is better to play first:
24.'i!lc2 !lac8 25.1Wd2 !lcd8 26.1Wc2. 20...'i!lf7

16... 1We7 17.a3 f5

21.!lfel unpins the knight and
threatens to meet 21...g5 by
A critical position for the gambit 22.d5! !lad8 23.12id4 so we
9...0-0. My analysis convinced me should anticipate this idea with
that it is balanced, but Black re 21...!ladS 22.12ic3 il.b3.
tains the initiative in all the lines. 21.!lfdl !lad8! 22.11.fl g5 23.!lel
His main task is to deprive the 'i!lg6 24.l!lhl l!lh8.
enemy of counterplay based 21.l!lh2 g5 22.!lgl is a passive
on d4-d5 or f2-f4. Then he can waiting stand. We can display


activity with 22...@hS 23.lilc3 Compared to 18.!lcl, White's knight

!lae8 24.Wdl is unpinned. That enables ideas
with d4-d5 so we should address
this threat with:

20 !ladS!=

Black's main plan is 20 ... g5 intend

ing ... h5. It is effective against pas
sive play as convincingly shown by
Grune 3 Hessenius-Grebenshchik
ov, ICCF 2014. However, it is still
24...h5 25.@hl h4 26.g4 f4!! premature since White could coun
(26...i.b3 27.We2 tc4=) 27.lilxe4 ter-attack with:
tb8 28.lilxg5 Wc7 29.e4 f3+. It 21.d5! td3 22.lild4 f4 23.lile6 when
may be even stronger for Black White's knight proves to be very
to improve the placement of his powerful:
king before pushing ... h4. For
example, ...@h8-h7-h6 looks
21...g5 22.!lfcl !lad8 (22 ...!lae8 is
also possible, of course). Now every
thing is ready for ... h5, and ...f4 can
also become an option after ... @h8,
...Wg6. White's only counterplay is
23.!lxc4 bxc4 24.lilc3 with mutu
al chances, for instance: 24...tbS
25.g4 fxg4 26.hxg4 !lxd4! 27.exd4 23...fxg3 24.fxg3 !lfc8 25.tfl Wf5
tf4 28.Wc2 hcl 29.Wxcl Wxf2+ 26.Wlf2 We5 27.@hU.
30.@hle3=. After the text, White should be ac
curate in order to keep the bal
18....tc4 19.Wd2 Wlf7 20.!lfcl ance. He can only wait. On the other
hand, it is not easy to break through
his ditches:

a) 21.lilf4 @h7 22.lile2 g5 23.!lc2

tb3 24.!lc3 @h8 25.!lacl td5

b) 21.lilc3 tb3 22.lile2 (22.Wel g5

23.lile2 tc4 24.lilc3 tb3) 22... g5
23.!lc3 @h8 24.!lacl td5 25.!l3c2.

c) 21.@hl g5 22.!lgl b5 23.lilc3 i.b3

24.Wel @h8 25.!lcl !lde8.

1.c4 e5 2.g3 ltlf6 3.$.g2 c6

d) 2U1c2 g5 22.!lacl $.b3 23.!lc3 L.Mkrtchian-Zawadzka, Wroclaw

$.d5 24.!lfl! 2014.) 15.e4 a4 16.'1d3 M5! intend
ing ... '1a5+.

10...0-0 11.fxe4 dxe4 12.ltlxe4

ltlxe4 13.he4 ltlf6 14..ig2 e6

Preparing to meet 24... h5 by

24.b4 h5 25.l!ihl h4 26.!lgl hxg3
27.fxg3 $.c4 would give Black a
tangible initiative.
24...b5 25.!lc2
After 25.4 exf3 26.$.x3 M3 White is doomed to a passive de
27.!lxf3 we have the strong re fence, see game 1 Lechtynsky-Mas
source 27... '1h5! 28.l!ig2 b4 trovasilis, Germany 2013.
(to drag the rook to a vulnera
ble square) 29.!lc6 g4 30.hxg4 C33. 9.e3 h6 10.6
fxg4 31.!lxf8+ !lxf8 32.l!igl with
a drawish position although the 10.4 $.xf4 ll.gxf4 l1lb6 left White
fight might heat up after 32... with a chronically weak kingside in
'1d5 (32...!lfl=) 33.!lxd6!? (33. Ledger-Shaw, Hinckley Island 2015.
'1d3=) 33... '1xd6 34.'1d3 bxa3
35.bxa3 !lf3oo. 10 ltlxf6 11.ltlge2 0-0!?
25...$.c4 26.!lel (26.4 gxf4) 26 ... h5
intending ... h4 at an opportunity. It is not absolutely necessary to de
fend the b7-pawn although ll...!lb8
C32. 9.f3 h6 10.$.d2 12.0-0 $.e6 is posssible. Then 13.3
0-0 14.fxe4 dxe4
White can also take on e4 after
10.$.xf6 ltlxf6 ll.fxe4 dxe4 12.ltlxe4
ltlxe4 13.$.xe4, but Black's com
pensation is more than enough. He
castles and follows up with ...$.e6,
... '1b6. If White prevents it with
14.$.d5, then the queen finds anoth
er nice place - 14 ... a5! (14...'1a5+
15.l!if2 $.d7 16.a4 was unclear in

Chapter l

is balanced - see game 2 Gagare 14 a5 15.1:1abl 1:1b8 16.'c6 liJg4


Dragun, Pune 2014.

Perhaps a computer could save
12.0-0 .ie6! 13.'xb7h5! White's game, but in practice his
task would be difficult. The engines
recommend here the strange wait
ing move 17.'i\la6 (17.lilxd5 hg3;
17.Wa4 g5!), but then Black could
activate his last passive piece with
17...1:1e8!. It can go to c7 via e7, or to
the kingside via e6.
18.Wc6 1:1b6 19.'i\la4 g5 20.hxg5
h4 21.gxh4? is lethal due to 21...
.ih2+ 22.l!lhl l!lg7!.
18.1:1fcl is more logical, but 18...'f6
would force 19.1:1fl.
Black has more then adequate com However, Black can continue the at
pensation for the pawn. His do tack with:
minance in the centre is a sound 18...$.c8 19.'c6 .ib7 20.'b5 1:1e6.
ground for a kingside attack. Black's
idea is simple - to trade h-pawns
and bring a heavy piece in the vicin
ity of the enemy king. He can com
bine this with a chase of the queen.


Perhaps White should seek a way to

equalize. For instance:
Black's main threat is seen from the
14.1:1fcl h4 15.'a6 1:1b8 16.1:1c2 .ic8
line 21.liJxd5 b6! 22.Wxa6 hg3,
17.'xa7 1:1b7 is a draw.
and 21.liJf4 .txf4 22.exf4 is not help
14.lilf4 .txf4 15.gxf4 1:1b8 16.Wxa7 ful either - 22...e3 23.f3 lilf2 24.Ml
Wc8 is at least a draw - 17.'i\la5 .ih3. b6.

Chapter 1. 1.c4 e5 2.g3 lll f6 3.i.g2 c6

Annotated Games

You might ask where is Black' s

1 . Lechtynsky- Mastrovasilis
compensation here? The answer is
Germany 2013
simple - White's kingside is weak
1.c4 e5 2.g3 lilf6 3.i.g2 c6 4.d4 ened and he is lagging behind in
e4 5.lilc3 d5 6..ig5 Clibd7 7.cxd5 development. Black simply puts his
cxd5 8.Virb3 i.d6 9.f"3 h6 10.i.d2 bishop on d5 and his rooks on open
files and starts looking around for
the harvest. For example: 15.Vira4
8e8 16.lilf3 .id5 17.e3 lilg4.
White logically decides to keep his
queen closer to his central pawns,
but on d3 it will be a prey for the
light-squared bishop.

15... Virb6?!

10...0-0! Black trades his strong initiative for

a mere pawn.
Black will obtain an excellent com 15...acS! was much more unpleas
pensation for the pawn. Perhaps ant: 16.b3 8e8 17.ltlf3 .id5
White should restrain his appetite
and complete development with
ll.lilh3 ltlb6 12.0-0+. However, first
players often think that Black's set
up is dubious and greedily eat poi
soned pawns, assuming that his
material advantage is a natural re
sult of their opening "advantage".
Thus wrong assessments lead to
wrong decisions.
Now 18.0-0 loses by force after
11.fxe4 dxe4 12.lilxe4?! lilxe4 18...i.e4 19.Virb5 a6 20.Vira5 i.c7
13..ixe4 lilf6 14..ig2 .ie6 15.Vird3 21.Virb4 a5 22.Virb5 (22.Vira4 i.c6)


22... i.xf3. More stubborn is 18.e3 gc7 22.if3 gxbl ha2
ie4 19.1!\'e2 gc2+. The a2-pawn will id5 25.ga5 is a draw.
soon fall.
After 15...gcs White could also grab 20...gc2 21.M4 gd8!?
a second pawn: 16.hb7 gbs 17.ig2
1!\'d7 (threatening ...M5) 18.b3 MS A good try. It does not change the
19.111'c4 gfcs evaluation, but faces the opponent
with practical problems. 21...i.xf4
22.lilxf4 ha2 23.gxb7 g5 24.lild3
e2 25.gb2 gxb2 26.lilxb2 id5
27.lilc4! eliminates all the pawns.

22.b7 a5 23.ga7 g5 24.hd6

d6 25.lilc5 ic4

Black's rooks are so strong that

he could even trade queens af
ter 20.1!\'a4 1!\'xa4 (20...1!\'e7!-+)
21.bxa4 gb2 22.lilf3 ig4+. His pres
sure will cost White more than two

16.lilf31!\'xb2 17.o-o gfcs 1s.gfb1

1!\'c2 19.lilel 1!\'xd3=
The endgame is drawn, but White
still has to find a couple of precise
moves. 26.lilb3 was safe enough.

26...d4 27.a4? (27.ga4!=) 27 .

e2 28.Ml ged2 29.gcl gdl 0-1

2. Gagare - Dragun
20.lilxd3 Wch U20 Pune 14.1 0.2014

20.exd3 was easier to hold. The 1.c4 e5 2.g3 lilf6 3.ig2 c6 4.d4
pawns may be doubled, but they e4 5.lilc3 d5 6.ig5 lilbd7 7.cxd5
keep the black pieces at bay. The po cxd5 8.1!\'b3 id6 9.e3 h6 10.ixf6
sition after 20.exd3 gab8 21.hb7 lilxf6 11.lilge2

l.c4 e5 2.g3 1Zlf6 3.Ag2 c6

11...!lbS 17.1Zlxe4? 1Zlxe418.he4 Ah319.i.g2

hg2 20.i:!ixg2 'llle4+ 21.i:!igl !lc2.
11...0-0!? 12.0-0 Ae6! 13.'lllxb7 h5!
It is moredifficult to assess17 .i.xe4.
is a sharper approach.
In practice, White probably does not
even consider such a move serious
12.0-0 i.e6 13.3
ly because the bishop pair after 17...
1Zlxe4 18.lilxe4 i.b4 will be a gener
This is undoubtedly the most prin
ator of constant threats throughout
cipled way. 13.1Zlb5 is just a blunt
the game. Objectively, however, the
struggle for the draw, although
position is rather unclear.
Black retains some active options
Another attractive option for Black
after13...a614.1Zlxd6+ 'l!lxd615.!lfcl
is 17... b5!? 18.i.g2 b419.IZldl i.d5
o-o 16.a3 Ag417.Afl g5.

13...0-0 14.fxe4 dxe4 15.'lllc2

The e4-pawn looks very weak, but

it is still alive and it considerably
hampers White's play. It turns out
that c2 is the only good retreat of
the queen since15.'llldl allows a cru
cial tempo for 15... 1Zlg4 16.'llld2 f5
17.i.h3 h5 when Black consolidates
Black has full compensation for the
his space advantage.
pawn, but it would be difficult to
15.d5 is also dubious because it of
break through the enemy centre.
fers a nice square to the d6-bishop
-15...Ag416.1Zld4 !le8 17.!lf2 i.e5. We see that both captures on e4 of
fer Black a lasting initiative. On the
15...!lcS 16.'llld2 'llle7 other hand, any delay would give
him time to bolster it up. I think that
A critical moment of the game. First the best practical approach would
of all, White should discard: be to immediately sacrifice the ex-

Chapter 1

change - 17. l'lxf6 1/Nxf618. iilxe4 'llie 7 coordinated and he is unable to stop
19. iilxd6 1/Nxd6 20.hb71'lb8 21..ig2. the distant passer on the queenside:

From a formal standpoint, this is 26.iilcl b3 27.liJe2 '@'c2 28.'@'xc2

not even a sacrifice since White bxc2 29.liJcl a3 30.b3 a2
gets two pawns. The resulting po 31.liJxa2 l'la8 32.iilcl !fal 33.:Sfl
sition is balanced. More important .ia3 34.liJe2 l'lxfl+ 35.Wxfl liJd5
ly, it is easy to play with White who 36.b6 liJxb6 37 .if5 liJd5 38..ixe4

could just stay, hiding behind his liJxe3+ 39.IM:? cl='iN 40.liJxcl
pawn shield. .ixcl 41. b4 @f8 42.b5 liJc4
Gagare obviously missed the im 43.we2 l!le7 44.wd3 liJb6 45..ic6
portance of the moment and made f5 46.h3 wd6 47.g4 f4 48.l!le4
a trivial move which turns the tables g5 49.WfS .ie3 50.M'3 liJc4 51.b6
in Black's favour. liJd2 52.b7 @c753 ..id5 hd4 0-1

17.l'lacl?! .ic4 18.a3

It is already late for an exchange sac 3. Hessenius - Grebenshchikov

- 18. l'lfS l'lfd8 19. l'lcfl .ib4 20. l'lxf6 Rochade-25/TT ICCF 2014
gxf6 21. l'lf2 ha2+.
1.c4 e5 2.g3 liJf6 3 .ig2 c6 4.d4

18 b5 19..ih3
.. e4 5.liJc3 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7 .ig5

liJbd7 8.'@'b3 .id6 9.Vi.'b5

A purely defensive move, taking g4
under control.19. l'lfS g6 20.l'lf2 iilg4
21. l'lffl 5 would be clearly better for

19...l'lc7 20.l'lf2 a5! 21.a4 b4

22.iilb5 hb5 23.a:xb5 l'lbS
24.l'lxc71/Nxc7 25.l'lf5 a4-+

White has kept the material ba

lance, but his pieces are totally un-
l.c4 e5 2.g3 li.lf6 3..tg2 c6

9 0-0! h6 11.lilxf6+

li.lxf6 12 .txf6 lil'xf6 13.e3 a6

14.lil'a5 i.g4 15.h3 i.e6

lil'e7 17.a3 f5 18.lil'd2 .tc4 19.0-0
lil'f7 20.gfc1

24 lilhS!

In some lines the king would be saf

er on h6, but Black must be con
20 .. g5 stantly on guard for f3 or f4. For
instance, after 24...lilh7 25.f4 exf3
This is premature due to 21.d5! with 26.hf3 hf3 27.gxf3 h4 28.&d3,
counterplay. However, the game the king is obviously on the wrong
is a good example of Black's plan square.
against passive defence. Even in an
email game White fails to hold. Besides, White should have played
25.f3 in all events, because it is his
21.W gae8 22.gc3 .td5 23 .tg2
only defence against the imminent
h5! attack. Perhaps White got scared by
variations like 24... @hS 25.f3! exf3
26.hf3 h4 27.hd5 '&xd5

The h-pawn is Black's most danger

ous resource. The break ...f5-f4 is
rarely effective. Note that ...h6-h5- 28.gxh4?! f4! 29.exf4 gxf4 with a
h4 should be prepared first with strong attack, but the tactical trick:
...g5 as otherwise White will meet 28.&dl! hxg3?!!= saves
... h5 by h4 and it will be difficult to the day. Instead, 28...f4! keeps the
break through. fire on.

Chapter 1

25.hl?! h4 26.!lfcl !lg8 27.!lgl

4. Troyke - Delchev
.ic4 28.'/;l'c2
Wunsiedel 06.05.2016

1.g3 e5 2.c4 iilf6 3..ig2 c6 4.d4

e4 5.iilc3 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7 .ig5

iilbd7 8.f3 .ib4 9.!lcl

28 ...he2

Removing the last defender of g3.

The opposite-coloured bishops at
tack is now decisive.
An ambitious idea. White would
29.'/;l'xe2 g4 30.Ml '/;l'h 7 31.'/;l'c2 like to recapture on c3 by rook, but
gxh3 32 .ic4 !lg5 33..ib3 'l;l'h5
it costs a tempo. Alternatives are
34.'/;l'dl '/;l'g6 35.!lcl g7 36.'/;l'e2 9.fxe4 and 9.iilf3.
hxg3 37.fxg3 hg3 38 .td5

!lg4 39.!lcfl !lh8 40.'/;l'c2 .id6 9...0-0 10.fxe4

41.!lxg4 fxg4
If White delays this exchange too
The ending is won since White is much, we could take by piece on
unable to prevent the invasion of e4 - 10.iilh3 h6 11.hf6 iilxf6 12.0-
Black's rook on the second rank: 0 l:le8 13.fxe4 .ixc3 14.l:lxc3 .txh3
15..txh3 iilxe4.

10... dxe4 11.e3

I expected1L.ixe4 h6 12.hf6 iilxf6

13..ig2 !le8

42.'/;l'xe4 '/;l'xe4+ g3
44.!lel !lf8 0-1

Lc4 e5 2.g;; 'ilto :>.Jltg2 co

and suddenly White faces difficult 16.lfa3 '1c4

At the last moment I saw that there
11...Vira5 12 .b:f6 hc3+
is 16...'1bl+ would lose to 17.f2. (I
only considered 17.ltlcl ltlb6). Now
This intermediate move spoils the game starts again and White's
White's plans to connect the bad bishop suddenly breaks loose.
knights. I did not like 12...ltlxf6
13.ltlge2 Virxa2 14.0-0 with compen 17.he4 !le8 (17...ltlf6! 18.ig2
sation, but Black is not obliged to ig4) 18..id3 '1c6 19.e4 ltlf6
take the pawn. Instead, the new 13... 20.!lc3 'l!lb6!
ig4! assures him of a clear edge.
I was afraid to enter the endgame
13.Etxc3 after 20...ltlxe4 21.!lxc6 ltlxd2
22.!lxc8 !laxc8 23.xd2 in view of
13.bxc3 ltlxf6 14.ltle2 is grim for the enemy passed pawn.
White. I could either eat the a2-
pawn or achieve the thematic ...f5 21.e5 ltld5 22.!lc5 ie6
after 14 ...ie615.0-0 ltlg4 16.Vird2 f5.
22...ltlb4 23.0-0 ltlxd3 24.Wxd3 ie6
13...ltlxf6 14.Vird2 is roughly equal.

23.0-0 !lads 24.!lfcl a6

24...Wb4 equalized, but I wanted to

keep the queens in order to exploit
the weakened white king.

25..ie4 !ld7= 26.hd5 !lxd5


Or 14.ltle2 ig4 15.0-0 '1xa2. Af

ter 14.\!d2 I decided that my play
should be rewarded and snapped
the pawn.

14 V!rxa2 15.ltle2 ltld5?

It all had been fine, but this move

is a terrible blunder. 15 ... ig4 16.0-0
he2 17.'1xe2 We6 was a healthy 27 . !lddS ?
pawn up and better pieces - 18.!lc7
l'lab8 19.l'lfcl ltld5. Following the same course of keep-

Chapter 1

ing more pieces on the board, but I At last I got serious counterplay!
lack space so I had to seek exchang
es. Correct was 27...axc5 28.axc5 32.qid3 '/;l'e6 (32 ...a2!+) 33.!lc7
!ld8 (28...'/;l'b3 29.dS) 29.'/;l'c3 h6. '/;l'g4
After my mistake my opponent
could have impose a total domina 33...'l;l'fS 34.!lxb7 ds 35.!la7 '/;l'h3
tion in the centre with 28.dS Ms gave more chances.
29.'/;l'c3. Fortunately, he preferred
the "solid": 34.!lxb7 d5 (34...'/;l'xd4=) 35.qif2
1!!'f5 36.!la7 !ld7 37.!lxd7 '/;l'xd7
28.'l;l'f2?! b3 29.!llc3 a5 (29... 38.'/;l'f4 fxe5 39.dxe5 !lf8
'/;l'b4!) 30.'/;l'e3?

White misses the trick 30.dS! !lxeS?

31.!lcS!. I would have to answer
30 ...a4 31.'/;l'd4 h6 32.d6.

30 a4 31.h4 f6


White finally breaks down and lets

my queen in.

40...aS 41.e6 'i;l'd5 42. fi 'i!!'dl +

0-1 (43.'/;l'el g2+)
Chapter 2. 1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

Main Ideas

This chapter presents an alternative The big difference is when White

repertoire with 1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6. It continue development with
is completely independent of Chap 5 .ig2. Now we could use the fact

ter 1 and formally, you could skip that our knight is not on f6 and it
it (and vice versa!). However, you cannot be pinned by .ig5. A logical
would improve your understanding answer is:
if you studied both. It is instructive 5....ib4!?
to observe the impact of the differ
ent move order on the plans in posi
tions with an identical pawn struc
ture. To facilitate comparisons, I
will consider the same three major
plans I focused on in Chapter 1:

6.cxd5 cxd5 h6 and White

should switch to the plan with the
break-through f2-f3. is also possible - 8.0-0 0-0
9..ig5 bc3 10.bxc3 li:lbd711.f3 h6

1. White attacks the d5-pawn.

3.d4 e4 d5 5.cxd5 cxd5

6.'l;l'b3. The same method of Chap
ter 1 is effective here: 6... li:lc6!
7.Wxd5 Wxd5 li:lxd4 and
Black achieves comfortable equal

Chapter 2

12.b:f6 12lxf6 13.fxe4 12lxe4 14.11!1d3 3. White does not play d4.
3 with the better pawn struc
ture, Alvarado Diaz-Ramiro Oveje 3.12l:f3 e4 4.12ld4 1il'b6!
ro, Vecindario 2013. It may seem that 4...d5 is strong
er than in Chapter 1. Indeed, after
Pros and cons: We can prevent 5.d3, we could already take 5...exd3
the pin i.g5 with ... h6, but that in (with i.g2 12lf6 inserted, White had
volves ...i.b4, beginning the battle the unpleasant intermezzo 7.cxd5!).
for e4. Play is more positional than Still, 6.1il'xd3 dxc4 7.1i!lxc4 is pleas
in Chapter 1 and Black does not ant for White due to his pawn ma
need to sacrifice a pawn. The choice jority in the centre. So we adopt
is a matter of taste. the same tactic of repelling the d4-
knight from its active stand. Only
5.12lb3 is of independent signifi
2. White attacks the e4-pawn. cance when 5...a5 is not effective in
view of 6.d3 a4 7.12l3d2 exd3 8.i.g2
3.d4 e4 4.12lc3 d5 5.12lh3 h6 (5... with an initiative.
12lf6!? is also possible) 6.cxd5 cxd5 5... 12lf6
7.i.g2 12lf6 8.0-0 ib4! 9.f3 0-0! is a
critical position which could arise
via several move orders. I analyse
it in Game 5 Nailer-Delchev, Ordu

6.d3 (6.i.g2 a5 - see Chapter 1, line

B, and 6.12lc3 a5 - Chapter 3, line
Al.) 6 12lg4! 7.e3

7.d4 d5 8.cxd5 cxd5 9.12lc3 leads

to a familiar pawn structure:
The point is to take on e4 by piece:
10.fxe4 i.xc3 ll.bxc3 3! 12.3
lilxe4oo. Next, we connect the
knights with ... 12lb8-d7-f6 and im
pose a light-square blockade on the

Pros and cons: The play is identi

cal with Chapter 1.

l.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

Since White will attack e4, we fore

stall it with 9 ....ib4 10..ig2 0-0
11.0-0 ixc3 12.bxc3 iild7oo.
7 d5 8.cxd5 (8..ig2 iile5) 8
... ...

cxd5 9.11Jc3 .ib4!? 10.ig2 0-0!

Pros and cons: The play may take

original turn after 5.iilb3 iilf6 6.d3
lilg4!, but it depends only on White
since he could also transpose to
Chapter 1 with 6.tg2. On the other
hand, Black also has the additional
The best way to fight for the ini option 4...d5 5.d3 exd3 which is not
tiative. Once again we can sacri too ambitiuos, but offers easy devel
fice the e4-pawn and obtain last opment.
ing pressure in return. I have an
alysed deeply the consequences.
It would be unnecessary to repeat Conclusion
here the details from the Step by
Step chapter so I will only note that 2 ...c6 is worth considering, espe
after ll.dxe4 dxe4 12.ixe4 /1Jf6 cially if you want to avoid the pin
13.ig2 .ig4 14.'liic2 'liia6, the weak from g5. The trade-off is that with
light squares cause White constant out a dark-squared bishop (which
trouble although a computer should should go to b4), Black has more
be able to hold on. modest attacking resources.

Chapter 2. 1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

Step by Step

1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 A. e4 'l;l'b6! ?

We should not try to transpose to

Chapter 1 or 3 with 4... li:lf6, hoping
to see 5.tg2 or, since White
has a better move order: 5.d3 when
5...exd3 6.'l;l'xd3 d5 7.tg2 dxc4
8. 'l;l'xc4 is pleasant for White due
to his pawn majority in the centre
- 8... li:lbd7 9.0-0 li:lb6 10.Wd3 tc5
11.!ldl 0-0 h6 13.e4.

4 ... d5 is a popular move, but it of

fers White some initiative. For in
A.; B. 3.d4
5.d3 poses a problem - 5 d5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.d4 e4 is
6.tg2 throws us out of the reper
covered in Line B. and is
toire from Chapter 1. Besides, I do
considered in Chapter 3.
not like this position anyway. Re
3.tg2 d5 should transpose to line B mains:
(3 is the subject of Chapter 1). 5 ...tc5
6.dxe4 dxe4 7.te3 li:lf6
I did not face any problems after Wfe7 (8 ... 0-0 9.h3 0-0
4.cxd5 cxd5 5.d4e46.f3 tb4+ 7.td2 is roughly equal - 10.Wfc2 !ld8
hd2+ 8.'l!!lxd2 exf3 (8 .. .f5!? and 8 ... 11.!ldl lila6 12.tg2 '/!!le5 13.lilb3
li:lf6 are more tangled) 9.exf3 li:le7 !lxdl+ he3 0-0 li:lbc6 12.0-0 td7 16.0-0 c5 tc6=.
te6 13.!ladl li:lf5 14.g4 li:lh4 6...tM+ 7.td2 hd2+ 8.'l!!lxd2 exd3
!le8 16.thl li:lg6 draw, Vau 9.Wxd3 dxc4 10.'1ilxc4 li:lf6 n.tg2
lin-Delchev, Zadar 1998. 0-0 12.0-0

l.C4 eb .g;; CO

I analyse this position in detail in

the annotations to Game 5 Anand
dams, Shamkir 2015. In my opin
ion, best practical chances offers
the pawn sacrifice 9... 0-0!?.


5.e3 ltlf6 6.i.g2 d5 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.d3

(8.0-0 ig4 - see Chapter 1, line B)
I prefer to avoid such positions with
8... ltlc6 9.dxe4 dxe4 10.ltlc3 ib4 is
a mobile pawn centre for the enemy.
covered in Chapter 3, line A2.
Note that lately Black is also
5.ltlc2 d5 should also transpose to
experiencing problems after 4...d5
the corresponding chapters.
5.cxd5 '1d5 6.ltlc2
6.e3 ltlf6 7.i.g2 /i,1e5 8.f4 exf3
5 ltlf6
(8 ...We7!? 9.ltlc3 g6 10.'1c2

tg7 11.ltlxe4 ltlxe4 12.'1xe4

The method from Chapter 1, 5 ...a5,
'1xe4 13.he4 0-0 14. M2 e8:i:)
is not effective here in view of 6.d3
9.ltlxf3 '1h5 10.d4 i.b4+ ll.td2
a4 7.ltl3d2 exd3 8.i.g2 with an ini
6... ltlf6 7.ltlc3! (7.tg2 is mentioned
on page 18.) 7...Wh5
Perhaps 7...'1e5! 8.tg2 te7 will
replace 7...'1h5 in future.
Practice has only seen 6.i.g2 a5 -
see Chapter 1, line B, and 6.ltlc3
8.h3 prevents ...i.h3, but weak-
a5 - see Chapter 3, line Al. The
ens g3. After 8 ...'1g6 9.i.g2 id6
text, however, is the sternest test of
10.ltle3 0-0 ll.Wc2 e8, the
Black's plan. It demands from Black
threat ...hg3 will be a constant
ingenious play:
concern for White.
8 ...tc5 9.'1c2

Chapter 2

6... ii:lg4! b) 9...ie6?! may be objectively a de

cent option, but I would not recom
Or 6 ... exd3 7.xd3 d5 8.ig2. mend to enter OTB the position af
ter 10.f3 iilf6 11.fxe4 iilxe4 12.ig2
7.e3 i.b4 13.0-0 (13.i.d2 iilxd2 14.xd2
iild715.0-0 0-0 16.g5hc3 17.bxc3
7.d4 d5 8.cxd5 cxd5 9.ii:lc3 trans l;ac8 18.i;acl f5+) 13 ... iilxc3 14.bxc3
poses to a position which has oc hc3 15.i;bl iild7 16.ia3 a6 17.e4!
curred in a few games via a differ 17.i.c5 a4 (threatening ... iilxc5)
ent move order. 18.id6 a6 is a draw.
I analysed this pawn structure 17... dxe4 18.d5 xa3 19.dxe6 fxe6
in the previous chapter. White's
most dangerous plan is based on f3
when we commonly trade our dark
squared bishop for the c3-knight
and hold e4. The placement of the
king's knight on b3 does not change
the evaluation:

Black is holding here, but only if he

calculates like a computer.

7. .d5 8.cxd5 (8.ig2 iile5) 8...


cxd5 9.iilc3

9.i.g2 offers Black more chances

a) 9....ib4 10 ..ig2 0-0 11.0-0 hc3 to develop the initiative - 9 ... iilc6
12.bxc3 ii:ld7 10.iilc3
The idea of this move is to meet 10.dxe4 dxe4 11.he4 iilf6 12.i.g2
13.f3 ii:lgf6 14.ig5 by 14...h6. Al i.g4 13.f3 ie6 14.0-0oo is a worse
ternatively, 14.fxe4 ii:lxe4 15.c4 version of the main line.
dxc4 is balanced. More aspir 10 ...i.e6 11.0-0 f5 12.dxe4 dxe4
ing is to keep the blockade on 13.iild5 d8 14.iilf4 ic4 15.he4
e4 with 15 ... l;e8!? 16.cxdS g6 fxe4 16.xg4 Ml 17.@xfl d7
17.d3 ii:ldf6. 18.iile6 iild8 19.iilbd4iilxe6 20.iilxe6
If White postpones the break in !;c8 whereas White can force a draw
the centre, we can transfer the with 21.xe4 dl+ 22.@g2 fuel
knight to e6: 23.fucl 'i!\lxcl 24.iilxg7+ @f7 25.iile6
13.a4 c6 14.aS !;e8 15.if4 h6 i.e7 26.fS+ @e8 27.iilg7+ @d8
16.c2 iilf8=. 28.iile6+ @e8.

l.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

10 .ig2

The correspondence game Putt

Lovelock, New Zealand 2003,
saw 10 ..id2 'il'f6 ll.f4 exf3 12.lilxd5
hd2+ 13.'il'xd2 f2+ (13 ...'il'd6!?
14.e4 .ie6=) 14.@e2 'il'd6 15.'il'c3
15.e4 gives Black time to castle
- 15... 0-0 16.h3 lile5 17.d4 lilg6
18.@xf2 f5t.
9...tb4 !?

The email game Portych-Cardenas

Huaman, ICCF 2011, saw 9...'il'f6
The queen would be vulnera
ble on d2 as seen from the line
10.'il'd2 'il'f3 lU'lgl lilc6 12.lilxd5
(12.h3 lilge5 13.lilxd5 exd3
14.lilc7+ @d8 15.lilxa8 .ib4) 12 ...
Now instead of15 ... 0-0? 16.lilc7,
exd3 13..ig2 lilge5 14.@fl th3
Black seizes the initiative with:
15.lilc7+ @d8 16.txh3 @xc7t.
15...lila6! 16.'il'xg7 'il'xd5 17.'il'xhS+
10 ...'il'f3 11.!lgl exd3
@e7 18.e4 'il'h5 19.'il'g7 lilf6+
ll ...tb4 12.h3 exd3 13.hd3
20.@xf2 .ig4 21.e5 lile8 22.'il'hS !ld8
lile5 14 ..id2 lilxd3+ 15.'il'xd3
and White must find only moves.
hc3 16.hc3 0-0 is also some
what better for White although 10 ... 0-0
his winning chances in an end
game would be very slim due to Only 10 ... lilf6 11.0-0 0-0 has been
the opposite-coloured bishop, tried so far in two old correspon
e.g. 17.!ldl !ld8 18.lild4 'il'e4. dence games. White has the more
12.hd3 lilc6 13.lild4 lilxd4 14.exd4 active pieces after 12.dxe4 hc3
.ib4 15.'il'e2+ 'il'xe2+ when instead 13.bxc3 dxe4 14.'il'c2 !le8 15.c4.
of 16.he2 lilf6 17.f3 te6 18.@f2
a6 19.lila4 lild7 20 ..ie3 0-0 21.lilc5 11.dxe4
lilxc5 22.dxc5 d4 23.hd4 !lfe8
24.c6 bxc6 25.!lgdl MS 26.a3 c5 After 11.0-0, the original queen lift
27..ic3 c4 28.!lacl draw, White 'il'd8-b6-h6 allows us to put pres
would retain a slight pull in the end sure on the enemy king - ll ...'il'h6
game with 16.@xe2! te6 17.f3 lilf6 12.h3 lilf6 13.dxe4 hc3 14.bxc3
18.lilb5. dxe4 15.h4oo.

Chapter 2

ll.td2 l'ld8 12.dxe4 dxe4 13.txe4 I have analysed two possible ap

lilf6 14.tg2 tg4 15.c2 a6 is simi proaches from here:
lar to the main line.

Al. 14.:f3 .ie6 15.0-0 lilc6

Decent alternatives are:

15...tc4 16.l'lf2 lilc6 17.lila4 l'lad8
18.c2 b5 19.lilc3 a6 20.a3 te7
21.tfl txfl 22.l'lxfl l'ld3 23.l'ldl l'lfd8
24.l'lxd3 l'lxd3.

15 ... l'ldS 16.e2 lilc6 17.lila4 a6

Black has full compensation for 18.xa6 bxa6.
the pawn. An illustrative line is:
16.h3 te6 17.a3 lilc6! 18.axb4 lilxb4 16.lila4 'fil>5 17.lild4 lilxd4 d3 20.lild4 E1xd4 21.exd4 18.exd4 l'lad8 19.a3 te7 20.l'lel
lilc2+ 22.Wdl tb3 xd4oo. lild5 21.lilc3 'fil>6
It is undoubtedly easier to play this
position wit Black.

11 dxe4 12.he4 lilf6 13.tg2


Black's active pieces fully compen

sate the missing pawn. The point
of his counterplay are the weak
light squares d3 and c4, and split
queenside pawns (after ...txc3).
The further play is not forced so
Black is threatening 22 ... lilf4 and
I will try to illustrate several key
22 ...tf6. 22.lilxd5 l'lxd5 is not too
helpful. Perhaps White should seek
a drawwith 22.lila4, but Black could
deviate from repetition by 22 ...c6.

A2. 14.Vifc2 Vifa6 15 .id2

15.f3 te6 16.lild4 (16.f2 lilc6 is

similar to Al.) 16 ...tc4 17.tfl l'lc8
18.f2 txf1 19.l'lxfl lilc6 20.l'ldl
lild5 21.lilde2 lilxc3 22.bxc3 tc5

1.c4 eS 2.g3 c6

White is unable to keep the extra

pawn - 24.g4 li:lxf2 or 24.0-0 lilxg3.

B. 3.d4 e4 4.lilc3

After 4.dS, we should not linger

too much with ...cxdS since we can
miss the moment as in the game
Hellbing-Dutra Neto, IECG email
Black has a long-term compensa
2004: 4...b4+ 5.d2 We7
tion due to his better pawn struc
li:lf6 0-0 8.tg2 d6?! (correct
ture. He does not need to rush since
was 8 ...cxdS! 9.cxdS d6
the weak a- and c-pawns will not
3 ll.lilxf6+ '/:!.1xf6 12.3 '/:!.1xb2
run away. White can push e4, a4,
13.hb4 '/:!.1xb4+ 14.Wd2 '/:!.1xd2+
l'lbl, but that's all. For his part, Black
1S. l!lxd2 iila6 16.e4 li:lc5 17.l'lhel l'lfe8
can double his rooks on the d-file or
draw, Lukesova-Vegjeleki, ICCF
place them on d8 and c8:
email 2010) 3
a) 23.l'lbl Ill es 24.lild4 h6 '/:!.1xf6 11.3 Wxb2 12.l'lcl cxdS
Alternatively: 13.l'lc2! (this intermezzo punishes
24 ... l'ld8 2S.'/:!.1e2 lilc4 26.l!lg2 Black's tactic) 13 ...hd2+ 14.'/:!.1xd2oi;.
l'lac8=. Perhaps the most challenging is:
24 ...lilc4 2S.e4 l'ld8 26.l!lg2 l'ld7.
4 ... cxdS S.cxdS lilf6 6.tg2
2S.'/:!.1e2 lilc4 26.e4 l'lc7=. tb4 7.td2 0-0= 8.tg2
b) 23.a4 Ill es 24.l!lg2 l'ld8 2S.e4 l'le8 d6 10.0-0 tfS 11.lilf4
l'lxdl 26.Wxdl li:ld3 (26 ...'/:!.1c4=) gS h6+, Schrancz-Schus
27.ta3 ha3 28.l'lxa3 l'ld8 ter, LSS email 2009.
li:leS. 6 ...tb4+ 7.d2 '/:!.1e7 8.a3 hd2+
15... lilbd7 16.a3 hc3 17.hc3 0-0
l'lac8 18.lild4 lilc5 19.h3 "15
20.Hl f;\1d6 21.tc4 tg6 22.We2
li:lfe4 23.tb4 1"fe8oo

10.d6 '/:!.1e5 '/:!.ibS 12.l'lcl b6oo.

4.lilh3 dS h6! transposes to

Chapter 2

4 ..d5
. may be playable, but Black lacks
an active plan. He should trans
fer his bishop to b6 via e7-d6-c7,
e.g. 12 ...tfs 13.E1cl i.d6! .
8.0-0 ltlge7 9.ltlf4 0-0 10.f3 f5
1L'!Wb3 hc3 12.1Wxc3 \Wd6 13.\Wc5
\Wxc5 14.dxc5 g5 15.ltlh5 h6 16.b3;!;
Markowski-Krasenkow, Warsaw

6...ltlc6! 7.V!!'xd5 Wxd5 8.ltlxd5

ltlxd4 9.ltlc7+

Bl. 5.cxd5; B2. 5.i.g2; B3. 5.ltlh3, 9.i.g5 ltlc2+ 10.lild2 ltlxal 1Lltlc7+
but have in mind that these lines of @d7 12.ltlxa8 h6 13.i.f4 i.b4+
ten interweave. 14.lilcl ltlf6 15.i.g2 lile7 16.ltlc7 i.d7
Bl. 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Wb3

In all other lines the exchange on

d5 might prove premature as it of
fers Black the extra option of ... ltlc6.
However, I'm not sure Black should
go for it as the knight move delays
the development of the kingside:
For instance:
6.ltlh3 ltlc6?!
Line B3 deals with 6 ... h6!? and Now 17... E1c8 keeps the material
6 ...i.b4!?. balance due to the idea ...i.d6, e.g.
7.i.g2 i.b4 18.i.h3 g5 19.i.e5 g4t.
7... h6 8.0-0 ltlf6 9.f3 exf3 10.exf3 17 ... ltlc2 is also interesting -
i.e7 1Li.e3 0-0 12.ltlf4, Czebe 18.@xc2 E1c8 19.lilbl h5 20.i.eS
Farago, Hungary 2006, hc7 2Lhf6+ lilxf6 22.he4 i.b6
23.hb7 E1c4. Black is two pawns
behind, but his raging bishops will
easily regain them.

9 @dS 10.lilxaS lilc2+ 11.lildl


The stem game De Bari-Penafiel

Lopez, ICCF 2009, continued
l.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

useless td2. The gameA.Larsen

Konstantinov, ICCF 2013, went
further 11.0-0 E1e8 12.11\'cl lilbd7
13.hh6?! gxh6 14.1!\'xh6 lilf8
15.1!\'g5+ (15.fxe4 li:lxe4) 15...lilg6
16.lilf4 exf3 17.lilxg6 lilh7+.
Besides, he could discard ...h6
at all and aspire to the advan
tage with:
10 ... E1e8 11.0-0 e3!? lilc6 (or
12 ...h5!?). The e3-pawn splits the
12.tf4 te6 13.b3 li:lxb3 14.axb3
board, hindering White's commu
hb3+ 15.@cl ta3+ 16.@bl li:le7
17.e3 g5 18.hg5 d7
te6 20.he6+ fxe6 21.he7 he7 6.cxd5 cxd5 branches to: E1xa8 and White was happy
a) 7.lilh3 li:lf6 (7...h6 is line B3)
to draw this endgame.
8.0-0 0-0 9.tg5 hc3 10.bxc3 li:lbd7
11.f3 h6
B2. 5.tg2 .ib4!?

5 transposes to Chapter 1. The

text is the only reasonable way to rip
dividends from 2... c6.


6.td2 hc3 7.bxc3 li:lf6! 8.cxd5 cxd5 0-0
12.M4 lilb6 13.lilf2 tf5 14.1!\'b3
E1e8 secures Black's control of
the light squares. Then 15.a4
lilc4 16.Wxb7 puts him in total
command after 16 ... E1e7 17.1!\'b4
a5 18.1!\'b5 exf3 19.exf3 E1c8.
12 ...lilxf6 13.fxe4 lilxe4 14.1!\'d3
hh3 with the better pawn struc
ture, Alvarado Diaz-Ramiro Oveje-
10.f3 ro, Vecindario 2013.
Black can now reach a better ver-
sion of line B3 after 10...h6 since b) 7.f3 li:lf6 8 ..ig5 0-0 9.fxe4 dxe4
White has spent a tempo on the 10.e3

Chapter 2

Black has enough compensation line Cl, but this move is nnneces
following 10.ixe4 !le8 sary here.

8.fxe4 dxe4 9.lilh3

9.ixe4 !le8 10.ig2 lilbd7 11.lilf3 h6

leads to an interesting position with
mutual chances. For example:

ll.ig2 \Wa5 12.lilf3 ixc3+

13.bxc3 \Wxc3+ 14.id2 \Wd3
15.if4 \Wc3+ 16.id2 \Wd3 17.if4
\Wc3+ 18.id2 draw, Kerr-Sch
ramm, ICCF 2010.
10 ...h6 ll.i:xf6 1Wxf6 12.lilge2 ig4c:o,
B.Damljanovic-Komarov, Le Port
12.icl lile4 13.\Wb3 \Wa5 14.id2
Marly 2009.
lilxd2 15.lilxd2 lilf6 - the pressure
6... lilf6 7.3.gS along the e-file promises Black a
lasting initiative.
Perhaps it was time to include 9.\Wb3 a5 10.a3 ie7 11.!ldl lilg4
7.cxd5 cxd5 because after the text, 12.ixe7 \Wxe7 13.lilxe4 a4 14.Wc3 f5
Black could exchange on f3 and is double-edged.
grab the c4-pawn with unclear con
sequences. 9 ...lilbd7

9 ...h6 10.M6 Wxf6 n.lilf2 !ldS

12.e3 Wg5 13.Wcl f5 also deserves

10.0-0 hc3 11.bxc3 h6 12.3.xf6

White's bishop does not have good

prospects after lilb6.

12 ... lilxf6 13.lilf2 !le8oo

7... 0-0!?
Black has a target on c4. He could
7... lilbd7 transposes to Chapter 1/ attack it with ...We6, ...b6, ...h6.

l.c4 e!J .g0 cb

B3. 5.lilh3 h6 Wxb4 17.axb4 2'1xc3 18.bxc3 lilc4

19.ixc4 dxc4 20.lilxe6 fxe6 21.liie2
This move secures the d5-pawn, but a5=.
it slows down development. More
challenging is: 5 ...tb4!? 6.ig2 lilf6 transposes to
5 ...lilf6!? 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.tg5 tb4 Chapter 1, Line C, but White has
6.b3 a5 is similar, only the
b-pawn is not hanging. Black
was fine after 7.cxd5 cxd5 8 .. a3
(8.tg5!? f6) 8...ixc3+ 9.bxc3 a4
10.b5+ lilc6, Klekowski-Nava
ra, Hockenheim 2015. The d5-
pawn could be defended by ...2'1a5.
6...a5 7.cxd5 b5 8.b3 cxd5,
8.Wa4+ lilc6 9.e3 h6 10.txf6
Wxf6 11.lilf4 Wd6 12.Wb3 lile7
13.tb5+ liifS 14.h4 g6=;
8.2'1cl lilbd7 9.e3 h6 10.txf6
ixc3+ 11.2'1xc3 lilxf6 12.lilf4 0-0=;
8.tg2 ixc3+ 9.bxc3 lilbd7 10.f3
exf3 11.txf3 h6 12.txf6 lilxf6
13.lilf4 g5oo, Mercadal Benejam
Joppich, ICCF 2015. when 9.e3 could be met by the sharp
8 ...Wxf6 9.lilf4 Wd6 9 ...lilf6 10.ixb5+ td7 11.ixd7+
xd7 with compensation for the
pawn - White cannot castle safely
due to the weak h3-square.

6.cxd.5 cxd5 7.tg2

7.lilf4 lilf6 8.b3 (8.tg2 g5!?) is an

other version of the pawn sac 8 ...
lilc6! with an initiative - 9.lilfxd5
lilxd5 10.xd5 xd5 11.lilxd5 lilxd4
Black has saved the d5-pawn and 12.lilc7+ @as 13.M4 lilc2+ 14.liid2
should gradually level the game: lilxal 15.lilxaS ie6+, Tikkanen
10.Wb3 te6 11.Ecl 0-0 12.e3 lilc6 Grandelius, Malmoe 2013.
13.a3 ixc3+ 14.2'1xc3 2'1fc8 15.te2
(15.lilxe6 Wxe6) 15...lila5 16.b4 7... lilf6 8.0-0 tb4! 9.f3
Chapter 2

metrical pawn structure after 9 ...

exf3 10.exf3 which might be bor
ing to defend. Besides, the com
puter claims that 9 ...exf3 is a tacti
cal mistake in view of 10.!lxf3! 0-0?
ll.!lxf6! or 10 ... hc3 ll.!le3+! e6
12.bxc3 0-0 13.iilf4 when 13 ...MS
14.!leS and 13 ...'i!ld7 14.iilxe6 are
slightly better for White.
After the text Black holds the crit
9 ... 0-0! ical square e4 and has full-fledged
play. See Game 6 Nailer-Delchev,
It is always better to avoid the sym- Ordu 2016.

Chapter 2. 1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

Annotated Games

Let's ponderoverthis position. White

5. Anand (2791) - Adams (2745)
cannot castle short since 14.ig2 "h5
Shamkir 24.04.2015
15.0-0 would drop the e2-pawn.
1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.iilf3 e4 4.iild4 Trading queens by 14.Wh4?! is
d5 5.cxd5 "xd5 6.iilc2 iilf6 7.iilc3 always dubious since White's
"h5 (7... "e5!) 8.iile3 ic5 9."c2 queenside will be left to the mer
cy of Black's overwhelming forc
es. That reduces his options down
to long castling, but then the extra
pawn will be of no significance since
the kings will be on stake:
14.b3 !lfe8 (threatening ...hb3)
15. Wf4 !lad8 16.ib2 f6 17.ic3
17.0-0-0 defines White's castling
position too early - 17... iilb4
18. @bl a5oo.
9 ...he3 17 ...id6 18.We4 (18.fil4 Wxh4
19.gxh4gg) Now simplest is:
This move saves the e4-pawn, but 18 ...id5 19."h4 Wxh4 20.hd5+
Black remains without an active cxd5 21.gxh4 ic5 22.d4 ib4
plan. Instead I recommend: 23.hb4 iilxb4 24.h5 !ld7 25.h6 g6
9 ... 0-0!? 10.iilxe4 iilxe4 ll.xe4 and Black regains the pawn with
ie6 12.ig2 iila6 13.if3 "h3 ... !le8-e4-h4xh6.
More provocative is 19.Wc2
li:la6 when 20.0-0-0 li:lb4 21.hb4
hb4 22.d4 a5 23.@bl @h8 24.!ld3
!lcSgg keeps the battle on.


In a later game Kovalenko chose

10.dxe3 whereas Black failed to find
an adequate set-up:

Chapter 2

10 ...Ms
Perhaps it is better to keep the
queen in the centre, e.g. 10 ...We5
11.b3 0-0 12.ib2 .if5 13.ig2 lila6
14.!ldl lilb4 15.Wcl We7 16.0-0

15.!lxf5! xf5 16.lilxe4

Anand demonstrates one of White's

main ideas in this line ofthe English
- a kingside attack exploiting the
open f-file. The computers ''believe"
As long as the g2-bishop is out of that the game is roughly even, but
play, Black is safe. this impression is rather deceiving.
1Lig2 Wg6? (11 ... lila6 12.h3 0-0 In fact, we have a typical example
13.a3 lilc7 14.b3 lilcd5 15.ib2 of modem top-level approach to the
Wg6 16.0-0 !lfe8) 12.b3 (12.Wb3 opening. White does not risk any
b6 13.Wa3) 12 ...lilbd7 13.ia3 c5 thing as he does not have any weak
14.!ldl, Kovalenko-Petursson, Ber nesses while Black must defend ac
lin 2015. curately. Even strongest players like
Adams often fail to hold on in such
10 ...Wes n.ig2 MS 12.0-0 0-0 fluid positions without clear refer
13.b3 ence points. Black's difficulties en
sue from the lack of concrete vari
In Littke-Kolek, ICCF 2011, White ations. For instance, he must now
shifted the focus to the queenside decide where to put the queen. The
with 13.b4!? lilbd7 14.ib2 We6 15.b5 natural 16... We6 17.lilxf6+ lilxf6
15.!lxf5 Wxf5 16.lilxe4 is also 18.!lfl lild5 (preventing !lf4) 19.ie4
possible, but the pawn on b4 Wh6 20.Wc4 a5 21.a3 !lae8 22.id3
could give Black a lever for !le6 does not solve his problems as
counterplay. White preserves many attacking re
15 ... !lacS 16.Wb3 !lfd8 17.!lacl lilc5 sources, like 23.!lf5;!; threatening
18.Wxe6 ixe6 19.!lc2 id7 20.bxc6 h4, !lg5 or Wg4, !lh5. Adams takes
ixc6 21.lilbl ia4 22.!lccl lilfd7 the brave decision to allow doubled
23.id4 b6 24.lilc3 ic6 25.!lc2 with pawns.
tangible pressure.
16 ...Wg6 17.!ltl !lfe8 18.i.xf6
13... lilbd7 14.ib2 e6 lilxf6 19.lilxf6+ gxf6 20.e4 !lad8
l.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

21.!lf4 mis 22.d3 l!l'e5 23."1.3 There is no perpetual check so 34 ...

g7 24.g2 l!lg8 is the only move. In this line
White wins the h-pawn without
having to trade any piece.
The bottom line is that Black's de
fence is not trivial at all. Adams' de
cision might be the right approach,
but he shaped it wrongly.

25.!lf5 '1!1d4 26.!lxh5 'll'e3

26 ...!le5 deserved attention, and

24...h5 only after 27.M5, 27... '1!1e3. The
point is that the f-file is plugged
This move looks like a blunder, but by the f5-bishop and 28.!lh4 !lh8
things are not that simple. Appar 29.!lf4?? would lose to 29 ...!lc5
ently, Adams thought that passive 30.'ll'b2 !lcl. Thus Black would have
waiting would not be safe. After traded rooks with excellent chances
the obvious 24...'ll'd4 25.!lg4+ h8 to draw. It seems that Adams want
26.'ll'cl !lg8 27.!lh4, Black begins ed to preserve more tension and
to experience difficulties in finding was actually playing for a win!
good moves. For instance, 27... a5
28.fS !lg7 29.'ll'd2 a4 simply los 27.!lh4 !le5 28.!lf4 !lc5 29.M>2
es a pawn to 30.bxa4 'll'xa4 31.'ll'b2 !ld6 30.!lfl
'll'd4 32.'ll'xb7.
Let's analyse another stand: 27...c5
28.fS !lg7. Now 29.3 b6 30.'ll'h6
does not win in view of 30 ...'ll'al
31.l!lg2 'll'b2, but White has a cun
ning idea - to put his queen behind
the rook, e.g. 29.!lh5! b6 30.l!lfl !le8
31.'ll'f4 11\'al+ 32.l!lf2 'll'd4+ 33.l!lf3
111'al 34.11\'h4.

30 ... a5

The game is balanced, e.g. 30 ...'1!1d4

31.'1!1bl '1!1c3 32.g4.

31. b5 32.h4 !ldS?

This is Black's only mistake in the

game. Perhaps he was planning
Chapter 2

... !ld8-a8 followed up by ... a4, but

this idea misses a tactical hit. 32 ...
b4 was more precise. It would have
fixed a possible target for Black's
rooks on a2.

33.a3 b4 34.axb4 axb4

10.fxe4 was more principled. Then

10....ltxc3 ll.bxc3 .ixh3! (11... dxe4?!
released the central blockade in
Wiedenkeller-Carlsson, Sweden
2014 - 12.c4 b6 13.d5) 12 ..ixh3
li:lxe4 13.'ll\'d3 is the critical test of
this line.

35 .ie6!

White succeeds in transferring his

passive bishop to c4 and the game
is suddenly over.

35 !lc3 36 .ic4 !la8 37.!lf5 !la7

38.!lf3 'l;lc5 39.'ll\'d2 'll\'d6 40.'ll\'e3

!la5 41.!lf2 !lc2 42.g4 'll\'d7
This position is difficult to play with
43.'1ll'g3 !lc5 44.g5 fxg5 45.!lxf7+
both sides as White has the bishop
'll\'xf7 46..ixf? xf7 47.'1ll'f3 + g7
pair advantage, but his pawn struc
48.h5 !la5 49.!2 !lb2 50.h6+
ture is compromised. Black can de
g6 51.h7 1-0
velop his knight on c6, followed up
by ... b6, but I prefer to treat the po
sition a la Nimzowitsch, e.g. 13 ...
li:ld7 14.c4 !le8 15.!lbl dxc4 16.'ll\'xc4
6. Nailer - Delchev
li:ldf6= with a blockade of the enemy
Ordu 1 7.04.2016
pawn centre.

1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.d4 e4 d5 10 ...exf3 ll.!txf3?!

5 .ig2 li:lf6 6.cxd5 cxd5

h6 8.0-0 .ib4 9.f3 0-0! 11.exf3 was roughly equal - 11 ... li:lc6 .ia5 13..ie3 !le8 14..if2 f5.
(see next diagram)! 12.e3?
1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6

A horrible positional mistake which 15.lilc5 b:f'3 16.Wfxf3 b6 17.lild3

leaves the cl-bishop complete lila5 18.lile5 !k8 19.h3 l'le8
ly useless. 12.if4, having in mind 20.ib4 lilc4 21.lilxc4 l'lxc4
g3-g4-g5, was a must. 22.l'lael Wfd7 23.Wff5 Wfe6 24.g4
lile4 0-1
12 ...MS 13.lild3 hc3 14.bxc3

The material is still even, but the

computer evaluates the final posi
A triumph of my light-squared tion at -3.60 due to the threat 25...
strategy. a5!

Chapter 3. 1.c4 e5 2.ttJc3 ttJf6 3.g3 c6

Main Ideas

1.c4 e5 2.11lc3 11lf6 3.g3 c6 2. White attacks the e4-pawn.

4.d4 e4 5.tg5 cuts our choice down

to 5...tb4 in view of 5... d5? 6.cxd5
cxd5 7.hf6.
After 6.1!!fb3 11la6 7.tg2 h6 8.hf6
1!!fxf6 9.e3 hc3+ 10.1!!fxc3 d5 11.cxd5

The move 11lc3 has a stronger influ

ence on the centre than tg2, but it
throws White off his repertoire with
2.g3. As I explained in Chapter 1, in
many lines the knight is not well
placed on c3. The stats show that
in the following sequence of moves:
l.c4 e5 2.g3 11lf6, 3.11lc3 is ten times Black does not have serious prob
(!) less frequent than 3.tg2. I will lems, but he lacks any target.
not elaborate further on the best I propose to adopt the more en
way of exploiting White's knight . terprising scheme with an isolated
early sortie since that is often a mat pawn: 4 exd4 5.1!!fxd4 d5.

ter of taste or fashion. Instead let's

see how it compares to the previous
two chapters if we insisit on 3...c6.

1. White attacks the d5-pawn.

This approach directly transposes

to Chapter 1, line C, after 4.tg2 d5
5.d4 e4 and to Chapter 1, line A, af
ter 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.1!!fb3 11lc6.
Chapter 3

I recommend to take on d4 only in 10.0-0 0-0

this particular case when White has
already committed his knight to c3. 3. The bishop on c5 deprives White
This detail forces him to exchange of ie3, lild4, so he must look for
on d5 (unless he wants to sac the c4- nontrivial ways of completing his
pawn) which gives us a nice tempo development. Whatever he does,
after ... lilc6. This tempo consider we must aim for activity, even at the
ably alters White's common plans price of a pawn, e.g. ll.111'b5 (ll.tg5
against an IQP. The immediate re h6) 11...11\'b6! 12.'ll'xb6 axb6 13.lilg5
sults of it are:

1. White cannot comfortably devel

op his cl-bishop to g5 due to the hit
on b2: 6.tg5 te7 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.tg2
(8.lilf3 lilc6 9.111'a4 111'b6!?) 8...lilc6
9.11\'a4 11\'b6!

13...tg4 14.h3 5 15.g4 tg6

16.lilxd5 lilxd5 17.hd5 l'lfe8 18.e3
h6 19.lilf3 l'led8 20.tb3 ie4t.

3. White does not play d4.

Or 6.ig2 ie6 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.ig5 4.lilf3 e4 s.lild4 111'1>6 !

lilc6 9.111'a4 'll'b 6! with complica
tions which may lead to a draw.

2. If we do not fear the pin from g5,

we can find an active stand for our
bishop on c5: 6.Ag2 te6 7.cxd5
cxdS 8.lilf3 lilc6 9.111'a4 AcS

As you see, our retort is the same.

Most of the lines may transpose
to Chapter 1, line B2. In the rest of
them, the placement of the knight
on c3 is more likely in ourfavour be
cause we can get in ...d4 with a tern-
Lc4 e5 2.lilc3 lilf6 3.g3 c6

po: 6.lilb3 a5! 7.d3 a4 8.lild2 exd3 Note also the plan 6.e3 d5 7.1!1'c2
9.Ag2 d5! Ad7 8.a3

10.0-0 (10.exd3 Ag4; 10.cxd5 cxd5 Do not allow the idea b2-b4+c4-
11.0-0 Ag4) 10 ...d4 ll.lilce4 lilxe4 c5. We can forestall it with 8...
12.lilxe4 Ae7 13.111'xd3 f5! ? 14.lilg5 c5 ! 9.lilde2 dxc4 10. lilxe4 lilxe4
0-0 with mutual chances. 11.1!1'xe4+ 1!1'e6 12.1!1'xe6+ fxe6=.

Chapter 3. 1.c4 e5 2.tlic3 tlif6 3.g3 c6

Step by Step

1.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilf6 3.g3 c6 5...d5 6.cxd5 icS looks also logical,
but then 7.IDb3 ib6 8.ig2 cxd5 9.d3
e3 10.ixe3 is sharp, but favourable
to White. If we leave the d4-knight
in piece for a while, we'll not be able
to shift it later at all, e.g. 6...cxd5
7.d3 icS 8.dxe4 dxe4 9.ie3.

A. 4.lilf3; B. 4.d4

4.ig2 d5 5.d4 (5.cxd5 cxd5 6.'1!fb3

lilc6 is covered in Chapter 1, line A)
5...e4 transpose to Chapter 1, line C.

Al. 6.illb3; A2. 6.e3

A. 4.lilf3 e4 5.lild4
6.lll c2 d5 7.cxd5 (7.ig2 dxc4) 7...
5.lllg5 presents a tempo for the use cxdS 8.ig2 ie7 9.d3 /Dc6 10.0-0
ful prophylactic move ...h6 - 5... 0-0 is covered in Chapter 1, line B2.
d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.d3 h6 ib4
9.id2 exd3+.
Al. 6.lilb3 a5! 7.d3
5 . 'lilh6!

We can meet 7.a4 by 7...lll a6 or 7...

This is my standard recommenda ib4 as in Chapter 1. Enterprising al
tion against lll d4. It is always good ternatives are 7...d5 8.cxd5 lilxd5!?
to repel the active knight from the ie6 and!? 9.e3 li:le5.
centre. Most of the lines may trans
pose to Chaper 1, line B2. 7... a4 8.lild2 exd3 9.$.g2
1.c4 e5 2.iilc3 iilf6 3.g3 c6

Or 9.exd3 icSt. than to play 16 ...cS?! 17.iilel and

the knight is heading for d5 via f4.
9 . d5 10.0-0
10.exd3 4 11.'lilc2 could be coun
tered by ll ...iila6!? 12.a3 dxc4 17.if4 iilb4 18.'lild2 c5 is already
13.iilxa4 'lila5 14.dxc4 if5 15.'lilc3 fine so White has to accept the gift.
'lilxc3 16.iilxc3 id3 with compen
sation, for instance: 17.ifl iilb4 17... seS 18.'lilh3 ""'xb3 19.axb3
18.ixd3 iilxd3+ 19.i>e2 0-0-0=. .id7

10 d4 11.iilce4 iilxe4 12.iilxe4

. Black has full compensation for the
ie7 13.""'xd3 pawn. For instance:
20.sel iilc5 21.sxa8 sxa8 22.b4
iilb3 23.iild2 iilxcl 24.Sxcl sa2
25.sbl ie6;
20.sdl iilc5 21.sxa8 sxa8 22.iilxd4
ixd4 23.sxd4 sal;
20 ..ig5 ixg5 21.iilxg5 Sxe2.

A2. 6.e3 d5 7.cxd5

13 f5!?

7.'lilb3 dxc4 8.ixc4 'lilxb3 9.ixb3
iila6 10.f3 exf3 11.iilxf3 ib4 12.a3
As usual, the space advantage as ixc3 13.bxc3 iilc5 14..ic2 ie6 15.sbl
sures Black of good chances, but he 0-0-0 was in Black's favour, Granda
must stay active. Instead in Yudin Zuniga-Jumabayev, Pavlodar 2015.
Jumabayev, Tomsk 2013, was 13 ... 7.'lilc2 id7 8.a3 would have been
c5?! 14.e3 iilc6 15.exd4 cxd4 when promising for White if he secured
16.if4 0-0 17.sfcl, intending c5, the d4-knight with b2-b4+c4-c5.
would have forced 17...sa5 with a
tenable, but passive position.
The text might look as a weakness,
but it drives back the e4-knight be
fore it had the chance to go to d6.

14.iilg5 0-0 15.iilf'3 if6 16.""'c2

(defending b2) 16 iila6!

Again, it is better to sac a pawn,

Chapter 3

However, 8 ... c5! throws a span B. 4.d4 exd4

ner into the works - 9.lilde2 dxc4
10.lilxe4 lilxe4 11.1/ifxe4+ 1/ile6=. 4... e4 is more consistent with our
Black is safe without queens. An il opening strategy, but the specif
lustrative line runs 12.1/ifxe6+ fxe6 ic move order (lilc3 instead of ig2)
13.lilf4 g5 14.lilh3 g4!? (14...h6=) throws us out of Black's most ac
15.lilf4 tc6 16.!lgl lild7 17.txc4 lile5 tive schemes. After 5.ig5, we can
18.te2 mf7 19.b3 lilf3+ with a pret not follow up with:
ty position. 5...d5? 6.cxd5 cxd5 due to
7.txf6. That is not a tragedy
7 cxd5 8.d3 lilc6 9.dxe4 dxe4
since we can resort to the devel
opment with:
Fans of isolated pawns could con 5...tb4. Play may continue 6.1/ifb3
sider 9 ... lilxe4 10.td3 lilf6 11.0-0 lila6 7.tg2 h6 8.txf6 1/ifxf6 9.e3
te7 12.lila4 11ifd8, but I would take hc3+ 10.1/ilxc3 d5 11.cxd5 cxd5
White after 13.lilxc6 bxc6 14.b3.

10.tg2 tb4

Black should not have problems to

hold this position, but the lack of
the dark-squared bishops deprives
him of active plans:
11.0-0 hc3 12.bxc3 0-0 13.1/ifc2 12.1/ifb3 1/ifb6 (12 ...1/ifd6) 13.1/ilxb6
1/ifc5 axb6 is a draw endgame, e.g.
14.lile2 iilb4 15.md2 lild3 16.lilc3
Black's pieces are well placed. He is te6 17.f3 lilxb2 18.fxe4 dxe4
not afraid of14.he4 lilxe4 15.1/ilxe4. 19.he4 !la3 20.!lhcl lilc4+
That capture would be dubious 2i. md3 lild6 22.ds td7 23. md4
since the opposite coloured bish !lxc3 24.!lxc3 lilb5+ 25.md3
ops are clearly in his favour after lilxc3 26. mxc3 me7 27.!lbl=
15...th3 16.!lfdl !lfe8 17.1/ifh4 lilxd4 !lc8+ 28.md4 !la8 29.!lxb6 !la4+
18.cxd4 1/iff5. 30. md3 !lxa2 31.!lxb7 md6 32.h4
Instead, White can open his bishop f5 33.W !la3+ =.
with 14.tb2 lile5 15.c4 1/ilxc4=. 12 ...tg4 13.lilf4

l.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilf6 3.g3 c6

White should not forget that 6.ig5 could be metby 6...ie7 7.cxd5
Black can castle long - 13.1/ijb3 cxd5 8.ig2 lilc6 9.1/ija4 0-0, but the
0-0-0. temporary weakness of b2 hints at
13 ... 1/ijd6 14.h3 if5 15.a3 (15.1/ija5 more challenging ideas as 9 ...1/ijb6!
lilb4) 15...g5 16.lile2 0-0 17.1/ijb3 lilc7 10.m5 0-0. The same attack is pos
18.lilc3 !lfc8 19.ifl a5 20.i.e2 b5 sible after 8.lilf3 (instead of 8.i.g2)
- 8 ... lilc6 9.1/ija4 1/ijb6!? 10.1/ijb5 0-0
ll.ig2 d4=.

6 .ie6 7.cxd5

If the knight were still on bl, White

might have hoped for some edge
with quick kingside development
and castling. The point is that when
Black takes on c4, White can regain
White cannot break through Black's the sacrificed pawn by lilbd2. In the
defenceline - 21.h4 @g7 22. l!lflid7 diagram position, that course is im
23.hxg5 hxg5 24.l!lg2 l'lh8 25.l'lxh8 possible and 7.lilf3 dxc4 8.1/ijxd8+
l'lxh8 26.l'lhl l'lxhl 27.@xhl=. l!lxd8 leaves White struggling to
equalize. For instance, 9.lilg5 lilbd7
It is a matter of taste, but I prefer (9...td6!?) 10.lilxe6 fxe6 ll.th3?
active and more complex play. By l!le7 was outright bad for him in the
taking on d4, we accept an isolat blitz game Ovetchkin-Volkov, play
ed central pawn which, however, 2006. Thus White is
will be quite mobile as White can forced to let our knight to c6 with
not comfortably blockade it. a tempo.

5.1/ijxd4 d5 7...cxd5 8.lil:f3

8.ig5 is a principled move. After

8... lilc6 9.'Wa4, Black must immedi
ately hit b2 with 9 ...'Wb6 !
We should not allow White to
torture us in a typical IQP po
sition following 9 ...ie7 10.e3.
Practice has seen 9 ...tb4, but
10.e3 h6 ll.hf6 'Wxf6 12.lilge2
0-0 13.0-0 hc3 14.bxc3 is obvi
ously pleasant for White.
10.hf6 gxf6. Perhaps White should
6.ig2 force a draw here with:

--- - -- ------ - ----

Chapter 3

move, and it is well scoring at that.

Its idea is to kill the dark-squared
bishop after 11 ...i.b6 12.ltla4. Of
course, we should keep it:
n...Wb6! 12.'l!lxb6
12.1!1'd3 gives us a tempo - 12 ...
ltlb4 13.'!l'dl (or 13.'l!lbl ltle4
14.ltlxe4 dxe4 15.ltlg5 f5=) 13 ...
ltle4 14.e3 !lac8!? (conceding to
ll..b:d5 Wxb2 12 ..b:c6+ <frle7 13.ltldl trade the bishop in return for full
Wxal 14.1!1'b4+ @d8 15.1!1'a5+ <fries control of the c-file) 15.ltla4 Wa6
16..b:b7+ since the only alternative: 16.ltlxc5 !lxc5 17.ltld4 !lfc8.
11.0-0-0 0-0-0 12 ..b:d5 i.b4 12.e3 ltle4 is also satisfactory.
(12 ....b:d5 13.ltlxd5 Wc5+ 14.ltlc3 12 ...axb6 13.ltlg5
!lxdl+ 15.'l!!lxdl Wxf2 is equal)
13..b:c6 bxc6 14.ltlf3 <frlc7, is
rather dangerous for him.

8...ltlc6 9.Wa4 i.c5

With an isolated pawn, we should

aim to place our pieces on their
most active places so I did not con
sider 9...i.e7 at all. 9...i.b4 deserves
attention, but 10.lile5 underlines its Now it is turn to preserve the light
shaky state. squared bishop: 13 ...i.g4 14.h3 i.h5
15.g4 i.g6 16.ltlxd5 ltlxd5 17..b:d5.
10.0-0 0-0 White has won a pawn, but all his
pieces are uncoordinated - 17...
!lfe8 18.e3 h6 19.ltlf3 !led8 20.i.b3
11.ltlg5 could be put to the test with
I do not see any compelling rea
son to precipitate the exchange
so ll...!lc8!? should be at least as
good as ll ...h6.
12.ltlxe6 fxe6 13.e4
White was too passive after
11.i.g5 13.a3 !lc8 (13 ... ltle5!?) 14.e3
We7 15.i.d2 ltle5 16.!ladl?! 'l!!lf7
11.Wb5 is the second most popular Jones-Edouard, London 2014.
l.c4 e5 2.1Zlc3 1Zlf6 3.g3 c6

13... 1Zlg4 14.exd5 l'lxf2 15.l'lxf2 1Zlxf2 This position resembles the Tarra
with a perpetual. sch, but Black is a tempo up since
White's queen landed on a4 via
ll h6 12.hf6 lll'xf6
the triangle dl-d4-a4. Besides, this
square, as a rule, belongs to the c3-
knight to chase the active c5-bish
op. In the Tarrasch White occasion
ally employs the plan with g5, but
connects it with the idea of forcing
... d5-d4 which plugs the black dark
squared bishop. In the diagram po
sition Black is not obliged to com
ply. As a result, he preserves active
pieces and excellent chances. See
Grune 7 Neiksans-Kovalenko, Riga

Chapter 3. 1.c4 e5 2.llic3 llif6 3.g3 c6

Annotated Games

20.!lfdl, Dvimyy-Van den Reev

7. Neiksans - Kovalenko er, Tromso 2014, 20 ...!lc4 21.Wfe3
Riga 2014 .ixg3 leads to a drawish endgame.
Therefore, we could first retreat the
1.c4 e5 2.g3 qif6 3 .ig2 c6 4.d4
bishop - 20 ....if6!, followed up by
exd4 5."*'xd4 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 ... !lc4.
7.qif'3 qic6 8."*'a4 .ic5 9.0-0 0-0
10.tgs h6 n.hf6 "*'xf6 12.qic3 13 ... !lfdS 14.!lacl
14.e3 does not really blockade the
isolated pawn as we could always
exchange it with ... d4. More inter
esting is:
14...tb6 15.!ld2 !lacs 16.!ladl d4
17.ltlxd4 ltlxd4 18.exd4 !lc4 19.Wfc2
.ixd4 20 ..ixb7


The blockading plan 13.lilel lfad8

14.!lcl !lfe8 15.qid3 is not effective
since we are not obliged to push
...d4 - 15....ib6 l6.qif4 "*'e5.

13.!ladl looks strange as the queen's Black enjoys very active pieces -
rook would be more useful on cl. 20 ...tg4 21.!lel g6 22.Wfb3 .ie6t.
Black can follow the same plan as in
the game - 13 ...!lfdS and if 14 ... !lacS 15."*'b5 qie5! 16."*'xb7
Vffe7 15.qia4 .id6 16.qid4 ltlxd4
17.!lxd4 a6 18.Wfb6 .ie5 19.!ld3 !lac8 It suddenly transpires that 16.qixe5
l.c4 e5 2.ltlc3 ltlf6 3.g3 c6

ixf2+ and 16.ltla4 td7 17.'lilb3ha4 26 te6?

18.'lilxa4 ltlc4 lose a pawn so White

decides to grab one himself. How A critical moment. The winning
ever, Black's initiative now becomes shaping of this idea was 26 ... ltldl+!
overwhelming. 27.fl h7! ! and only after 28.h3
(28.'lilxf7 loses to 28 ...'lilcS), 28 ...
16... lilg4 17.'1fl ltle3+ 29.f2 te6! 30.1i!la7 !lcS
(the fight is for the gl-a7 diago
nal) 31.'lila4 ltlc2 32.'1dl 'lile3+ and
White is tide up and down.


A natural human move which guar

antees Black a strong initiative. A further attack on e2 (after some
Only a computer could calculate preparation), will decide the game.
that 17... tb6! threatening ...d4, is The text is mistake because White
even more awkward for White. could trade his bishop by 27.th3!=.

18.'1xf2 d4 19.'1ffl dxc3 20.'1xc3 27.'lila7?! '1c5 28.'lilbS+ '1c8

'1xc3 21.bxc3 'lilxc3 22.'lilxa7 lile3 29.'lila7 lilc2 30.'1dl tc4 31.'lile7
23.'1bl M5 24.'1el tg4 25. 'lile7 'lll'a5 32.th3 'lilb6+ 33.e3 te6
'1d5 26.f2 34.he6 'lilxe3+ 35.g2 'lile2+
36.h3 'lilxe6+ 37.'lilxe6 fxe6
38.'1cl '1f8= 39.'1xc2 '1xf"3 40.a4
'1a3 41.'1c8+ f7 42.'1a8 '1a2
43.a5 h5 44.a6 e5 45.g4 '1a3+
46.h4 hxg4 47.xg4 g6
48.a7 e4 49.M4 e3 50.1'3 h7
51.e2 g5 52.h3 g7 53.1'3
h7 54.e2 g7 55.1'3 h7
56.e2 Draw.

Chapter 4. 1.c4 e5 2.lll c3 lll f6 3.lll f3 lll c6

Main Ideas

In this chapter we begin to investi We meet 4.d3 with 4 . tb4, too.

. .

gate White's most challenging sys 5.i.d2 0-0 6.g3 a5

tem: 1.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilf6 3.lilf'3

Our next moves should be prophy

lactive - we hinder White's ad
White's quick development is much vance on the queenside and keep
more restrictive than the slow g3. our bishop.
It does not leave us time to build a 7.i.g2 d6 8.0-0 h6 9.a3 i.c5
pawn centre with ... c6. Of course, we Let's take stock. White's play un
could play ...d5 without other prep til this moment was mostly preven
aration, but the Reversed Sicilian tive. He avoided sharp lines, did
is not a subject of this book. Fortu not give us a chance to double his
nately, we have other ways to fight pawns, and kept control of the cen
for the centre, based on ...i.b4. In tre. Black, for his part, developed
chapter 4 I analyse four rare White comfortably, but he lacks an active
options while the main line 4.g3 is plan. He should manoeuvre care
considered in Chapters 6 and 7. fully to neutralise White's advance
on the queenside. It would be use
4.d4 exd4 5.lilxd4 i.b4 6.i.g5 h6 ful to trade a pair of knights - with
7.th4 hc3+ 8.bxc3 0-0 is easy to lild5 lilxd5 or with ...lilc6-lild4xf3.
play and does not require any spe Galanov-Eckhardt, corr. 2011, went
cial knowledge. 10.e3 Ms n.1Wc2 Eie8 12.lilh4 th7

Chapter 4

hf3 8.hf3 0-0 9.tg5 h6 10.hf6

'1!1xf6 11.Ei:Jd5 '1!1d8 - see Game 8
Edouard-Karpov, Cap d'Agde 2015.

In the light of the above examples,

4.a3!? looks more than logical and
I used this move myself. However,
we have a trump up our sleeve:
4... e4!? 5.liJg5 '1!1e7 6.d3 exd3
13.b3! '1!1d7 14.tcl l'lab8 15.l'ldl tb6 7.'1!1xd3
16.l'lbl Ei:Je7=.

4.e4 does not fit in with Ei:Jf3 when

White cannot develop his king's
knight on e2. I suggest 4...tb4 in
tending to take on c3 after 5.d3
d6 6.a3 hc3+ 7.bxc3 h6 8.g3 0-0

It turns out that Black can fianchetto

the bishop with 7...g6!? 8.Ei:Jf3 tg7
9.Ag5 d6! since 10.Ei:Jd5 '1!1d8 is okay.

The thematic way of obtaining

counterplay in this stucture is 9...
a6!? followed up by ...b5.

6.Ae2 does not seem any better - White is unable to capitalise on the
Black was fine after 6 ...tg4 7.0-0 pin.

Chapter 4. 1.c4 e5 2.tll c3 tll f6 3.tll f3 tll c6

Step by Step

1.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilf6 A. 4.d4 exd4 5.lilxd4 tb4

2 ...j.b4 3.lild5 is another popular

The King's Indian structure 2 ... d6
3.d4 exd4 4.xd4 lilc6 5.d2 g6
does not appeal to me. White has
a space advantage after 6.g3 j.g7
7.j.g2 lilf6 8.b3 0-0 9.j.b2 a510.lilf3
!le8 11.0-0 M5 12.lilh4 td7 13.!ladl
Wes 14.!lfel lile5 15.lilf3 lilxf3+
16.txf3 j.c6 17.lild5 hd5 18.cxd5.

3.lilf3 lilc6 Black's task is easy. He will dam

age the enemy pawn structure with
...hc3 and will aim to trade some
minor pieces.

6.j.g5 h6 7.j.h4 hc3+ 8.bxc3


It is also possible to play 8 ... li\e5

immediately - 9.f4 lilg6 10.M6
1!\'xf6 ll.g3 lilf8 12.tg2 lile6 13.d2
0-0 14.!lbl lilc5 15.lilb3 d6. Still, it
looks more clever to wait for e3 be-
A. 4.d4; B. 4.a3; C. 4.d3; D. 4.e4. fore shifting the knight to e5.

4.e3 is the subject of our next chap- 9.e3

ter while 4.g3 is considered in Chap-
ters 6 and 7. After 9.f3 !le8 White cannot play e4

Chapter 4

anyway due to the hit on e4 - 10 .e4 with mutual chances after 9.gbl
lilxe4 or d6 ll.e4 lilxe4. lild4 or 9 ... ge8 h6 ll.fixf6
fixf6 12.b4 axb4 13.axb4 fi.g7 14.b5
9 ... lile5 lilg6 11 .hf6 lile7 15.1ll'c2 c6.
Y;\1xf6 12.0-0 d6 13.gbl lile5 My only objection against this set
up is that the English adepts usually
Black's knight returns to the have plenty of experience with this
queenside via d7-c5 to underline plan. We can surprise them with the
the biggest flaw of doubled pawns poorly explored:
- the weakness of the square before
them. White is already on the de 4, ..e4!? 5.lilg5 Y;\1e7 6.d3 exd3
My game Delchev-Papa, Zuerich
2002, went on 7.e4 h6 8.lilf3 d5
B. 4.a3 9.cxd5 lilxe4 10 .fi.e3 lilxc3 11.bxc3
lile5 lilxd3+ 13.Wxd3 Wd8
I used to play this move ten years 14.0-0
ago in order to prevent
Black has a wide choice.
4...d5 leads to the Sicilian Reversed.

4...g6 5.g3 fi.g7 0-0 7.0-0

d6 8.d3 is a closed system where
the opponents attack on the op
posite flanks. White's typical play
may be illustrated with the follow
ing line: 8... lild4 9.lild2 c6 10.b4
fie6 1ll'd7 12.e3 lilf5 13.lilde4
Here my opponent chose a pas
lilxe4 14.lilxe4 1ll'e7 15.a4 lilh6 16.b5
sive stand with 15.c4 c5?
f5 17.lild2 gac8 18.gbl d5 19.bxc6
(15 ... 0-0 16.gfel ge8 is roughly
bxc6 20.a5;t;. The presence of the a
equal) 0-0 17.lild2 with a
pawns gives White a target. That ex
clear edge. More natural is:
plains the popularity of 8 ... a5!?
14 15.c4 b6 16.gfel 0-0
ge8=. The a3-pawn might hang in
some lines.
In my next game I tried to improve


The idea is to meet 7... lile5 by 8.1ll'c2

d6 9.e4 h6 10.lilf3 lilxf3+ ll.gxf3;t;.
1.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilc6 3.lilf3 lilc6

White's powerful centre assures

him of the edge.

7 g6 8.lilf3 tg7 9.tg5 d6!


9 ... lile5 10.lilxe5 '/Nxe5 11.f4 gave me

an initiative against Peranic in 2003.

10.lild5 'INdS
10.lile4 hd2 11.'/Nxd2 b6 12.l'lacl
10 ... lilxc3 ll.bxc3 tc5=.

5.td2 0-0

It transpires that White cannot con

vert the pin of the f6-knight into
even the slightest advantage! For
11.We3+ (11.Wc3 lile5) 11 ...te6 12.g3
0-0 13.l'ldl l'le8 (13 ...h6 is also pos
sible) 14.Wf4 lilh5 15.hdS lilxf4
16.hc7 lilxd5 17.cxd5 tg4! 18.tg2
txf3 19.txf3 lild4 with a level end White's set-up is innocuous, but not
game. Black can either regain the without venom. He avoids doubled
pawn, or enter a curious rook end pawns while making normal devel
game after 20.0-0 te5 (20 ...lilb5 oping moves. That discourages ag
21.hs b6=) 21.ta5 b6 22.tb4 gressive plans with long castling
lilxf3+ 23.exf3 a5 24.tc3 hc3 as in the line 4.e3 tb4 5.Wc2 hc3
25.bxc3 l'lec8=. 6.Wxc3 We7 7.a3 d5 8.cxd5 lilxd5
9.'1Nb3 lilb6 10.d3, where Black's
huge lead in development enables
C. 4.d3 .ib4 10 ...tfs 11.te2 0-0-0.

4...d5 is also possible - 5.cxd5 lilxd5 6.g3

6.g3 tb4
6... te7 is the standard approach. 6.e3 is less challenging and it gives
7.td2 te6 8.tg2 f6 9.0-0 0-0 Black a wide choice. The most na-

Chapter 4

tural answer is 6 ... dS 7.cxdS lilxd5 Ghaem Maghami-Ramesh, Dubai

S ..te2 2006;
S.Vffc2 lilxc3 9.hc3 .td6 (or 9... 10...Vffe7 11.d4 .td7 12.0-0 !ladS
Vffe7) is balanced. 13.Vffc2 !lfeS 14.!labl b6 lS..tbs e4
S ... lilxc3 16.lild2 Ill as 17.hd7 !lxd7 1S.Vffa4
S ....te6 9.0-0 .te7!? 10.a3 as is a !ld6=, Timofeev-Najer, Dagomys
curious wayto getthe Schevenin 2010;
gen with two tempi down! Nev 10 ...Vfff6 11.0-0 Vffg6 12.!lel .th3
ertheless, this is the most chal 13.g3 !lads 14.d4 b6 lS.!lbl e4
lenging line and the top play 16.lild2 lilaSco.
ers gladly take it in order to en
sure more action. Black's stand 6... a5!?
in the centre is so solid that he
6...hc3 7.hc3 e4 S.lilh4 d6 is con
can afford the frivolity of play
sistent, but the threat ...gS can be
ing like that. I assume that Sicil
ignored - 9 ..tg2 ! when 9...gS fails
ian adepts will know what to do
to 10.Vffcl. Black can revive the
in this structure (of course, they
threat with 9 ...Vffe7 to force play -
should forget about the sharpest
10.M6 Vffxf6 11.he4 Vffxb2 12.0-0
options), and the others will opt
lild4 13.!lel with a tangled position.
for simpler approaches which
Still, White's position is more flexi
involve piece exchanges.
ble due to the pawn majority in the
9.hc3 hc3 10.bxc3
6... !leS 7..tg2 hc3 S.hc3 dS 9.cxdS
lilxdS is a viable alternative:
a) 10.0-0

Black's next moves are easy - he

puts his rooks on the central files
and protects the b-pawn with ...b6.
The only question is where to put
the queen - ...Vffe7 is safe as Black's 10 ...lilxc3
pieces stay compact, but ...Vfff6-g6 Closing the c-file. Romanishin
is more active. Possible continua played 10 ...!lbS!? first, intend
tions are: ing 11.!lcl lilxc3 12.bxc3 b6. Cri
10 ...Ms n.d4 Vffe7 12.0-0 !lads tical for his idea is 11.i.d2 ! when
13.Vffb3 e4 14.lild2 !ld6 1S.g3 draw, Black can opt for a solid stand

l.C4 eb Z."-lC:S "-lCb 0."-lt0 "-lCb

in the centre with ... Wd6, ...f6, 9.e3 if5 10.We2 occurred in
...ie6. Laznicka-Topalov, Novy Bor 2013.
ll.bxc3 !'1b8 12.Wc2 (10.Wc2 ixc3 11.hc3 lilb4 evens
In the event of 12.lild2, simplest the game outright.) After 10 ...!'leS
looks 12 ... lila5 (12 ...id7!?) aim 11.!'lfdl e4 12.dxe4 lilxe4 13.!'lacl
ing for a Mar6czy structure with simplest would be 13 ... lilxd2= .
...c5 - 13.Wc2 c5 14.lilb3 lilxb3
15.axb3 a5 16.M axb4 17.cxb4 9 .ic5 10 .e3 if5

12 ...ie6 13.lild2 Wd7 14.lilb3 b6 Two correspondence games saw
15.!'1adl ib3 16.e4 hg2 17.@xg2=, 10 ....ie6 11.Wc2 Wd7 12.lilh4 ib6
Ignatov-Mabling, ICCF 2006. (12 ...ib3 13.f4) 13.lila4 ia7 14.b4
ib3 15.b5 lile7 16.!'labl d5 17.c5
b) 10.id2 lild4 11.0-0 c6=.
hg2 18.@xg2 !'1fe8 19.ha5 c6
20.bxc6 lilxc6 21.ib4. Although
6 ... lild4!? 7.ig2 lilxf3+ 8.ixf3 is =#.
Black drew, I do not see any reason
My recommendation keeps more to give the enemy an initiative. It is
tension in the centre. More impor better to open the centre with ...e4
tantly, White's plan is not so clear as and display activity on the kingside.
in the open Sicilian structures. The The text is the most logical step in
pawn move preserves the bishop in that direction.
the event of 7.a3 ic5 8.lila4.
11.Wc2 B:e8 .ih7 13.b3!
7.ig2 d6 8.0-0 h6
Many correspondence games fea
ture 13.!'lfdl, but this move takes
away the only natural retreat
square for the c2-queen. That
could be underlined with 13 ...g5!? e4 15.dxe4 li:lxe4 16.Wa4 f5
with counterplay, e.g. 17.Wb5 f4 or li:le7.


9.lild5 ic5 (9 ...lilxd5 10.cxd5 lile7

11.hb4 axb4, intending ... c6, is ba
lanced.) 10.ic3 lild4 11.e3 lilxf3 was
equal in Kryvoruchko-Sargissian,
Spain team eh. 2015.

Chapter 4

After 13.b3!, Black does not have ltlxe5 6.d4 il.b4 7.dxe5 ltlxe4 8.11!!1f3
a clear plan since 13...g5?! 14.ltlf3 ltlxc3 9.bxc3 il.a5
e4 15.dxe4 ltlxe4 16.11!!1dl f5 17.E1a2 Or d6 11.exd6 o-o 12.gd1
would neutralise his temporary ac il.d7.
tivity. Instead he should embark on 10 ... d6 leads to open piece play with
manoeuvring. equal chances. Ju Wenjun-Kosteni
uk, Chengdu 2015 went from here:
Galanov-Eckhardt, corr. 2011 went
13 ...11!!1d7
14.gfdl 11!!1g4 revives the break
...e4, for instance, e4.
White could repel the quen with
15.h3 11!!1d7, but the h3-pawn
would be a good target. Black can
then transfer his c6-knight to g5
via d8-e6 - (preparing
gbl) 16 ...ltld8 17.gbl ltle6 18.b4
(18.hb7?! gab8 ltlg5 11.0-0
20.g4 ltlxg4!) 18 ...fl.b6 19.ltle4 More prudent is:
ltlxe4 2 0.dxe4 11!!1e7 21.lilfS 11!!1f8 0-0 12.0-0 il.d7 13.exd6
with complex play. il.c6= or:
14... gab8 15_gd1 fl.b6 16.gbl ltle7 11.'l!lg3 il.f5 0-0=.
17.lilf3 il.f5 18.lile4 11!!1e6 19.b4, 11... dxe5 'l!lf6 13.11!!1e3 c6
14 .il.f3 il.b6 and White is yet to prove
enough compensation for the pawn.

5.d3 d6

when 19 ...axb4 20.axb4 ltlxe4 would

have been roughly equal.

D. 4.e4 il.b4

This is a solid approach which al

lows both sides to demonstrate
their positional understanding. I suggest to meet 6.a3 by 6 ...hc3+
On the opposite, 4...fl.c5!? 5.ltlxe5! for consistency sake - we could get
1.c4 e5 2.'8c3 '8c6 3.'8f3 '8c6

the same structure after 4.e3 !b4 6.g3 is strategically similar to the
5.1!1'c2 hc3 6.bxc3, see Chapter 5 main line as both allow the exchange
line B. ...!c8-g4xf3 - 6...tg4 7.h3 txf3
Carlsen chose against Ghaem 8.111'xf3 0,d4 9.11\'dl c6 10.!g2. Black
in Berlin 2015, 6...!cS 7.b4 !b6 has two possible plans now - either
8.'8a4 !g4 9.'8xb6 axb6 10..tb2 to stay passive on the queenside
(10.!e2 0-0 11.!b2 0,e7 12.0-0 with 10 ...a5 11.0-0 tcS, or to pre
'8g6=) 10 ...txf3 ll.111'xf3 0,d7 pare ...b5 with 10 ...a6 11.0-0 !cS
aiming for ... '8d7-f8-e6. Criti 12.l'lbl b5.
cal for his idea would be 12.111'g3!
1!1'f6 13.!e2 0,f8 14.f4! 0,e6 15.f5 In his rapid match against Karpov
with a space advantage. in Cap d'Agde 2015, Edouard first
7.bxc3 h6 ly tried 6.h3 a6 7.!e2 !cS 8.0-0 0-0
I'm not too sure that we need 9.!e3, but 9...'8d4 turned out to be
this prophylaxis. The plan with balanced:
7...a6 is also effective without it.
8.g3 0-0 9.!g2 a6!? (this is always
good against the setup with !g2)

10.a3 h6 ll.b4 '8xf3+ 12.txf3 he3

13.fxe3 !e6 14.1!1'e2 b6 15.a4 c5=.

In the next match game, Edouard

Libiszewski-Postny, Bastia 2013 opted for 6.!e2.
saw here 10 ...b5 when White
backed off with ll.lild2. The idea 6.. tg4 7.0-0 hf3 8.h1'3 0-0

of Black's sacrifice was to play 9.tgs h6 10.txr6 1!1'xf6

...!d7, ...1!1'c8, ...111'a6, ...l'lfb8 with 11\'dS
an initiative on the queenside. I
do not see anything wrong with White's bishop does not have any
the more restrained: prospects. See Game 8 Edouard
10 ...l'lb8 11.0-0 b5=. Karpov, Cap d'Agde 2015.

Chapter 4. 1.c4 e5 2.tll c3 tll f6 3.tll f3 tll c6

Annotated Games

8. Edouard - Karpov
Cap d'Agde 2015

1.c4 qof6 2.ac3 e5 3.af3 ac6

4.e4 .ib4 5.d3 d6 6 .ie2 .ig4

7.0-0 hf3'3 0-0 9 ..ig5 h6


10 . .ih4 .ic5 ll.qod5 g5 is hardly any

Tbe threat f4 would offer White
10 'lifxf6 'lifds
counterplay, but it is Black to move
and he retains an advantage by re
turning the pawn with 15 ... ae5!
16.axb6 axb6 17.'lifxd4 'liff6 18.gfdl
ga4. Tbe pressure along the a-file
binds the white pieces. Besides
the a3-pawn, c4 is also weak, e.g.
19..ie2 gfa8 20.'lil'c3 ltlg6 21.'lifb3
ltlf4 22 ..ig4 ltle6 23.'/;\le3 c5.

Alternatively, 12.a3 .ic5 13.b4 .ib6

We see the biggest flaw of the 14.a4 a5 15.ltlxb6 cxb6 also leaves
scheme with e4 - the d4-square Black with a superior knight vs. a
and the dark squares in general are bad bishop.
weak. If we compare the two bish
ops, White has played against the 12.'lifb3 a5 13.a3 ad4 14.'lifdl
textbook. The central pawns on .ic5 15..ig4 a4
light squares are a long-term fac
tor in Black's favour. Accordingly, I'm not sure about this move. It is
his game is already more pleasant. strategically "correct'', but the a4-
I would think of changing the pawn pawn will be weak. That will face
structure in the centre with 12.d4 Black with technical problems. 15 ...
exd4 13.a3 .ic5 l4.b4 .ib6 15..ih5 c6 16.ltlc3 g6 was Jess committal.
1.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilc6 3.lilf3 lilc6

16.l!lhl c6 17.lilc3 \Wa5 attempt to complicate things. The

calm retreat 25 ..th3 would have
passed the ball into Black's court.
Although he is clearly better, he
lacks a clear plan how to improve

25 gxh5 26.1/!lxh5 ga5 27.c5



It is understandable that White

wants to show some activity, but
this move only weakens the kingside
dark squares. Besides, it is a tactical
mistake which both opponents fail
to spot in a rapid game - 18 ... lilb3! 27 1/!lxc5?
.. kxa3! wins a pawn since

20.lilxa4? loses to 20 ... lild2. White's bold play is suddenly re
warded. Black would keep an extra
18 exf4? 19.gxf4 lilb3 20.1
.. piece with 27....ig7! 28.lilxa4 1/!ld8! .
.id4 21.gfS .ie5+
2s.gf5 1/!ld4 29.fl g7 30.a5
21. ..ds 22.cxd5 kxc3 23.bxc3 1/!lxc3 lilxa5 31.1/!lxa5 1/!lxd3 32.gdl?
24.1/!lel 1/!lxel + 25.el lild4 simpli
fies to a better endgame, but Karpov The last mistake. 32.1/!lf5 b5 was
prefers to improve his pieces before only slightly better for Black.
forcing the play.
32 1/!lc2 33.gfl 1/!lxb2 34.e5

22.lile2 1/!lb6 23.lilc3 g6 24.gfl he5 35.lile4 1/!le2 36.gel 1/!lc4

h5! 25.hh5? 37.1/!ld2 1/!le6 38.lilg5 1/!lh6 39.h3
.tf6 40.lile4 1/!lxd2 41.lilxd2 .ic3
Edouard obviously hated his po 42.ge2 hd2 43.gxd2 d5 44. l!lgl
sition if he went for this desperate geS 45.f2 ge4 0-1

Chapter 5. 1.c4 e5 2.llic3 llif6 3.llif3 llic6 4.e3

Main Ideas

1.c4 e5 li:lf6 li:lc6 that White has spent too many
4.e3 .ib4 tempi on ambling around with the
queen and we should make him pay.
So: 10 il.fS!? 11.Ae2 0-0-0!

The knight on f3 naturally attracts

the e5-pawn to go to e4. For in
I'm sure your opponents will not
stance, stumbles into 5...e4.
like this. White has to spend yet an
White commonly answers 5."lilc2,
other tempo to free the lane for the
reviving the threat li:ld5. I suggest to
b-pawn while Black's play is easy
remove it altogether with 5 .ixc3.
and effective. He hits the d3-pawn

with ... !ld6, !lhd8 to force the ugly

A. 6."lilxc3 preserves the pawn for
li:lel, and then changes the direc
mation flexible, but will cost a tem
tion of his main strike towards the
po after ... d5. 6... "lile7. IfWhite now
kingside with ...g5, ... !lh6.
wants to play a true Sicilian Re
versed, he must spend another tem
If White plays d4 early, the centre
po on 7.a3 since 7.Ae2 d5 8.cxd5
is eliminated and Black's game is
li:lxd5 9."lilb3 li:lb6 10.d3 allows
easy due to his better development.
the promising combination 10 ...
Here are several ways that lead to
Ae6 11.\1!l/c2 li:lb4 12.l:\lbl Af5 13.a3
the same pawn structure:
12ixd3+! 14.txd3 txd3 15.\1!l/xd3 e4.
7.d4 exd4 8.12ixd4 12ixd4 9.\!!"xd4
7 d5 8.cxd5 li:lxd5 9.'lilb3 (9.\!!"c2
o-o (9 ... c5= l 10.te2 !ld8=.

e4) 9 ... li:lb6 10.d3.

Here the common equalizer is the 7.a3 d5 8.d4 exd4 9.12ixd4 12ixd4
plan with short castling, but I think 10.Wxd4 o-o 11.td2

Chapter 5

B. 6.bxc3
This recapture makes sense only in
conjunction with e4, but that means
White will present us with a clear
6.bxc3 0-0 7.e4 d6
White puts his hope in f2-f4, but we
can easily hinder this idea. For in
8..ie2 ltlh5 9.d4 1l!'f6
11...c5 12.11!'h4 dxc4 13.hc4 .ie6=.

7 .ie2 d5 8.d4 exd4 9.lilxd4 lilxd4

10.1l!'xd4 0-0

10.d5 (10.g3 exd4) 10 ...lila5 ll.g3 b6

planning ... lila5-b7-c5 or ...c7-c6.

8.g3 h8 9.d3 ltlg8 - see game

Black often includes ...c5, but I pre 11 Suba-Delchev, Albacete 2004.
fer to gain the tempo by taking with Another thematic plan against the
a rook on d5 - ll.cxd5 l'ld8 12.11l'h4 fianchetto is 8 ... lild7 9..ig2 ltlc5
l'lxd5=. 10.lilh4 a6 11.0-0 b5 :;.
Chapter 5. 1.c4 e5 2.'ll c3 'llf6 3.'llf3 'll c6 4.e3

Step by Step

1.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilf6 3.lilt'3 lilc6 bishop out to b7 or a6) 8.lile2

4.e3 lilxd5 9.cxd5 lile5 10.lilc3 f5
ll.d3 lilxd3+ 12.hd3 exd3
13.l!lxd3 b6 14.0-0 a5.
6... lilxb4 7.lild4 c5 8.lilb5 (8.lilc2
lild3+) 8 ... d5 9.a3 lild3+ 10.hd3
exd3 11.cxd5 lilxd5 with a striking
spatial advantage.

5.d4 exd4 6.exd4 d5 cannot be of

any concern for Black. Play typical
ly continues with 7.a3 hc3+ 8.bxc3
0-0 9.ie2 dxc4=.

White displays an intention to con- s.. hc3


test actively the centre with d4. We

should refrain from 4 ...d5 5.cxd5
lilxd5 as 6.ib5 lilxc3 7.bxc3 id6
8.d4 exd4 9.cxd4 0-0 10.0-0 is ob
viously pleasant for the first player.

4...ie7 5.d4 exd4 is a decent option,

but I will focus on the more chal
lenging continuation:

4...ib4 5.l!lc2

5.lild5 allows 5 ...e4 6.lilxb4 I will consider now:

6.lilgl practically reverses the A. 6.Wxc3 which we'll attack by
roles and Black is already ahead castling long, and:
in development - 6... 0-0 7.a3 B. 6.bxc3 which leads to a closed
id6 (aiming to lead the other manoeuvring game.

Chapter s

A. 6.'lii'xc3 'lii'e7 10....if5!?

Almost everybody opts for short

castling with 10 ... 0-0 ll ..ie2 a5
12 ..id2 a4 13.'l:ilc2 .ie6 14.l'lcl. Black
stands perfectly well here, but
he does not have a clear plan. Of
course, he controls the centre, but
he should basically wait and try to
keep the grip. It is difficult to find
the best moves in such circum
stances. On the opposite, White's
setup is flexible and his play on the
Al. 7.a3; A2. 7..ie2
queenside and in the centre is not
7.d4 exd4 8.lilxd4 lilxd4 9.'l:ilxd4 too committal.
defines the centre too early - see I recommend to set concrete prob
Grune 9 Mastrovasilis-Hracek, Is lems to the opponent by castling
tanbul 2003. long and hitting his weak point at
Al. 7.a3 d5 8.cxd5 Note that the Najdorf-style at
tack 10 ....ig4 ll..ie2 0-0-0 12.'l:ilc2
8.d4 exd4 9.lilxd4 lilxd4 10.'l:ilxd4 f5 seems rather impotent and the
0-0 is completely balanced. See counter-attack with 13.b4 has more
Grune 10 Onischuk-Shirov, New chances to succeed.
Delhi/Teheran 2000.
Finally, 10 ...g5?! has not been test
8 ...lilxd5 9.'lii'b3 ed, but it makes sense exactly in this
moment - when we have not com
9.'l:ilc2 lets in 9 ... e4 when 10..ibS? mitted our king to the queensideyet.
loses to 10 ... exf3. The position after 11.1/i/c2 g4 12.lild2
f5 13.b4 a6 is difficult to evaluate.
9 ...lilb6 10.d3

the king in the centre - 14..ie2 f4

l.c4 e5 2.'ilc3 'ilc6 3.'ilt3 'ilc6 4.e3

15.lilb3 !lf8. This plan is very sharp

and donble-edged though. I do not
see any reason to prefer it over the
text or the more tested 10 ... 0-0.

11.e2 0-0-0 12.0-0 lllb8!?

12 ...g5 looks ont of step as it is com

monly effective in conjunction with
...f7-f5, where Black's bishop is cur
White cannot play 14 .d2 since
rently residing. White would lead
it would be hanging.
the race after 13.lild2 g4 14.1il'c2 h5
14.1il'c3 lild5 15.1il'c4 lilb6 was
drawn in the blitz game Mamed
12 ... !ld6!? is perhaps the most yarov-Rublevsky, Khanty-Man
straightforward continuation. It siysk 2013.
prepares ... !lhd8 or ... !lg6. White Perhaps he should try:
mnst qnickly display activity with 14.lild2 f5 (Ataliksuggests 14...id5
13.a4 15.1il'c3 1il'e5, but I would not play an
Xu,Jun-Atalik, Moscow 2001, endgame here.) After 15.a4? Black
saw 13.d2 !lhd8 14.b4 lilxb4 can exploit the fact that ie2 is un
15.1il'xb4 when 15... lild5 (15 ... protected with 15...lild4!. It seems
lllb8=) 16.1il'c5 !lb6 takes over that best would be the humble re
the initiative. turn 15.lilf3! when 15...ie4 would
13... a5 repeat. I have also checked the
13... !lhdS 14.a5 lild7 15.a6 b6 more ambitious 15...g5, but 16.!lel
16.1il'c3 lilc5 is a more complex g4 17.lild4 reminds that White has a
alternative. Then 17.b4 lilxd3 bishop pair and he would gladly sac
18.b5 e4 19.hd3 !lxd3 20.1il'xc6 a pawn to activate it.
exf3 leads to perpetual check. Of At that point I thought 14.!lel
course, Black can switch plans in the diagram position might
with 16...!lg6 17.lilel 1il'h4, with be a decent idea - protecting
mutual chances. e2 and preparing lilf3-d4. We
l4.e4 ig4 15.ie3 hf3 16.hf3 lild4 should continue our plan ofplay
17.hd4 !lxd4 18.1il'b5 lllb8 19.1il'xa5 ing with pieces rather than with
!lhd8 20.!lfcl (20.ie2 !lb4 21.!lfcl pawns - 14... !ld6 15.lild4 1il'h4 or
!ldd4) 20 ...f6= is comfortable for 15.lild2 id5 16.1il'c3 f5 17.b3 !lg6.
The above analysis suggests that
12 ...e4!? is the other logical follow d2 is an important retreat square
up to 10 ...if5. It aims to open the for the f3-knight. It transpires that
centre and capitalise on Black's bet stayed White's bishop on d2, ...g5
ter development. The point is that would have been awkward since
after 13.dxe4 he4, ic3 would drop the d3-pawn. Thus

Chapter s

the f3-knight would have to go to A critical line is 14.afcl g4 15.lilel h5

the passive square el. 16.a4 ie6 17.'@.id1 lild5 18.a5 a6
Therefore, a useful waiting move
like 12 ...mbS!? is a clever way of
fighting for an advantage.

Commonly, the exchange sacrifice

should provide a lasting initiative,
but the very clumsy placement of
the el-knight reduces White's at
tacking potential - 19.axc6 (19.b4
13..id2 lila7) 19...bxc6 20.d4 exd4 21.exd4
lilb4 and he is still to prove that he
In the normal Najdorf, Black of has adequate compensation.
ten uses the a-pawn for ramming
the enemy castling position. The Another attempt to generate
only drawback of this plan is that counterplay is 14.d4 exd4 15.ib5
the pawn structure after 13.a4!? a5 ie4 16.lilxd4 lilxd4 17.exd4 a6
(13 ... lild7 14.'@.ie3 f6co) is not flexible 18.ib4 '@.if6 19.ie2 ahe8+.
and that limits the options of both
sides. Most endgames will be better
14...ie6 15.'!Wc3 f6 16.ie3 g4
for Black so White should quickly 17.lilh4 lild4 1s.txd4 axd4
complete development with 14.e4
ig4 15.ie3 whereas the forced line
15 ...Jixf3 16.ixf.3 lild4 17.'@.ie3 1ilxf3+
18.gxf3 ad6 is balanced. White will
evacuate his king via fl.

13.lild2 ad6 14.lile4 offers Black at

tacking prospects after 14... ag6/h6.

13 ...g5
White is in a positional bind, but
Black exploits the fact that 14.ic3 the following break gives him some
would drop the d3-pawn. counterplay:

14.e4 19.f4! gxJ'3 20.lilrl3 ad6=

l.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilc6 3.lilf3 lilc6 4.e3

A2. 7 .ie 2 d5
Perhaps White should opt for the
exchange sacrifice with 16.a4 1/!llf7
17.!'!xc6 bxc6 18..

8 exd4 9.lilxd4 lilxd4 10.'1;\'xd4



10 ...c5 was automatically played in

all the games, but I prefer to acti
vate a rook rather than a pawn. To
be fair, the pawn attack is also suf
ficient for equality - ll.'i!lh4 .ie6
12.0-0 dxc4 13 ..ixc4 .ixc4 14.Wxc4
0-0 15.!'!dl !'!ad8=.

8.cxd5 lilxd5 9.m3 lilb6 10.d3

11.cxd5 !'!d8 12.Wh4
might look as an improved version
ofline 1. However, the absence of a3
After 12.0-0, we could also recap
enables the tactics:
ture 12 ...lilxd5 13.b3 c5=.
10 ....ie6 ll.'lilc2 lilb4 12.m1 .if5
13.a3 lilxd3+! 14..ixd3 .ixd3
12 Bxd.5 13.0-0
15.'i!lxd3 e4 16.'l!lb5+ c6 17.'i!le5 exf3

18.'i!lxg7 0-0-0 (18 ...!'!hfS!? 19.gxf3

lilc4co) 19.'l!lg4+ lild7 20.'lilxf3 'l!le6
with full compensation for the

Moreover, the plan with 10 ....ifS

11.0-0 0-0-0 is still possible even
though White has not spent a tem
po on a3. For instance:
12.a4 lild7 13.'l!lc3 1ilc5 14.lilel a5;
12 ..id2 g5 13.!'!fcl g4 14.lilel .ie6
15.1/!lldl f5
We can use the tempo we saved on
... c5 to trade bishops:

13 MS 14.f'3 .id3

The activity of Black' s heavy pieces

balances the strong enemy bishop.
We can even safely allow doubled
pawns on the f-file.

Chapter 5

B. 6.bxc3 0-0 7.e4 This is more forcing than 8 ... lile7

which aims for a dark-squared
White does not gain anything from strategy on the kingside:
delaying this move. After 7$.e2
a) 9.0-0 lilg6 10.d3 !le8 11.!lel h6
d6 8.0-0 e4 9.lilel tf5, his dark
12.lild2 lilh7 13.lilfl lilf4
squared bishop is a poor sight.


Or 14.4 exf4 15.d4 'll'g5
16.lild2 'll'g6 17.i.d3 i.h3 18.i.fl
b6 19.c5 dxc5 20.dxc5 lilg5.
8.i.e2 14...lilg5 15.f3, Suba-Rodriguez
Guerrero, Salobrena 2009, when
The older line 8.g3 offers Black an the logical continuation of Black's
additional plan, based on the break play would have been 15...h5 16.fl
...b7-b5. Of course, it should be h4 17.lile2 lilxe2+ 18.'ll'xe2 'll'f6 .
combined with . . .f5. It seems that b) 9.d4 lilg6 10.0-0 111'e7 11.i.d3 !le8
Black is fine regardless of the re White's setup with d4 is more
treat square the f6-knight chooses: active than in the previous ex
8 ... lild7 9.i.g2 lilc5 10.lilh4 a6
ample and it would be a mistake
11.0-0 b5 ;:, Khairullin-Svidler, Ch to follow in the same fashion.
ita 2015; For instance, Bocharov-Matla
8 ... a6!? 9.a4 lila5 10.d3 lild7; kov, Tyumen 2012 saw ll ...h6
Other possible moves are 8 ... lilh5
12.!lel lilh7 when 13.c5 would be
and 8 ...lile8. strong as 13 ...dxc5 14.lilxe5 fa
I chose against the most promi vours White. It is better to de
nent adept of this line, Suba, 8 ...
prive the enemy ofthis resource.
@h8 9.d3 lilg8 - see game ll Suba
12.!lel h6 13.lild2 c5.
Delchev, Albacete 2004.
Even the noncommittal develop 9.d4 'll'f6
ment 8 ...h6 9.i.g2 e6 10.d3 'll'd7 is
a fair option. Again the most straightforward
move - we attack d4.
8 . lilh5 9...exd4 allows 10.lilxd4

l.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilc6 3.lilf3 lilc6 4.e3

Or 10.cxd4 'l!lf6 11.0-0 lilf4 ...lila5-b7-c5 or ...c7-c6 - for in

12.M4 'l!lxf4 13.!lael ig4 stance:
14.\Mib2:. 12.ie3 ig4! 13.lild2 ixe2 14.@xe2
10 ... lilf6 11.0-0oo Diamant-Molner, c6.
Phoenix 2015. The radical solution 12.cS dxc5
13.c4 does not really change Black's
10.d5 plan - 13...ig4!.
The only challenging continuation
10.g3 exd4 ll.lilxd4 lilxd4 12.cxd4 is:
'l!lxd4 13.ib2 'l!lc5 14.0-0 lilf6
15.M6 gxf6 16.!lfdl !le8 17.!ldS 12.lilg5 'l!!'g6 (12 ...g6!?oo) 13.h4

Computer analysis proves that

White has nothing more than a draw 13...fS 14.exfS iLxf5 15.'l!ldl 11lf6
after 18. 'l!ld2 (18.f4 'l!lb6+) 18 ... !leS. 16.h5 'l!le8

10 .. lilaS 11.g3 b6 White's initiative has come to an

end while the defects of his pawn
This move does not intend .. .i.a6, structure remain. An interesting
it only clamps on c5 and prepares fight is ahead.

Chapter 5. 1.c4 e5 2.tlic3 tlif6 3.tlif3 'll c6 4.e3

Annotated Games

9. Mastrovasilis - Hracek,
EU-eh Istanbul 01.06.2003

1.c4 lilf6 2.lilc3 e5 3.lil:f3 lilc6

4.e3 ib4 5. 'lll'c2 hc3 6.'lll'xc3
'lll'e7 7.d4

17.h6 l!/f8 18.f3 ic8 19.ic4 te6

20.h6 ic8 21.ic4 te6 draw.


White aims for an endgame. 10.1l:l'd3

keeps the queen - 10... 0-0 ll.ie2
7... exd4 d5 12.0-0 1ld8 13.1l:l'c2 'lll'e5=, Stri
kovic-Viterbo Ferreira, Vila Nova
Kiri! Georgiev successfully defends de Gaia 2010.
7...d6 which keeps more tension -
8.d5 ltlb8 9.ltld2 MS. It is unclear 10 d5 ll.cxd5 lilxd5 12.'lll'xe7+

how White could extract value from <llxe7

his spatial advantage.

8.lilxd4 lilxd4 9.'llfxd4 c5

Black could play ... c5 later or even

omit it. Bandza-Z.Polgar, Wies
baden 1994, saw 9 ... 0-0 10.te2 1ld8
11.0-0 c5 12.1l:l'h4 d5 13.cxd5 ltlxd5
14.1l:l'xe7 li:Jxe7 15.e4 te6 16.te3 b6

Black has active pieces and a pawn 21 a5 22.h4
h6 23.e4 a4
majority 3:2 on the queenside. That 24.Elh3?!
should allow him to neutralise the
bishop pair. He should aim to trade White does not realise that he can
one of them, for instance, 13.a3 li:Jb6 not survive with his king caged in.
14.e4 ie6. The rest is pathetic.

13.id2 ie6 14.0-0-0 24...g5 25.hxg5 hxg5 26.Elg3 Elc5

27.Elg4 !e6 28.Elg3 b5 29.!c2
Naturally, White wants to have his llld6 30.Eld3+ llle5 31.EldS ElcS
king closer to the enemy's poten 32.i:!dl Elxc2 0-1
tial passers, but he underestimates
Black's threats. A curious alterna
tive was 14.Elacl Elac8 15.e4 li:Jb4
16.a3 li:Ja2! followed up by ...c5-c4- 10. Onischu k - Shirov
c3;. New DelhifTeheran 2000

14 ... ElacS 15.ie2 li:Jb4 16.b:b4? 1.c4 e5 li:Jf6 li:Jc6
4.e3 .ib4 5.'1!1'c2 b:c3 6.%l'xc3
16.a3 li:Jc6 17.ic3 f6was about equal. %l'e7 7.a3 d5 8.d4 exd4
Black's plan is to push ...b7-b5-b4. li:Jxd4 10.%l'xd4 0-0

16... cxb4+ 17.@bl b3! 18.axb3

b:b3 19.Elcl ElhdS 20.ElxcS ElxcS


Black has discarded 10 ...c5 in fa

21..id3?! vour of the plan with ... Eld8. White
accepts the challenge and seizes
White has a small problem - he can space on the queenside. This game
not trade rooks with 21.Elcl?? due to shows a convincing plan for Black
21...ia2+. Perhaps he should have - he arranges an exchange of the
addressed it urgently with 21.!dl bishops via a6.
id5 22.f3 a5 23.Elel intending Ele2. A more cunning version of this idea
id3 is a step in the wrong direction. is ll.!d2 intending 11... EldS 12 ..ib4

Chapter 5

\!!le8 13.c5, but Black could switch to

lL.cS 12.\!!lh4 dxc4 13.hc4 ie6=.
1Lb4?! is worse, on account of 11...
dxc4 12.hc4 8d8 13.\!!lf4 a5.

11 ...b6 12.b4 bxc5 13.bxc5 \!!le6

14.id3 ia6 15.ic2

15.0-0 is positionally harmless since

Whte would not be able to generate
any threat in near future. 18.g4

18.a4!? bans 18 ...8b5 and 18 ...'/!lb5,

but Black gets through the e-file:
18 ... 8e6! 19.g4 8be8 20.g5 8e4!
2Lhe4 8xe4 22.'l!ld2 lilg4


Black had to decide what pawn set

up to oppose against the enemy
bishop pair. One possible stand was
15 ...lild7 16.ib2 f6, then ...\!!lc6.
Amore active version ofitis 15 ... lilg4 White's defence is not easy - 23.8gl
16.f3 lile5 17.ib2 f6 18.@f2oo, Be would face 23 ...lilxh2, but he can
lozerov-Korchnoi, Smolensk 2000, make a draw with accurate moves
18 ... tc4, aiming for ...'/!le7, ...lilc6. - 23.id4 lile5 24.he5 8xe5 25.8bl
A completely different plot offers h6 26.8gl d4 27.\!!lxd4 8xc5 28.gxh6
15 ... 8ae8!? 16.f3 c6 17.@f2 lild7 8cl+=. The text is also very sharp.
18.8el (18.ib2 \!!lh6) 18 ...f5.
Shirov's novelty defines the queen's 18 8b5 19.g5 8xc5 20.h4!

placement a little too early. \!!lb6 21.heS?!

16.ib2 8ab8 17.tc3 8fe8 2Lgxf6? loses to 2L.8e4.

The best continuation was 2L\!!lb4 !
A critical position. Both sides have when Black risks to enter a slightly
completed the "compulsory pro worse endgame. He should carry on
gram" and it is time for heavy cal the attack with 2L.8xc3! 22.\!!lxc3
culation. c5!!

1.c4 e5 2.<ilc3 <ilc6 3.<ilf3 <ilc6 4.e3

24 ... !lc2! 25.l'lhel c5 26.\Wxd5 c4!

27.'1<!1xb5 !lxd2+ 28.l'le2 !lxe2+
29.xe2 hb5 30.a4 .td7 31.!lcl
.txa4 32.l'lal should be a draw.
After mutual mistakes, the game
was eventually drawn:

25.@g3 !lc2? 26.1We5? (26.\Wa4+-)

26...<ild6 27.!labl .tb5 28.!lxb5
\Wxb5 29 .tc3

After 23.gxf6 d4 24.'1<!1d2 dxe3

25.fxe3 '1<1'xf6 it all ends with a draw
in view of the double attack on al
and h4. The whole variation is long
and complex, starting with 26.he8
'1<\'xal+ 27.'1<\'dl '1<1'c3+ 28.@f2 \Wb2+ '1<\'e5!=.
After the text Black's attack is more
difficult to tame.

21... <ilxeS 29 d4
(29...@fS=; 29 ... !lxc3
30.\Wxc3 d4=) 30.hd4 <ilf5+
31.@f4 <ilxd4 32.exd4 \Wxe5+
33.@xe5 Ms 34.!lbl e7 35.!lb7
d7 36.!lxa7 l'lxh2 37.!laS
h6 38.!lgS hxg5 39.!lxg7 @e7
40.!lgS !le2+ 41.@d5 l'le3 42.a4
l'lxf'3 43. c6 l'lc3+ 44.b5 !lb3+
45.Wc4 !la3 46.Wb4 !ld3 47.a5
!lxd4+ 48.Wc5 !la4 49.Wb5 !lal
50.a6 Wf6 51.!ldS !lbl+ 52. Wc5
22.f'3 !lal 53.Wb5 l'lbl+ 54.Wc5 e5
22. Wd2!? was tried in a correspond
ence game and White failed to make
a draw after 22 ...'1<\'c6 23.!lacl !lc4
24.\Wxa7'1<!1g6, Bolda-Rattinger, corr. 11. Suba - Delchev
2005. My computer claims that best Albacete 05.09.2004
is 25 ..td4 !lb4 26.!lc2=.
1.c4 <ilf6 2.<ilc3 e5 3.<ilf'3 <ilc6
22 ...\Wc6 23 ..td2 l\l'b5 24.Wf2 4.e3 .tb4 5.1Wc2 hc3 6.bxc3 d6
\We2+? 7.e4 0-0 8.g3 Wh8 9.d3 <ilg8

Chapter s

could have waited with ...!lb8, ...b6,

...1!\'e8, probably ... li:lg6, but I decid
ed to improve the placement of my
c6-knight. It stays well on c6, but it
executes only defensive functions
there. It seemed to me that from e6
I could send it to the kingside. Also
my bishop could use the freed c6-
square. However, my last move un
Another way to enable ...f7-fS was necessaryly provokes 18.d4 ! when
... li:ld7. My manoeuvre ... li:lf6-g8- 18 is impossible. 18
e7 is a bit slow, but the position is would be too passive - White fol
closed and White cannot do much lows up, then f2-f4. There
with the tempi. fore, I should return to c6 - 18 ...
li:ldc6 as 20.a4 1!\'e8, hoping li:lge7 11.g2 f5 12.exf5 to grab the a4-pawn later on. For
li:lxf5 tunately, my opponent was too en
gulfed in his own knight manoeuvre Ms 14.!lbl !lb8 lS.0-0 and missed his chance to seize the
1!\'d7 is easy to play. initiative.

13 ...d7 14.0-0 h6 li:le6 19.'!l'dl li:lf5 20.a4

c6 21.a5 1!\'d7 22.'lire2 !lae8
White can create serious threats 23.h3 b6 24.axb6 axb6 25.b2
only on the kingside. Perhaps he li:lc5 26.!la7 li:lxe4 27.dxe4 li:le7
could try 1S.h3 intending li:lh2-g4.

15. li:lfe7 16.h3 1ll'c8 17.lllh2

The transformation of the pawn

structure was definitely in my fa
vour - the c4-pawn is a juicy tar
17... li:ldS?! get. I could attack it with a knight
on a5, but I should trade first a
I have obtained a normal, safe po pair of rooks on the a-file. Perhaps
sition out of the opening. Now I that explains Suba's next move -

1.c4 e5 2.illc3 illc6 3.illf3 illc6 4.e3

it prevents ...l:la8, but at the high 34.e3 illf6 35.f3 d7 36.l:lfal

price of creating more doubled e6 37.l:lla4 itld7 38.f4
pawns! Of course I had to trade
queens and play a better endgame
although my decision does not spoil
my position either. It just leaves
White more chances for obtaining
some counterplay.

28.'19g4 'lfid8 29.'19h4 'lfib8 30.ga3

illg8 '19d8?

This is panic. I suddenly change my 38 illf6?! (38 ...ill c5!) 39.fxe5

mind and offer to trade queens in a dxe5 40.cS i.d7 41.1:!4a6 i.b5
worse setting than 3 moves ago. The 42.l:la2 i.d3 43.cxb6 cxb6
cold-blooded attack on the e4-pawn 44.hb6 l:lxc3 45..ic7 l:le8
31...illf6! would have assured me 46.1:!2a3 l:lxa3 47.l:lxa3 he4
of an edge. The trick is that 32.g4 48.l:la5 hg2 49.@xg2 e4
is effectively parried by 32 ... 'l!\ldS! 50.e5 l:ld8 51.i.xf6 gxf6 52.g4
33.g5? illh7. Eld2+ 53.g3 l:ld3+ 54.M4 Elxh3
The rest is not too interesting: 55.xe4 g7 56.l:la8 l:lb3 57.@f4
@f7 58.l:lh8 g7 59.l:la8 l:lb5
32.'19xd8 l:lxd8 33.l:la7 l:lc8 60.l:lc8 l:lg5 61.l:la8 Draw.

Chapter 6. 3.tlif3 tlic6 4.g3 b4 5.tlid5

Main Ideas

1.c4 li:lf6 e5 li:lc6 knights with 8 9.cxd5 li:ld4
4.g3 ib4 hd4.
That's why first players prefer 8.e3
a6! 9.b3 ia.7 10.ib2 li:lxd5 11.cxd5
li:le7 f5:;:. You can learn
more about this line from the anno
tations to Gaxne 12 Agdestein-To
palov, Stavanger 2014.

2. White removes the control of e4

and we could take our chance with
5...e4!? 0-0 7.ig2 d6!?
White escapes the exchange on c3, 8.0-0 g5!? 9.d4 h6!
but the knight jump has two draw

1. As a rule, exchanges help the de

fender, and this is no exception. Al
though we do not take on d5 at once,
the trade is constantly in the air.
Moreover, after 5...ic5 6.ig2 0-0
7.0-0 d6

When I started my work on this

book, the line with 8 ...g5 was totally
neglected by practical players and it
was harshly criticized by Marin and
Watson in their works on the Eng
lish Opening. My analyses suggest
ed that in fact it was promising for
Black and I hoped to arm you with
a powerful surprise weapon. The
8.d3, we could eliminate both Candidates tournament in Mos-

Chapter 6

cow, however, saw both Aronian 14.M8 lilxg3!.

and Anand opting for 5...e4. Their 10.lilg2 is more solid - See the free
games did not change my evalua style Grune 13 Sonofluck,Rybka
tion, but they pushed the variation 2.x-Intuitivestra,
under the limelight. 2007.
The diagram position is too sharp
for generalisations and it demands Note also Nakamura's move order
concrete play. Still, there is some 8.a3 when simplest is 8 .ia5 (8 ...

thing I would like to stress - Black Anand's 8 ....ic5 is a decent alterna

should not hold for the material ad tive, but after 9. 0-0 Black should
vantage. On the opposite - he must look for improvements. I suggest
be ready to return it for an initia 9....ig4!?) 9.b4 (9.0-0 g5 10.b4 .ib6;
tive. For instance: 10.lilxb4 lilxb4 9.e3 g5 10.b4 lile5!) 9 ....ib6 10 ..ib2
11.f3 gxh4! 12.Axh.6 hxg3 13.hxg3

10 ....id4 ll..ixd4 lilxd4 12.e3 lilf5=.

1 0?
Chapter 6. 3.Clif3 Clic6 4.g3 i.b4 5.Clid5

Step by Step

1.c4 lilf6 2.lilc3 e5 3.lilf3 lilc6 The first question which comes to
4.g3 ib4 mind is why Black led out his bish
op to b4 in the first place. Wasn't it
easier to play at once 4 ...ic5. One
reason is that 4 .. .ic5 5.lilxe5 ixf2+
6.@xf2 lilxe5 7.e4! is somewhat bet
ter for White. Another argument is
that after 4...ib4 5.lild5 ic5, Black
obtains counterplay by trading on
d5 and then undermining the d5-
pawn with ...c7-c6.
Or 8.d3 lilxd5 9.cxd5 lild4
5.lild5 (5.ig2 is covered in the next ixd4=.
chapter) 5 e4!?
8 ...a6! 9.b3 ia7 10.ib2 lt:lxd5
ll.cxd5 lt:le7 f5;:. I analyse
This rare move is risky, but it is this line in detail in the annotations
much more enterprising than the to Grune 12 Agdestein-Topalov,
Stavanger 2014. It could serve as a
established equalizer 5 ...ic5 6.ig2
0-0 7.0-0 d6 backup of our main repertoire.


6 .'ll gl is undoubtedly a strange way

of fighting for an opening advan
tage: 6... 0-0 7.ig2 d6!?. White has
lost two tempi so we can sacrifice
the e4-pawn without much hesita
tion: 8.'llxf6+ 111'xf6 9.ixe4 !le8

Chapter 6

reputation, but nonetheless it is the

most testing continuation.


8.lxb4 lxb4 9.a3 lc6 10.d3

White is unable to finish his deve

lopment without big concessions.

6.lxb4 offers White thebishop pair

advantage, but it cannot even bal
ance Black's central domination
- 6... lxb4 7.ld4 0-0 8.ig2 (8.a3 10 ...d5
lc6 9.lxc6 dxc6) 8 ... d5 9.lc2 10 ... !leS is considered equal af
(9.cxd5 '/ilxd5+) 9...lxc2+ 10.'/ilxc2 ter 11.0-0 h6.
dxc4 11.'/ilxc4 ie6 12.'/ilc2 !le8 13.b3 11.0-0 exd3!? 12.'/ilxd3
ig4 14.ib2, Smyslov-Benko, Wijk This pawn sacrifice was seen in
aan Zee 1972, 14...if3t. White Topalov-Aronian, Moscow 2016,
needs its d5-knight for an indirect but something went wrong very
attack on the e4-pawn - by trading quickly - 12 ... le5 13.'/ild4?!
its only defender. 13.'/ilc2 lxc4 14.e4 c6 15.b3 le5
is about equal. Topalov takes e5
6 ... 0-0 7 .ig2 d6!?
. under control, but his move is
probably wrong in view of:
13 ...lxc4 14.e4 .ie6 15.b3

The hunting season on the lh4 is 15... c5!?

open! The threat ...g5 is now loom The game actually went 15... la5
ing. Black's last move has a poor 16.'/ila4 when 16... c5! would have
3.Gf3 <!lc6 4.g3 .itb4 5.<tld5

been in Black's favour - 17.b4 14.f4) 14.d3 gxh4 15.dxe4 lile6

cxb4 18.i.g5 dxe4 19.M6 gxf6 16.dxe6 !lxe6 17.e5.
20.he4 ltlb3 21.!ladl 'l:i'b6. I propose to improve with:
16.'l:i'xc5 (16.'l:i'dl ltle5 17.f4 i.g4 9 ...i.g4! hitting immediately e2.
18.'l:i'd2 ltlc6t, heading for d4) 16 ...

8.ltlxf6+ 'l:i'xf6 9.he4 !le8 offers

Black excellent compensation as
the bishop lacks a good retreat
square (10.tf3 i.h3). So White has
to part with it - 10.hc6 bxc6 ll.O-O
i.g4 12.f3 i.e6 13.d3 i.c5+ 14.@hl d5
15.cxd5 cxds:;;.
The idea behind this move is seen
The insertion of 8.a3 i.c5 in the line:
8...ta5 is simpler - 9.b4 (9.0-0
a) 10.b4 ltlxd5 11.cxd5 (11.bxc5
g510.b4i.b6; 9.e3 g5 10.b41ile5!)
lilf4) ll...lild4 12.!lel lilxe2+ 13.!lxe2
9 ...tb6 10.i.b2 i.d4 ll.hd4
lilxd4 12.e3 lilf5 is roughly equal.
b) 10.h3 i.e6 ll.d3 lilxd5 12 .cxd5
hd5 13.dxe4 i.e6 14.b4 i.b6 15.lilf5

c) 10.ltle3 he3 ll.fxe3 Wle7 12.b3


d) 10.lilxf6+ Wlxf6 11.he4 (11.@hl

!lae8) 11 ... !lfeS 12.d3 lild4 13.ltlf3
c6! 14.i.e3 lilxf3+ 15.exf3 th3
16.!lel he3 17.!lxe3=
White will open the f-file, but
without minor pieces his attack
ing chances are minimal.
9.0-0 helped Nakamura to beat
Anand in Moscow 2016.
The game went 9 ... !le8 10.e3
g5?! 11.b4 i.b6? (Nakamu
ra suggested after the game
11...gxh4 12.i.b2 lilxd5 13.cxd5
lile5 14.bxc5 ig4 15.Wlb3 lilf3+
16.txf3 M3 17.h3oo) 12.tb2 17...d5! 18.cxd5 cxd5 19.hd5 !lxe3
lilxd5 13.cxd5 lild4 (13 ... lile5 20.fxe3 Wlg5!. This double attack on

Chapter 6

d5 and e3 allows Black to take over 9.d4

the initiative and assures him of full
compensation for the pawn. 9.1ll'a4? c5 10.d4 lilxd5 ll.dxc5
lildb4 12.a3 1Zla6 13.b4 gxh4.
s!? 9.d3? lilxd5 10.cxd5 lilb8 ll.dxe4
gxh4 12 ..tli6 1ll'f6 13.hf8 @xf8 was
Forcing the play. clearly better for Black in Sipos-B.
8... !le8 is much more common, Lalic, Hungary 2016.
but the pawn structure arising af
ter 9 .d3 is pleasant for White. Still, 9 ...h6!
Black gets enough counterplay.
9.f3 lilxd5 10.cxd5 exf3 ll.lilxf3
lile5 was seen in Nepomniach
tchi-Efimenko, Ningbo 2011.
Black's dark-squared bishop
will remain out of play on the
queenside so he must alter the
pawn structure by ...c7-c5!. That
would enable a back door via d8.
For instance 12.e3 (Marin's rec
ommendation) 12 ....ta.5 13.1ll'c2
c5 14.lilxe5 (14.dxc6 lilxc6) 14 ...
A critical position. The threat ...gxh4
!lxe5 15.d3 i.g4 16.e4 1ll'd7=.
is very real and Black is not too
9 ... exd3 10.1ll'xd3 lilxd5 11.cxd5 lile5
afraid of a counterattack as long as
12.1ll'c2 ic5 13.b3 a5! (intending
he controls the centre.
...a4) 14.a3 i.d7.
White has a wide choice now. He
can either focus on the kingside
hoping to develop an attack, or shift
his attention left on the b4-bishop:


Marin proposes 10.lilxb4 lilxb4

11.f3, but correspondence chess has
seen White struggling to equalize:
It seems that White has good chanc 11 ...gxh4! 12.hh6 hxg3
es on the kingside, but 15.i.b2 12 ...e3!? 13.g4 c5 14.g5 1ll'e7
Or 15.lilf3 1ll'f6 16.i.b2 1ll'g6. also deserves attention, but
15 ... 1ll'g5 (heading for h5) offered the text is preferable because it
nice counterplay in Quinteros-Ma counts on attack rather than on
karichev, Vrsac 1977. material advantage.

3.lilf3 lilc6 4.g3 .ib4 5.lild5

13.hxg3 lilh5 with sharp play. For instance,

15 ...lilg4 is not decisive due to
16.lilxe4 d5 17.lild2 and White is
11..ie3 gxh4 12.a3 with unclear po

10.lile3 gxh4 ll.a3 .ia5 12.b4 .ib6

13.cS d5 is another principled line.

14 ..ixffi lilxg3! gives Black a
strong attack.
14...lilxg3 15.l'1f3 lilxe4
Black owns the initiative, but proba
bly White can maintain the balance
with accurate defence after 16. 'i!lcl
(16 ..ixf8 l!?xf8) 16...f5+. White went
on to draw eventnally in Bnbnov 14.gxh4
Schunck, corr. 2011. The attack on h6 is easily par
ried: 14.'i!ld2 lile7 or 14.cxb6
The game McNab-Haik, Metz 1988, axb6 15.lilc2 l!?h7 16.'1!!1d2 lilg8.
saw 10.'i!la4 a5 14...l!?h8 1s.l!?h1 !lg8 16.f3 exf3
10 ...lilxd4!? ll.'i!lxb4 lilxe2+ 17.!lxf3 .ie6. A sharp position with
12.l!?hl c6 mutnal chances has arisen. The ac
tivity of Black's pieces compen
sate the enemy bishop pair. We can
even sacrifice the exchange, using
the fact that White's kingside is still
18..ib2 concludes the develop
ment. We can meet it by 18 ...
lilh5 19.'l!!lel lile7 20.'i!lf2 !lg6
21.!lgl 'i!ld7;.
sets more problems as the obvi 18 ... lile4 19.lilxh6 !lxg2 20.l!?xg2
ous 13.lilxf6?! '1!!1xf6 14..ie3 gxh4 'i!lxh4. The h6-knight has no retreat,
15.!ladl stnmbles into 15 ....ig4 but we cannot win it. Thus we have
with many threats. some sort of a fragile balance.
It is better to retreat - 13.lilc3 I have also analysed the somewhat
lilxcl 14.!laxcl gxh4 15.gxh4 slow:

Chapter 6

10.h3 li:lxd5 (10 ... gxh4 and 10 ...taS

are perfectly possible, too) 11.cxdS
li:lb8 12.'&a4 li:la6 13.a3 td7 14.'&b3
tas 15.'&xb7 1!ilc8=.

Finally, 10.a3 tas gxh4

transposes to the main line.

10 ...ta.5

10 11.cxd5 li:le7 12.he4 gxh4

13.'&a4. Both 11 ... li:lxdS 12.cxd5 li:le7
th3oo and 11...th3 11.xfl
11.ltlg2 13.@xfl are unclear. See the free
style Grune 13 Sonofluck,Rybka
This position is strategically unbal 2 .x-Intuitivestra,
anced and it needs testing. 2007.
Chapter 6. 3.tll f3 tll c6 4.g3 b4 5.tll d 5

Annotated Games

3. In principle, one should not dis

12. Agdestein - Topalov
play unnecessary activity on the
Stavanger 2014
wing where the opponent is stron
ger . Thus, after:
1.c4 e5 2.liJc3 liJf6 3.liJf3 liJc6
12.a4 a5! 13.id2,
4.g3 .ib4 5.liJd5 .ic5 6 .ig2 0-0

7.0-0 d6

instead ofpreparing ...c6, we should

turn our attention to the kingside
8.e3 where .. .f5 is a natural idea. We can
push it immediately:
White prevents the unloading ope 13 .. .f5 14.Whl, but here we need
ration 8.d3 liJxd5 9.cxd5 lild4 to turn again to l4....@.d7, since
10.lilxd4 hd4 ll.e3 .@.b6 with easy 14...g5 is a bit premature due to
equality. Black only should refrain 15.'&h5, e.g. 15....@.d7 16.f4 exf4
from undermining the centre with 17.gxf4 g4 18.h3. This line sug
...c6. Such an idea would have had gest that perhaps it would be
some sense if Black had knights and better to wait for White to shift
the d5-pawn was restricting them. his queen from the dl-h5 diago
With only long-range pieces left on nal:
board, ...c6 is anti-positional be 13 ....@.d7 14.'&c2 f5! 15.Whl when we
cause: have two possible set-ups.
1. It does not solve any strategic
problems; a) Simplest is to open the e-file and
2. It only prolongs the diagonal to trade all the rooks with a proba
the g2-bishop; ble draw: 15...!lfl 16.f4 exf4 17.exf4

Chapter 6

'!\1f8=. Note that Anand's rook lift 14..id2 f5 15.ha5 1lxa5 16.f4
...1lf8-f6-h6 is clumsy since White '!\1e7 17.!lel b6, Rogozenco-Ba
can easily prevent ...'!\1h5 with f4, logh, Germany 2009.
if3. 14...'!\1e7 15.e4. Here the game Ma
rin-Komarov, Cairo 2001, finished
b) The same idea could be modified in a draw, but Black obviously has a
by gaining space first with 15 ...g5 slight edge owing to his better pawn
16.f4 exf4 17.exf4 (17.gxf4 g4 18.e4 structure.
ie8 19.e5 h5:;:!) 17...g4 18 ..ic3 1le8
19.b3 h5 20.h4 (20 ..ib2 '!\1e7 21.'!!.1c3 s.. a6 9.b3

@h7 22.!lael '!\1f7 23.'!!.1d2 c6:;:!

24..ia3 h4) 20 ...1le3 21.l!lh2 '!\1f8 White's most unpleasant plan is
22.ib2 1lae8 23.'!\1c3 @h7=. based on the attack with lilh4, f4,
aiming to open the f-file. Therefore,
The first plan is certainly safer and 9.lilh4 should be his most princi
is effective against all White's move pled continuation. However, the
orders, for instance, 14.!lcl (instead sharp attack 9... lilxd5 10.cxd5 lile7
of 14.'!!.1c2) 14...'!\1e8 15.b3 (15.1lc4 11.f4 (ll.b3 c6 12.dxc6 lilxc6 13.ib2
cS=) 15 .. .f5 16. l!lh1 sf7. d5 14.!lcl ie7=, Tari-Matlakov, Ye
revan 2014.) ll ...exf4 12.b4 ib6
On a final note, I should add that if 13.1lxf4!?, Romanov-Fressinet,
White begins with 12.b4 (instead of Hamburg 2014, could be tamed by
12.a4), it is best to counter it with 13 .. .f5 or even 13...WeS, intending to
12 ...a5! meet '!\1h5 by ... f5.
12 ...id7 13.a4 a5 14.b5 f5 15..id2
'!!.1f6 is possible, of course, if a 9.d4 ia7 should not be a problem:
player like Anand chose it, but
the b5-pawn clamps on c6 and
reduces Black's counter-attack
ing options.
13.bxa5 (13.b5 a4!) 13 ...ixa5

10.lilc3 h6 ll.h3 (ll.d5 lile7)
11 ...ifS 12.a3 (12.dxe5 dxe5)
12 ... lile4 13.lile2 exd4 14.lilexd4
(14.exd4 d5 15.cxd5 lile7 16.lilc3
14..ib2 lilxd5 17.Wb3 lildxc3 18.bxc3 c5)

1 1 ()
14 ... ltlxd4 15.ltlxd4 th7 leads to
normal play in the centre.
10.b3 exd4 11.ltlxd4 ltlxd4
12.exd4 ltlxd5 13.cxd5 id7
14.ie3 a5= is rather dull.
10 ... ltlxe5! ll.b3 ig4 12.ltlf4 ltle4
was equal in Kuzubov-Gupta, Iasi

Finally, the plan of a queenside

pawn storm 9.d3 b7 10.td2 has
no bite. White hopes to open up the f-file
10.illxf6+ 111'xf6 ll.td2 invites with f4. 12.d4 is harmless owing to
Black's queen to the kingside - 12 ... e4 13.ltlg5 f5 14.Wh5 h6 15.ltle6
ll...1!1'g6 12.Ac3 Wh5 13.ltlh4 ig4 he6 16.dxe6 c6.
14.if3 f5!=, Grischuk-Adams,
Warsaw 2013. 12 . .f5!

10 ... ltlxd5 ll.cxd5 ltle7 12.1!1'b3 c6

13.dxc6 ltlxc6 14.ic3 gb8 15.d4 12 ... c6? 13.dxc6 ltlxc6 14.f4 led to
Black's rout in Swiercz-Balogh, Bu
dapest 2014.


In Marin's opinion, critical here is

13.gcl ib6 (to free the queen) 14.f4
e4 15.g4, but he only considers:
15... lilxd5?! 16.lilxf5 hf5 17.gxf5
We7 18.gc4. We have the much
Now 15...exd4 is enough for better option of:
equality, but in Tomashevsky 15...fxg4! 16.he4 \We8 with active
Svidler, Moscow 2007, Black play. For example:
opted for:
15... e4!? 16.ltld2 d5 17.f3, when 17...
ie6! 18.'ll'dl f5 would have accom
plished Black's main strategic goal
in our anti-English repertoire - to
occupy the centre and hold it.

9 Aa7 10.ib2 ltlxd5 11.cxd5


lile7 12.lilh4

Chapter 6

a) 17.'l!l'el lllf5 18.ixfS ixf5 19.'l!l'g3 18 c6

g6 20.lllxf5 !lxf5! 21.'l!l'xg4 !lxd5
22.!c3 !lf5 with a firm blockade on The most principled retort was 18...
the light squares; lll d5. Then White has nothing bet
ter, but push 19.f6 when both cap
b) 17.f5 'l!l'h5 18.!lf4 'l!l'xh4 19.!lxg4
tures are possible:
'l\lh6 20.!lxg7+ 'l!l'xg7 21.hg7 @xg7
19 ...!lxf6 20 ..txf6 '/;!fxf6;
22.'/;!lg4+ @h8 23.'/;!lh4 .txf5 24.'l!l'xe7
19 ...gxf6 20.he4 lllxe3 21.!lgl+
!lae8 25.'/;!lxeS !lxe8 26.ixfS !lxe3!=.
@h8 22.'l\lh5 d5co.
Note this tactical hit. It exploits the
inclusion of 13.!lcl !b6. So Marin's
improvement may be not better
than Agdestein's choice at all!
Agdestein fails to assess realistical
ly the position. He overestimates
13 ...e4 14.g4 lllxd5
the significance of the open g-file.
19 ..txf6 !lxf6 20.dxe4 he3= was
l4...fxg4 15.he4 'l\le8 16.f5 '/;!fh5
called for. The threat of e4-e5 would
17.!lf4 '/;!fxh4 18.!lxg4 is already in
provide sufficient counterplay.
White's favour. The above-men
tioned endagame with opposite
19 ... lllxe4 20.'l!l'c2 !laeS 21.!lgl
coloured bishops might be a draw,
lllf6 22.!lael
but a pawn is a pawn.

15.lllxf5 txf"5 16.gxf5 'l!l'e717 .@hl


The stranded e3-pawn is a cause of

constant concern for White. Black
can choose a solid set-up as ... !lf7,
18.d3 ... @hS, '/;!ff8 or the more active:

White's flank attack 18.!lgl d5 22 ...'l!l'f7 23.e4?

19.Ml should not succeed owing to
Black's superior centre. A simple White counted on 23 ...hgl 24.!lxgl
defence would be 19 ...!c5 20.'l!l'el which would have given him de
!a3 21.e5 !d6=, but Black has cent compensation, but he misses
a number of other good plans, as Topalov's counter-blow. The calm
...!lads, ...d5-d4. 23.'/;!ld2 kept things under control:
3.lilf3 lilc6 4.g3 b4 5.lild5

23 ...'/;l'h5 24.Ml or 23 ... d5 24.if3 only counterplay could be based on

when Black cannot double rooks on the temporary weakness of e4. If
the e-file in view of ia3. the bishop could take it, the whole
course of events would abruptly
23 ...d5!+ 24..hf'6 hgl 25 .ie5 change since Black will have to wor
ia7 26.exd5 cxd5 27.1/ild3 !ld8 ry about his king. Therefore, the fol
28.!lcl !ld7 29."13 !le7 30.\1ijg3 lowing sacrifice is timely and good.
h8 31.!lc2 .ib8 32 ..ig4 d4 d3 34.!ld2 Wd5 35.!lxd3! bfl. 13.xfl h8?!
ia7+ 36.fl Whl+ 37.e2 1/ile4+
38.dl b8 39.'lll'f3 1/ilxf3+ This move is too hesitant. The e4-
40. he5 41.fxe5 !lxe5 pawn could not be defended with
42.hb7 !lexf5 43.a4 a5 44.h3 13 ... !leS due to h7 15.h4 so
!lf2 45.ia6 g5 0-1 Black should have thought how to
limit the scope ofWhite's would-be
a-beast light-squared bishop. I pre
fer! 14.cxd5 li:le7 15.ixe4
1 3.Sonofluck,Rybka-lntuitivestra f5 16.g2.
PAUCSS Freestyle 2007

1.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilc6 3.lilf3 lilf6

4.g3 b4 5.lild5 e4 6.lilh4 0-0
7.g2 d6 8.0-0 g5 9.d4 h6
10 ..ilil a5 11.lilg2 "13

The potential strength of the g2-

bishop discourages immediate ac
tive actions with ...f5-f4, but in fu
ture the f-pawn could tum into an
important resource.
I think that White has just enough
White's kingside is a funny sight.
for the exchange to balance the
Especially the hl-bishop is rath
game, e.g. 16... li:lg6 ib6
er awkward. Lines like 12.b4 lilxb4
18.e3 'l;l'f6 19.a4 f4
13.lilxb4 ixb4 14.!lbl c5 15.a3 ic3
16.dxc5 dxc5 17.!lxb7 1/ilxdl 18.!lxdl It looks safer to gain some space
!lab8 underline that. Every ex on the queenside with 16...b5!?
change increases the weight of the g7 li:lg6 19.a4 bxa4
remaining black pieces. White's 20.!lxa4 ib6 21.e3 \1ijd7=.

Chapter 6

14.1 .ib6 15.b4 hd4 16.b5

h:e3 17.bxc6 h:cl 18.cxb7 !lbS
19.Wl'xcl liJxd5 20.cxd5

45 !le7?

Black should always threaten to

take the bishop. 45...!lfS! 46.Wl'c4
According to the engines, the posi !lxf5 47.gxf5 Wi'xf5 48.We2 Wf3
tions on the last two diagrams have 49.Wxf3 exf3 50.lilf2 g4 51.lilg3 lilg7
the same evaluation, but from a 52.Wxg4 f2! is a draw.
practical point of view, White has
made a big progress. The b7-pawn 46.Wl'c4 !lg7 47.Wl'd4 Wl'xd4
secures him at least a draw while 48.exd4 !le7 49.@f2 1-0
any mistake will cost Black dearly.
Without the a-pawns, Black would
not have risked anything, of course.
The rest ofthe game shows that even
computer's help is often not enough
to save such "equal" (?!) positions.

20 ...Wl'e7 21.Wl'c4 f5 22.e3 Wies

23 ..ig2 !lf7 24.lilgl !le7 25 .ib3

h5 26.a4f4 27..icS h4 28.g4 lilg7

29 ..if5 a5 30.Wl'b3 lilf7 31 .ie6+
I'm not sure what has actually hap
lilg6 32 .ifS+ lilg7 33.Wl'c4 @f7
pened, but this position is probably
34.Wi'b3 lilgS 35..ie6+ @f8 still a draw after 49 ...e3+! 50.lile2
36 .ifS Wl'f6 37.Wl'c2 h3 38 ..icS
Wg7 51.e6 (51.!lb3 @f6 52.cS;
Wl'e5 39.Wl'b3 !lf7 40.Wl'c4 lilg7 51.cS !le8 52.e6 Wg6 53.Wxe3
41 .if5 !le7 42 .icS lilgS 43.Wl'b3
!lf8) 51...Wf6 52.!lb5 (52.Wxe3?? c5;
fxe3 44.fxe3 !le8 45.MS 52.f1b3 f1xe6) 52 ...f1xe6 53.dxe6 d5!.

Chapter 7. 3.'2lf3 '2lc6 4.g3 ib4 5.ig2

Main Ideas

1.c4 e5 2.liJc3 liJf6 3.liJf3 liJc6 However, the strategical plot in

4.g3 b4 5.g2 0-0 6.0-0 this position is much simpler than
after 7.illg5. White's only serious
plan is connected with f3 and we
must learn how to meet it. I suggest
ll.'l:l'c2 liJe5!? - see Grune 14 Kel
ly-Gormally, Birmingham 2002. It
is enough to trade any pair of minor
piece to achieve comfortable play.
7 ..hc3 8.bxc3 ges 9.f3 e3!?

I do notsay 6...d6 or 6...ge8 are bad,
but I will always choose the aggres
sive approach unless it's proven
wrong. And practice shows 53 per
cent in Black's favour!
7.liJg5 The other reasonable option is 9 ...
7.4.lel hc3 8.dxc3 h6 9.liJc2 d6 exf3 10.lllxf3 when most solid looks
10.liJe3 ges may be of equal worth. 10 ...'l:l'e7 (10 ...d5 seems to hold,
too, but I suspect that we could ex
pect surprises from White here),
although this idea is based on the
positional pawn sac ll.e3 lll e5
12.ill d4 d6! 13.d3 c5 14.lllf5 .\hf5
15.gxf5 d5! 16.cxd5 c4oo. It is a fair
alternative to 9 ...e3.
10.d3 (10.dxe3 'l:l'e7! ll.liJh3 'l:l'c5=)
10 ...d5

Chapter ?

-file only look dangerous, but he

cannot do much without his queen
which is stranded on the other
flank. My main line runs:
15.c4 qie7 16.hb7 axb7 17.f5 c5!
18.6 ac6 19.b2 h6 20.ae4 g6
2U1ael fjj d4oo.

Perhaps Svidler also was not satis

Since the source game Kasparov fied with White's game since at the
Karpov, Seville 1987, 11.Wfb3 was Candidates tournament 2016 he
White's main retort. The bulletin came up with the novelty:
of the world title match awards it 11.Wfa4!?, but after 11 ...h6 12.cxd5
an exclamation mark and puts an axd5 13.ae4 5 14.ac5 4 he failed
evaluation "". Indeed, I also pre to revive his king's bishop.
fer White after n... qia5 12.Wfa3 c6.
However, I suggest the more active
12 ...b6!. Instead of b7-c6, we'll
build the pawn chain b6-c5. That
will leave c6 free for our knight.
Have in mind that 12 ...b6 is nearly
inexplored. Play may continue:
13.cxd5 qixd5 14.4 b7

The g2-bishop is a poor sight, but

the position remains extremely tan
gled - Game 15 Svidler-Karjakin,
Moscow 2016.

The same idea works in the event of

11.cxd5 qixd5 12.qie4 5! 13.c4
ade7 followed up by .. .4.

Black's game is very easy. He will Conclusion:

trade bishops with ... fjje7 and will The ball is in White's court in the
block the long diagonal with ...c5, 9 ... e3 line. 9 ...exf3 also seems in
...qic6-d4. White's threats on the good shape.

Chapter 7. 3.lll f3 lll c6 4.g3 .itb4 5 .itg2 .

Step by Step

l.c4 e5 2.lilc3 lilf6 3.lilf'3 lilc6 d4. Tue best shaping of this idea is,
4.g3 b4 5.g2 0-0 6.0-0 however, the slower 7.d3 h6 8.lila4!
(8.lll d5 c5 9.e3 a6!) 8...a5 9.b3
6.llld5 e4 7.lilh4 d6 transposes to
the previous chapter.

White defends c4 and enables

the tactical shot 9 ...c5 10.lilxe5!
lilxe5 ll.d4 with the easier game.
9 ...M5 is dubious in view of
6 ...e4!? 10.d4! (threatening a3).

This advance perfectly fits in with 9 V!!Je7 could prove a waste


our aggressive approach to the of time as in Aronian-Topa

opening as it promises active piece lov, Moscow 2016: 10.b2 c5
play in a strategically unbalanced ll.e3 a7 12.lllc3 !le8 13.lilh4.
position. Tue ex-world champion did
not find anything better than
Alternatives are rather passive: 13 ...V!!ld8 14.V!!ld2 lile7 15.sadl c6
16.lll e2 lllf5 17.lilxf5 hf5 18.d4
a) 6 ...se8 7.lll d5 lll xd5 8.cxd5 lild4
V!!lc8 19.lll c3 exd4 20.exd4 lll e4
9.lllxd4 exd4. If Carlsen was will
21.lllxe4 he4 22.he4 !lxe4
ing to defend this, it should not be
23.!lfel !lxel+ 24.1'1xel V!!lf5
dangerous, but it looks deadly dull
to me.
In general, the queen stands bet
b) 6 ... d6 gives White some spa ter on d7 in this line.
tial advantage due to the plan e3- 9...!le8 10.b2

Chapter ?

7. .hc3 8.bxc3

8.dxc3 l'le8 9.1Dh3 d6 10.lilf4 (10 .

.ig5 hh3!? 11.hh3 h6=, Mut
haiah-Costachi, Porto Carras 2015)
10 ...lile5 11.b3 M5 12.1Dd5 h6 is
similar to the previous comment -
13.lile3 .id7 14.h3 /Dg6 15.1!1h2 l'le5
16.f4 exf3 17.exf3, J.Gabriel-Gyime
Reviving the threat of 10 ... si, Deizisau 2009. The open e-file is
.ic5 11.i2lxe5 i2lxe5 12.d4 i2lxc4 a decent insurance against White's
13.bxc4 h7 14.e3. kingside attack.
Svidler-Nakamura, Candidates,
Moscow 2016, saw 10 ...Ms 11.e3 8 ...l'le8 9.3
"lfle7? when White missed 12.d4!,
trapping the b4-bishop. Corres 9.d3 is senseless. After 9 ...exd3
pondence chess has seen: 10.exd3 d6 11.l'lbl h6 12.lile4 /Dxe4
10 ....ig4 11.h3 .if5 12.e3 Vfld7 13.1!1h2 13.he4 th3 14.l'lel lile5 it turns out
l'lab8 and Black is holding thanks that 15.l'lxb7 is not a threat in view
to the possibility of ...b5. Still, the of 15 ....ig4 16.f3 IDxf3+.
whole Black's set-up is hanging on
a hair.


7.lilel hc3 8.dxc3 (8.bxc3 l'le8 9.f3

exf3 10.lilxf3 d5 transposes to line
B.) 8...h6 9.i2lc2 d6 10.i2le3 l'le8

We have now two good options:

A. 9 ...e3!?; B. 9 ...exf3.

The latter is more dynamic and

complex, but it is up to you to de
cide whether that is a plus. The aris
ing positions with a fluid centre are
does not pose any theoretical prob rather chaotic and demand perfect
lems. I suggest to meet ll.Vflc2 by calculation.
ll ... 1De5!? - see Grune 14 Kelly 9 ...e3 is easier to play and Black is
Gormally, Birmingham 2002. commonly the active side.

3.lilf3 lilc6 4.g3 .ib4 5 ..ig2

A. 9 ...e3!? 10 d5 11.\Wb3

This push became popular af 11.cxdS lilxd5 12.\Wb3

ter Karpov's win over Kasparov in 12.lile4 f5 13.c4 lilde7, intend
the 1987 world title match. Kar ing to meet any knight retreat
pov writes that it was invented by by 14 ...4, promises Black an ini
his second I.Zaitsev for the match tiative.
in Bagio against Korchnoi, but later 12 ...\WxgS 13.4 \Wh5 14..ixdS .ig4
he discovered an older correspon 15 ..if3 .ixf3 16.l'lxf3 b6 17..ixe3 l'le7
dence game Berndt-Zaets, 1979. gives Black nice compensation.
The idea behind this sacrifice is
Svidler's novelty ll.'/,lla4!? does not
that Black easily restores the mate
change significantly Black's play
rial balance in the event of 10.dxe3
- ll ...h6 12.cxdS lilxd5 13.lile4 f5
\We7! ll.lilh3 \Wc5 12.lilf4 \Wxc4 13.e4
14.lilcS 4 - see Gaine 15 Svidler
d6 14.'/,lld3.
Karjakin, Moscow 2016.

11... lila5 12.\Wa3

12.\Wa4 does not protect c3. That en

courages 12 ...c6 (although 12 ...b6 is
also possible) 13.cxdS lilxd5 with
a double attack. Then 14.c4 lilc3
15.'/,llc2 lilxe2+ is equal, as well as
14..ib2 b5.
In 2001 Kasparov drew as White
with Sadvakasov in the endgame
after 14... lileS 15.\Wxc4. A year later
Khalifman-Grischuk made only the
moves 14....ie6 15 ..ie3 before sign
ing a peace treaty. Curiously, mod
em engines evaluate both moves as
0.00 which is highly unusual for a
position without forced variations.

12 ...b6!
White keeps his pawns connected.
The obvious threat is lile4, .ixe3 so This rare set-up is more active than
Black must quickly find targets in the well tested 12 ...c6 13.cxdS cxd5
order to distract the enemy from the 14.f4 lilc6
overextended pawn. 14....ig4 15.lilf3 lilc6 allows

Chapter 7

White to launch a pawn storm . ing to meet 21.!lb3 by 21...'/!1e6.)

on the kingside after 16.h3 id7 21.!lfel te6! Black has a com
(16...hfS 17.!lxf3) 17.!lbl '/!Jc7 fortable equality. For exam
18.lilel lile7 19.g4. ple: 22.M6 gxf6 23.'/!Jb2 @g7
15.!lbl!? '/!1c7 24.'/!1xb7 hc4 25.'/!Jxd7 !lxd7 or
15...ig4?! 16.!lxb7 he2 17.lilxf7 22.!lecl '/!Je7 24.'/!Jxe7 !lxe7.
'/!Ja5 18.!lel+-; 16.lilf3 anticipates the manoeu
15...b6?! 16.ib2! ig4 17.c4. vre ...ig4 (with tempo!), ...'/!Jd7
and leaves Black in a somewhat
cramped position. White may then
proceed with h3, g4, or with the
more solid ib2, c4 (he can also pre
pare it with !lfcl).

13.cxd5 lilxd5 14.f4

If White lingers with this move, he

might never achieve it, for instance,
This is a critical position for the 14.lile4 f5 15.c4 lile7 16.lilc3 f4!.
Karpov/Zaitsev/Zaets variation.
16.lilf3! 14 .tb7

The stem game Kasparov-Kar

pov, Seville 1987, saw 16.ib2
ig4 17.c4 dxc4 18.M6 gxf6
19.lile4 @g7 with active play.
Perhaps White's best conti
nuation is 20.'/!Jc3 (20.h3 he2
21.lilxf6 Ml 22.'/!1c3 !le5!) 20 ...
'/!Jd8! 21.!lxb7 (21.dxc4 Wid4=)
21...lild4 22.'/!Jxc4 !lf8 23.lilc5
!lc8 24.h3 with unclear compli
White could try to improve over
Kasparov's 17.c4 with 17.lilf3, 15.c4
but then 17...'/!1d7! restricts
the enemy on the kingside 15.ib2 should transpose after 15 ...
(White's game is easier after c5 (15 ...lile7 16.f5 hg2 17.@xg2 f6
17...!lad8 18.h3! ic8 19.lild4 18.c4 '/!1d7 19.lile4 lilxf5 20.M6
lilxd4 20.cxd4 b6 21.!lbcl.) 18.c4 @h8 is also possible.) 16.c4 lile7.
dxc4 19.dxc4 !lad8 20.ial (20. This move order offers Black addi
lile5 lilxe5 21.fxe5 he2 22.exf6 tional possibilities, but I think that
Ml 23.!lxfl e2 is dynamical e7 is the best retreat anyway. For
ly balanced.) 20 ...h6 (Prepar- instance, White's attack is more
3.ltlf3 ltlc6 4.g3 .ib4 s.tg2

dangerous after 16...ltlb4 17.1Wc3 f6 other hand, 22.11:iia6 ltld6 23.ltlc3

18.hb7 ltlxb7 19.ltlf3 ltlc6 20.hl. does not guarantee him a repetition
16 ...ltlc7 is also dubious in view of moves with 23 ...ltlc2 24.l'lcl ltld4.
of 17.ltlf3 ltle6 (or the knight will Instead, Black plays on with 23 ...
be clogged with f4-f5) 18.l'labl f6 11:iid7! 24.1Wa4 bS 25.ltlxbS l'leSt.
19.fS when 19 ... ltld4 20.hd4 cxd4
21.1Wb2 ltlc6 22.ltlh4! l'leS 23.l'lf4
surrounds the d4-pawn. B. 9 ...ext'3 10.ltlxt'3

15... ltle7 16.hb7 ltlxb7 17.f5

17.tb2 c5 18.f5 ltlc6 19.f6 transpos

es to the main line.

In my opinion, Black has two decent

options here:
Bl. 10 ...dS; B2. 10 ...1We7

The latter is more cunning and easy

It might seem that White has a ter to play. It is based on a positional
rible attack, but once again we wit pawn sacrifice which gives Black
ness that good control of the centre significant strategic advantage.
is a fair insurance against flank as
Bl. 10 ... dS 11.d4
17... c5!
11.cxdS 1Wxd5! helps Black activate
17.. .f6 18.ltle4 1Wd7 19..ib2 ill xfS his queen. The point is that 12.ltld4
20.txf6 l'lf8 21..ib2 c5 is "only" bal 1Wh5 13.ltlxc6 (13.e3?! tg4 14.tf3
anced. Illes 15.hg4 ltlexg4 16.1We2 l'lad8
17.11:iig2 ltle4 18.l'lbl cS) 13...bxc6
18.f6 ltlc6 19.tb2 h6 (19 ...g6) 14.e3 tg4 15.1Wa4 th3 gives Black
20.ltle4 g6 21.l'lael ltld4 a significant positional advantage
which amply compensates a small
White should be very careful. For material deficit.
instance, 22.11:iia4 ltld6 23.ltlc3 ltl6f5 15 ... l'le6 has similar ideas -
obviously favours Black. On the 16.hc6 (16.l'lbl?! .ie2 17.l'lel

Chapter 7

lilg4 18.h3 1/iff5 19.!lxe2 1/ilxbl 15.lilxc4 1/ilg6 16.e4) 14...'/!ld6 (14...
20.1/ifxg4 1/ifxcl+ 21.@h2 ad8 ig4 15.'/!la4 1/ile7 16.Wxc4 '/!ld7)
22.1/ifb4 h6 23.c4 1/ifdl 24.af2 15.lild2 id7 16.lilxc4, Tomashev
1/ifel 0-1, Sigurjonsson-Smys sky-Gajewski, Berlin 2015.
lov, Reykjavik 1974.) 16...adS The common ll...lile4 is anoth
17.1/ifb5 ae5 18.l>l'h7 fili3. er way to prevent the pin from g5,
16.3 (16.'/!lxc6 hg2 17.'/!lxg2 but the knight is somewhat hang
'/!lg6) 16 ...'/!lxh3 17.'/!lxc6 aab8 ing on that square. For instance,
12.'/!lc2 dxc4 13.lile5 lilxe5 14.Wxe4
looks unpleasant: 14...lilg4 (14 ...
lilg6 15.'/!ld5 1/ife716.e4 c6 17.'/!lxc4)
15.'/!lf3, but 15...f5 16.1/ifd5+ Wxd5=
saves the day.
The text keeps more tension.


The game Girth-Scwenk, corr 2010, 12.1/ifc2 dxc4 13.if4
went on 18.af4 '/!lh5 19.h3 abdS 13.abl 1/ife7 14.ab2 'l!lle4 15.Wxe4
20.ad4 when 20 ...axd4 21.cxd4 (15.'/!la4 'l!lle6) 15 ... lilxe4 16.lile5
'/!la5! 22.icl axe3 forces a perpetu lilxe5 17.he4 lild7 leads to mas
al, but Black could certainly play on sive elimination of forces af
with 22 ... hs 23.a4 abs. ter 18.hb7 hb7 19.l'lxb7 axe2
20.!lxc7 lilf6 21.!lxc4 axa2
White has tried to improve on
12.lild4 with 12.ib2?!, but 12 ...ig4!
13... lile4 14.aadl
13.d3 1/ifa5 14.af2 aad8 is clearly in
After 14.lile5 lilxe5 15.he5, sim
Black's favour.
plest is 15 ... lilc5 (aimed against
Another attempt was 12.d3 '/!lc5+ 16.e4) 16.aabl tg4=.
13.@hl lilg4 14.'/!lel 1/ilh5!? 15.M4
(15.e4 f5) 15 ... lilce5 16.he5, Van
Wely-Ruck Los Angeles 2011, when
16 ...!lxe5! would have left Black with
a more mobile rook which could at
tack both h2- and a2-pawns.


I do not like ll ...dxc4?! 12.igsgg

(12.'/!lc2 h6 transposes) 12 ...h6 14...'l!lle7
13.hf6 '/!lxf6 14.e4 (14.lile5 1/ifd6 14...tf5 15.lile5 lilxg3 (15...lild6?!

3.ltlf3 'll c6 4.g3 ib4 5.ig2

16.e4 ib7 17.1/:l'e2 ltle7 18.hh6 16.axf3 1/:l'd5 17.ltlf5 ltle4 18.1!1'd3
was unpleasant, to say it mild 'll d6=.
ly, in Caruana-Anand, Moscow 14...ltla5 15.'ll'b4 ltle4 16.1/:l'a4 ig4
2016. In the postmortem Caru 17.1/:l'c2 f5 18.abl c6 is unclear,
ana also proposed 18.h4!) 16.e4 Musitani-Dorer, corr. 2010.
'llxfl 17.exf5 'llxh2 18.hh2 'llxe5
19.he5 1/:l'g5 should be tenable. 13.e4 xe4 (13...1/:l'c4!?=) 14.ltle5
Black could always sac the ex h7 15.ltlxc6 bxc6 16.Exf6
change and play with 3-4 pawns 16.hc6 is dubious owing to 16...
for a piece. For instance: ig4 17.1/:l'a4 ib3.
c6 21.f6 l'1xe5 22.dxe5 ae8oi;. 16...gxf6 17.hc6=.
However, at the press confer
ence in Moscow Caruana called 13.ltle5 1/:l'e6 14.ltld3!?
the position "resignable". 14.ltlxc6 bxc6 15.ael ltle4 16.'ll'd3
15.ltle5 ltlxe5 16.he5 ltld6 17.adel 'll'g6 17.if4 M5=.
(17.af2 is the same - 17...f6 18.id5+ 14...xe2 15.hh6
@hs 19.Exf6 gxf6 20.'!l'g6= J 17.. .f6 Or 15.1/:l'xe2 l'1xe2 16.hh6 ltle4=.
18.id5+ @h8 19.Exf6=. 15 ...1/:l'xdl 16.aaxdl ig4 17.ad2 ie2
18.axf6 gxf6 19.ltlc5 ic4
12.ltle5 ltlxe5 13.dxe5 axe5 is at least
equal after (14.if4?! ae8 15.cxd5
if5+) 14.cxd5 ig4.

12 1/:l'xd5!

Now 20.ltlxb7 ltle7 21.'lla5 id5

would be totally even so in the cor
respondence game Zlotkowski
Nowak, 2013, White tried 20.@f2!?
ltla5 21.'ll e4 and got an overwhelm
ing position after 21...@hS? 22.g4
13.e3 c6 23.'llxf6 ae6 24..ig5.
Black should have defended the f6-
This was played by Aronian against pawn with 21...ae6 22.d5 Ea6 when
Adams in 2015. I have also ana White has just about sufficient com
lysed: pensation for the exchange.
13.ltlh4 1/:l'h5 14.'!l'b3
Or 14.abl ig4 15.if3 hf3 13.if4 1/:l'a5

Chapter 7

13...1ll'h5 stumbles into 14.!lbl

lild5 15.!lb5 lilce7 16.e4 c6
14.1ll'b3 !lxe2 15.!lfel !lg2+! 16.@xg2
1ll'h5 is excellent for Black.

13 ...Ms 14.lild2

Black was threatening ....ie4. An

other attempt to put the centre in Black is still underdeveloped, but he
motion is 14.1ll'e2 .ie4 15.c4 1ll'h5 has no weaknesses and that allows
16.ib2 !lads with full mobilisation. him to neutralise the enemy's initi
ative. Both queen retreats are pos
14...1ll'd7 15.lilb3 lile4 16.c4 b6 sible:
17.!lf4 !lad8 13...1!\'dS 14.1ll'd3 lilf6 15.!lxeS+
1ll'xe8 16.d5 Ci:Je7 17.d6 cxd6 18.ia3
d5 19.!lel d6! 20.ixd6 .ie6 21.lild4
13 ...1!\'fS 14.1ll'c2 f5 15.lild2 Ci:Jf6
16.!lxe8 1ll'xe8 17.1ll'xf5 1ll'el+=.

Perhaps the most principled retort

to 11.d4is 11 ...Ci:Je4 12.1ll'd3 d6 13.!lbl
f5, tightening the grip on e4.

11... lile5

In the stem game Aronian failed to

equalize completely with White af
ter 18.1ll'flig6 19.ia3 lila5!? 20.ib4
lilxb3 21.axb3 c5+.

B2. 10 ...1ll'e7 11.e3

ll.d4!? is an interesting alternative.

It looks strategically wrong as it of 12.lild4
fers Black a seemingly full control
over e4. However, White puts his It is natural for White to avoid ex
hopes on ll ...h6 12.e4! lilxe4 (12 ... changes, moreover that the f5 would
1ll'xe4 13.lile5 1ll'h7 14.!lxf6 triggers a be a nice place for the knight.
strong attack.) 13.!lel 12.Ci:Jxe5 1ll'xe5 13.!lbl !lb8 occurred

ltlf3 'll c6 4.g3 ib4 5.ig2

in Aronian-Anand, Stavanger 2015. Seville 1987, saw 12 ... l'i:Jd3?! 13.'l!Je2

After 14.l'lb5 'l!Je7 15.d3 d6 16.e4 $.g4 (13.l'i:Jf5!?) 14.l'laxcl d6
17.if3 (17.'l!Jc2 a6 18.l'lbl 'l!Je6) 17... 15.l'lf4 c6 16.l'lcfl witb an initiative.
tb3 18.$.g2, a draw was signed. 12 ... l'i:Jxc4?! 'l!Je5 14.e4 d5
In Biedermann-Kurgansky, email 15.d4 is also dangerous.
2012, White came up witb 14.c5, in
tending to meet 14 ...'l!Jxc5 by a sec 13.d3 c5
ond sac, 15.c4 and tbe al-h8 diago
nal suddenly opens up. Black pre After $.g4 15.'l!Jd2 the the
ferred development over material matic break from the main line:
and the game was drawn after 14... 15 ...d5 16.cxd5 c4 is bad because
b6 15.c4 'l!Je6 16.d3 $.b7 17.e4 d6 White's bishop enters play from
18.cxd6 'l!Jxd6 19.'l!!f3 'l!Je7 20.$.g5=. a3 - 17.h3 'l!Jd8 18.dxc4 l'i:Jxc4
19.'l!Jd4. I propose to modify!? d6 13.d3 is best met by this idea witb:! 15 ...b5!? 16.cxb5
In Karjakin-Eljanov, Baku 2015, 16.$.xa8 is risky - 16 ... l'lxa8
White played and of 17.cxb5 $.h3 18.l'lf4 c4 19.d4 l'i:Jd3
fered a draw. 20.l'lh4 li:le4 and all tbe fun is for
14...'l!Je5 15.d4 (15.e4 'l!Jxc3 16.l'lbl Black.
hf5 17.exf5 li:le5 18.l'lb3 'l!Ja5) 15... 16...d5 17.a4
'l!Je6 16.'l!Jd3 Ei:Je7 17.e4 Ei:Jxf5 18.exf5 17.d4 prevents the knight from
'l!Je2 19.'l!Jxe2 l'lxe2 20.ig5 l'lc2 leads reaching d3, but c4 is also a
to a balanced endgame. perfect stand for it - 17...l'i:Jc4
18.'l!!d3 l'lac8 19.a4 $.h5 20.$.xd5
12 ...d6! li:lxd5 21.'l!!xc4 when 21...'l!Je4 $.g6 is equal. 21...l'i:Jf6
This move, in conjunction witb 22.ia3 li:le4 23.dxc5 'l!Jg5 24.l'lf4
the pawn sacrifice on move 15, ef l'i:Jxg3= is more forceful.
fectively patches tbe 10 ...'l!Je7-line. 17...l'lac8 18.$.b2 c4 19.d4 li:ld3
The source game Kasparov-Karpov, 20.l'i:Jb4 l'i:Je4=.

Chapter ?

14...hfS 15.!lxf5 d5! 17.dxc4 lilxc4 18.1il'd4 lilxe3 19.he3

1/!\'xe3+ 20.1/!\'xe3 !lxe3 restores the
The point ofthe l0...1/!\'e7-line. With material balance and the chances
out it, White would enjoy a bishop are even after 21.c4 b6 22.a4 !lc8.
pair and the better centre.
17... lild3 18.i.d2
16.cxd5 c4
The stem game which introduced
15...d5, Khismatullin-Tomashev
sky, Chita 2015, saw 18.!lxf6?
1il'xf6+. Instead of panicking, White
should have calmly defend, but he
can hardly expect an edge with his
central pawns blocking his bishop.
A possible continuation is 18 ...lile4
19.he4 1il'xe4 20.1il'f3 1/!\fxf3 21.!lxf3
!lad8 22.!lafl (22.!lbl b6 23.!lb5
!ld6 24.a4 a6 25.!lbl !lxd5=) 22 ...
17.d4 !lxd5 23.!lxf7 !lb5+.

Chapter 7. 3.tll f3 tt:lc6 4.g3 i.b4 5.i.g2

Annotated Games

14. Kelly - Gormally

Birmingham 20.01 .2002

1.c4 liJf6 2.liJc3 e5 3.g3 !b4

4.liJ:f3 e4 5.liJd4 liJc6 6.liJc2 hc3
7.dxc3 d6 8.!g2 h6 0-0
10.0-0 B:e8

15.cxd5 li:lexd5 16.1'1'f2 1'1'c8 17.l!lh2

b6 18.c4 li:lxe3 19.he3 c5=, Lauti
er-Karpov, Biel 1990.

More often White tries to disrupt

the coordination of the black piec
es before pushing f4.
A possible stand is ll.b3, but it al
lows the regroupment ll 12.f4
exf3 13.exf3 i.d7 14.h3 ic6. As a
rule, Black needs to trade one mi
White's bishops lack prospects. His
nor piece to be perfectly happy with
only viable plan is to push f4, but
his position. That's why plans with
11.f4 exf3 12.exf3 has not cought in
li:ld5 do not bother him at all. For
practice since Black could take the
example, 12.<iJd5 (instead of 12.f4)
best stand against this pawn struc
12 ...ifS 13.h3 a5 14.i.e3 a4 with
ture - 12 ...i.d7 13.h3 li:le7 14.1'1'c2
counterplay on the queenside, e.g.
(14.f4? li:lf5) 14...d5 (or 14...1'\'cS
15.'@'d2 li:lxd5 16.cxd5 '@'d7 17.l!lh2
15. l!lh2 d5). This break in the cen
c6 18.dxc6 bxc6 19.c4 l'lab8.
tre is Black's main method of de
fence against a pawn storm on the The queen move is meant to hinder
kingside. ...<iJe5, but - surprise!

Chapter ?

11.. qie5!? move, but White has not won a sin

gle game after it in correspondence
A similar idea is ll...id7 12.b3 chess!
Note that the most popular continu 12... qixc4
ation, 11...aS, loses a tempo since
White is not obliged to answer This leaves more tension than 12 ...
12.a4, but can develop a piece. Af qixe4 13.'l!lxe4
ter 12.id2 Wffe7 13.f4 Black's pieces
do not succeed to take te best stand
with ...id7, ...Wffc8.


Let's investigate the alternatives:

12.b3 qieg4 achieves the goal of
trading a piece.
12.h3 ie6
The thematic 12 ...id7 is good, If Black traded his last knight here,
but why not use the hit on c4 to he should be able to hold the draw
win a tempo! in view of the opposite-coloured
Even 12 ...qig6 13.f4 exf3 14.exf3 bishops, for instance:
id7 15.f4 qie7 16.g4 ic6 17.g5 13 ... lilg4 14.Wffd3 qixe3<e3 ih3
hxg5 18.fxg5 qid7 is equal. (15...'l!le7 16.l'lfel b6 17.id2 ib7
13.b3 'l!ld7 14.h2 if5! 18.f3 1!!1e6 19.e4 1!!1h3, Berkes-Gyi
mesi, Hungary 2003) 16.l'lfel 1!!1d7
17.id2 l'le6 18.e4 l'lae8 19.f3 f5,
Polugaevsky-Uhlmann, Solingen
1974. Perhaps even better is to in
sert 13 ...aS 14.a4 first.

13.ig2 qixe3 14.he3 'l!le7 15.c4


Exploiting the tactical trick 15.lilxf5

Wffxf5 16.f4? qieg4+! 17.hl lilh5
with attack. If White did not take on
f5, we retreat the bishop to h7 and
f4 would not have a bite anymore
owing to the hole on d3.
Thus<e4 is the most principled

3.'ilt3 'ilc6 4.g3 b4 5.g2

16.'d3 29.@fl? h6! 30.'xa6 'dl+

31.f2 'c2+ 32.fl 'xcl+
Polugaevsky-Panno, Mar de! Pla 33.@f2 lile6 34.'xa7 'd2+
ta 1971, saw 16.b3 d7 17.d4 f5 35.fl lild4 36.'aS+ @h7 37.e5
18.l'1ael !lf8 19.f3 lilf6 20.e3'1;. Black's 'e2+ 'e3+ 39.@fl
best stand is more restrained: 'xe5 40.'e4+ 'xe4 41.fxe4
16 ...M5! 17.'b2 as 18.d4 f6 g6 42.f2 @f6 43.e3 e5
44. d3 lilb5 45. lild6 46.g2
g5 47. f6 48.@e3 b5 49.d3
b4 50.e3 g4 51.g2 lilb5
52.d3 lild6 53.e3 h5 54.d3
f5 55.exfS xf5 56.c6 g5
57.e3 f5 58.d3 g5 Draw.

15. Svidle r - Karjakin

Candidates, Moscow 20.03.2016
19.!ladl b6 20.f3 lilg5 21.e4 as=.
1.c4 lilf6 2.lilc3 e5 3.lilf"3 lilc6
16 ...b6 17.b3 Ab7 18.!lfel !lad8 4.g3 b4 5.Ag2 o-o 6.0-0 e4
19.!ladl c5 20.'c2 d5= 7.lilg5 hc3 8.bxc3 !le8 9.1'3 e3
10.d3 d5 11.'a4
Opening the d-file allows Black
to eliminate the rooks and reach
a draw position. One mistake on
move 29 complicated White's task,
but it all ended up peacefully at the

21.cxd5 hd5 22.Acl Ab7 23.1'3

lilg5 24.e4 'f6 25.'f2 !lxdl
26.!lxdl !ldS 27.!lxdS+ 'xd8
28.'e2 'd4+ Svidler's novelty hinders the plan
with ... lila5 and ...b6, but the queen
does not have any impact on the
centre. Karjakin takes the chance to
hem in the g2-bishop.

11 ...h6 12.cxd5 lilxd5 13.lile4 f5

14.lilc5 f4 15 ..1b2 !lb8

Defending the b7-pawn in order to

free the c8-bishop. If Black wanted
Chapter 7

to push ...b5, he could have done it 16.c4?! lllde7! (eyeing f5) 17.g4?
without any preparation since 15 ...
b5 16.'1xb5? gb8 would be in his No matter the threats, one should
favour. However, this move would never make such moves.
be double-edged as it creates weak
nesses on the queenside. 17...b6 18.lll e4 ie6
Karjakin provokes c4 which weak
ens the square d4. It is indica
tive that the engines prefer for
White more restrained play on the
a) 16.gabl '1e7 17.lll e4 (17.c4 lllf6
18.lll a6 ga8 19.'1b5 gd8 20.'1c5
'1xc5 21.lllxc5 b6 22.lllb3 a5=) or:
b) 16.lll e4 b5 17.'1c2 'l:\le7
The opening is over and we can
take stock now. White has made a
novelty, then played all the obvi
ous moves, and ended down clearly
worse! To be sure, the engines eval
uate this position as nearly even, but
I guess that nobody would like to
contemplate such a hopeless bish
op on g2. It would be interesting
to know what went wrong with his
The best place for the queen is f7 home preparation. After all, Svidler
from where it is eyeing both c4 and is one of world's leading experts on
g6. Now the most principled conti the English Opening. He was obvi
nuation is: ously frustrated with his achieve
bl) 18.c4 lll db4 19.'l:\lcl bxc4 ments as his next attempt to resur
20.dxc4 lll e5! 21.id4 fxg3 22.hxg3 rect the poor bishop is almost los
lllbc6 23.he3 if5 with chaotic play ing. White adds to the bad bishop
where Black's pieces are very active. another positional drawback - an
even worse king.
More prophylactic approaches are:
b2) 18.gabl ie6 19.a4 a6 20.axb5 19.g5? h5?!
axb5 21.'l:\lcl 'l:\lf7 22.lllc5 .tf5oo.
b3) 18.Wcl '1f7 19.a4 fxg3 20.hxg3 Karjakin does not want to part
lll a5oo. with the sight of the sealed bishop,
but the position was ripe for deci
Black should play complexly, com sive action. 19... hxg5! 20.lllxg5 lllf5
bining threats on both flanks. was much stronger. 20.Wb5 if5
3.'ilt3 'ilc6 4.g3 b4 5.g2

21.xg5 does not help either owing takes which eventually led to a curi
to 21...d4 22.ixd4 Wlxd4 23.fili3 ous endgame:
c6 24.Wla4 ixh3 25.xh3 Wlf6.
26.Wle5 g6 27.Wd5+ e6
20.!lfdl d4?! 28.Wlxd7 .ixd7 29.h2= !!aS
30.3 hh3 31.xh3 !!a3
20 ...d7! 21.Wfa3 f5+ was a good 32.!!dcl !leas 33.!!c2 @f7 34.d4
introduction to ... d4. Now White !!dS 35.d5 e536.!lbl g6 37.d6
is still kicking. cxd6 38.!!xb6 h5 39.qixd6
!!daS 40.!!b5? (40.g6!) 40 ..

21 ..ixd4 Wlxd4 22.Wxa7 Wld7 c6 41.g6+ xg6 42.!lcl h7

23.Wla3 43.!!gl !!3a7 44.!!g4 gS 45.!!h5
e7 46.!!gxh4 g6 47.!!g4 qifS
48.!!gh4 g6 49.!lg4 qi{S

23 ...h4 (23 ...c6) 24.Wlc3 Ms

25.h3 hh3?
Black is getting impatient. 50.!!xf4?
25 c6+, taking the centre under 50.!!e5! !!xa2 51.!!e7 g6 52.!!xf4 was
control, was a must. The text allows still winning.
White to activate the queen and
drops all the advantage. The subse 50 ...!!xa2 51.!!th4 g6 52.!!e5
quent play was sprinkled with mis- Draw.

Chapter 8. Rare Second Moves

Main Ideas

I conclude my survey on the English 2.a3 is a typical Sicilian move so

Opening with rare second moves. we should not discard it altogether.
Their only merit is that they might Just as 2.g3, it has no direct influ
throw us out of our repertoire. We ence on the centre so we can safe
need a concrete approach towards ly employ our plan of claiming the
any one of them. centre with 2 ...c6. However, we
1.c4 e5 2.d3 is aimed against 2... should meet d4 by exd4, e.g. 3.ltlc3
c6 in view of3.ltlf3. One possible ex d5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.d4 exd4 or:
ploitative strategy is 2 ...f5 which is
normally bad due to d2-d4. I analyse 3.d4 exd4 4.'!Hxd4 d5
this plan in Grune 16 Schwaninger
- Balinov, Oberwart 2000.
We could reach more familiar po
sitions with 2 .ib4+!? 3 .id2 (or

3.ltld2 c5 and we meet a3 by ...ia5)

3 hd2+ 4.'!Hxd2

If White does not exchange now on

d5, we take on c4:
5.ltlf3 dxc4 6.1/,\fxdS+ l!lxd8 7.if4
ltld7 8.ltlc3 ltlgf6 9.!ldl l!le8 or
5.ltlc3 dxc4.

Here simplest is to trade a pair of 5.cxd5 is the only principled line,

knights with 4 ltlf6 5.ltl:f3 ltlc6
. but it offers us an initiative. I sug
6.ltlc3 0-0 7.g3 d6 8..ig2 ltld4 gest to prevent any blockading ide
9.0-0 ltlx:f3+ 10.h:f3 c6=. as with the manoeuvre ...tf8-e7-

Chapter s

f6. It hinders White's harmoni 4.d3 lilc6 5.lilxc6 dxc6 is quite

ous development: 5...cxd5 6.lilf3 clear so we should consider most
lilc6 7.1/ild3 .ig4 8.g3 .ie7 9..ig2 .if6 ly 4.lilc3, keeping the pawn on d2.
10.0-0 lilge7
4 ...ic5 5.lilb3 .ib4 6.c2 0-0!

The isolated d-pawn is always ready

to move forth, gaining even more The point! White wins a pawn, but
space. falls behind in development. We
can play for suffocation with simple
centralising moves: 7.lilxe4 lilxe4
2.lilf"3 e4 3.lild4 lilf6 8.xe4 1'le8 9. c2 d5 10 .a3 .if8
ll.e3 lilc6 12 ..ie2 dxc4 13.hc4 a5t.

looks already pleasant for Black.

Good old chess laws hint that White You do not need glasses to notice
is playing with fire and should be that White's kingside lacks any de
punished by an energetic attack. fenders...

Chapter 8. Rare Second Moves

Step by Step

1.c4 e5 In the annotations to Grune 16

Schwaninger - Balinov, Oberwart
A. 2.d3; B. 2.a3; C. 2.lilf3 2000, I consider in detail an alter
native plan which is based on 2 ...
A. 2.d3 f5!?. This is an attempt to exploit
White's second move since normal
ly 2 .. .f5 is dubious in view of d2-d4!
An argument in its favour is that
it is applicable after both 2.d3 and
2.a3. On the other hand, it allows
White to follow typical for the Eng
lish Opening schemes. That leaves
him inside his comfort zone.


I propose to meet 3.lild2 by 3 ... c5!?

This ridiculous move aims to dis 3 ...a5 is another positionally
courage plans with lilc3 ib4. It well grounded option - 4.lilgf3
would not have posed any problems lilc6 5.e3 lilf6 6.ie2 0-0 7.0-0
to us had we the Sicilian Reversed "1e8 8.a3 if8 9.b3 d6 10.'!l'c2
with ...d5 in our arsenal. The funny ig4 ll."1el '!l'd7 12.ib2 h6 13.h3
thing is that we still have: 5, Csom-Taimanov, Saint Vin
cent 2001.
2...ib4+!? with a rather easy 4.lilf3 lilc6 5.g3 lilge7 6.a3 ia5! We
game. keep the bishop in order to hamper
White's queenside play. 7.ig2 0-0
Note that ifwe delayed the check for 8.0-0 d6
one move later - 2...lilf6, intending We are ready to attack 9.e3 with
3.lilf3 ib4+, White might definitely 9 .. .f5 so perhaps White should
throw us out of our repertoire with immediately change the course
3.a3!? - why not! of events with:

Chapter 8

5.lil:f3 lilc6 6.lilc3 0-0 7.g3 d6


9.b4!? cxb4 10.lilb3 ib6 11.axb4

lilxb4 12.ia3 lilbc6 13.d4 e4 (13 ...
tg4 14.dxeS=) 14.lilgS fS 15.d5 lile5
16.cS dxcS 17.lilxcS 1/!lxd5!? 18.lila4
td8 with roughly equal chances,
8 lild4 9.0-0 lilx:f3+ 10.tx:f3 c6
but all the fight is still ahead.

11.d4 '1e8 12."\1;1'd3 1/!le7=.

3 hd2+ 4.1/!lxd2
B. 2.a3

We have from here several ways to

This modest pawn move does elimi
complete development. Simplest is:
nate ...tb4, but it neglects the cen
tre. That shonld encourage us to
4 lilf6
claim it with:

Another plan consists of ... d6, .. .f5,

2 ...c6!? 3.d4
... lilf6, but probably the best way to
play for a win is:
3.lilc3 dS 4.cxd5 cxdS 5.d4 should
4 ...b6!? 5.lilf3 d6 6.g3 tb7 7.tg2
be met by 5...exd4!.
lilf6 8.0-0 0-0 9.lilc3 lilbd7.
3.lilf3 e4 4.lild4 d5 5.cxdS lilf6 is a
reversed Alapin where Black's ac
tive pieces ensure him a pleasant
albeit equal game.

This line is inspired by the Bogo

Indian Defence. Black's position is
very solid and flexible. See Game
17 Lein-Korchnoi, Johannesburg
1.c4 e5 Rare second moves

3 ...exd4 for long so ll...i.d6 12.i.xd6 'i;\'xd6

looks consistent. We have enough
3...e4 4.lilc3 d5 is more in the spirit counterplay after 13.h4 !lacs, but
of this book, but it leads to an overly our chances to break through the
static position where White's game enemy's ditches appear to be mini
is too easy: 5.M4 fie7 6.e3 mal.
6e5 lilf6 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.e3
0-0 9.lilge2 lilbd7 10.1\\'b3 lilxe5 4.'@'xd4 d5
ll.dxe5 lilg4 12.'i;\'xd5 'i;\'xd5
13.lilxd5 fidS We can play first 4... lilf6, followed
up by 5... d5. I'm planning to recap
ture on d5 with pawn anyway and
I'm not afraid of 5.e4 d5=. Still, we
could develop the knight to e7 in
stead of f6 in some lines so it looks
clever to push ... d5 immediately.


5.lilc3 dxc4 6.'xdS+ @xdS 7.fif4

White could win a pawn with lild7 8.lilf3 lilgf6 transposes to the
14.lilg3, but Black's initiative main line.
and bishop pair amply compen Of course, Black can also keep the
sate for it after 14...fie6 !. More tension with 5... lilf6.
prudent is 14.lilec3 M5 15.lilb5
lilxe5=. 5.cxd5 is risky as Black will get an
6.cxd5 cxd5 7.fixbS?! !lxbS initiative in various ways. I like the
8.'i;\'a4+ fid7 9.'i;\'xa7?? drops the following original set-up: 5 ...cxd5
queen after 9...i.c6. 6.lilf3 lilc6 7.'d3 /ig4 8.g3 (8.lilc3
6...lilf6 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.lilge2 0-0 d4) 8 .../ie7 9.fig2 i.f6 10.0-0 lilge7
9e5 lilc6 10.lilf4 i.e6 lle2

It is difficult for White to com

We cannot stand the e5-bishop plete development as ll.lilc3 could

Chapter 8

face 11...MS 12.'j,l'bS d4. Perhaps

he should seek simplification with
11.i.gS hf3 12.hf6 .b:g2 13..b:e7
i.e4 14.'j,\'xe4 dxe4 15..b:d8 fu:d8=.

5 dxc4

It is worth considering more com

plex lines as 5...ltlf6 6.i.g5
If White fianchettoed his king's
bishop, he would be unable to
prevent ...d4. We are not worse here, at least For
6 ...i.e7 7.cxd5 cxd5! 8.e3 1tlc6 9.'j,\'d3 instance: 10.ltld4 ltlb6 11.e4 ltlfd7
h6 10.th4 0-0 11.i.e2 12.ltlfS ltlc5 13.ltld6+ .b:d6 14..b:d6
ltlca4 15.ltlxa4 ltlxa4 16.l'ld2 b5
17.i.e2 i.e6 18.f4 l'ldS - our extra
pawn is still alive.

C. 2.ltlf"3 e4 3.ltld4 ltlf6

3... ltlc6 is the common move here,

but Black's pawn formation af
ter 4. ltlxc6 dxc6 is too static and it
would be difficult to devise a clear
It seems that White will obtain a plan. Perhaps long castling is best,
standard IQP position, but 11 ... d4!? in order to mount a kingside at
throws him out of his comfort zone. tack, but 5.ltlc3 ltlf6 6.e3 tfs 7.m3
Following 12.ltlxd4 ltlxd4 13.exd4 b6 8.'j,\'c2 'j,\'d7 9.b3 i.e7 10.h3 h5
ltld5, White should play accurate 11.i.b2 0-0-0 12.a3 is double-edged.
ly in order to maintain the balance:

a) 14.i.g3 'j,\'b6 'j,\'xb5 16..b:b5

i.f5 17.ltlc3 l'lfdS 18.0-0 l'lac8 19.l'lfcl

b) 14..b:e7 'j,\'xe7 15.ltlc3 ltlxc3

16.bxc3 l'leS 17.'j,\'e3 i.g4 18.'j,\'xe7
l'lxe7 19.f3 l'lae8= 20.0-0 l'lxe2
21.fxg4 l'l8e3.
Now both 12 ... @b7 13.b4, Rakh
6.'j,\'xd8+ xd8 7.tf4 ltld7 8.ltlc3 manov-Seirawan, Berlin 2015, and
ltlgf6 9.l'ldl e8 12 ...cS 13.b4 bS, seem unclear.
l.c4 e5 Rare second moves

The text is more in the spirit of the 8..ig2 d6 9.0-0 l!e8 10.d3 h6 ll.llbl
book. li:lc6=.

6 .. 0-0!

Guliyev obtained a good game with

6 ...Vfle7, but it would be more natu
ral to defend the e4-pawn with a
rook. If White does not accept the
gift, he risks to become worse with
out any material consolation, e.g.
7.g3 a5!? (7... lle8=) 8.a3 hc3. li:lxe4 8.%l'xe4 l!e8

After 4.d3 we can already play 4...

li:lc6. The point is that we no long
er fear the set-up with e3, b3, i.b2
and a possible f3 later where White
needs his d-pawn on d2 to pro
tect e3. For instance: dxc6 i.c5 7.e3 exd3 gives Black
free piece play.

4...tc5 i.b4 6.%l'c2

My claim may sound exaggerated,
We meet 6.d4 (and 6.d3) by6...exd3 but I believe that Black's game is
7.%l'xd3 li:lc6. clearly better! White is severely lag
ging behind in development and it
6.g3 hc3 (or 6 ... 0-0 7..ig2 hc3) would be difficult for him to castle.
7.bxc3 0-0 brings about a familiar An illustrative line is:
pawn structure where the knight on
b3 is a little strange and aloof from 9.%l'c2 d5 10.a3 MS n.e3 li:lc6
the kingside. Play may continue 12.i.e2 dxc4 13.hc4 a5t.

Chapter 8. Rare Second Moves

Annotated Games

16. Schwaninger- Balinov White's set-up is a little passive,

Oberwart 2000 but it protects well his castling
position. Thus the manoeu
1.c4 e5 2.g3 f5 3 ..ig2 lilf6 4.d3 vre 8...1/;\fe8 already encourages
.ie7 5.lilc3 0-0 6.lilf3 9.b4! 1/;\fh5 10.f4. The text slows
down White's offensive.
White's move order is unimpor 9.f4
tant provided that he fianchettoes Or 9.b3 .ie6 10 ..ib2 1/;\ld7 11.f4
his bishop and develops the king's !lae8 12.1/;\fd2 id8=, Ribli-Drab
knight on f3. The only independ ke, Austria 2011.
ent set-up is 6.e3 d6 7.lilge2 c6 (7... 9... 1/;\fe8 10.!lbl Wf7!
lila6!? limits White's options) The point! Black targets the c4-
pawn and prepares ... e4, e.g.
11.b4 e4, or 11.a3 lilc7 12.b4 e4.
It transpires that White should
protect c4:
ll.b3 id7 12 .1/;\ld2 !lae8 13.ib2

8.b4 discloses White's plans too
early and suggests a counter in
the centre with 8 ....ie6 9.b5 d5
10.bxc6 li:lxc6. It is not clear at
all that the advance of the b 13...idS
pawn is White's best idea. Cen Black is fully mobilised and well co
tral play with b3, f4 may be a ordinated.
more clever approach.
8 ...lila6 6.. d6 7.0-0

l.c4 e5
Rare second moves

of queens with lild2. My analysis

shows that Black can hold the end
game after 9...te6 10.lild2 Wxdl
11.!lxdl c6 12.b5 !lc8 13.i.a3 lilbd7
14.bxc6 bxc6 15.!labl @f7, planning
Still, it is not worth to test White on
the move 9.e3!. The text does not
waste time on dubious queen ma
7 c6
noeuvres, but prepares ... @h8, i.e6.

I have played in one game 7...lila6, The best move order, however, is
having in mind to meet 8.!lbl by 8 ... 7... a5!? in order to exchange the a
c6 9.b4 lilc7 10.b5 i.d7, but this set pawus, and more importantly, to
up is a bit too passive. provoke !labl.

Later I was attracted by the straight 8.!lbl

forward idea 7...'l!fe8!? 8.b4
8.lild5 lilxd5 9.cxd5 'l!fh5 10.e3 Of course, 8.b4 is better. In fact,
lild7 11.lild2 'l!fxdl 12.!lxdl lilc5 White might need the rook exact
13.lilb3 lilxb3 14.axb3 i.d7=, ly on al. For instance, 8 ... @h8 (in
Gourlay-Greet, Edinburgh 2009. tending ...te6), is best met by:
8 ...Wh5 9.a4 ie6 10.i.a3. In practice,
Black's idea is to sac a pawu for White chooses instead exclu
a great initiative after 9.i.d2 sively:
(9.Wc2 f4) 9 .. .f4 10.gxf4 i.h3 9.!lbl
9.b5 cxb5 10.lilxb5 lilc6 11.lilc3
9...a6 10.a4 te6 ll.b5 axb5 12.axb5

11.hh3 (11.i>hl hg2+ 12.@xg2

lilbd7 13.<!>hl lilg4) ll ...Wxh3
12.lilg5 'l!fh4 13.<!>hl lilg4 14.lilf3
'l!fh3. Black has achieved comfortable
Critical, however, is 9 .e3 ! which development and after 12 ...Wc7
prevents .. .f4 and prepares a trade 13.bxc6 bxc6 14.Wb3 the game

Chapter 8

Spraggett-Dolmatov, Hastings 1989, 15 liJg4


has finished in a draw.

The thematic idea 15 ...f4 was also
8 a5!? 9.a3 l!lhS 10.b4 axM

possible, but perhaps Balinovwant
11.axb4 liJa6 12.b5 liJc5 13 .ie3
ed to keep the centre more fluid.
liJe6 14.bxc6 bxc6
16.'1!1b6?! '1!1e8

Black smells the blood and stakes

on a kingside attack. 16 ...liJxe3
17.'1!1xd8 .ixd8 ensured him a clear
edge though.

17.E1al E1xal 18.E1xal


The email game Kuttruf-Zeh,

2004, saw 15 ..ib6 '1!1d7 16.'1!1c2 .ib7
17.E1b2?! c5 and Black's game is
even more pleasant. An obvious im
provement is 17.c5 liJd5=.
18 ...f4?
Black could also meet 15..ib6 by
15 ...'1!1e8!? 16.c5 f4, for example - Black has a big Elo advantage and
17.cxd6 .ixd6 18.'1!1d2 '1!1e7 19.e3 rushes to finish off the opponent
E1a3 20.E1fcl fxg3 21.hxg3 .ia6 with with a direct attack. Correct was 18 ...
active piece play. .id8! 19.'1!1b4 liJxe3 with the bishop
pair advantage and a target on e3.

19.d2? (19.i.a3! d5 20 ..ia3) 19 ...

fxg3 20.hxg3 d5 21.e3? (21..iel)
21....icS 22.'1!1a5 '1!1h5-+

Now 22.d4 would be risky in view

of 22 ...e4 23.liJe5 liJg5 24.E1al E1xal
25.E1xal .test.

l.c4 eo Kare second moves

Black has achieved the ultimate at it turns problematic. As usual, cen

tacking set-up. The rest is irrelevant tral play is better: 10.d4 !le8 11.c2
to the opening: where Black is solid, but cramped.

23.cxd5 !lxf3? 24.lile4 cxd5 10 lilc5 11.lilh4 lile6 12.lile2

25 .ht'3 dxe4 26.hg4 xg4

27.!lcl? h6 28.'1xc5 lilxc5 So far 12.f4 drops a pawn after 12 ...

29.xc5 dl+ 30.lilg2? f3+ exf4 13.gxf4 lilxe4
31.<i>h2 xf2+ 32.<i>hl filt3 0-1
12 ... lilh5 13.lilf5 g6 14.lile3

17. Lein - Korchnoi

Johannesburg 1979

1.c4 lilf6 2.lilf3 b6 3.g3 b7

4.2 e5 5.d3 b4+ 6.d2
hd2+ 7.xd2 0-0 8.0-0

14 g5

14...fS equalized because 15.exf5

2 16.lilxg2 !lxfS 17.g4? would
lose to 17...lilhf4 18.gxf5 g5.

15.!ladl f5 16.exf5 hg2 17.lilxg2

s ...d6 White's knights are slightly bet

ter coordinated than Black's after
Korchnoi had played earlier 8...!le8 17.lilxg2! gxf5 18.lilhl lilh8 19.f4
9.lilc3 c6 10.!lacl d5 11.cxd5 cxd5 exf4 20.gxf4 e7.
12.d4 e4 13.lile5 lilbd7 14.lilxd7
xd7=, Hort-Kortchnoi, Moscow 17...xf5 18.lilhl?!
1971, but White could improve with
10.d4! e4 11.lilh4 d5 12.lilfs. It is An incredible move from a decent
more logical to leave the pawns on grandmaster as Anatoly Lein. I fail
dark squares. to understand its motives. 18.f4=
eliminated the tension.
9.lilc3 lilbd7 10.e4
18 g4 19.lilh4 g5 20.lilg2

White chooses a plan with f4, but !lf6 21.lilgl lilhg7 22.lile3 5

Chapter s

23.e2 g6'ld5 gf7 25.e4

xe4+ 26.dxe4 gaf8 27.@g2

34 bs

This game is a good example ofwhat

2s.gd2 to do against passive waiting game
- Korchnoi implacably advances,
White stubbornly refrains from seizing more and more space all
28.f4 which should be enough over the board.
to hold after 28 ...gxf4 29.gxf4 c6
30.fxeS dxe5. Perhaps Lein shared 35.cxb5 axb5 36.b4 li'lce6
the opinion of GM Spiridonov who 37.ge3 gas'lge2 c5 39.bxc5
liked to say that f4 was ALWAYS dxc5'ld5 c4 0-1
I suppose that the game was ad
28 li'lge6 29.h3 h5 30.gel g4
.. journed and the knight analysis
31.h4 a6'le3 li'lc5'ld5 c6 convinced Lein that his position'lc3 was hopeless.

Chapter 9. 1.ctJf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4

Main Ideas

1.lllf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 f6! 111'e7 ll.'l:!fxh8 iilf6 was winning for
Black as the queen remains en
trapped on h8. The same theme oc
curs in various lines ofthe 3.b4 sys
tem and it is worth remembering it.

In 2013 Bukavshin introduced the

new idea 6.\1\'a4+, aiming to un
coordinate Black's pieces. Critical
then is 6...id7 7.b5 hc5 8.ic4
Ill e? 9.exd4 exd4
White players had great expecta
tions about this system five years
ago. It seemed that the sharp attack:
4.e3 e5 5.c5 was an effective way
to exploit the light-squares weak
nesses in Black's camp. After 5...
a5 White followed up with 6.ib5+?
c6 7.ic4 axb4 and his design was
based on the hit 8.iilxe5?.

Black should forget about short

castling, but it turns out that his
king can find a safe haven on the
opposite wing. An important nu
ance is that White cannot regain
the pawn with 10.W.b2 ig4 11.iilxd4
because after 11...iild7! all his minor
pieces are hanging and 12.iile6 he6
13.he6 stumbles into 13 ....txf2+!.
However, Reinhold Thiele noticed That leaves White with 10.W.a3
that 8... fxe5! 9.'l:!fh5+ g6 10.\1\'xe5+ lll a6!? 11.0-0 lllb4 12.d3 when

Chapter 9

Black has a pleasant choice between counterplay on the queenside.

12 ...c6 13.lllbd2 b6= and 12 ...MS
13.Wb3 1/!lrd6= enabling ... 0-0-0. See The 5...c5 approach is universal as
Game 2 0 Fraczek-Van Assche, it works against different set-ups.
corr. 2013. Its strong point is that it is centre
oriented and preserves Black's spa
Another modern direction of tial advantage. For instance, 6.bxc5
White's investigations is the Benko ixc5 7.g3 llle7 8.tg2 0-0 9.0-0.
or Benoni Reversed pawn structure.
For instance: 4.d3 e5 5.a3

Black will aim to keep the status

quo in the centre while White will
White tries to keep his queenside attempt flank stabs as f2-f4. See
pawns fluid and to keep all his op Game 19 Iturrizaga-Ly Mo, Cale
tions open. Of course, we11 not ta 2016.
oblige. We can attack his shaky
queenside formation with either 5... Sometimes White offers a pure Ben
a5 or 5...c5. ko gambit with 6.g3 cxb4 7.tg2 lll c6
But not both! In a position of this 8.0-0 a5, but his compensation is
type: at most sufficient for a draw as the
game Korchnoi-Seirawan, London
1984, suggests.

In the above diagram we see that

White's pawn on a3 hampers the
move tcl-a3 which is essential in
the fight for the c5-square. That led
the first players to the idea of re
fraining from a2-a3 and the move
4.lll a3 e5 5.lllc2 is their latest hope
Black lacks comfortable places for of reviving the 3.b4 system. Al
his pieces and his stand is passive though 5... c5 is still possible, I pro
- he will have to defend against pose to enhance this plan by insert
King's Indian style attacks without ing 5. lll a6!? first.

lilf3 dS 2.c4 d4 3.b4

b6 10..ig2 .ib7 11.0-0 a6 opens up

the a-file and that is a good base
for counterplay. Of course, there is
seemingly nothing to attack on the
queenside, but if we considered the
breakthrough ... e5-e4, we would
notice that the c4-pawn is a poten
tial target.

In conclusion, the 3.b4 line is

The trick is that c5!? 7.bxc5 still not living up to White's expec
hc5 8.d3 .id7! threatens the nas tations. The ultra-sharp variations
ty pin ....ia4 and it is unclear how with c4-c5 are balanced, at best,
White should neutralise it. while calmer development offers
With a hindsight, White may choose Black a structural advantage after
7.b5, but then 7... Ei:ic7 8.d3 .id6 9.g3 ...c5 (or ...a5).

Chapter 9. 1.lLif3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4

Step by Step

1.ii:l:f3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 f6! A. 4.d3 e5 5.a3 c5

If you are a Pirc fan, you may con

sider 5... a5!? 6.b5 ltld7!. Then 7.e3
would be well met by 7...dxe3 8.fxe3
e4 9.ltld4 ltlc5! when 10.g3 ii:le7 is
considered in Gaine 18 Van der
Werf-Burg, Wijk aan Zee 2013.

This aggressive approach best fits

in the spirit of our book. We take
advantage of any move that does

not attack the centre to grab more


A. 4.d3; B. 4.e3; C. 4.ii:la3

Rare alternatives are :
6.g3 cxb4 7.ig2 ii:lc6 8.0-0 a5 is
4.1!1'a4+ id7 5.1!1'b3 e5 6.e3 c5 7.bxc5
a good version of the Benko Re
hc5 8.exd4 exd4t.
versed. Korchnoi-Seirawan, Lon
4.ib2 e5 5.e3 (5.a3 c5) 5...dxe3 don 1984,went 9.e3 ig4 10.h3ixf3
6.fxe3 hb4. Wbite does not have 11.hf.3 ic5 12.id5 ii:lge7 13.e4,
full compensation for the pawn: when instead ofthe hasty 13 ...ltlxd5
7.ie2 ii:lh6 8.0-0 0-0 9.1!1'b3 ltlc6; 14.cxd5 ltle7, which was roughly
7.a3 ie7 8.'l!\lc2 ii:lh6 9.id3 g6 equal, Black could have posed more
10.ltlc3 ie6 11.0-0 ii:ld7; problems with 13 ... 1!1'd7!? 14.'l!\lh5+
7.c5 (Vaganian) 7...hc5 8.ic4 ltle7 d8?!!+. Please forgive me for this
9. 0-0 Illbc6 when 10.ii:lxe5 ltlxe5 line, I'm perfectly aware that only a
11.he5 is countered by 11...he3+ ! . silicon creature would take it.

1.lilf3 dS 2.c4 d4 3.b4

6 hc5 7.g3 lile7 8.tg2 0-0

8.id3 hcS 9.0-0 lilge7 10.ia3
9.0-0= b6=, Tomashevsky-Sakaev, Ser
pukhov 2007.
See Grune 19 Iturrizaga-Ly Mo, 8...fS! 9.ie2 lilf6 10.0-0 ie7 11.d3
Caleta 2016. lild7 12.lilbd2 0-0 with a balanced

B. 4.e3 e5 5.c5 5.a3 c5 6.exd4 cxd4 is a better

version of the previous line from
White cannot play 5.exd4? since he Black' s standpoint as the a3-square
is worse after 5 ... e4! - 6.1/:\le2 is occupied.
Or 6.lilh4 'l:!lxd4 7.lilc3 hb4
5.ib2 transposes to 4.ib2 - we can
8.1/:\lhS+ lllf8 9.ib2 lilh6+, Gud
eat the pawn.
mundsson-Kaila, Munich 1936.
6 ...'l:!le7 7.lilgl lilc6 8.'l:!le3 when
5 a5 6.Wa4+ !?
strongest is 8...lilh6!, headingforfS.

6.ibS+? c6 7.ic4 axb4 8.lilxe5? los

5.lilxe5? fxeS 6.1/:\lhS+ is all wrong
es to 8...fxeS! 9.'l:!lhS+ g6 10.1/:\lxeS+
sinceeven 6...g6?! (6...llle7! 7.1/:\lxeS+
We7 11.\!;l'xb8 lilf6
lllf7 8.cS ie6 is close to winning)
7.1/:\lxeS+ ll1f7 8.1/:\lxb8 lilf6 is rather
unclear. Black threatens to win the
enemy queen with ...1/:\ld7, ...ig7.

We typically meet 5.Wb3 by 5...cS

6.bxcS lilc6
Correspondence players pre
fer 6...b:cS!? when 7.exd4 exd4
8.ia3 b6 keeps Black's centre to
gether. Panjwani-So, Edmonton 2014, went
7.exd4 exd4 further 12.d3 ie6 13.lild2 lilbd7
14.a3 dxe3 15.fxe3 b3 16.lile4 lilxe4
17.b:e6 1/:\lh4+ 18.g3 lilxg3 19.i'lgl
lile4+ 20.llldl lildxcS 21.\!;l'eS lilf2+
22.llle2 lilfxd3 23.'l:!ld4 '1ilf2+ 0-1.

6.ic4 axb4 7.exd4

It is not a good idea to delay
this exchange too much as later
Black might recapture on d4 by
piece - 7.'l:!lb3 lilh6 8.0-0 b:cs
8.h3 9.exd4 hd4! 10.lilxd4 1/:\lxd4

Chapter 9

ll.b2 1/;l'b6+, Chouari-Pupke, lilge7 (another good option is

COIT. 2004. 14... lilf4 15.c4 hd4 16.hd4
7...exd4 8.0-0 hc5 e6) 15.c4 d7 16.!lel lilb6
As Russians say, we take everything 17.b3 0-0-0= as in Demuth-So,
and easily win. Our king will be safe Montpellier 2015.
on f8. The game Gareev-Ramirez, 14...d6. White has a slight ini
Saint Louis 2014, continued 9.lilh4 tiative, but Black should be able to
g6 10.d3 @f8 11.lild2 lilc6 12.lile4 neutralise it. Mareco-Ni Hua, Baku
e7 13.f4 lila5 14.hg8, 2015, saw further 15.MS lilge7
16.!lel lilf4 17.d4 lild3 18.!ldl lilxcl
19.!lxcl when 19 ... @f7! would have
been unclear. In the game Black
wrongly opted for a long castle -
19...e6 20.lilc5 hc5 21.!lxc5 0-0-0
22.b6 c6 23.lilc3 !lxd4 24.!lel;!;.

7.b5 hc5 8.c4

8.a3?! 3 9.lilxa3 lile7 10.exd4

when instead of 14...!lxg8 15.f5gg, is bad in view of 10 ...e4.
Black had 14 .. .f5!!+.
8 lile7 9.exd4 exd4

6...lilc6 steers the game into a com

plex ending - 7.b5 lilb4 8.a3 lild5
9.exd4 exd4 10.Wxd4 We7+ ll.e2
Wxc5 12.0-0 Wxd4 13.lilxd4 c5


Ramirez-Edouard, Arlington 2015,

featured 10.Ab2 g4 ll.lilxd4 when
ll ...lild7! 12.lile6 he6 13.he6
14.lilb3 2+! was strong, as Edouard
White's only trump is his lead points out. Black is on top after
in development so he should 14.@xf2 lilc5 15.Wg4 lild3+ 16.@gl
not give us a respite with 14.b2 lilxb2 17.Wxg7?! Wd4+ 18.@fl !lf8+.

1.lilf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4

The careless 10.0-0 allows the rede- C. 4.lila3 e5 5.lilc2 lila6!?

ployment 10 .. g4 ll.i.a3 lild/+.

10 lila6!? 11.0-0 lilb4 12.d3 Ms

12 ...c6 13.lilbd2 b6=, Bukavshin

Shukh, Saratov 2013.


In Demuth-Duda, Ruzomberok
2014, White decided to provoke
...b6 with 13.!lcl, but that only bol
sters Black's queenside. He was bet White's play might be characterised
as hypennodern, but it looks to me
ter after 14.1!1'b3 1!1'd6 15.lilbd2 0-0-0
16.lilh4 i.g6 17.!lel liled5+. simply bad. I propose to take over
the initiative with concrete play.
13.!lel i.xd3 14.i.xd3 lilxd3 15.i.xc5
lilxc5 16.1!1'c4 1!1'd6 17.lilbd2 leads to 6.!lbl
an equal endgame after 17... 0-0-0
18.!lacl b6 19.lile4 lilxe4 20.!lxe4 The other possible approach is 6 .a3
lild5 21.!lxd4 111'c5=. Instead, 17... c5 7.g3 i.e6
!ld8 18.!lacl b6 19.lile4 1/l'd5 and 7...e4 8.lilgli.d7 9.i.g2 f5 10.lilh3
17...d3 18.!lacl b6 are similar. i.a4 11.d3 is tangled.
8.d3 (8.b5 lilc7 9.d3 1!1'd7 10.i.g2
13 ...1!1'd6 i.h3oo) 8 ... 1/l'd7 9.!lbl lile7!?
More solid set-up is 9 ...i.d6
10.lild2 lile7 11.lile4 !lb8 12.b5
lilc7 13.i.g2 0-0 14.0-0 b6.
10.i.g2 th3 11.0-0 hS (11 ...i.xg2 !?
12.@xg2 h5)

Black is ready to castle long. Ob

jectively the position is equal, but
Black's game is easier, After all, he
is still a pawn up. See Game 2 0 Black has good attacking prospects:
Fraczek-Van Assche, corr. 2013. 12.e3 i.xg2 14.@xg2 h4;
Chapter 9

12.e4 hg2 13.i>xg2 h4; Here 14... g5 is a bit premature

12.hh3 1/Nxh3 13.lilcel h4 14.1/Na4+ owing to 15.h4.
i>f7 15.lilxh4?! g5 16.lilhf3 i>gS fol 14...dxe3 15.fxe3 0-0 16.e4 lile6
lowed by ...lilg6. 17.lile3 lild4 is "only" equal. It is
12.lilcel hg2 13.lilxg2 lilc7 14.lild2 more interesting to castle:
lilg6 14... 0-0 15.lilh4
15.lilfel would be too passive -
15 ... lile6 whereas 16.f4?! drops
a pawn to 16 ...exf4 17.gxf4 1/Nc7.
After the text, we can take over
the initiative with:
15 ... g5!? 16.lilf5 lilxf5 17.exf5 hg2
18.i>xg2 e4!? 19.dxe4 i>hS 20.'1!ild3
lile8. The c4-pawn is weak and we
could attack it with ....te5, ...lild6.
For instance: 21.lilel l'la2 22.lilf3
15.f4 1/Na8 23.i>gl 8g8, intending ...g4.
The engine suggests 15.lile4
cxb4 16.axb4 h4 17.lilel which is 7.d3 isnotentirelycorrect- 7...lilxb4
not very consistent, does it? 8.lilxb4 cxb4 9.e3 lile7 10.exd4 exd4
15...h4 16.f5 hxg3! 17.hxg3 lile7 11.g3 lilc6 12.8b2 .ie7 13..ig2 0-0+.
18.lilh4 ID:h4! 19.gxh4 lilf5 20.lile4
lile3 21.he3 1/Ng4+=. 7...hc5 8.d3 .td7!

Note that 6.b5?! lilc5 7.d3 is dubi

ous in view of 7... a6.

6... c5!? 7.bxc5

7.b5 solidifies our centre - 7...lilc7

8.d3 .td6 9.g3 b6 10 ..tg2 .tb7 11.0-0
a6 12.a4 axb5 13.axb5 lile7 14.e4

The threat ... .ta4 is rather awkward

for White and 9.l'lxb7? loses mate
rial. Remains: 9.e3 .ta4 10.1/Ne2 lile7
(10 ...dxe3 ll.fxe3 1/Ne7=) 11.exd4
.ib6 (11...exd4!?12.8xb7 .ic6 13.l'lb2
.tb6 14.1/Ndl .ta5+ 15..td2 .txf3)
12.a3 exd4 13.lilb4 lilc5 with active
Chapter 9. 1.f3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4

Annotated Games

Black's 6th move does not address

1 8. Van der Werf - Burg
any of the above-mentioned strate
Wijk aan Zee 14.01.2013
gic problems. It allows 7.e3! dxe3
8.fxe3 when 8... e4 would be already
1.lll:f3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 f6 4.d3 e5 bad in view of 9.lll d4! with domina
5.a3 a5 6.b5 tion in the centre.

7.g3 lll d7 8.ig2 lllc5

Black plays by general considera

tions, without bothering himself
with "details". I would prefer 8...a4
in order to squelch the enemy's the
matic queenside play. That is not so
significant from computer's stand
point, but it would drastically com
6 ... llle7 plicate White's task OTB because he
remains without a clear plan. For
Black's first task in the diagram po instance, undermining the centre
sition was to decide: with 9.e3 also does not work due to
1. How to meet e2-e3. 9 ... dxe3 10.fxe3 lll c5 or 10.he3 lllf5
2. Then he should choose the best 11.lllc3 lll c5.
set-up of his MS and lllg8. Here is a similar game: 4.d3 e5 5.a3
3. Finally, he should weigh the pros llle7 6.g3 a5 7.ib2 lllg6 8.b5 llld7
and cons of an early ... a5-a4. 9.ig2 a4 10.0-0 lll c5
The best solution is 6... llld7 as point-
ed out in the "Step by Step" chapter.
It prepares to counter 7.e3 by 7...
dxe3 8.fxe3 e4 9.ill d4 lllc5!. At the
same time it does not block the way
to the dark-squared bishop. Thus, if
White decides to play 7.a4 himself,
7...ib4+! would be unpleasant -
8.id2 llle7 9.hb4 axb4 10.11!!.1b3 c5.

Chapter 9

11.lilbd2 j,,e7 12.lilel f5 13.lilc2 0-0 The ABC book recommends to fix
14.lilb4 j,,e6 (14...f4!?) 15.1/;l'c2 1/;l'd7 the enemy pawns on light squares
(15 .. .f4!) 16.!ladl !lad8 17.lildS @h8 and 19 ...h6 was a step in the right
18.!lfel f4 19.lile4 lilb3=, Iturrizaga direction. Instead, Black puts his
Wang Hao, Dubai 2014. own one on a "wrong" place, beg
ging to be stopped with 20.f4!.
9.a4 lilg6
20.'l!fc2 ha3 2t.!lxa3 !lf6 22.!lal
The engines prefer 9 ... lilf5, but f4
humans understand that Black's
only active plan in this structure is
...f6-f5-f4 so the knight should not
be hampering it.

10.j,,a3 j,,e6 11.lilfd2 1/;l'c8

The battle is for c5 so the queen

should have stayed in touch with
the dark squares. ll ...!lb8 was more
accurate. Black is more active here, but
23.gxf4 !lxf4 24.h6 g6 25.1/;l'd2=
12.h4 j,,d6 13.h5 lilf8 14.lilb3 would hold. Instead White errs and
lilxb3 15.1/;l'xb3 lild7 lands in a critical position.

23.@d2? fxg3 24.fxg3 !lf2

25.ti3 j,,g4 26.!lhfl !lh2 27.c5
@hS 28.1/;l'c4 'l!ff5 29.'l!fdS
1/;l'g5+ 30.@c2 c6 31.bxc6 bxc6
32.1/;l'f7? h6 33.!labl e4 34.hg4
exd3+ 35.@xd3 'l!fe3+ 36.@c2
d3+ 37.@b2 dxe2 38.!lfel 'l!fd4+
39.@a3 'l!fxg440.!lb3 !ld8 41.'l!fc7
!ldl 42.'l!ff7 l!lh7 0-1
Chances are roughly even and any
small nuance could tip slightly the
balance in either side. Now 16.h6! 19. lturrizaga Ly Mo

would have given White a hidden Caleta 01 .02.2016

trump in a future endgame.
1.lil:f3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 f6 4.d3
16.lild2 lilc5 17.'l!fc2 0-0 18.lilb3 e5 5.a3 c5 6.bxc5 hc5 7.g3 lile7
lilxb3 19.'l!rxb3 f5 8.j,,g2 0-0 9 .0-0
lilf3 dS 2.c4 d4 3.b4


White has made all his active

moves, but he cannot progress any
further. The d4-pawn cuts his forc
es on two and hampers his manoeu
vring. Conversely, Black possesses a
clear plan for offence. He can push
forth his kingside pawns.
9 lilec6 16.td2 f5 17.lilf2 e4?!

The queen's knight should control This is a typical strategic mistake.

the key square c5 from a6 or d7. The pawn trade is almost always
But the other knight could take an in White's favour since it frees his
other route - to g6, leaving c6 for pieces. Normal would have been
the bishop, e.g. 9...td7 10.lilbd2 17...exf4 18.M4 '1be8. Then Black
lila6 11.1/c2 (ll.lile4 tc6) ll...tc6 will aim for ...g5, .. .f4.
12.lilb3 b6
18.dxe4 fxe4 19.he4 hc4

A solid human approach. The

greedy computer suggests 20.tc3
tcS 21.hc6 1/xc6

20 .. lilc5 21 .if3 lilxb4?!

This idea is probably based on mis

13.lilxc5 lilxc5 14.a4 e4t. calculation. Black's knight is head
ing for c3, but instead it will be
10.lilbd2 te7 11.lilel lila6 12.lilc2 forced to land the passive place b6.
te6 13.!ful '1b8 14.f4 11d7
15.lile4 22.axb4 lila4 23.lilg4H6 24.YNc2

24.b5!? would repel the knight -

24 ... lilb6 25.'1b4 with the more ac
tive pieces. Instead, White sudden
ly shifts the battle to the kingside.

24 b5 25.YNg6 @h8 26.te4


tg8 27.'1bcl lilc3 28.td3 YNe7

29.'1fel !lli6 30.lilxf6?!

Chapter 9

Simplifying Black's task. The op 23.11ifb2 and White preserves

posite-coloured bishops justify the some initiative due to the hang
quick draw that followed. ing state of the .ic5. This line
suggests that it would be pref
30 ...!lbxf6 31.11ilh5 lile4 32.he4 erable to get rid of the problem
11ifxe4 33.11ile5 Draw. bishop.
20 ..ixc5 11ilxc5 21.lilg5 lilc3 22.11!.rel

20. Fraczek - Van Assche

corr FICGS 2013

1.lilf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 f6 4.e3

e5 5.c5 a5 6.11ila4+ .id7 7.b5
hc5 8 .ic4 lile7 9.exd4 exd4

10 .ia3 lila6 11.0-0 lilb4 12.d3

.if5 13.11ifb3 Y!\'d6 14.lilbd2

22 ...liled5!?
The exchange sacrifice is not
obligatory. For instance, Black
could save it with 22 ...!ldeS, but
then White could repeat moves
with 23 ..if7 (23.Y!l'e6+!?) 23 ...
!ld8 24..ic4.
23.lile6 11ild6 24.lilxdS l!lxd8 Black
has full compensation thanks to
the weakness of the b5-pawn. He
14... 0-0-0 would have practical chances OTB,
but computers easily defend such
14...a4 temporary uncoordinates positions: 25 ..ixd5 11ifxd5 26.11ild2
White's heavy pieces, but it is more f4 27.!lfel g5 28.b6 cxb6 29.Y!l'b2
committal since the b4-knight los 11ild6 30.!lacl !le8 31.!lxeS+ l!lxe8
es pawn support. That binds the 32.!lxc3 dxc3 33.11ilxc3 draw, Kog
d6-queen with its defence. Still, ler-Riifenacht, ICCF 2012.
the game remains balanced: 15.11!.rbl 15.lilh4 .ig6 16.lilxg6 hxg6 17.h3
0-0-0 16.lilh4 ig6 17.lilxg6 hxg6 liled5
18.h3 f5 19.lilf3 lilbd5
Black had no time for 19 ...!lh5 17...f5 weakens both e5 and g5 and
(covering g5 and threatening that gives White sufficient compen
...g5), due to 20.!lel liled5 21.!le5 sation for the pawn after 18.!lfel
(threatening 22 ..ixb4 lilxb4 liled5 19.lilf3. Black finds an indi
23.!le6) 21...lilc3 22 ..ixb4! .ixb4 rect defence of the piece:
lilf3 dS 2.c4 d4 3.b4

18.lile4 Wfe5 It seems that White is in a predi

cament, buthefindsenoughcounter
play thanks to the open c-file:


It turns out that 19.lilxc5? stum 27.b6! cxb6 28.i.d2 d3 29.Wfbl

bles into 19 .. . !lxb3! ! 2 0.g:xb3 WfgS+ Wfc6 30.!le3 !lhd4 31.!lcl !lc4
2Ll!ih2 !lh8-+. 32.!lxc4 Wfxc4 33.!lel Wfc6
34.lile4 !ld4 35.!lcl !lc4 36.lilc3
19 lilb6 20.i.b2 i.f8 21.lilg3 a4
i.a3 37.!ldl !lxc3 38.hc3 Wfxc3
22.Wfdl Wfc5 23.a3 lilxc4 24.dxc4 39.!lxd3 Wfb2 40.Wfdl b5 41.!ldS+
!lh4! 25.axb4 Wfxb4 Wfxc4 Draw.

Chapter 10. 1.ttJf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

Main Ideas d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

In my 2012 book, The Moder Reti, I

suggested that White could obtain a
This chapter deals with some very slight pull after 8.e2 (8.e3 "'1'd8
sharp variations which need memo 9.d4 li:lf5) 8... lilf5 9.0-0 e5 10.g4
rization. White is ready to contest li:lh4 11.e3 "'1'd6 "'1'c7 13.f4.
the centre with pawn sacrifices in However, the latest innovation:
the Blumenfeld/Benko style. For 9..."'1'd8!?, which clears d4 for the
instance, 3 ... c5 4.b4 (4.exd4 is the knight, leaves Whitewithout a clear
Benoni Reversed. It is covered in plan. His only sensible attempt to
the next chapter.) 4. . .li:lf6!? 5.b2 get something out of the opening
cxb4 6.a3 may be not entirely cor could be an attack on the e-file, but:
rect, but it is not easy to refute, es 10.'1el g6! 11.g4 g7 12.
pecially in rapid games. 13.g5 e6!? 14."'1'd2 h6
My repertoire choice is quick devel 15.M4 g5 16.e3 "'1'c7 17."'1'e2
opment with: 0-0-0

In the last years Black has found
new ideas which cast doubt on
White's opening approach.
First of all, 4.exd4 lilxd4
"'1'xd4 c6 7.d3 lilh6! turns
out to be even slightly more pleas
ant for Black.

Chapter 10

leads to interesting double-edged il.e7 11.0-0 0-0


The tricky 4.b4?! has also received

serious blows. The lazy solution is
to answer 4...lilxb4!? 5.exd4 e5

A critical position. Black will bol

ster his kingside with the manoeu
vre and he'll wait to
see whether White's centre will of
fer sufficient compensation. But
You can play normal chess here do not overestimate your chances!
without having to discover only Most probably the position is bal
moves. For instance: 6.dxe5 il.f5 anced. See Grune 22 Hacker-Krib
7.lila3 il.d3 or 6.a3 e4 7.axb4 exf3 ben, BdF-Schachserver 2013.
8.Wxf3 '/;l'xd4=.
You should also be ready to face the
A sterner test of White's idea is to symmetrical pawn structure that
grab the pawn: arises after:
4... dxe3 5.fxe3 lilxb4 6.d4 e5! 4.d3 e5 5.exd4 exd4
7.a3 lilc6!
White will prepare b4 and I think
that we must counter it with ...b5!.
An illustrative line is lilf6
7.0-0 il.c5!? 8.lila3 0-0 9.lilc2 a5
10.b3 !lb8! ll.a3 b5!

The point! Instead of7...e4?!, Black

opts for a position with an open e
file. Now 8.d5?! e4 9.lilfd2 Ill es
promises Black a strong attack, so
White should play:
8.lilc3 exd4 9.exd4 lilf6 10 .ie2
We preserve our space advantage.

Chapter 10. 1.lLif3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

Step by Step

1.lilf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3 lilc6! 8.V!!ia4+ (8.a3!?) 8 ... lilbd7!

8...iilc6 9.d5 \1Na5 10.\/Ndl iilb8
This is a solid equalizer. 3...c5 also ll.lilbd2 iilbd7, followed up by
has enough fans who love gambit ...ih6, is unclear.
pawns after 4.b4 (Of course, the 9.\1Nxb4 ih6! 10.\1Nb3 0-0 ll.ie2
Benoni Reversed with 4.exd4 is a 'l!"a5+ 12.ic3 \1Nh5 13.id2 e5!
decent alternative. I consider it in 14.iilxe5 V!!ih4+ 15.g3 V!!ih3 16.lild3
the next chapter). Perhaps the most V!!ig2+.
tricky move order is 4...iilf6!? 5.ib2
b) 7.a3! e6 8.ie2 iilc6 9.0-0 a5
dxe3 6.fxe3 cxb4. This approach is
10.d4 is perhaps White's best move
principled, but it demands very pre
order towards this position:
cise play.

It was tested in several corres

To start, White should avoid here:
pondence games which com
a) 7.d4?! in view of 7...g6! monly featured 10 ...b6 and
7... e5 8.iilxe5 id6 9.ie2 0-0 White enjoyed an initiative af
10.a3 iilc6 11.0-0 'Ifie? is nice for ter ll.d5!? exd5 12.ixf6 V!!ixf6
Black so White should continue 13.iilbd2.
ingambit style with 8.iilbd2 exd4 Critical is 10 ...ie7! 11.iilbd2 0-0.
9.exd4 id6 10.c5!? ic7 ll.ib5+ White is yet to prove his compensa
iilc6 12.'llie2+ V!!ie7 13.V!!ixe7+ tion. Dammer-Buettner, corr. 2014,
<tlxe7 14.0-0 with enough com saw 12.iile5?! lilxe5 13.dxe5 iild7
pensation for the pawn. 14.axb4 ixb4 15.lile4 iilc5+.

Chapter lO

12.axb4 lilxb4 also looks fine for 6.Ae2

Black. So the ball is in White's court Bach-Anand, Caleta 2016, fea
in this line. tured 6.a3 as 7.M4 Ad6 8.hd6
6...lilf6 7.0-0 Ae7 8.lila3 0-0 9.lilc2
as 10.b3 h6 (10 ... !lbS ll.Ab2 Acs
12.a3 bS) ll.a3
ll.Ad2 does not hit d4 so we
could continue 11...AfS 12.a3
lilh7 13.b4 Af6.
11 ... !leS 12.!lbl
The best solution here is to stop the
march of the b-pawn with:
12 ...!lbS 13.b4 (13.Ab2 Ac5 14.b4=)
13...axb4 14.axb4 bS=.
A. 4.exd4; B. 4.b4?!
We see that White can always drag
4.d3 aims to throw us out of reper our bishop to cS by playing Ab2,
toire if we answered 4...eS S.exd4 and equalize with b4. That brings
lilxd4 6.lilxd4 'j,\'xd4. Not that it is us back to move 7. Why not try:
such a big achievement, but I con 7...AcS!? Then 8.lila3 0-0 9.lilc2 aS
sider ... lilh6 instead of ... eS. We can 10.b3 !lb8! ll.a3 bS
follow in Anand's footsteps:
S ... exd4. Of course it is natural to
preserve more pieces on the board
since we have a space advantage.

keeps the tension in our favour

since we have preserved our supe
rior centre. Remember this thema
tic way of neutralising the plan with
The plot in this pos1bon turns b4!
around the d4-pawn. White will aim White could try to exploit the ab
to encircle it and we cannot oblige to sence of our bishop from e7 with:
play by general considerations. Be 8.a3 aS 9.AgS, but 9...h6 10.hf6
fore all, we should decide how to (10.Ah4 0-0 11.lilbd2 Ae7) 10 ...'j,\'xf6
meet the following White's plan: 11.lilbd2 0-0 12.lile4 We7 still keeps

16? d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

things in control. Black is ready to

take over the initiative after 13.'li!ld2
tb6 14.tdl a4 15.h3 fS.

A. 4.exd4 li:lxd4 'li!lxd4

White does not gain anything by de

laying this natural move - 6.d3 li:lh6 13 ... li:lxe3 (Computers like 13 ...
7.ie2 lilf5 8.lild2 g6 9.lilf3 'l!ltd6. h5 and 13...'l!\ta5) 14.fxe3 h5, for
instance, 15.g4 hg4 16.hg4
6 ...c6 7.d3 hxg4 17.h5 f5 intending 18.hxg6
7.ie2 li:Jh6 8.d3 transposes.
11.te2 tg7 12.sdl o-o 13.0-0
7. . . li:lh6! 1i!Ia5 14.g4 li:Jxe3 15.fxe3 ie6
(15 .. .f5!?) was better for Black
in Kravtsov-Ovetchkin, Vladi
vostok 2014.
11...cxd5 12.Wxd5 li:lxe3 13.fxe3
Wxd5 sb8 15.sdl e6 @e7 tg7 18.b3 td7
19.a4 a6 f5+, Michalik-Na
jer, Lysa nad Labem 2014.


8.txh6 gxh6 9.te2 tf5 hard

Black generously offers White to ly needs more attention - Black's
play 8.ie3 'l!\td8 9.d4 since his game pieces dominate the board.
is very easy after Although The "improved" version of the
he cannot realistically claim an ad above line is 8.te3 'li!ld8 9.txh6
vantage, practical experience sees (9.ie2 li:Jf5 10.0-0 has no ven
him scoring more than 70% from om due to 10 ...g6) 9 ...gxh6 10.d4
here: ig7 ll.d5 hardly even equalizes af
10.'li!ld2 g6 ll.d5 ter ll ...Wd6! (threatening 12.id3
11.0-0-0 tg7 12.ie2 0-0 13.h4 is hc3+ 13.bxc3 'li!le5+) 12.scl 1ll'g6
not dangerous because White's 13.Wf3 1ll'g5, Zvjaginsev-Granda Zu
attack does not have serious niga, Pamplona 1996.
chances to succeed without a
dark-squared bishop: 8.h3 li:Jf5 9.g4 aims to prevent

Chapter 10

Black's knight from reaching d4, Salov, Hermanas 1995, when 12 ...
but 9 ...'/;l'eS+! (9 ...lilh4 10.ie3 Wf6 l;l'c7! 13.f4 tl.e7 14.fS hS 15.h3 hxg4
11.f4 eS 12 .fS) throws a spanner in 16.hxg4 c5 is balanced.
the works.

The h4-knight is easily defended

10.lile4 with 17.l;l'el (or 17.if2 id7 18.'/;l'el)
The more natural move 10.l;l'e2 17...id7 18.if2 gS while 18 ...ic6
does not even equalize after 19.f6 he4 20.fxg7 !lg8 21.dxe4 lilg6
10 ...l;l'xe2+! 11.he2 (ll.lilxe2 is equal.
lilh4 12.lilg3 lilf3+ 13.l!ldl g6)
11...lild4+. 10.!lel
10 ...lild4 11.f4 Was+ (ll...'/;l'c7 12.ie3
eS) 12.id2 '/;l'd8 13.ig2 g6 14.ic3, 10 ..ig4 g6 11..ixfS .ixf5 12.d4 .ig7
Naiditsch-Bauer, Mulhouse 2011, 13.ie3 0-0= was the stem Grune
brought about a position where 21 Gorovets-Bosiocic, Greensboro
White is overextended. That could 2014.
be exploited with 14...hS+.
10 g6!

8.. lilf5 9.0-0


Gonzalez Vidal-Naroditsky, Tsagh

9.g4 lilh4 10.!lgl '/;l'd6 11.!lg3 is clear kadzor 2015, saw 10 ... lild4 ll.if4!
ly dubious in view of 11 ...eS! g6 12.ieS f6 13.hd4 Wxd4 14.if3
11...hS 12.llle4 '/;l'b4+ 13.id2 with an initiative.
l;l'xb2 14.ic3 '/;l'b6 15.gxhS was
unclear in Getz-Hammer, San
defjord 2012.
12.ie3 f5 13.gxfS lilxf5t.

9 ... 'd8

The latest innovation in this line,

aimed at anticipating g4.
The older move was 9... e5!? 10.g4
lilh4 ll.ie3 '/;l'd6 12.lile4, Illescas-
1 "A d5 d4
2.c4 3.e3

n.tg4 21.axb6 can be calculated up to a

perpetual check. More dangerous,
Concrete approach. White targets however, is 19.d4 when 19 ...hd4?
the e7-pawn. failsto

11 .ig7 12 .ixfS .ixf5 13..ig5

.. 19.E:edl .id4= .

13.. .f6 14..ie3 Wxd3 15.Wb3 1/lfd7 B. 4.b4?! dxe3

16.sadl 1/llc7 17.tc5 e5 is probably
a draw. White cannot regain the!? is an interesting and
pawn, but he owns the only open simpler alternative. Its idea is to
file. An illustrative line is 18.h3 h5 meet 5.exd4 by 5...e5. For instance: he4 20.sxe4 tf8 21.txfS 6.a3
wxf8 22.se3 sh7 23.1/lfc2 f5 24.sed3 Or 6.dxe5 .if5 .id3 8.1/lfb3
sg7 2s.Wd2 f4=. .ic5=.
6...e4 7.axb4 exf3 8.1/lfxf3 1/llxd4
14.'1l!d2 h6 15.M4 g5 16.te3 1/lfc7 9.E:a4 li:lf6
17.We2 0-0-0
Or 10.1/lfe3+ Wxe3+ 11.fxe3 td7
12.b5 a5=.
Black's pressure down the d-file and 10 ...te7 1/lfd7 12.E:xa7 1'1xa7
the active bishop on the main diago 1/lle6+ 14.te2 td7= .
nal promise him good counterplay.
It is difficult for White to organise 5.f:xe3 1Dxb4
an attack. For instance:
5...e5 has never been played, not be
18.a4 \t>b8! cause it is particularly bad, but be
cause it is better to take the sacri
Eliminating both tactical threats ficed pawn. The position after 6.b5
ha7 and d4 which were possible af li:lb4 .if5 8.e4 tg4 is strategi
ter 18 ...MS: 19.ha7 b6 20.a5 Wxa7 cally unbalanced and unclear.

Chapter 10


6.1Wa4+ lilc6 7.d4 has no bite: 7...

td7 8.'i!lb3 e5

14 ...e4!+.

6 . e5
. .

9.d5 The simplest choice from a practi

If White tries to play by anal cal standpoint. It ensures us easy
ogy with the main line 9.te2, development and a good control of
the d4-pawn falls after 9 ...exd4 the centre. 6...c5 and 6... e6 are also
10.exd4 lilxd4. And in the event possible.
of 10.0-0, Black conld return
the pawn with a positional ad
vantage - 10 ...d3!? 11.hd3 lilf6
12.lilc3 td6 13.tb2 0-0+.
9...lilb4 10.lilc3
10.a3 lila6 11.lilxe5 was horrible
for White after ll ... lilc5 12.'i!lc2
ta4 13.\Wf2 lilf6 14.lilc3 td6
15.lild3, Kozul-A.Petrosian, Slo
venia 1994, 15 ... lilg4!+.
10.td2 is hardly an improve
ment - 10 ... lila6 11.lilxe5 lilc5
12.'i!lb2 lilf6 13.te2 td6 14.lilxd7 7.a3
1!\lxd7 15.lilc3 0-0 16.0-0 l'lfe8.
10 ... lilf6! 7.lilxe5!? 'i!lh4 8.@d2 lilf6 9.lilc3 may
Pakhomov-Ovetchkin, St Pe look absurd, but in fact Black's.task
tersburg 2012, saw 10 .. .f6? is not so easy due to White's power
which was bad in view of 11.c5! ful pawn centre. I even suspect that
(dragging a piece on c5) 11... it is objectively White's best option
hc5 12.a3, winning the unfor and his only way to keep the balance
tunate knight. although Black retains some initia
11.te2 td6 12.0-0 0-0 13.c5 hc5 tive with best play:
14.a3 9 ...lilg4! d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

9...td6 10.a3 he5 (!?)

11.axb4 tfs 12.td3 hd3
13. xd3 was unclear in Arribas
Lopez-Hernando Rodrigo, Sants
Open 2013 and after
14. c2 ! White got an edge.
White may try 11!.lhS 11.cS
hc5 12.a3! li.lc6 13.dxcS WxcS
14.11!.lb3 with very sharp play
where better calculation should
17.8b3!? li.lxcS 18.11!.lc4 li.lxb3
decide the game.;
9...tf5 10.11!.lf3 .ie4 17.c6hc6 18.8b21i.lxd4
li.lxe4+ 12.e2 li.lc3+ 13.d2 tcS 20.8e2+ d7oo.
li.le4+ 14.e2 li.lc3+ led to a re
ll...Wg6 12.h3 li.lc2+ 13.e2
petition of moves in Czarnota
li.lxal 14.hxg4 li.lc2 15.f2 li.lb4
Socko, Katowice 2010.
ll...te7?! 12.a3 li.lxe3 13.We2
li.lbc2+ 14.f2 li.lg4+ td6!?
10.a3 li.lxeS ll.axb4 could face
11 ...hb4!! 12.dxeS tf5 13.11!.la4+
c6 14.Wxb4 0-0-0+ 15.'i!fd6 8he8
16.g3 8xd6+ 17. el 11!.lh6 18.exd6 13.a3
a6. White's king will never find a Black manages to blockade the
safe haven so his defence should enemy pawns after 13.e4 Wg6
be unpleasant in a practical 11!.lxd6 15.a3 li.lc6 16.dS
game. Ii.lees 17.h3 li.lxf3+ 18.11!.lxf3 li.leS
10 ...11!.lh6 11.el c5! 19.11!.lg3 0-0.
1L.te6 12.8bl li.lxe3 13.Wa4+ 1i!fxd6 15.td3
td7 li.lec2+ 15.f2 'i!fg6 0-0 16.8a2 cxd4 17.exd4 li.lf6 18. f2
16.cS li.la6 is another crazy po tg4 19.te3 8ae8 20.l'lel
sition where White has at least This position is dynamically bal
two decent moves: anced, but Black can pose practical


problems to White with 20...bSt - 9.iild4 iile5 10.iilc3 iilf6 ll.'iilc2 c5

he does not risk much with the d5- ll...td6 12.ie2 0-0 13.0-01:1e8 is
square in his possession. also in Black's favour as 14.iildbS
.ig4 15.iilxd6 cxd6 will practical
The bottom line of my analysis is ly cost White the c4-pawn while
that 7.iilxe5!? should not be under 14.1:1bl a6 will deprive him of any
estimated and it leads to great com sensible ideas.
plications where the cost of mis 12.dxc6 iilxc6 13.iilxc6 bxc6 14.ie2
takes looks higher for White. occurred in Neubert-Dmitriev,
ICCF World Cup, 1990 when taking
7 iilc6!
.. the pawn with 14 ...tcS would have
given Black a clear edge.
The first game in this variation,
Takacs-Rubinstein, Merano 1924, Simpler is 9 ... iilxd4 10.'iilxd4 fS
saw 7... e4?! 8.iilfd2 iild3+ 9.hd3;. ll..ie2 iilf6 when White should not
White should be more aggressive: have enough compensation:
8.iile5! iilc6 9.\Wa4! with a pull. For
instance: 9 ...td6 10.iilxc6 \Wh4+
ll.g3 hg3+ 12.hxg3 \Wxhl 13.'iilb5!
iilf6 14.iileS+ c6 15.iilxc6 td7
16.'iileS+ ie6 17.'iild6, with a strong

12 ..ib2 b6 13.0-0 tcS 14.\Wc3 0-0

15.iild2 td7+.

9 iile5 Wfh4+ 11.iilf2

Bl. 8.d5?!; B2. 8.iilc3

8.ie2 exd4! (It is safer to open up

the e-file. Thatalsoweakens White's
gl-a7 diagonal.) 9.exd4 iilf6 10.iilc3
transposes to line B2.

Bl. 8.d.5?! e4 9.iilfd2 u. iilf6


168 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

ll ... ltlg4 12.g3 lilxf2 13.1/!!lf3 1/!!lf6 Black obtains an initiative thanks to
14.1/!!lxf6 1ilxf6 15.lflxf2 lile4+ 16.lflf3, the timely undermining of the ene
Mueller-Fier, Caleta 2014, 16 ...ltlc5 my centre: 13 ... c6 14.!lbl b5!, Nguy
offers Black a better queenless en-Steinke, corr. 2014.
9 .exd4! 10.exd4 .ie7 11.0-0

12 ..ie2
11..if4 0-0 12.d5 ltla5 13.ltlb5 is ef
12.1/!!ld4 lilfg4 13.!la2 d6 14.g3 fectively parried with 13...ltleS (or
1/!!lh6+. even 13....id6 14..id2 b6 15.ltlxd6
cxd6 16 ..ig5 h6 17..ih4 1/!ie7 18.0-0
12 lileg4 13.g3 lilxf2 14.gxh4
.. g5 19.M2 lilg4) 14.0-o c6.
lilxdl 15. lflxdl .ic5
11 0-0
White's pieces are too passive.

B2. 8.lilc3 lilf6

Perhaps 8...exd4 9.exd4 lilf6 is just

as good since the only line of inde
pendent significance, 10.d5 ltla5
ll..id3, is better for Black. It was
proved by two 2013 email games
of Mujunen which featured 11 .. ..tcS
12.1/!!le2+ 1/!!le7 13.1/!!lxe7+ lflxe7.
Both sides have completed devel
9 .ie2!?
opment, but we still have an extra
pawn. I should note, however, that
9.d5 ltla5 White's fluid centre keeps us at bay
9...e4 10.ltlg5 ltle5 is not too clear so all the fight is ahead. Our task
after 11..ie2 !. would be easier if we provoked d5
10.ltlxe5 .id6 11.ltlf3 0-0 12 ..id3 .ig4 since we'd have clear counterplay
13.0-0 with ... ltla5, ... c6. After the more
cunning 12.lflhl, we could lead our
bishop to f5 or g4, having in mind
....ih5-g6. I would gladly take Black
here. See Game 22 Hacker-Krib
ben, BdF-Schachserver 2013.

Chapter 10. 1.lif3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

Annotated Games

21. Gorovets - Bosiocic 14...'iifb6 15.lila4

Greensboro 31 .08.2014
It was better to play a waiting game
1.lilf3d52.c4d43.e31ilc64.exd4 with 15.!ladl 1Wa6 16.Wl'e2 !lad8
lilxd4 5.lilxd4 Wl'xd4 6.lilc3 c6 17.!ld2 ie6 18.b3 ic8. White's
7.d3 lilh6 8.ie2 lilf5 9.0-0 Wi'd8 knight is better off on c3 than on c5.
10.ig4 g6 11 ..bfS .bf5 12.d4
ig7 13.ie3 0-0 14.WId2 15 ...Wl'a6 16.b3 !lfd8

The correct rooks set-up is 16 ...

!lad8. The other one will go to e8 in
order to prepare ...e5. Opening the
centre would be in favour ofBlack's
bishop pair.

17.lilc5 Wl'b6 18.!ladl Wl'c7 19.f3

b6 20.lile4

We see a typical Caro-Kann/Scandi

navian pawn structure. It is gener
ally harmless for Black, but it is use
ful to know what exactly he should
do in it. Ifhe waits passively, White
could trade bishops and organise a
kingside attack. The best approach
is to harass the c4-pawn, trying to
provoke b3. 14...ie6 is therefore
principled, but 15.Wi'e2 Wi'a5 16.!ladl It is now clear that 16 ... !lfd8 was
1Mla6 17.b3 !lad8 allows 18.lile4 and wrong. It would be senseless to try
17...Wi'a5 is met by 18.d5. Thus it is to justify it with 20 ... a5 since after
best to put a rook on d8 before mov 21.a4 the pawn on b6 would be a
ing the f5-bishop. potential target. On the other hand,
1./tlf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

White is threatening g4 which 36.E!cl Eldb7 with an initiative. Af

would not have been a problem ter the text the game is totally even,
stayed the right rook on d8 - Black but the draw has come after mutu
could simply retreat to c8. I would al mistakes:
think of repairing the damage with
20 ...Ele8, but then White would ob 34. E!b2 35.Eldd2 Elxc2
tain an initiative with 36.Elxc2 Elbl+ 37.ll1g2 \i!fb4
38.c5 il.g7 39.1i!fc4 \i!fb8 40.d5
20 E!d7 21.\i!ff2 :!lads 22.g4
.. Wf4? (40...cxd5 41.exd5 exd5
b:e4 23.fxe4 e6 24.Eld2?! 42.\i!fxd5 E!hl! !=) 41.3? (41.
\i!fd3) 41 Elgl+ 42.llixgl Wxg3+

The pawn structure has changed in 43.i>fl \i!fxh3+ 44.@el? (44.

White's favour who is now control llif2=) 44 \i!fg3+ 45.llidl Wxg4+

ling the game. He should have tried 46.We2 \i!fgl+ 47.\i!fel \i!fd4+
to maintain the grip with 48.\i!fd2 Wgl+ (It is not easy to
Elf8 25.llihl when 25 ...b5 would al evaluate correctly 48...\i!fxe4! 49.d6
low 26.c5 e5 26.d5. After the text \i!ff3+ 50.\i!fe2 fill+ 51.\i!fel Wd5+
Black opens lines on the queenside 52.\i!fd2 il.d4 53.'/;!fg2 'l;!fh5+ 54.ll1d2
and should be confident for his fu c5+) 49.Wel \i!fd4+ 50.\i!fd2
ture. l!!'gl+ Draw.

24 b5! 25.E!fdl bxc4 26.bxc4


\i!fa5 27.1i!fe2 \i!fc3 28.\i!fd3 Was 22. Hacker - Kribben,

29. \i!fe2 MS 30.Eld3 Wa4 31.El3d2 Schachserver, 04.10.2013
Elb8 32.h3 Elb4 33.lk2
1.ltl:f3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3 ltlc6 4.b4
dxe3 5.fxe3 ltlxb4 6.d4 e5 7.a3
ltlc6 exd4 9.exd4 ltlf6
10.ltlc3 il.e7 11.0-0 0-0 12.llihl


The table have turned and Black

now misses the chance to deal a
blow in the centre - 33...c5! 34.d5 12
exd5 when 35.exd5? would fail to
35 ...E!e7. Remains 35.Elxd5 Elbl+ Black's pieces are well placed and

Chapter 10

out of reach of the enemy forces. now tries to cover it with 16....@.h5
The c6-knight can always retreat to 17..@.d3 .@.g6 18.lll g5 b619..@.xg6 hxg6
a5 after d4-d5, then ...c6 will gener 20.lll d5 lll a5, White has 21.i;f3 and
ate counterplay. Remains to accom the idea 1/!!ic2-f2-h4 hints that it
modate the light-squared bishop. I is not very good to have doubled
prefer to put it on g6. The shortest pawns on g6 while White's knight is
route to this place is: still alive.
12 ....@.f5 intending 13.lllh4 .@.g6 with Perhaps Black should have braced
a stable albeit small edge. himself for 16 ...h6, but he stubborn
If White keeps the tension with ly avoids any pawn moves. It is dif
13 ..@.f4 .@.g6 14J'fa2 (14.lllb5 runs ficult to win a game without making
into 14...a6 15.lllxc7 i;c8 16.d5 lllh5), any committal move.
we could spend a tempo on prophy
laxis - 14 ...a6, planning to seek ex
changes with ...lll e4.

13 .@.e3 i;e8

Jakel-G.Flear, Antwerp 1993, saw

13 ...1/!!id7 14.1/!!ia4 !;fe8 i;ad8
16.!;adl, when 16 ...b6 17.c5 lll a5
would have been a good defensive
stand on the queenside. 16 ... lile7 17 .@.d3 lilg6 18.lile4

lilxe4 19.he4 b6 20 ..@.d5

14 .@.d6
20.c5 .@.f4 21.!;bdl was more

straightforward. Chances would be

Black is not afraid of the pin .@.g5
roughly even already. The text move
anymore so he decides to activate
is a small inaccuracy due to 20 ...
the bishop. He could also commit
.@.e6 21..@.c6 .@.d7 22 ..@.d5 lilf4!, but
himself with a long-term strategic
Black comes up with an amazingly
choice as 14... b6. However, Krib
passive answer:
ben prefers to delay this move for
a while. The game has reached the
20 ... i;fS 21.a4
manoeuvring stage where tempi
are not so important. Still, I would
leave the bishop on e7 in order to
defend f6 and keep an eye on d4.

15.i;bl !;b8 16.1/!!ic2

White creates threats on the diag

onal bl-h7, e.g . .@.d3, lllg5. If Black

Llilf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3

It is obvious that Black cannot win Black's pieces are scattered around
without neutralising the enemy the board and that makes it impos
centre. Thus 21...cS appears logical, sible to convert the extra pawn.
but it would be a tactical mistake in
view of 22.dxcS hc5 23.hc5 bxc5 31...g5 32.c5 b3 33.hg6
24.fu:b8 'i!lxb8 25.lilgS. hxg6
It transpires that White's bishop
should be repelled first. Again, the
most straightforward attempt 21...
lilf4 22.e4 f5 is not convincing due
to 23.c6.
Thus we can conclude that we
should play something like 21...
d7, preparing ... lilf4 or ...c7-c6-
c5. Instead Black plays yet another
meaningless move.
34.lilxb3 l!lg8 35.lild4 i<b2
21 H4 22.a5! .id7 23.axb6
.. 36.l<e2 '1xe2 37.lilxe2 .ie5
axb6 24.l<bdl 'i!lcS 25.lilh4 @hS 38.lild4 f6 39.lil:f3 'i!lf4 40.d4
26.l<del 'i!ldS 27.lil:f3 c6 28 ..ie4 l<cS 41.b6 hd4 42.'i!lxd4
b5 29.cxb5 cxb5 30.d5 b4 xd4 43.lilxd4 l<c5 44.lilc6 hc6
31.lild4 45.dxc6 g5 46.Wgl l<xc6 Draw.

Chapter 11. 1.lll f3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3

Main Ideas

1.liJf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3 and piece clashes. Pure d4-players

may like to control the centre with
pawns so I analyse 3...c5, too. It
leads to the Benoni Reversed after
4.e3 lilc6 5.exd4 cxd4 6.ig2 e5 7.d3
id6 8.0-0 lilf6 when White can ex
ploit his extra tempo with 9.ig5 (in
the normal Benoni he has already
h3!) 9...h6 10.hf6 'i!lxf6 ll.liJbd2

This move should ring a bell in our

mind - White is provocatively ne
glecting the centre! According to
my understanding, at this point we
should switch our thinking process
from playing for equalization to ex
ploiting the opponent's passivity.
The immediate consequence of his
approach is that we get a really wide 11...ic7!oo. We stay passively on the
choice. Indeed, any development queenside and focus our attention
aimed at bolstering the d4-pawn on the centre.
would be appropriate - 3... cS, 3...
liJc6, 3 ...g6, even 3 .. .f6. It is difficult Let us now deal with 3... liJc6 4.ig2
to single out one of these moves and e5 5.d3
claim it is best. You should take the 5.0-0 e4! 6.lilel h5! takes over the
decision according to your person initiative on move 6 ! See Grune 25
al taste and style. I consider several Malakhov-Tomashevsky, Jurmala
decent set-ups, but my own prefer 2015.
ence is 3... liJc6 - probably because 5...ib4+!?
I like to play against the Pirc as This check is an elegant solution of
White. It involves more calculation the problem what to do with this

Chapter 11

bishop. A well tested alternative 12.!lbl does not make sense since
is 5... lilf6 6.0-0 a5 (preventing 5... 12 ... a4 13.b3 would only make a
!Jie7 6.b4!) 7.lila3 which I discuss in weakness on a3.
Grune 24 Azaladze-Gagunashvili, On the other hand, 12.b3 !Jif5 13.!lbl
Tbilisi 2009 or 7.e3 !lic5!?, see is too slow. Black could push 13 ... e4,
Grune 23 Hamitevici-Edouard, or aim for an attack with 13...h5
Montpellier 2015.

14.b4 axb4 15.axb4 h4 16.b5 lild8.

The point is that 6.lilbd2?! a5 de White has nothing to attack on the
prives White of his two main plans queenside while his king lacks ade
- li:la3-c2 or !Jicl-g5xf6. Remains: quate defence.
6.!Jid2 a5 7.0-0 lilf6
b) Play in the centre: 8.e3 0-0
We should consider from here 9.exd4
White's two main plans:

a) Flank stabs: 8.lila3 0-0 9.lilc2

hd2 10.lilxd2

9 ... lilxd4!? (9 ...exd4=)

10.lilxd4 (10.lilxe5 !le8 ll.f4 lilg4!)
10 ...1/!lfxd4 11.!Jic3 'i!lfd6 12.a3 !Jig4!?
Black has a tiny plus due to the
10 ... !leS ll.a3 (11.f4? lilb4!) 11... stranded pawn on d3. See Grune
'i!lfd6. White's pieces are passive. 26 Zmokly-Ness, ICCF 2011.

Chapter 11. 1.lll f3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3

Step by Step

1.lilf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3 fighting the Benoni is 7... lilf6 8.0-0

<i:ld7, but White's extra tempo al
lows him to take over the initiative
thanks to the straightforward plan
of pushing b4: 9.lila3! Ae7 10.<i:lc2
0-0 11.!lbl as 12.b3 !lb8 13.!lel !leS
14.a3 "l!fc7 1S.b4 axb4 16.axb4 when
the only way to stop b4-bS is:

A. 3...c5; B. 3 ...lilc6!

3 ...g6 offers White more chances to

develop an initiative.

A. 3. ..c5 4.e3 lilc6 5.exd4 cxd4 16 ...bS, but White preserves some
6.Ag2 e5 7.d3 pull.
Putting a knight on c5 does not
change the pattern - 9.!lel Ae7
10.<i:la3! 0-0 as 12.b3 "l!fc7
13.!lbl <i:lc5 14.Aa.3 Ms 1S.hc5
Axes 16.a3 !lfe8 17.b4 axb4 18.axb4
Af8 19.bS li:laS, Krnic-Cruz Lopez,
Lyon, 1990,

s.o-o <i:lf6 9.Ag5

In the normal Benoni White pre

7...td6! vents this move with h3. Indeed,
it is positionally right to trade the
Overprotecting the important pawn bishop since White has less space.
at eS. The other standard way of Furthermore, Black's knight is an

Chapter 11

important attacking piece which n...c7!

controls e4 and could be unpleas
ant if it dig itself on c5. That said, it The best set-up. The bishop retreats
does not automatically means that in advance from lile4 or c4-c5. The
White becomes better with icl famous game Zvjaginsev-Bareev,
g5xf6. More likely, chances are ob Sochi 2005, saw instead ll..."iile7?!
jectively even. My big correspond 12.a3 if5 13.iile2 0-0 14.b4 l'lfe8
ence database shows 48% only and 15.lilh4 ie6 16.lile4 g5? 17.iilh5!
that is normal as Black retains the with a decisive attack.
better centre. But undoubtedly, his
game is practically more difficult 12."iila4
since he lacks an active plan. All he
should do is wait, hiding behind his The simplest way to push b4. Two
central pawns. correspondence games went 12.a3
a5 13."iila4 id7 14.l'lfel 0-0 15.l'lacl
Alternatively: l'lfe8 16.lile4 We7 17.c5 l'lab8 18.lilfd2
9 .a3 could be met by 9 ...h6, but let lilb4 19."iilb3=. The weak c5-pawn
us allow ig5 and consider 9 ...a5 offers Black sufficient counterplay.
10.ig5 h6 ll.M6 "iilxf6 12.lilbd2
when again 12 ...ic7 should be a so 12 ... 0-0 13.b4 if5 14."iilb3
lid retort. I must admit that I'm par
tial in my assessment since I love White has fulfilled stage one of
bishops in open positions... his plan, but it seems that he lacks
any stage 2. A further advance of
9.l'lel 0-0 10.lila3 l'le8 11.lilc2?! a5 his queenside pawns will produce
12.b3 h6 13.l'lbl - this plan is al weaknesses. Black has two possi
ready dubious because Black's piec ble stands: the more active one is to
es are actively placed in the centre leave the rook on a8 and push ... a5.
and 13 ...if5 14.a3 if8 sets up the Or he plays ... l'lac8 (or ...l'lab8) fol-
thematic breakthrough 15.b4?! e4!. lowed up by ...b6:
a) 14...!lacS 15.l'lacl b6 16.a3 a5
9 ...h6 10 ..hf6 "iilxf6 11.lilbd2
17.b5 lild8
Lillf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3

18.illh4 fili7 19.c5 ill e6 20.cxb6 b) 5 ... e4! 6.illel h5!

hb6= 21.!lxcS !lxc8 22.te4 ill c5
(d3 is a target), Kriksciunas-Hay
akawa, ICCF 2014.

b) 14 %\le7 15.a3 a5 16.b5 ill d8

17.lll'c2 te6 18.!lael \Wxa3


B. 3 ... ltlc6! 4.tg2 e5

7.he4 when both 7...th3!? and 7...
h4 promise Black an attack and ad
equate compensation for the pawn.
See Game 25 Malakhov-Toma
shevsky, Jurmala 2015.

5 tb4+!?

This check considerably restricts

White's choice of plans. At the same
time it leads to complex positions
5.d3 where the better player could prove
his superiority.
The provocative 5.0-0 avoids our
main line, but at a high price. 5 ... illf6 is a solid equalizer - 6.0-0,
when Black has two decent plans:
a) Black could answer 5...illf6, enter
ing our solid backup line. Only 6.b4 a) 6 ... a5! 7.e3
has an independent significance, The devoted Reti fans prefer
but then 6...e4 7.illg5 hb4 8.illxe4 7.ill a3, aiming for a pure flank
illxe4 9.he4 0-0 is in Black's fa strategy. Indeed, White's next
vour owing to his active pieces. moves are easy, but in the long
White has also tried 6.e3 when run he risks to get gradually suf
Black has won all 5 games in my da focated. See Game 24 Azalad
tabase after 6...te7, but I believe 6... ze-Gagunashvili, Tbilisi 2009
tc5 is more testing - 7.exd4 illxd4! for details.
8.illxe5 0-0 or 7.b4 illxb4 8.illxe5 7.tg5 is rarely played. After
0-0oo. 7...te7 8.illbd2 (8.ill a3 0-0 9.illc2
ill d7 10.he7 ll!'xe7 11.!lbl ill c5
The real fun is when Black picks up 12.ll!'d2 tg4 13.b3 !lads 14.lilhl
the gauntlet and burns his bridges: f5 15.illgl e4t, Sahu-Thipsay,


New Delhi 1987) 8...0-0 The other plan,, gives more
(9.h:f6 M6 g4=, chances for a full-fledged fight -
Shariyazdanov-Vaulin, Kras 7... 0-0 ( is senseless
noyarsk 1998) 9 ... li:ld7 10.he7 due to the simple retreat 8...te7,
Wxe7 ll.lilc2, e.g. 9.e3 a6 dxe3 11.he3
li:lg4 12. li:lc2 f5)

Black has retained the better

centre, Rakhmanov-Korneev, 8... ae8 9.abl a5 10.b3 (10.a3 a4)
Sochi 2014. His most consistent 10 ... li:lb4 ll.a3 li:lxc2 12.'!l'xc2 with
plan is to prepare .. .f5, ...e5-e4, a pleasant choice between 12...We7,
for instance, ll... li:lc5 12.abl f5. . ..c5 or ...c6.
7... tc5!?
The current status of 7...dxe3 6.td2
8.he3 e7 is dead equal -
9.h3 0-0 tf5 ll.d4 exd4! is a typical positional mis li:lxd4 13.hd4 c6, Ga take. The knight at d2 blocks theway
buzyan-Tomashevsky, Yerevan ofthe cl-bishop and cannot support
2014. the break b2-b4 with the manoeu
8.exd4 hd4!?. This is the modern vre li:lbl-a3-c2. My game Nenkov
trend. Practical experience has seen -Delchev, Sunny Beach 2014, went
White scoring less than 50%. See further 6... a5 7.0-0 li:lf6 8.a3
Grune 23 Hamitevici-Edouard, or 0-0 tc5 10.b3
Montpellier 2015. Besides, 8... We7 ll.a3 f5.
li:lxd4 is also fine.
8...c5 9.b3 0-0+
b) 6...d6. The only drawback of
this move is that it could lead to a
drawish symmetrical pawn struc
ture after7.e3 0-0! 8.exd4 li:lxd4 (or
8 ... exd4=) exd4
10.tg5 h6 ll.h:f6 Wxf6 c6
13.ael 1!1'd8 15.'!l'b3 ab8 Wxd6 draw, Zhou Weiqi
Ma Qun, China 2015.

1 Qfl
i.<ur::s ao z.c4 a4 ::s.g::s

10.lile4 lilxe4 ll.dxe4 f6 12.lilel $.e6 8.e3

13.lild3 $.e7 14.$.d2 (14.'c2 ms
15.id2 b5!) 14 ...a4 and White's White should not delay for long the
queenside crumbled down. break in the centre, but he could
try a hook from the flank: 8.lila3
6.lilfd2 a5 7.lila3 lilf6 8.lilc2 could
0-0 9.lilc2 i.xd2 10.lilxd2 1Wd6
be safely met by 8...i.d6. In prac
11.f4 exf4 12.l'lxf4oo. The possibili
tice Black has played 8 ... 0-0 and 8...
ty of f2-f4 should not be underes
if5, but I see no reason to offer the
timated and perhaps Black should
enemy the bishop pair. 8...$.c5!? is
anticipate it with 10 ... l'le8 (intend
more principled, but you should be
ing ll.f4? lilb4!, eliminating the de
ready to part with the a5-pawn af
fence of the e3-square, Likavsky
ter 9.0-0 0-0 10.lilb3 i.d6 ll.a4 l'le8
Voloshin, Ceske Budejovice 1998.)
12.$.d2, although Black's compen
11.a3 1Wd6 - White has weakened
sation is more than enough.
his queenside so the line 12.f4 lilg4
13.f5 \Wh6 14.h3 lile3 15.lilxe3 dxe3
6.. a5 7.0-0 lilf6
16.lile4 lild4 17.g4 id7 18.l!ih2 a4 is

obviously pleasant for Black.

The blitz game Anand-Kramnik,
Ziirich 2016, saw 7... lilge7 8.i.xb4 8.i.xb4 axb4 9.lilbd2 0-0 10.lilel
8.e3 lilf5 (8 ...dxe3!? 9.i.xe3 lilf5) hardly deserves any attention since
9.exd4 lilfxd4 10.lilxd4 lilxd4 it does not even win a pawn after
11.l'lel f6. 10 ...$.f5 ll.lilc2 'd7 12.i.xc6?! bxc6
8...axb4 9.lilbd2 0-0 13.lilxb4 l'lfb8.
8.$.g5 0-0 9.lila3 h6 10.i.xf6 \Wxf6
11.lilc2 ie7 12.lild2 'g6 13.l'lbl h5!
14.a3 a4 is obviously in Black's fa
vour owing to the imminent attack
on the kingside.

8... 0-0 9.exd4

10.'b3 ie6 ll.a3 bxa3 12.l'lxa3
l'lxa3 13.\Wxa3 'a8=, Cvitan
Barle, Rijeka 2010.
10...bxa3 ll.'b3 when ll ...$.e6
12.l'lxa3 transposes to the above
The text is more ambitious.

Chapter 11

9 ... lilxd4!? Or lU'lel d6 12.f4 ig4 13.lilxg4

l'lxel+ 14.Axel lilxg4 15.1!\lxg4
Ofcourse, 9...exd4= is also possible. Axel+.
Its only drawback is that the pawn 11 ... lilg4! (to be fair, the blunt 11 ...
structure is too symmetrical. Here lild7 achieves the same effect) re
are some examples: gaining the pawn since 12.id5 lilh6!
leaves White with a horrible hole on
a) 10.lila3 lild7 (or 10 ...ifS ll.if4
e3, e.g. 13.ic3 ic5 14.l!lhl c6 15.ig2
f6 16.lilf3 lildf5+, and 12.lilxg4? fails
to 12 ...lile2+ 13.l!lhl Axg4.

10 ...'1Nxd4 ll.Ac3 '1Nd6 12.a3

11.M4 lilc5 12.lilb5 lile6=.

b) 10.ig5 h6 11.M6 1!\lxf6 12.a3 ic5
13.lilbd2 Ms 14.lilel lile5+.

10.lilxd4 12 ...ig4!?

The tactical justification of Black's Black has a slight initiative, see

idea is the line 10.lilxe5 !le8 11.4 Grune 26 Zmokly-Ness, ICCF 2011.

Chapter 11. 1.ltif3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3

Annotated Games

23. Hamitevici - Edouard

Montpellier 31 .05.2015

1.11lf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3 11lc6 4..ig2

e5 5.d3 11lf6 6.0-0 a5 7.e3 .ic5

a) 1Llilbd2 !le8! 12.lilb3 (12.h3

lile2+ 13.@hl 1/;\'xd3!) 12 ...lile2+
13.@hl .ia7 14.a4 1/;\'d7. White's de
fence is difficult. For instance, the
relatively best 15..ie3 loses pawns
after 15 ...txf3 16.txf3 lilxg3+ !
17.hxg3 1/;\'h3+ 18.@gl he3 19 ..ig2
b) 11..ie3! lilxf3+ 12.txf3 txf3
The rare 8...11lxd4 is very good, too 13.1/;\'xf3 1Wxd3 14.!ldl 1/;\'e4 15.1/;\'xe4
- 9.11lxe5 lilxe4 is totally equal.
Of course, 9.lilxd4 cannot be
of any theoretical interest. The 9.lilxd4
full control of d4 suggests that
Black's game is better: 9 ...hd4 9. lilc3 0-0 does not change the char
10.lilc3 0-0 ll.1/;\'f3 h6 12.h3 c6+ acter of play.
13.lile2 h7 14.b3 !le8 15..ib2 lilh7
16.!ladl lilg5 17.1/;\'h5.tf5 18.d4.ic2 9 ...lilxd4 10.!lel
19.!ld2 ig6 20.1/;\'h4 exd4 2L!lxd4
hd4 22.lilxd4 id3 0-1, Kara 10.f4 0-0 11.fxe5 lilg4 12.lilc3 lilxe5
okcu-Ivanisevic, Skopje 2015. 13.!lf4 lile6 l4.!le4 lilxd3 left White
9 ... 0-0 10.lilf3 .ig4 pawnless in an online game.

Chapter 11

10.h3 0-0 ll.lilc3 l'le8 12.lilh2 h6 ward on a6: 12 ... l'la6 13.ie3 lilfS
occurred in Bu Xiangzhi-Ganguly, 14.1!1'a4 h6 15.l'ladl id7 16.Wla3 1!1'c8
Doha 2014. 17.lilh2=, Alf-Lange, corr. 2010.

White opted for the sharp 13.f4 exf4 13.f4

14 .M4 l'la6 15.1!1'd2 when instead of
15 ...gS? 16.ie3 l'lxe3 17.1!1'xe3 lilc2 White possesses a bishop pair and
18.1!1'f2 lilxal 19.d4, Black could aims to open play. On the other
have played 15 ... lilhS! 16.ie3?! l'lg6 hand, this pawn push weakens the
with an initiative, or even the sim king. Edouard suggests 13.g4 lild7
ple 15 ...l'lae6=. 14.lile2 lilxe2+ 15.Wlxe2 lilf8oo.
A correspondence game saw a com
10 0-0 11.lilc3 pletely different plan which could
be born only in a computer's brain:
11.l'lxeS? loses to ll...ig4 12.f3 13.b3 ifs 14.ib2 Wld6 15.lile2 -
(12.1!1'd2 if3J 12 ... lilxf3+ 13.M3 killing Black's strongest piece.
1!1'd4+ 14.l'le3 l'lae8, M.Gomes The game R.Angelov-V.Popov,
Adhiban, Pune 2014. 2013, went further 15...h6 16.1!1'd2
a4 17.lilxd4 exd4 18.l'lxe8 lilxe8
11...l'leS 12.h3 19.bxa4 l'lxa4 and was eventually
drawn. Perhaps 14...1!1'c7 instead of
12.lile4 is positionally bad since 14...Wld6 is slightly more accurate.
White needs his knight to contest By defending eS, Black preserves
the d4-square. Zimina-Mirzoeva, his knight from exchange - 15.lile2
Plovdiv 2014, went on 12 ...lilxe4 lile6.
13.ixe4 c6t. It is much more logi
cal to take g4 under control. 13... exf4 14.l'lxeS+ lll'xeS?!

12 ...c6 The d4-square is a matter of para

mount importance so the manoeu
I have mentioned above the rook vre 14... lilxe8-c7-e6 was called for.
lift ... l'la6. It is also possible here Then Black would have had an ex
although the rook looks a bit awk- cellent game.
1.<l:lf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3

15.hf4 tf5 16.g4 ig6 17.d2 25.gxh5 <l:lxh5 26.c5 <l:lf4 27.a3
!ld8?! ih5'3 <l:lxh3+ 29.h2
ixf3 30.\&xf3 <l:lg5 31.\&f4 d2+
A mundane move obviously made 32.\&xd2 <l:lf3+ 33.g3 <l:lxd2
by general considerations. Stronger 34.b4 <l:lc4 35.4 <l:lxa3 36.<l:lc3
was 17... h5! 18.g5 <l:lh7 killing three f8 37.<l:le4 <l:lc4 38.<l:lc3 e7
birds with one shot - Black makes 39.b5 e6 40.e4 f5+ 41.d4
a luft, gains the f5-square for his <l:le5 0-1
knight, and transfers the f6-knight
via the route h7-f8-e6. As a "bonus",
the g5-pawn could hang. 24. Azaladze - Gagunashvili
Tbilisi 2009
18.ic7 !ld7
1.<l:lf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3 <l:lc6 4.ig2
e5 5.d3 <l:Jf6 6.0-0 a5 7.<l:la3 ic5


Apparently White missed the pin Black's only active plan in this
along the a-file. Indeed, moves like structure is connected with ... e5-e4
19 ...aS!, with the idea of 20.ib4 so the d4-pawn should be well pro
<l:lb3, are difficult to spot. tected end the e-file should remaiu
Correct was 19.ib6! with unclear opeu for a rook on e8. Another con
play. Edouard suggests 19 ...bd3 sideration is that ic5 discourages
20.xd3 <l:lb3 21.\&bl <l:lxal. In possible breaks in the centre. That
principle White's pieces should be said, 7...ie7 also has enough ad
stronger, but his naked king offers herents, but it is more prophylactic
Black counter-chances. than aggressive.

19 \&aS!! 20.<l:la4<l:le2+! 21.\&xe2

xa5 22.b3 !lxd3+ 23.!ldl !lxdl+
24.\&xdl h5 8.ig5 0-0 9.<l:ld2 is well met by
9 ...ie7! 10.<l:lc2 h6. Without a
Edouard converts his advantage dark-squared bishop, White's
with energy and confidence. counterplay in the centre would

be impotent. Note that 10 ... lild7 lila5 17.lild2 f5 18.d4 c6 19.'/!ih5
ll.b:e7 '/!ixe7 could be attacked ie6+, Henderson-Krutous, ICCF
with 12.e3 or even 12.f4, as in Ri 2015. The c4 and a3-pawns are
vas-Romero, Alicante 1989. hanging.
Similarly, 8.lilb5 0-0 9.ig5 is par
9.lild2 if5 leaves White without
ried by 9...ie7 10.e3 h6.
sensible moves - he cannot play
lile4, 10.f4 is also dubious due to
8 ... 0-0 9.a3
10 ...e4. 10.b3 '/!lld6 would prevent
ia3. Remains 10.a3 when 10 ...
Another critical line is 9.ig5 h6
h6!?+ would be a good prophylac
10.ixf6 '/!lfxf6 11.lild2
tic move, aimed against the idea of
ThegameAdamski-Rausis, Lyn
gby 1989, saw ll.b3 '/!lle7 12.a3 ig5, as in the line 10 ...'/!id7 11.l'lbl
ie6 13.lild2 f5 and Black con a4 12.b4 axb3 13.lilxb3 ie7 14.ig5.
trols the board. White's attempt
to push b4 was instructively
9 . l'leS

parried by the curious rook lift

14.'/!icl l'la6!? 15.l'lbl l'lb6. Here Another interesting set-up is 9...'/!ie7
10.l'lbl a4 ll.lild2 lila5 12.b4 axb3
Adamski tried 16.f4 exf4 17.gxf4
ili7 18.b4 axb4 19.lilb3, but 19 ...
13.lilxb3 lilxb3 14.l'lxb3 c6, but the
bxa3 20.lilxc5 l'lxbl 21.'/!ixbl text is more consistent. Black pre
pares ...e4.
Wxc5 22.'/!llxb7 lila5+ leaves
Black with a sound extra pawn.
11 ...'/!lle7 10 ig5

10.l'lbl a4 ll.!d2 stumbles into 11...

e4 12.dxe4 lilxe4 13.ib4 b6.
Similar is 10.b3 e4, e.g. ll.lilg5
(11.lild2 exd3 12.exd3 ig4 13.lilf3
Wld7 14.ib2 1lilf5) ll ... exd3 12.exd3

10.e3 dxe3 11.b:e3 if8 12.d4 also

does not solve White's problems
due to 12 ... e4! 13.lild2 ig4 14.f3
12.a3 (12.lile4 ib6; 12.lilb3 ib6)
12 ... a4 (or 12 ...!g4 13.h3 !e6 14.1lbl
a4) 13.b4 (exploiting the hang
ing l'la8) 13...axb3 14.lilxb3 id6. It
10...h6 11.!xf6 "l>l'xf6 12.lild2
seems that White has achieved his
goal, but Black is still better thanks
It is natural to avoid exchancres hav-
to his bishop pair. The break 15.e3 .

mg more space, but 12 ... a4 13.lile4

does not help - 15...dxe3 16.fxe3

l.'ilt::l <15 c.c4 <14 3.g3

V!Je7 14.iilxc5 V!ixc5 is also pleasant Black is all set for 16...e4 17.dxe4
for Black. The game Larsen--Short, \1!1g5, but the threat is stronger than
Hastings 1988, was eventually its execution!
drawn after 15.V!id2 M5 (Perhaps
15...iiJa5 16.V!Jb4 iiJb3 poses more 17.\1!1cl e4!
problems to White.) 16.!labl \1!1a5
17.liJb4 liJd8 18.!lbdl c6 19.e4 dxe3
20.fxe3 ,ig4 21.tf3 .th3 22.tg2 ig4
23.if3 i.h3 24.tg2, draw.


This breakthrough crowns Black's

strategy. All the diagonals to his
bishop pair are ripped open.

18.dxe4 he2 19.h4 \1!1g4 20.b4

axb4 21.iilb3 ta7?
Black has played perfectly so far,
13 ...f5 also looks pretty, but it is bet but this awful move ruins all his ef
ter to activate first the bishop. forts. The simple 21...d3 22 .iiJxc5
dxc2 23.V!Jxc2 liJd4 24.\1!1b2 iiJf3+
14.!lel wins easily.

14.liJe4 tb6 15.!labl is too slow - 22.c5

15 .. .f5 16.iild2 e4! 17.dxe4 d3. The
ig4 is decisive in this line! The tables have turned and Black is
now worse. After mutual mistakes,
14 f5 15.h3?!
. the game was drawn:

Black is obviously better, but White 22 !ledS

. 23.axb4 fxe4
should not facilitate his task by 24.liJcxd4? (24.b5) 24...!lxd4
weakening his kingside. A waiting 25.b5 hb5 26.iilxd4 iilxd4
game would have been more stub 27.\1!1e3? iiJf3+ 28.kd3 exf3 (28 ...
born for White. \1!1xf3+) 29.3+ tc4? 30.\Wxb7
!ld8 31.!lxa7 \Wh3 32.1Wxf3 td5
15 fili5 16.\1!1hl \1!1g5!
.. 33.!leS+ !lxe8 34.\Wxd5+

Chapter 11


7.d3 only accelerates Black's attack

owing to 7...e3! 8.fxe3 h4 9.lilf3
hxg3 10.hxg3 <l:lf6 ll.exd4 lilxd4
12.lilc3, Jessel-O'Donnell, Dublin
2015, 12 ... <l:lf5! 13.ig5 ie7 14.Virel

34...l!lh7 35.!:lal Vire6 36.E:dl 7...h4

Virf6 37.l!lg2 E:e5 38.Vird3+ Virg6
39.Virxg6+ l!lxg6 40.E:cl @f5 This obvious move is far from be
41.l!lf3 g5 42.E:c4 E:el 43.c6 E:e5 ing trivial. Black should seriously
44.h5 E:e6 45.E:c5+ l!lf6 46.l!lg4 consider 7...ih3!?, aiming to lim
E:e4+ 47.f4 gxf4 48.E:f5+ l!lg7 it White's choice. The point is that
49.gxf4 E:c4 50.E:d5 E:xc6 51.l!lf5 8.ig2?! (or 8.lilg2?!) 8...Vird7 is very
E:f6+ 52.l!le5 E:f7 53.E:c5 E:e7+ promising for Black who achieves
54.l!lf5 E:f7+ 55.l!lg4 l!lh7 56.f5 an ideal attacking position with a
E:d7 57.l!lf4 l!lg7 58.E:c6 E:d6 long castle. Therefore, White must
59.E:xc7+ f6 60.E:h7 E:d4+ answer:
61.l!le3 E:h4 62.E:xh6+ xf5 8.Vifb3 Vires

25. Malakhov-Tomashevsky
Jurmala 08.03.2015

1.lilf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3 lilc6 4.ig2

e5 5.0-0 e4 6.lilel h5!

Hawkins-Pert, London 2015,
saw 9.Virb5 when 9 ... <l:lge7 was
too timid although Black went on
to win after 10.<l:lg2 1!1'd7 11.Wxb7
!'lb8 12.'l>lla 6 f5 13.if3 d3!.
He had more natural develop
ing moves like 9...id6 or even
9 ...lilf6.
Black obtains a nearly free, self 9...h4 10.d3,
conducting attack. 10.ixh3? \\!.lxh3 ll.'l>llxb7 l!ld7. d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3

transposing to the comments to

White's move 9.


8.e3? li:lf6 9..lig2 dxe3 10.'1e2 (10.

fxe3 hxg3 ll.hxg3 i.d6) 10
11.'1xe3+ .W.e7 occurred in
V.Popov-Navara, Minsk 2015, when
12! was winning.
Black has various ways of develop
8..lig2 li:lf6 hxg3 10.fxg3 .lih3
ing his attack. 12 ...!lh3 or 12 ...l'lh5!?
11.d3?! (11.i.xh3 !lxh3 12.d3 was
threaten Another obvious
the lesser evil) ll ...'1d7 12.l'lf2 li:lg4
try is 12 13.'1a4+ c6 14.l'lfcl
13.i.xh3 l'lxh3 14.l'lg2 0-0-0 was
seen in Harika-Zimina, Rome 2015.
Perhaps the most unpleasant con
tinuation is 12 ...c6!, anticipating
White's check from a4 and enhan
cing the above-mentioned threats.
If then 13.'1a4 ( '1a5 14.c5
'1xc5 15..lif5 l'lxh4 16.hf6 l'lh6-t),
13... l'lh5 14.l'lfcl '1d7 15.i.4 li:le3
looks rather ominous.

In these lines White's light-squared

bishop is clearly missing from g2.
This positron illustrates Black's
So we should consider:
main goal after 6...h5!. White is
probably lost here. Harika played b) 9 ..lig2 hxg3 10.fxg3 .lih3 (10 ... li:lg4 when the strongest plan is also worth considering) 11.l'lf2
was 15...f6 followed up by ...g5. (11.i.xh3 l'lxh3 and 11 ..lig5
The decisive blow should be dealt '1d7 12.hf6 were more resilient,
on h2, e.g. 16.'/a4 g5 17.b4 hb4 but Black is better in either case.)
18.l'lbl .lic5 l'ldh8 20..lia3 ll 12.l'lf4 (avoiding the pat
ha3 li:lxh2! '1h7 tern ofHarika-Zimina after 12.l'lg2)
23.'1b5 l'lxg3!-+. 12 ...hg2 13.l'lxg4 .lih3 14.l'le4+ .W.e7 '1d7 16.b4 f5 was yet anoth
s th3
er opening rout, Podzielny-Meister, 2007.!? is another critical line.
Attack is the best defence and White
a) 9..lig5 hxg3 10.fxg3 li:le5 should probably not lose any tem
(11..lig2 .lie7) ll... li:leg4 po, but take immediately on c6:

Chapter 11

c) 9.hc6+ ! bxc6 10.lilf3 aiming for

lilbl-d2-e4. Then 10 ...hxg3 ll.fxg3
lilg4 is unclear: fi.e7 is also dubious.

10.lilxh4! was the only defence. I
White has 12.e4 dxe3 13.he3 fi.e7 would not even consider taking
14.sel lilxe3 15.sxe3 0-0 where the the exchange. Black retains the in
bishop pair serves as a good com itiative with 10... lilf6! lilg4,
pensation for the pawn. for instance: fi.e7! (there
is no reason to repeat moves with
9.lilg2 12 ...ltlf6) 13.'l;\lb3 lild8 14.MS '/ilc6
15.lilf3 lilxh2. hxg3 10.fxg3 1!!.ld7 ll.lild2 hxg3 11.fxg3 ltlf6
0-0-0 is excellent for Black, but: ltlg4+.
9.1!!.lb3, aiming to hamper the cas
10... lilf6 11.m td6 cn... hxg3
tle, deserves attention: 9... 1!!.lcS (9...
12.fxg3 lilg4+) 12.1!!.lcl 0-0-0
hxg3? 10.1!!.lxb7)
13.lila3 hxg3 14.fxg3
10. lilg2 is dangerous for White
since his pieces remain passive - Black has obtained a very strong
10... lilf6 lilg4 12.lild2 fi.e7. position and now 14! 15. '/ifxf4
10 ...hg2 11.lilxg2 hxg3 12.fxg3. sde8 16.sf2 ltle5 was clearly better
Now 12... 1!!.lh3 13.1!!.lxb7 1!!.lxh2+ for him. His next two moves wipe
14.12/f2 @d7 sc8 16.lild2 lilf6 out his advantage.
17.shl ltlg4 forces a draw, but of
course Black should keep the ten 14 lilg4?!
15.hd6 cxd6
sion with 12 ...1!!.ld7! 13.lild2 0-0-0. (15 .. .hg2 ! 16.hg2 cxd6)

9 . '!Nd7

It was better to exchange first on

g3, avoiding the exchange sacrifice
lilxh4 - 9 ...hxg3! 10.fxg3 1!!.ld7 with
a strong attack. The same reason
ing applies to Tomashevsky's next
moves, too.

1.ltlf3 dS 2.c4 d4 3.g3

16.hg4 gxh4 34.gxh4 e2 35.f2 l'lxb2

36.h5 llb4 0-1
White should be able to hold af
ter 16.111'f4, e.g. 16 ...lilce5 17.lilb5
a6 18.lilxd4 @b8 19 ..b:g4 lilxg4 26. Zmokly Ness

20.11!fxf7 111'xf7 21.!lxf7 .b:g2 22.!lxg7 ICCF 2011

!lxh2 23.!lxg4 l'lhl+ 24.@xg2 !lxal
25.a3 !la2 26.b3 l'lxa3 27.!lg7 dS=. l.lil:t3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.g3 lilc6 4..ig2
e5 5.d3.ib4+ 6 .id2 a5 7.0-0 lilf6

16 ...'l;l'xg4 17.!lf2?! 8.e3 0-0 9.exd4 lilxd4 10.lilxd4

Vlrxd4 11..ic3 Vlrd6 12.a3
17.111'f4 was essential - 17...lile5
(17...11!1xe2 18.l'lf2 11!1xd3 19.lilb5co)
18.11!1xg4+ lilxg4 19.l'lf4 fS 20.l'lxd4
.b:g2 21.l'lxg4! fxg4 22.@xg2 with
good chances for a draw.

17 g5 18.c5 (or 18.b4 @b8 19.lilc2


lile5 20.lilgel f5) 18 ...!lhe8 19.lilb5

dxc5 20.'l;l'xc5 @bS 21.!lel !le5

Black could include first 12 ....ic5

13.lild2 111'xd3 14..b:e5 and only now
14....ig4. Then 15.lilf3 11!1f5 16..b:c7
a4 offers good compensation, but
15.$.3 looks totally equal.
The text keeps the pawn structure

13 .i:f.3

Black dominates in the centre and

he only needs to open another file The bishop does not stand well on
against the enemy king to finish the f3. Perhaps 13.11!fd2 .b:c3 14.lilxc3 c6
game. 15.111'e3 was more solid.

22 f5!-+ 23.e3 hg2 24.!lxg2

13 hc3 14.lilxc3 .ih3

dxe3 25.'l;l'xg4 fxg4 26.lila3

lild4 27.lilc4 lil:t3+ 28.fl lilxel 14...MS 15.lile4 is about even.
29. lilxe5 lilxg2 30. xg2 l'ld5
31.lilxg4 llxd3 32.:f.3 l'ld2 33.h4 15.!lel c6

Chapter 11

ea! chances, but in an email game,

White easily holds the balance.

23.hhS !<d8 24.1Mfe2 1Mfxe2

25.he2 !<d2 26.!<a2 !<c2 27.f3
.ie6 28 .id3 !<cl+ 29.l!lf2 qid7


The opening stage is over. The op

position of the pawns e5:d3 defines
a slight space advantage for Black.
Naturally, White seeks to trade

!<fe8 19.!<xeS+ !<xe8 20.i.e2 h5
21.'1Mfc2 .if5 22.'1Mfdl 1Mle7 30 !<hl 31.b3 qic5 32.l!lg2 !<el

33.qif4 qixb3 34.qixe6 fxe6

Black grasps the chance to com 35.!<e2 !<al 36.l<xe6 l!lf7 37.!<e3
plicate things with a pan sacrifice. !<xa3 38.g4 !<a2+ 39.l!lg3 qic5
OTB, that could offer him practi- Draw.

Chapter 12. 1.ltJf3 d5 2 .g3

Main Ideas

1.liJf'3 d5 2.g3 c6 4.'ll'b3 is well met by 4....fu<f.3 while

4.liJe5 Af5! 5.ll!ib3 misses the mark
With this move we prepare to lead
in view of 5...lild7!
out our bishop to g4. That would
solve Black's main problem against
White has now three main ap
White's fianchetto - the poor fate of
the light-squared bishop which of
ten remains caged on c8. 1. One of them is to drag Black's
3.c4 queen to b6 and harass it later with
The only way to exploit the immi Ae3 or c4-c5:
nent 3...ig4 is to attack the light 5.'l!l'b3 ll!ib6
squares on the queenside which
would be left somewhat weakened
by the absence of the bishop.
I consider Kl set-ups in the next

a) 6.d3 liJd7 7.Ae3 is easily parried

by 7...tc5, but if you read careful
ly the "Step by Step" chapter, you
could also force playwith 7... dxc4!?.
b) 6.ll!ic2 lild7 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.0-0
lile7 9.Wa4 hf3 10.!xf3 lilc6=.
The most critical test of 3.c4 is 3...
dxc4 4.ig2 liJd7, but it is not in the c) 6.lilc3 lild7 7.d4 lilgf6 8.c5 ll!ia6!
spirit of our book. I analyse here 9.0-0 ie7 10.!lel b6. Remember the
only plans where we hold the cen retreat ...ll!ia6 after c4-c5. It is effec
tre. tive in many lines. There is an ex
4.ig2 ception though:

Chapter 12

Black does not play 'i!'a6

See Game 29 Mola-Delchev, 2015.

Here 11...'/Na6 is inaccurate (11...
'/Nxb3 ! 12.axb3 a6;) because White's More double-edged is 5... exd5.
rook is already on el. That does not It offers White a pawn majority in
leave Black time for ...b6 after ll.e4 the centre and the dynamic factors
dxe412.ltlxe4 ltlxe4 13.ID:e4 (threat often play a decisive role. If Black
ening stays passively, he risks to fall under
attack - White will simply roll forth
2. Sometimes White plays c4, d4, all his kingside pawns. I suggest the
b3: 5.0-0 ltlf6 6.d4 ltlbd7 7.ltlbd2 active set-up with
il.e7! 8.b3 0-0 a5 10.a3 h6 6.0-0 ltlf6 7.d3 ltlbd7 8.ltlc3 il.d6
9.h3 il.h5 10.e4 0-0

Whenever White's knight jumps on

e5, we take it, and ifhe attempted e4, a) Now 11.'i&c2 !;1e8 12.ltlh4 (For
we answer, aiming to trade on 12 .il.e3 il.cS ! see Game 28 Markows
e4 more pieces. That would secure ki-Pedersen, Istanbul 2003.) is the
our king against a kingside attack. sterner test of our plan. We oppose
a dark-squared strategy - 12 ... ltlcS!,
3. White's most principled ap heading for e6-d4. Our idea is to
proach is 5.cxd5. lure the pawns into our camp where
Then the simplest answer is we could attack them easier. A typ cxdS 7.0-0 ltlc6 8.d3 ltlf6 ical position with an overextended
9.ltlc3 il.e7 White's centre is:
1.lilf3 d5 2.g3

17..ie3 stumbles into 17 ... c5 and Stayed the g-pawn on g3, White
17.1'1dl could be met by either 17... might have hoped for some advan
c5, or 17.. .f6. tage in view of his pressure on d5.
But the weakened h2-b8 diago
b) It would be a moral victory for nal gives us excellent counterplay:
Black if White exchanged on d5 - 16 ....ic7! 17.'il'b3 'il'd6.
11.exd5 cxd5 12.g4 .ig6 13.lilh4 lilc5 To sum up, taking on d5 by e-pawn
14.lilxg6 hxg6 15.d4 lile6 16..ie3 leads to rich sharp play.

Chapter 12. 1.llif3 d5 2 .g3

Step by Step d5 2.g3 c6 3.c4 .ig4 The tactical background of

Black's set-up is the line 9 ..ic8
tb4+ 10 . .id2 a5.
The stem game Grischuk-Mo
rozevich, Moscow 2012, went
9.0-0 lila6 10.lilc3 lile7, but
11. \Wc2 ! would have been in
White's favour. I have also an
alysed 10 ...\Wxb3 ll.axb3 d4
12.lile4 .ig6 13.e3i.
5.\Wxf3 e6!=, intending to re
capture on d5 by c-pawn, is ba
4 .ig2

a) 6.tg2 lilf6 7.0-0 te7 8.\Wb3
4.'!l'b3 hf3 '!l'b6 9.\Wc2 0-0 10.b3 a5 ll.lilc3
Morozevich's 4...'!l'b6 is less clear lila6=
- te6 6.d3 f6 (White had
the slightly more active pieces
after 6...g6 7..ie3 \Wxb3 8.axb3
tg7 hb2 10.xa7 xa7
ll..ixa7 in Aronian-Motylev,
Sochi 2015.) 7.lilf3 W 8.th3
(8.lilc3 lila6) 8...eS

12.d3 d8 13..ib2 d4 14.lile4

lilxe4 15.dxe4 e5 16.a3 lilc5 17.b4
lila6 18.b5 cxb5 19.cxb5 c8
20.\Wdl lilc5 21.a4 d7+, Rap
port-Balogh, Zombathely 2011.
b) 6. b3! \Wb6! [Black has tried

1.ltlf3 d5 2.g3

only 6 ... ltla6, heading for c5, but 11.0-0 ie7 12.ltlbd2 0-0 13.ltlf3
the knight is misplaced there ltlc5 14.ltla5 ltlfd7) 8 ...ltld5 9 ..id2
- 7..ig2 ltlc5 8.1/i.lc2 ltlf6 (8...d4 f6 10.ltlc4 ltla6 ll ..ig2 ltldb4=.
9.b4;!;) 9.0-0 ie7 10.d4 ltlcd7 5... e6!
11.ltld2 0-0 12.b3 with a slight
advantage due to the bishop pair
although 12 ...c5 promises Black
counterplay.] 7.ltlc3 ltlf6 8.cxd5
1/i.lxb3 9.axb3 cxd5 10.ltlb5?!
d7 ll.E!xa7 E!xa7 12.ltlxa7 when
White's small material advan
tage will be short-lived - 12 ...
ic5 13.ltlb5 E!c8 14.f3 ltlc6, fol
lowed up by ...ltla5xb3.
5 1/i.ib6
.. 6.0-0
It is safer to trade queens. 6.cxd5 exd5 7.0-0 ltld7 8.d4 .id6
5...1/i.ld7 6.d4 offers White some (or 8...ltlgf6 9.ltlc3 ie7 10.h3 h6
initiative although the full con ll.Wb3 Wb6 12.1/i.ldl 1/i.ld8 13.1/i.lb3
trol of the blockading d5-square Wb6 14.Wdl 1/i.ld8 15.Wb3 draw,
neutralises all concrete threats. Pigusov-Dreev, Pavlodar 1987)
For instance: 6...dxc4 7.hc4 e6 9 ..if4 he5 10.dxe5 ltle7 11.ltlc3
8.ltlc3 ltlf6 9.0-0 ie7 10.E!el 0-0, ltlg6 12.e4 he4=, Kengis-Yako
Maletin-Pushin, Tula 2009. vich, Pinsk 1986.
6.1/i.lxb6 axb6 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.ltlc3 6 ... ltlf6 7.d4 ltlbd7 8.ltlc3 ie7=, see
e6=. Grune 27 Kazmierczuk-Carolei,
ICCF 2013
4.ltle5 .if5! 5..ig2
5.1/i.lb3 is already a strike at thin 4 ...e6
air due to 5...ltld7! 6.d4 ltlxe5
7.dxe5 1/i.lc7 8.cxd5 ie4 9.f3 hd5
10.1/i.lc3 g6!? ll.e6 lilf6=.
5.cxd5?! 1/i.lxd5 is a double hit to
hl and a2. White is happy to find
6.1/i.lb3 (6.d4 hbl 7.E!xbl 1/i.lxhl
8.Wb3 ltld7 9.ltlxf7 We4 10.E!al
Wxd4 11.ltlxh8 Wd5 12.1/i.lxb7
E!b8 13.\Wa6 ltlgf6+; 6.ltlf3 hbl
7.E!xbl Wxa2 8.1/i.lc2 ltla6-+)
when simplest would be 6...
ltld7=. 6...\Wxb3 7.axb3 ltlf6 is
also roughly equal after 8.d4 Main continuations now are:
(8.d3 ltlbd7 9.ltlc4 e5 10 ..ig2.ie6 A. 5.Wb3; B. 5.0-0; C. 5.cxd5

Chapter 12

A. 5.1!1'b3 V;\'b6 6.d3 8.Wxc4 (8.dxc4 ic5=) 8 ... Wxb2

9.d4 1!1'b4+ 10.liJbd2
6.Wc2 brings White good results.
His idea is to win a tempo later with
ie3 or to exploit the weakening of
the back rank. For instance: 6...lilf6
7.cxd5 which forces 7... exd5, al
though this set-up is not dangerous
for Black as we'll see in line C.
An independent line arises after 6...
lild7, having in mind 7.cxd5 cxd5.
The game T.L.Petrosian-Aghasa
ryan, Yerevan 2013, continued
8.0-0 lile7 9.Wa4 M3 (9 ...ih5!?
10.lileS Wc7 ll.d4 he2) 10.hf3 White has undisputable compensa
lilc6 11.lilc3 $.e7=. tion due to his lead in development
and open files on the queenside.
6.lilc3 lild7 7.d4 lilgf6 8.c5 should be The best defence is to take the cen
met by 8 ...1/!lla6! 9.0-0 ie7 10.!lel b6 tre under control with:
11.cxb6 axb6 12.e4 0-0 13.exdS

In Romanishin-Delchev, Forni di So
pra 2014, I chose 10 ...M3 11.M3
Safer is ll ...1!1'xc4 12.lilxc4 !lc8
13.0-0 (13.ha7b5 14.lilb6 liJxb6
15.hb6 h3 16.0-0 lile7=) 13 ...
b6 14.!labl lilgf6 15.!lfcl ie7
16.a4 0-0 17.aS lild5 18.axb6
13 ...lilxdS!= (freeing f6 for the bish axb6 19.lilxb6 liJ7xb6 20.hb6
op) 14.Ml Wa7 15.lilxd5 cxd5 16.$.b5 lilxb6 21.!lxb6 c5=.
M6, Kozlov-Kharitonov, St Peters 12.!lbl !lb8 13.tc3 Wc7 14.1!1'a4
burg 1995. 14.ihS!? Wd6 15.liJe4 111'd5
16.1!1'xd5 exd5 17.lilgS liJgf6
6 ... lild7 7.$.e3 dxc4!? (17... lilh6 18.e) 18.hV+
Black has two solid alternatives: 14...lilgf6 15.111'xa7 when 15... lildS!?
7...ic5 8.hc5 lilxc5 9.Wc3 lilf6 is unclear.
10.lilbd2 aS 11.!lcl lilcd7 12.0-0 0-0;
7... 1!1'xb3 8.axb3 a6 9.lilbd2 lilgf6 One year later, Romanishin repeat
10.0-0 ie7=. ed the variation, but his opponent

1.lilf3 d5 2.g3

Marzano was apparently well pre White is yet to prove that he has
pared and opted for 10 .. .f6. The enough compensation, Romani
same idea works also after 10...1/!llxc4 shin-Marzano, Berlin 2015. Per
ll.lilxc4f6! (but not ll...lilgf6 12.!lbl haps best is 15.lile4 !lc7 16.f4.
with nasty pressure).

11.!lbl B. 5.0-0 lilf6 6.d4

11.0-0 1/!llxc4 12.lilxc4 lilh6!? (12 ...e5 I analyse 6.b3 lilbd7 7.tb2 td6
13.te3 lilb6 14.lila5 0-0-0 15.!lfbl 8.d3 0-0 9.lilbd2 !leS in the anno
@c7 16.lild2 lile7 17.lildc4 liled5 tations to Grune 30 Janaszak-Dzi
18.lilxb6 lilxb6 19.!lb2 is roughly uba, Warsaw 2011. The same plan
equal as white will regain the pawn. is also discussed in the Chapter 14,
The knight move aims to repel the line B, but Black has an extra tem
d4-bishop from the gl-a7 diago po there since he pushes ...e5 in one
nal.) 13.!labl lilf5 14.tc3 !lbS 15.h3 step - on the first move!
M3 16.M3 lild6 and Black retains
the extra pawn although White has 6 ... lilbd7
probably sufficient compensation.

11 1/!llxc4 12.lilxc4 e5


7.lilbd2 te7! I prefer this square

13 .ie3 (13.tc3 b5) 13 b6
. for the bishop in order to enable a
possible exchange on e5 if White's
13...b5 14.lilfxe5 fxe5 15.hc6 leads knight landed there. 8.b3 0-0 9.tb2
to a very sharp and unclear end a5
game after both 15...!lcS 16.hb5 This is the thematic plan against
tc5 17.lilxe5 he3 and 15 ...bxc4 White's set-up, but 9...h6 also
16.haS cxd3 17.exd3. deserves attention, securing the
g4-bishop: 10.!lel (10.lile5 lilxe5
14. lilfd2 !lc8 ll.dxe5 lild7 12.h3 th5 13.g4

Chapter 12

ig6 14.e4 <;:Jc5) 10 ...M5 followed transpose to 7.<;:Jbd2 unless Black

up by ... a5. chooses 8...ae4!? 9.<;:)bd2 axd2
10.a3 10.Wxd2 0-0.
lO.ae5 axe5 11.dxe5 <;:)d7 is ge
nerally fine for Black - 12.h3 5 7 dxc4!?

13.g4 ig6 14.e4 dxe4 15.<;:Jxe4

ac5 16.<;:Jd6 <;:Jd3 17.ia3 f6! ! 7...ie7 is certainly possible. White
(17...axe5 18.c5) 18.1!1'd2 1!1'b8 usually continues 8.1!1'b3
19.c5 fxe5+. 8.cxd5 exd5 9.h3 is best met by
10 ...h6 9 ...if5 (9...5 allows 10.aes
10 ...b5 11.c5 1Wb8 12.b4 is diffi axe5 11.dxe5 <;:)d7 12.g4 ig6
cult to win with either side. 13.f4) lO.<;:Jh4 ig6=.
11.l'lel M5 12.<;:Je5 axe5! 13.dxe5 8...Wb6
<;:Jd7 14.cxd5
14.e4 is dubious with a closed
c-file - 14...dxe4 15.axe4 ac5
16.<;:)d6 hd6+.
14...cxd5 15.e4
White needs to open the centre
as otherwise Black has a clear
plan on the queenside - 15.id4
ac5 16.1!\'cl !lc8 17.1Wb2 1!1'd7
18.!lecl b5 19.ie3 !lfd8 20.<;:Jf3
a4 21.<;:)d4 axb3 22.axb3 axb3 In this popular position top players
23.Wxb3 !lc4+, Malaniuk-Dreev, prefer lately 9.l'lel
Tilburg 1993. 9.c5 is typically met by 9 ...Wa6
15...dxe4 and then ...b6. The rook move is
aimed against it.
9... 0-0 10.c5 1Wxb3
10 ...Wa6 is less attractive here
as 11.e4 dxe4 12.axe4 axe4
13.!lxe4 practically forces 13 ...
hf3 in view of the threat 14.ifl.
You could retain more tension
with 10 ...1Wc7 11.M4 Wc8, but
it is not advisable to give more
space to a good player as you will
16.he4 (16.<;:Jxe4 <;:Jc5 17.Wxd8=) have to struggle for the rest ofthe
Here Bagirov-Rabiega, Berlin 1995, game, e.g. 12 ...h6 (12 ...b6 13.id6
signed a draw. Both 16 ... he4 Wd8 14.he7 Wxe7 15.cxb6 axb6
17.<;:Jxe4 !lc8 and 16 ... ac5 17.txts 16.e4) 13.e4 dxe4 14.axe4 axe4
are equal. 15.!lxe4 <;:)f6 16.!leel <;:)d5 17.id2
7.b3 ie7 8.ib2 0-0 9.<;:Jbd2 should ixf3 18.Wxf3 !ld8 19.h4 with an

1.tilf3 d5 2.g3

initiative in Rapport-Bromber pawns and a clear positional ad

ger, Reykjavik 2016. vantage.
11.axb3 a6 12.b4 l'lfe8 12.exdS 0-0 13.Wxc4 l'lc8+.
The blunt 12 ....fud"3 (anticipat
ing the typical manoeuvre tilf3- 8...e5
d2-b3-a5) 13.exf3 l'lfd8 proved
quite effective for a draw in Bu 8...b5 9.h3 (9.e5? lll d5 10.lll e4 ier+)
Malakhov, China 2015: 14.f4 g6 9 ...hf3 10.'&xf3 ie7 11.eS?! 12ld5
15.Ae3 Ill es 16.Afl lllc7 17.illbl 12.Wg4 f8 defends everything and
lllf6 18.lll d2 lllg4 19.lllf3 h5 Black can hope to advance his pawn
20.h3 lllh6 21.ill eS g7 22.Ad3 majority on the queenside. How
12lf5 23.lllf3 l'lh8 24.g2 Af6 ever, in this line White has lasting
25.l'la3 l'lac8 26.l'lhl ie7 27.!laal pressure by just staying solidly in
l'lcg8 28.g4 draw. the centre, e.g. 11.l'ldl 0-0 12.M4,
13.M4 which compensates for the missing
13.lll d2 e5 assures Black of pawn. It is better to contest the cen
counterplay. tre at once.
13 ...h6=.
9.ie3 (9.dxe5?! hf3 10.Wxf3
12lxe5+) 9 .. exd4 10.hd4 lllc5

(threatening 11...lll e6) 11.eS llld5



It is clear that White's hopes are

based on the strong centre, but in
practice he often inserts a4 a5 first: Black has at least two ways of reach
8.a4 a5 9.e4 ib4 ing comfortable equality:
9 ...Wb6, threatening ... e5, is also
a) 12 ... 12lb6 13.l'ladl 12ld3 14.We4
in Black's favour.
Wd7 15.hb6 axb6 16.Wxc4 lllxb2
10.'&e2 e5 11.d5 cxd5
17.l'lxd7 12lxc4 18.l'lxb7=;
11 ... l'lcS keeps the extra pawn -
12.l'ldl cxd5 13.exdS 0-0+, Mat b) 12 ... MS!? 13.12lxd5 cxd5 14.l'lfdl
nadze-Dzagnidze, Istanbul 2012, ie7 15.b3 12ld3 16.e6 0-0 17.exf7+
but it is even better to have even h8oo.

Chapter 12

C. 5.cxd5 exd5

It is always risky to unbalance the

game with Black, but this is the best
way to play for a win. In my prac
tice I prefer the solid 5...i.xf.3 6.M3
cxd5 7.0-0 lilc6 8.d3 lilf6 9.lilc3 !!J..e7

12 ...W!la6! (12 ...W!la5 13.lild4!

dxe4 14.dxe4 defines the centre
in White's favour) 13.lild4 lile5
14.h3 !!J..d7= (or 13 ...c5 14.lildb5
d4 15.lilxd6 W!lxd6 16.!!J..f4 W!la6f!).
10.Widl !!J..d6 ll.lilc3 0-0 12.!!J..e3
12.e4 is not a good idea because
of 12 ... dxe4 13.dxe4 lile5.
White's bishop pair does not have After 12.h3 !!J..h5 13.e4 dxe4
great prospects due to the symmet 14.dxe4 lile5 15.g4 !!J..g6 16.lilxe5
rical pawn structure. I consider in !!J..xe5 17.!!J..e3 Wie7 18.f3 Black
detail this backup line in the anno could trade a piece with 18 ...h5
tations to Grune 29 Mola-Delchev, 19.g5 !!J..xc3 20.bxc3 lild5=.
2015. 12 ...W!la5


6.Wb3 W!lb6 7.W!lc2 is an attempt to

win a tempo with !!J..e3 since White
was going to play W!lc2 anyway.
However, the black queen may re
treat to a6 where it would be quite
7... lild7 8.0-0 lilgf6 9.d3 (9.lilc3
!!J..d6) 9...W!lc5! 13.h3
An important move, aimed at The game T.L.Petrosian-Hov
driving the enemy queen back hannisyan, Lake Sevan Mar
to dl. tuni 2015, saw the wrong plan
9 ... !!J..d6 10.e4 0-0 is also possible 13.a3?! !lfe8 14.b4 W!ld8 15.!!J..d4
- 11.lilc3 !lfe8 (ll...lile5 12.lilxe5 lilf8 16.lila4 lile6 17.!!J..c3 when
!!J..xe5 13.!!J..e3! d4 14.lila4 W!lb5 17...b5 18.lilb2 !lc8 19.Wib3 c5
15.!! offers White a mobile 2 O. bxc5 lilxc5 favours Black.
pawn pair e4-f4.) 12.!!J..e3 13...!!J..h5 14.lild4 !!J..g6 15.f4 !lfe8
- l.'<lt3 d5 2.g3

16.W. Now a good redeployment a minority attack with b4. I would

is 16 ...!lad8! 17. 1Wd2 '/Jfc7 18.!lacl avoid it for practical reasons.
6 ... lllf6 7.d3 illbd7 8.ill c3 .id6
The only sensible plan. 10.ltld4 0-0
8....ie7 and 8....ic5 are well tested 11.ltlfS .ic7 12 ..ie3 !le8 13.'/Jfd2 12lf8
alternatives. 14.b4 12le6 15.ltld4 .ib6 was pleasant
for Black in Vaganian-Murey, Mar
seille 1987.

10... 0-0 11.exd5

Practice has also seen here 11. \Wc2

although this position arises more
often following the move order with
9.'/Jfc2. We answer ll ...!le8 12.12lh4
For 12 ..ie3 .tcS! see Game 28
Markowski-Pedersen, Istanbul
9.h3 2003.
12 ...ltlc5!
I do not believe that White could as
pire to the advantage without this
move so he better play it right away.
9 .e4 does not gain anything since
9... 0-0 10.h3 .th5 will simply trans
pose. Besides, 9... dxe4 10.dxe4 lll e5
evens the game outright.
9.\Wc2 0-0 10.e4 !le8 ll.h3 .th5 is
another important branch of the
main line.
The knight is heading for e6-d4. We
try to keep as much tension as pos
9 .th5
sible in the centre and play on the

dark squares. Any White's pawn

9...ixf3 10.ixf3 d4
advance will be double-edged as his
10 ... 0-0 11.e4 dxe4 12.dxe4 gives
pieces are still undeveloped and not
White a fluid centre and the
ready to back it.
bishop pair.
This line now branches to:
11.llle4 leads to a very static posi
tion where Black lacks any active a) 13 ..igS? 12le6 14.ixf6 '/Jfxf6
plan while White could try to mount 15.exd5 12ld4 16.'/Jfd2 g5-+.

Chapter 12

b) 13 ..ie3 12le6 14.exd5 12lxd5 Eiel Eib8) 19 ... EibS 20 ..ic6 lile6 (20 ...
15.12lxd5 cxd5 16.d4 .ie7 17.\l!lf5 .ie2 .ic7!?) 21.1llld5 lilxd4=.
18.Elfel .ic4 19.12lf3 g6=.
14 hxg6 15.d4 lile6 16 .ie3

c) 13.f4 12le6! 14.e5 (14.12lf5 .ic5+

15.l!lh2 .ig6=) 14....ic5+ 15.l!lh2
12ld7 and White's offence has come
to a halt while Black could think of
...g5 or ...f6.

d) 13.12lf5 .if8 14..ie3

14.g4 .ig6 15.e5 12lfd7 16.d4 12le6

16 ..ic7!

Underlining the weakness of the

h2-b8 diagonal. 16 ...lilf4 cost Black
a pawn after 17.1l!lb3 Eib8 18.Eiadl b5
We see a typical overextended 19.M4 M4 20.Eifel Eib6 21.12lxd5
White's centre. 17..ie3 stumbles 12lxd5 22.\l!lxd5;!;, Radjabov-Ivan
into 17...c5 and 17.Eidl could be chuk, Ningbo 2011, with an eventu
met by either 17...c5, or 17 .. .f6. al draw.
14....ig6 15..ixc5 (15.Eiadl .ixf5)
15... .ixc5 16.12lxd5 .ixf2+ 17.1lllxf2 17.1l!lb3 \\l'd6 18.f4 .ib6 19.Eiadl
cxd5=, Leopolis-Pelger, gameknot. Eiae8 20.l!lhl
corn 2007.
Or 20.g5 12lh5 21.12lxd5 12lg3 22.Eif3
11 cxd5 12.g4 .ig6 13.12lh4 lilc5
. 12lf5 23.12lxb6 axb6 and Black easily
14.lil:xg6 regains the pawn.

The immediate 14.d4 could face 20 Eie7 21.f5 .ic7 22 ..igl lilf4oo.
14...lilce4 15.lilxd5 12lxd5 16.12lxg6
fxg6 17..ixe4 lilf4 with compensa White's position is dangerous in
tion, e.g. 18.1l!lf3 l!lh8 19 ..ixb7 (19. view of his naked king.

Chapter 12. 1.ctJf3 d5 2.g3

Annotated Games

pensation after 9...lllxe5 10.dxe5

27. Kazmierczuk - Carolei lild7 11.'l:l'xb7 0-0 12.'l:l'xc6! lilxe5
VWC6/pr23 ICCF 2013 13.'l:l'a6 lllxc4 14.e4.

1.lil:f3 lilf6 2.g3 d5 3 .tg2 c6 10.lilxd7 lilxd7 11.e4 dxe4

4.0-0 .tg4 5.lile5 .tf5 6.d4 lilbd7 12.lilxe4 0-0 13..ie3 Eifd8
7.c4 e6 8.lilc3 .te7
It is possible to trade queens im
mediately - 13 ...'l:l'xb3 14.axb3 a6
15.lllc3 Eiac8 16.d5 cxd5 17.cxd5 e5
18.d6 hd6 19.hb7 Eib8 20.j,d5

14.h3 V;\'xb3

14...lilf6 15.lll c5 gave White a slight

pull after 15 ...hc5 16.dxc5 'l:l'c7
This position arises more often with 17.Eifdl in Mozharov-Belov, Mos
a knight on f3 instead of e5. The dif cow 2014, due to the weak square
ference should be in Black' s favour d6.
as he is constantly threatening to The waiting 14...h6 was a good al
take on e5, for instance: ternative to the game move.
9.b3 0-0 10 ..tb2 lllxe5 11.dxe5 lile4
12.lllxe4 dxe4= or:
9.j,f4 0-0 10.1l:Yb3 lilxe5 11.dxe5
(11.he5 'l:l'b6) 11...lll d7 12.'l:l'xb7?
lllc5 13.'l:l'b4 (13.'l:l'xc6 Eic8 14.1l:Yb5
Eib8 15.'l:l'c6 Eib6) 13 ...EibS 14.'l:l'a3

9.'l:l'b3 'l:l'b6

Black does not have enough corn- White should continue 15.Eifcl!


Or 15.1Wc3 liJf6 16.d5 c5! ; such committal moves as it is diffi

Otherwise Black takes on b3: cult to judge which pawn would be
15.!lfdl 1Wxb3 16.axb3 liJf6 weaker - b3 or a5.
17.liJc3 ic2;
15.!lfel 1Wxb3 16.axb3 a6 17.liJc3 16.!lfdl
ic2 18.d5 hb3 19.dxc6 bxc6
20.hc6 !lac8 21.hd7 !lxd7 This has no venom. More challeng
22.c5 hc5 23.hc5 !lxc5 ing was to take c2 under control
24.!lxa6 !lb'l'i'. with 16.!lfcl, or to display activity
15 ...1Wxb3 16.axb3 a6 17.liJc3! (in with 16.g4!? ig6 17.f4 h6 18.f5 exf5
tending d4-d5 or 17...liJf6 18.liJa4) 19.gxf5 ih7 20.id2 b6 21.ic3.
17...!lac8, Romanishin-Dorfman,
Tashkent 1980. It was interest 16 liJf6 17.liJxf6+ ix:f6 18.!ld2

ing to try here 18.d5 when 18 ... h5 19.h2 ie7

exd5 19.cxd5 cxd5 20.liJxd5 !lxcl+
21.!lxcl if8 offers White a slight in
itiative. The computer proposes the
original 18 ...liJc5!? 19.dxc6 bxc6
with the more active pieces which
compensate for the split queenside



Both sides lack an active plan and a

waiting game would be a logical ap
proach. White forces the course of
events, but becomes even slightly
worse due to his doubled pawn.

20 cxd5 21.cxd5 ib4 22.!ld4


15 as
. c5 23.!lda4?! he3 24.fxe3
exd5 25.!lxa5 !lxa5 26.!lxa5 ie6
Sam Collins successfully defended 27.!lb5 !ld7 28.MS g6 29.g2
against K. Arkell and L. Gutman the f8 30.f2 e7 31.h4 d6
position after 15...liJf6 16.liJc5 hc5 32. e2 !lc7 33. d2 c6 34.!la5
17.dxc5 ie4. !lc8 35.!la4 @d6 36.!la5 !lc6
The text fixes the b3-pawn which 37.!lb5 !la6 38.e4 dxe4 39.he4
might prove useful at some point. !lal 40.@e3 !lel+ 41.@d4 id7
However, human players mistrust 42.!lb6+ Draw.

l.'ilt::S d5 L.g:;

retreat 17..ie2. Instead, Black chose

28. Markowski - Pedersen
the solid 14 ... lilcS 15.exd5 and a
Istanbul 12.06.2003
draw was agreed.
1.g3 d5 2.lilf"3 c6 3..ig2 .ig4
4.0-0 lild7 5.d3 lilgf6 6.c4 e6
7.cxd5 exd5 8.lilc3 .id6 9.Wc2
I understand White's reluctance
0-0 10.e4 !le8 11.h3 .ih5 12 .ie3
to take on d5, but this move hands

Black the initiative. Perhaps best re
tort was 14...hf3 15.hf3 .id4, but
the retreat to e7 is also good enough.

14 .ie7 15.lilc3 .ic5 (15 ... lile6!)


16.exd5 cxd5 17 .ig5

13 ..if4

In principle, White should avoid

exchanges. 13.hc5 li:lxc5
lilcxe4 15.dxe4 cxd5 16.exd5 .ig6;
eliminates the whole centre.
Another try is 13.lild4 .ig6, creat
ing a hidden pin along the diagonal,
17...lile6!? 18.hf6 Wxf6 19.g4 .ig6
e.g. 14.!lael dxe4 15.dxe4 lild5!. Or
20.lilxd5 Wd8 !lc8 would
14.!lfdl .ib6 15.exd5 lile5 with the
have given Black full compensation
more active pieces.
for the pawn. The text is passive and
White could have exploited it with
13. lilfS
18.Wb3 lile6 19.hf6 hf6 20.!lael

with a slight pull.

13...dxe4 14.dxe4 hf3 15.hf3 lile5
16 ..ig2 1/lld3 17.1/llb3 Wc4 18.!ladl
18.lild4 h6 19 .ie3 lile6 20.!lfel

1/llxb3 simplifies to a balanced end

!lc8 21.lilxe6 fxe6 22 .id4 .id6

13 ....ib6!? (intending ...lilc5)
14.!lael occurred in the corres It was possible to eat the a7-pawn -
pondence game Ptak-Merlicek, 23.ha7 b6 24.1/llb3 .ic5 25.lilb5 e5
1997, when 14...dxe4 15.dxe4 hf3 26.a4 and White always has a5 to
16.hf3 lile5 would force the clumsy save the bishop - 26 ... !le7 27.!lecl

Chapter 12

ie8 28.a5 txf2+ 29.l!lxf2 axcl 39.'lilc4 ad4 40.'lifb3 l!lh7 41.'lilc3
30.axcl bxa5 31.ac5 l!lh7 32.lilc7 'lild8 42.lilc2 i.dl+ 43.ael
axc7 33.'i!rb6 ac8 34.'i!rxdS axd8
35.axa5 ac8 with a probable draw.
To avoid this line, Black should have
defended e6 with 22 .. if7oo.

23 b6 24.lilb5 ibS

A decisive mistake. 43 ... lilf4 44..ifl

ad3! 45.'i!re5 lilxh3+ 46 ..ixh3 axh3
47.lile3 keeps the balance.

25.e5 44.he4 he4 45.axe4 ad3

46.'i!re5 adl+ 47.l!lg2 lilg5
White's bishop controls both wings 48.ae3 'i!rgS 49.f"3 'lild5 50.'i!rc3
so it seems that 25.4 was better, but 'i!rxa2 51.ae7 ad4 52.'i!rxd4
then g3 would become a target after 'i!rxc2+ 53.l!lg3 'lilh2+ 54.l!lxh2
...lilh5, ... g5. Markowski adopts the lilxf"3+ 55. l!lg3 lilxd4 56.ab7 b5
Nimzowitsch's approach to block 57.l!lf4 l!lg6 58.l!le4 lile2 59.h4
ade e6, but it is ineffective here. l!lf6 60.ab6+ l!lf7 61.h5 1-0

25 he5 26.axe5 a6 27.lild4

M7 28.'lila3 lild7 29.ae2 'i!ff6 29. Mola - Delchev

30.lilf"3 e5! Lucca 1 3.06.2015

Black takes over the initiative for a 1.lilf"3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.g2 g4 4.c4
small price. e6 5.cxd5 .ixf"3 6.ixm cxd5

31.'lilxa6 lilc5 32.'lifb5 ih5 33.g4

.ig6 34.lilel (34.gdl!oo) 34 e4

Black forces the play prematurely.

34... aedS was better.

35.dxe4 dxe4 36.adl acdS

37.axdS axd8 38.b4 lile6

208 d5 2 .g3

7.0-0 16.hd2 '/ilb6 17.Wi'c2 lilb3 and Black

had a slight initiative in Pr.Nikolic
7.Wi'b3 only hinders White's plan Bluebaum, Germany 2014.
with a3, b4 and sooner or later he11
have to return the queen back home White often develops his bishop on
- 7...Wi'd7 8.lilc3 lilc6 9.$.g2 lilf6 d2 - 10.ig2 0-0 ll.id2 !lc8
10.0-0 fi.e7 ll.d3 0-0 !lac8 Or ll...'/ilb6 12.!lbl a6 13.ii:Ja4
(or 12 ... lild4) 13.!lfcl !lfd8 14.Wi'dl Wi'a7 14.!lcl !lac8 15.a3 b5 16.lilc3
h6 15.a3 id6 16.b4 !IJ.e5 17.!labl lile8 lild7.
18.lila4 b6 19.e3 lild6 20.Wi'b3 lile7 12.a3
21.lilb2 !lxcl+ 22.!lxcl !lc8=, Ana 12.fil3 does not really threat
stasian-Seirawan, Groningen 1997. en anything - 12 ...lild7! 13.!lfcl
(13.Wlxb7 lilc5 14.fil5 a6) 13 ...a6
7 lilc6 8.d3 lilf6 9.lilc3 ie7
14.Wi'dl !IJ.g5!?

10.Wia4 0-0 ll.if4 a6 12.!lfcl b5

13.Widl offers Black the initiative
- 13 ...!lc8 14.e4 d4 15.lilbl lild7
16.id2 lilc5 17.ie2 Wi'd7 or 17...
Wi'b6 18.b4 lild7 19.Wi'el a5. Even the
positional pawn sac 17...lila4 18.b3
lilc3!? 19.lilxc3 dxc3 20.hc3 ia3
21.!lc2 lild4 assures Black of a com
fortable game with zero risk.
A thematic idea in this pawn
10.e4 is unimpressive. In the con structure. At some point White
crete position Black can safely trade will try to activate his g2-bish
on e4, but it is generally clever to op with e2-e4 and we'll answer
keep the centre closed when facing ... d4. Then, according to theABC
a bishop pair. Therefore, I recom book, our dark-squared bishop
mend to meet e4 by ...d4: will be constrained behind our
own pawns. To be sure, White
could prevent the exchange, but
15.e3 creates a weakness on d3
which might tell after 15
16.ii:Je2 Wi'b6.

The game Zaragatski-Gyi

mesi, Germany 2011, went
15.hg5 Wlxg5 16.d4 lilb6 17.e3
!lc7 lilxa4 19.'/ilxa4 '/ile7
10 ...d4 11.lilbl lild7 12.a3 a5 13.a4 20.!lc5 lila7 21.b4 lilb5 22.ifl
ig5 14.lild2 lilc5 15.$.e2 ixd2 ii:Jd6 23.!lacl !ld7 24.id3 !lb8

Chapter 12

25.1/!\1c2 g6 26.a4 @g7 27.a5 b5 when 14...aSl 15.bxaS 1/!\1b3 is ab

28.axb6 draw. solutely comfortable for Black. In
12 ...a6 13.b4 lild7 14.1/!\1b3 lll d4 stead, I opted for the mundane
15.1/!\1a2 .if6 16.E1acl lile5 17.@hl 14... E1c7 15.e3 lilb5 16.lilxbS 1/!\1xb5
17.1/!\1b3 E1ac8 18.E1fcl E1xcl+ 19.E1xcl
E1xcl+ 20.hcl a5 21..id2 axb4
22.axb4 h5 23 ..ifl 1/!\1d7 (23 ...d4!=)
24.1/!\1c3 d4=.

12.ll:cl a6 13 .ig2 lild7 14..id2

b5 15.f4 lild4 16.@hl lilc5 17.ll:bl

lildb3 18 ..iel d4 19.lile4 a5
20.lilxc5 lilxc5 21.ll:cl a4

Black has gained some advantage in Fixing the pawns on dark squares.
the centre which allows him to dis 21...1/!\1b6 22.b4 axb4 23.hb4 would
play activity on the kingside: be totally equal and Black should
17...h5 18.f4 even think about defence since 23 ...
18.h3 weakens g3 - 18 ...1/!\1b6 g6?! would run into 24.e4.
19.f4 lilf5 20.@h2 lll e3 21.fxeS
lilxfl+ 22.1lxflhe5 23.lila4 1/!\1c6+. 22 ..ib4 1/!\1d7 23.hc5 hc5
18 ...lilg4 19.e4 dxe4 20.lilxe4 (20. 24. VNd2 ll:c7 25.ll:c2 ll:fc8 26.ll:fcl
dxe4 lilb3) 20 ...fucl 21.hcl .ie7 g6 27 .if'31/!\1d6 28.1/!\1dl h5 29.h4

22.h3 lllf6 23.lilxf6+ txf6 24.g4 e5 30.fxe5 VNxe5 f5

(24.hb7 lilf5 25.@h2 1/!\1xd3) 32.g2 @g7 33 ..td5
24...1/!\1d7. White's position is dan
gerous, McShane-Fressinet, Wijk
aan Zee 2011.

10 0-0 11.a3 lk8

I had played earlier ll ...1/!\1b6 12.b4

lild4 13..ig2 E1fc8 14.!d2, Buchal
Delchev, Bad Wiessee 2013,

33 ... 'd6

Black has a lasting advantage due to

the weak kingside pawns. Perhaps I
should have changed a pair of rooks
with 33 ....id6 34.E1xc7 + hc7+ in or
der to free my bishop from the pin.
The c-file is unimportant.

1.lilf3 d5 2.g3

34.tb7 !lb8 35 .id5 !le8 36.tf3

2014, went ll.h3 th5 12.lilh4 l'le8
!le3 37.Wgl %1'e7 38.l!ift Wh6 13.Wel?! (this move would make
sense only if the centre were closed
38 ...td6!? is similar to the game - with e4-d4) 13 ... e4! 14.dxe4 dxe4
39.!lxc7 hc7 40.Wf2 tes 41.Wg2 15.lilf5 when 15....ic7! (instead of
Wf7 42 .!lc5 1Wb3 43.!lxeS'i'. 15...,ieS) would have preserved an
important attacking piece.
39. Wf2 .id6 40.!lxc7 hc7 41. Wfl Note that 10.a3 is an almost au
te5 42.Wf2 b4 tomatic answer since otherwise
Black would obtain some pull on
42 ...Wf7 43.!lcS Wb3 44.!lxeS !lxe5 the queenside. For instance, look at
45.Wxd4 is a draw. the game Sadorra-Dreev, Richard
son 2010: 9 ...!le8 10.Wc2 e5 11.!lael
43.axb4 Wxb4 44.!lc4 %1'xb2 a5 12.lilh4 a4 13.h3 te6 14.e4 dxe4
45.!lxa4 td6 46.!la6 !le6 47.!lc6 15.lilxe4 lilxe4 16.!lxe4 axb3 17.axb3
!lf6 48.Wg2 .ie5 Draw. Wb6 18.!le2 !la2 19.!lal !lea8
20.!lxa2 !lxa2 21.%1'dl tc5 with ac
tive pieces.
30. Janaszak - Dziuba
Warsaw 1 7.12.2011 The text waits for White to define
his plan first. A similar approach is
1.c4 lilf6 2.g3 c6 3 .ig2 d5 4.lilf3
9...a5 10.a3 th5 11.c2 e5 12.e4
tg4 5.0-0 e6 6.d3 lilbd7 7.b3
,id6 8.tb2 0-0 9.lilbd2

12 ... dxe4 13.dxe4 !le8 14.lilh4 tcS

15.lildf3 b6 16.!ladl MS 17.!lbl
9 ...!le8 lilc5=, Leko-Kasparov, Wijk aan
Zee 2001.
Our plan is to push ...e5, so this
move is not bad, but the immediate 10.h3
9 ...e5 was also possible. Even better
is to include 9...a5 10.a3 e5 in order If White delayed this move too
to weaken the enemy's queenside. much, the bishop could return to
The blitz game Edouard-Gunina, e6! Let's consider:

Chapter 12

10.a3 a5 ll.Wc2 e5 (threatening ll... dxe4 12.dxe4 ie5!.

... e5-e4-e3)

a) We commonly meet 12.e4?! by

12 ...dxe4 and then we try to exploit 12.e4
the hole on d4 - 13.dxe4
13.iilxe4 iilxe4 14.dxe4 ic5 12.g4?! ig6 13.iilh4 offers us space
15.iilh4 (15.!lfdl Wf6 16.h3 ixf3 to grab - 13 ...d4!+ 14.a3 a5 15.iilxg6
17.!lxd7 !led8) 15 ...Wb6 (15 ... hxg6 16.!lael We7 (16 ...ic5 17.iilf3
g6!?) 16.h3 ie6 17.!lfdl id4. rl!!le7 18.Wcl Wd6 19.iild2 !lad8)
13 ...Wb6! 14.ic3 (14.h3 allows 14.. . 17.Wcl ic5 18.Wal iilf8, pinpointing
txf3 15.iilxf3 iilc5 16.iild2 iile6) 14 .. . the weakness on f4.
ic5 15.h3
12.e3!? h6! 13.iilh4 iilf8! faces White
15.Wb2 txf3! 16.txf3 id4 17.b4
with a choice:
c5 crowns Black's dark-squared
a) 14.g4 ig6 15.iilxg6 weakens h4
and the whole kingside - 15... iilxg6
15 ...ih5 16.g4 ig6 17.iilh4 id4
16.iilf3 (16.!lfel iilh4 17.ihl h5) 16...
18.ixd4 exd4+. White's pieces are
awkwardly placed. That turns the
16 ... We7 17.a3 (17.cxd5 cxd5
otherwise strong e4-pawn into a
18.!lacl !lad8) 17...e4 is pro
mising, too - 18.iild4 (18.dxe4
b) 12.e3!? h6!. Now our bishop dxe4 19.ii:ld2 ie5 20.b4 ii:lh4
could retreat to e6. 13.iilh4 !lc8! 21.ihl 1/!iie6 22.ixe5 1/!iixe5-+)
14.h3 ie6 15.f4 (15.ic3 b5) 15... 18... iilh4-+.
exf4 16.exf4 iilc5 17.b4 iila6 18.c5 17.gxh5 iilxh5+.
ie7 and White is unable to parry all b) 14.a3 a5 15.ii:lf5 ic7 16.cxd5 cxd5
Black's threats - apart of the hit on 17.b4 (17.!lfcl !lc8) 17...!lcSt or
b4, ...iilh5 is also awkward. 17...ig6.
c) 14.iildf3 1il'd7 15.e4 dxe4 16.dxe4
10 ...th5 11.rl!!lc2 ixf3 17.ii:lxf3 c5 18.!lfel Wc7 19.!ladl
The insertion ofll.a3 a5 suits Black.
ll.e4 is premature due to the pin - 12 ...dxe4
L' db .g::S

Our general approach to this posi ever, concrete thinking reveals that
tion is to take on e4, but 12 ...d4!? Black could penetrate even deep
cannot be really bad. White has put er in the enemy camp as d3 is also
his bishop on b2 and the queen on available - 15...! c7
c2 so he will need 2 tempi to re 17.!ladl '/!1d3 18.'/!1xd3 li:lxd3
deploy them for the typical KI at !lad8 20.l!lg2 b6+.
tack. Other schemes have no ve
nom - a5 MS 15.f4 hxg6 17.!ladl '/!1c7
g6 exf4 17.gxf4 e2 18.!lf2 18.g2 !lads! li:le6
li:lh5 3 li:lxf4. 20.h4?! c5

13.dxe4 20 ... li:ld4!+ was more energetic. The

pawn is immune owing to 21.hd4
Trading knights underlines the exd4 22.!lxd4?! hg3.
weakness of d4 - li:lxe4
14.dxe4 '/!1c7 (14...'/!1f6 15.'/!1e2 !lad8 21.!lxdS !lxd8 22.!ldl (22.3!)
16.!lfdl li:lc5 17.!ld2 li:le6) 22 li:lg4 23.!lfl

c5 li:lf8 17.c3 a5 18.a3 li:le6

19.b4 d4.

13... a5

14.a3 '/!1b6 15.c3 c5 is a familiar

plan - 16.'1!1b2 3 17.3 d4
18.g2 !led8 19.b4 li:lc5 20.hd4
exd4 15.M3 23 .. li:ld4?

Black should have looked for a coup

de grace. Any capture on f2 wins by
force since after 23 ... li:lxf2 24.!lxf2
2+ 25.l!/xf2 '/!1b6+ 26.l!lfl '/!1e3
the blackheavy pieces dominate the
board, e.g. 27.he5 !ld3 28.c5 li:ld4-
+. Another interesting way of at
tacking the enemy king was 23 ...g5!
24.hxg5 li:lxf2 25.!lxf2 '1!1d6 26.MS
15 ...g6 li:lxg5 27.l!lg2 2 28.'/!1xf2 '/!1d3-+.
After the "positional" 23
This is a consistent move for the 24.hd4 exd4 25.'/!1d3! Black would
plan based on occupying d4. How- have stood "only" better. Instead,

Chapter 12

White lets thehit on f2 through once 32.'lifxd2 d2 33.h5 gxh5

again and this time Black grasps his 34.hfS f7 35 .tcs b6 36..tb7

chance. a2 37.hc6 !lb2 38.@e4+ g6

39.!lf'3 !ld2 40 .teS+ h6 41.W

24.hd4 exd4 25.'lifdl? liJxf2! !le2+ 42.@d3 !le5 43..td5 @g5

26.@xf2 d3+ 27.f3 f5?? 44..te4 g4 45.!lf7 g5 46 .tf'3+

xg3 47..txh5 !le3+ 48.c2

27...'life5 or 27...d2 were winning g4 49.!lg7 h4 50 ..tg6 !le5
while now 28.exf5! d2 29.l!lg4 !ld3 51..td3 g3 52..tfl !lf5 53.!lh7+
30.!lf3= saves the game as 30 ...Wd7 g5 54.fili3 !lf2 + 55.d3 !lh2
is not mate! 56.!lg7+ f4 57..tfl M2 58.!lf7+
e5 59.!lg7 d6 60.!lg5 .tel
28.e5?? 'lifxe5 29.'lifel 'lifd4 61.@e4 !lb2 62.!ld5+ c6 63.!ldl
30.fili3 d2 31.liJxd2 'lifxd2 0-1

Chapter 13. The King's Indian Set-up

Main Ideas

1.liJJ'3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.g2 g4!

4.0-0 e6

White's only active plan here is to

play f2-f4-f5, gaining space on the
kingside. If we neutralise it in ad
The King's Indian Reversed set-up vance, White will run out of use
assumes that White will play d3, e4 ful moves. Then we should expect
instead of c4. to take over the initiative. First, we
An independent line is 5.d4 lilf6 should concentrate our forces in
6.liJbd2 $.e7 7.8el 0-0 8.e4 when the centre - ...8e8, ...V!Jc7, 8ad8.

Black tries to provoke e4-e5 with Our aim is to reach a position of this
...$.g4-h5-g6 and retreats the knight type:
to es.

Black has a wide choice against the

Kl Reversed, but I discuss only set
ups with ... $.d6 and then ... lilg8-f6
or liJg8-e7. The latter may be easi
er to play, but White has a way to
prevent it by the move order 5.b3
(or even 4.b3) 5... liJd7 6.$.b2 liJgf6
7.d3 $.d6 8.liJbd2 0-0 9.e4
Both sides have completed develop White's advance has come to a halt,
ment and we should now take the his pawns are hanging. See Grune
chance of occupying the centre with 31 Maiwald-Sasikiran, Dresden
9 ... e5 2005.

Chapter 13

The set-up with 5.d3 d6 6.e4 but further advance with e4-e5
lile7 is based on similar ideas, but will only give us a free hand on the
the e7-knight can counter lilh4 with queenside. We could take space with
... 12lg6. Another plus for Black is the ... a5, ... b5 while on the kingside we
option of ...f6, preserving the light a rock-solid.
squared bishop. For instance:
7.1!\'el 12ld7 8.h3 th5 9.12lh4 Pantsulaia-Dreev
Gjakova 2016

9...dxe4! 10.dxe4 lilg6 11.12lxg6 hg6

12.f4 f6!. White has not achieved This is a model example where
anything except of weakening his White has kept the tension and now
king. Black counterattacks in the centre:
White can try to exploit our set 14...c5 15.exd5 lilxd5 16.1;,g5 1!1'c7
up by changing plans: 7.12lbd2 12ld7 17.llie3 lli7f6 18.1!1'b5 llixe3 19.he3
8.d4 0-0 9.!lel 1;,c7 10.c3, llid5 20.1;,d2 !led8=.

Of course, in the diagram position

Black could also unload the cen
tre with 14...dxe4!? 15.lli3d2 llid5
or persist with the waiting game by
14...1;,b8!? or even 14... !lbS!?.

AB a whole, if White offered you a

choice, ...llie7 gives the g4-bishop
more freedom.

Chapter 13. The King's Indian Set-up

Step by Step d5 2.g3 c6 3.Ag2 i.g4! We should not be afraid of an at

4.0-0 e6 tack here so we can allow e4-e5. We
should even provoke it with the ma
This move keeps more tension than noeuvre: 5.d3 e5 which is also pos
sible - 6.h3 i.h5 7.e4 dxe4 8.dxe4 s...i.hs
li:lgf6 9.11!\'el i.c5 10.a4 a5. Besides,
White could shun this option alto I see no reason to open the centre
gether by playing 4.b3 e6 5.i.b2. with 8 ...dxe4 li:lxe4 10.!lxe4
i.f5 11.!lel li:ld7 12.c3 h6 13.'i!l'b3 1/!l'b6
with a solid, but passive position.

8 ... li:la6 would be justified in the

event of 9.e5?!, but 9.c3! under
lines the clumsy placement of the

8!? 9.c3 i.h5 transposes to

the main line.

9.c3 li:lbd7 10.h3

A. 5.d4 B. 5.b3; C. 5.d3;
10.e5 li:le8 is often seen.
A. 5.d4 li:lf6 i.e7 7.!lel
0-0 8.e4

White's intention is to keep the

space advantage and gradually ad
vance on the kingside. ...c5 does not

Chapter 13

promise serious counterplay and Sulava-Feletar, Poree 1998. White

White might even use the d4-square was too busy redeploying his
for one of his knights. knights and temporarily uncoordi
It is more effective to attack the b2 nated them. That makes the break
and the c3-pawns. For instance: 15 ...f6! very strong - 16.exf6 1\exf6
ll ... ltlc7! 12.j_e3 a5! 13.ltlcl ltlb6! 17.ltleg4 ltle4. White can preserve
14.ltld3 (or 14.b3 ltlb5 when 15.Wd2 his centre, but 16.f4 fxe5 17.fxeS
runs into 15 ... ltlxc3!) 14 ... ltlc4. Only ltlb8 leaves him with bad pieces and
when White's pieces take passive no trace of an attack.
defensive stands, could we think of
...c5 or even ...f6.
B. 5.b3 1\d7 6.j_b2 1\gf6 7.d3
10 ...j_g6 11.e5
7.d4 ie7! should transpose to Chap
11.exdS lacks any constructive idea. ter 12 line B if White pushed c4.
Black had comfortable equality af
ter 11 ...cxdS 12.ltleS ltlxe5 13.dxeS 7....id6 8.1\bd2
ltld7 14.ltlb3 ltlc5 15.ltlxcS hc5
16.j_e3 !lc8 17.h4 h6=, Speelman 8.c4 0-0 was discussed in Chapter
Gausel, Slough 1997. 12 - Game 30 Janaszak-Dziuba,
Warsaw 2011.
11 1\eS!?
8 ... 0-0 9.e4
ll...ltle4 12.ltlxe4 he4 13.1\h2 j_g6
14.h4 h6, Anand-McShane, London
2013, is possible, but I prefer to
keep the option of .. .f6. The knight
may be useful for this plan.

12.1\fl c5 13.1\3h2 cxd4 14.cxd4

!lcS 15.1\e3

9 ...e5

Of course, it is better to occupy the

centre than to seek simplification
with 9...dxe4 10.dxe4 ie5 when
ll.c3 ! leaves Black with less space.

I have been following the game 10.h3 .ih5 lL 'i!lel

The King's Indian Set-up

ll.g4 Ag6 12.lilh4 !le8 is similar to (10 ... is also good) ll.1We3
the main line. Ac3 12.!lbl c5 d4 14.1Wel
li:lc6 15.f4 f6+, Iljin-Goganov,
11... !leS 12.lilh4 '&c7 Sochi 2015.
8 ...5 9.lilh4
Black will choose the right timing
for opening the d-file. White does
not have any attack so he commonly
ends up in a slightly worse position.
See Game 31 Maiwald-Sasikiran,
Dresden 2 005.

c. 5.d3 Ad6

5 ... lild7 is an alternative move or

Now the manoeuvre 9 ... lilg6,
which I recommend in the po
Then 6.c4 allows 6 ...M3 7.M3
sition with lilbd2 0-0 insert
(7.exf3 Ad6 8.lilc3 lile79.l'lel 0-0
ed, drops the d5-pawn, so Black
10.a3 lilf5) 7... dxc4! 8.dxc4 lile5
should exchange on e4 first:
9.lild2 lilxf3+ with significant
9 ...dxe4! 10.dxe4 lilg6 11.lilxg6
chances to make a draw. How
hg6 12.f4 f6! 0-0
ever, the common plan with
Ac5+ 15.l!lh2 1We7 16.a3 li:lb6=,
...lilf6 from the previous chapter
T.L.Petrosian-Hovhannisyan, Ye
is more interesting.
revan 2012.
White usually answers 6.lilbd2 Ad6
7.e4 lile7, transposing.
7 lild7 8.h3

6.e4 lile7 7.lilbd2

8.d4 0-0 9.l'lel Ac7 10.c3 5 oc
curred in D'Amore-Caruana, Siena
The insertion of7.h3 5 may occur
2010. With a knight on e7 instead
now or on the next tum.
of f6, this manoeuvre is not too ef
Sometimes White delays lilbd2, in fective, as Black cannot force e5
tending to roll quickly his pawns: anyway. D'Amore could not find a
7.'&el lild7 8.h3 good retort and lostthe initiative af 0-0 9.b3 makes a hole ter 11.1Wb3 !lb8 12.1Wa3 b5. Perhaps
on c3 which Black can exploit 10 ... a5, followed up by queenside
with concrete play - 9...Ab4! play, is stronger. The game Pantsu
10 .h3 (10 ..ib2 loses a pawn to laia-Dreev, Gjakova 2016, is a good
10 ...M3 11. '&a5 12.!ldl model:
1Wxa2+, Leon Hoyos-Vera Gon 9.c3 l'lc8 10.!lel !le8 ll.a4 a5 12.1Wb3
zalez, Yucatan 2004) 10 ...5 b6 5 14.ie3 c5.

Chapter 13

8.b3 0-0 9.b2 a5 10.a3 b5 11.c4 10.liJh2 e5! is already slightly better
ll.'!!:1e2 '!!:1b6 12.d4 (12.h3 5 for Black. The game S.Martinovic
13.g4 g6 14.e5 c7) 12 ...c5 Grachev, Sibenik 2011, went 11.l!ihl
13.a4 b4+. '!!:1c7 12.liJb3 !;1ae8 13.d2 when 13 ...
11 ...'!!:1b6 12.Wc2 !;1ab8 13.!;1abl e5 of f5 14.exf5 e4+ was the best option.
fers Black the better centre.
10... liJg6!
8 .ih5 9.'!!:1el 0-0

This way Black saves the bishop.

10 ... e5 is also possible, but why to
give the opponent the bishop pair
without a substantial reason?!

11.liJxg6 hg6 12.f4 Wb6+

13.l!ihl !;1ae8 14.liJ:f3 f6oo

Black's king is safe and he keeps his

options in the centre open - Karja
10.liJh4 kin-Aronian, blitz, Stavanger 2013.
Chapter 13. The King's Indian Set-up

Annotated Games

14.f4?! dxe4 15.dxe4 tg6.

31. Maiwald - Sasikiran
White could make a waiting move
Dresden, 28.07.2005
like 13. hl, but 13 ... !ladS will face
1.g3 d5 2.tg2 11lf6 3.d3 c6 4.11lf'3 him with the same choice again.
tg4 5.0-0 11lbd7 6.11lbd2 e6 7.b3 In most practical games he cannot
td6 8.i.b2 0-0 9.'\l\'el e5 10.e4 find anything better than 14.a3 a5
!leS 11.h3 5 12.li1h4 15.11lf5 tfS 16.f4

Black stays beautifully, but he does Black has some initiative here. For
not have a clear plan yet. His saf instance:
est strategy is to open the d-file and 16 ...dxe4 17.dxe4 tg6
see what target White will offer him. 17...exf4 is probably less accu
Most probably, ...a5 will be a useful rate since it offers the g3-square
move, but it would be better to bring - 18.gxf4 tg6 19.11lg3 11lxe4
the rest of his forces to the centre 20.11ldxe4 f5oo, Kasimdzhanov
first. Li, Zagan 1997.
18.11lxg7! hg7 19.f5oo.
12 ...'\l\'c7!
13.a3 !lads 14.11lf5 i.fS 15.b4 a5
It transpires that White's inten 16.c3
tion to push f4 should be postponed
for a distant future since his centre Harikrishna-Smeets, Wijk aan Zee
would be hanging after 13.lllfS tfS 2008 saw 16.11lf3 axb4 17.axb4 c5

Chapter 13

(17...b5!?) 18.bxc5 dxe4 19.dxe4 This recapture allows Black to

lilxc5 with harmonious pieces. bring new resources into play. The
a4-knight is a powerful beast so
22.l'lxa4 b5 23.l'la5 would have been
easier to hold.

22 b5 23.lile3 e4 24.c4 lilxb2


25.1!\'xb2 bxc4 26.l'lacl h5


16 ...dxe4! 17.dxe4 lilb6

Pinpointing the weakness ofWhite's

light squares.

18.g4 tg6 19.1!1'e2 lila4 20.lilc4

Now the weak h2-b8 diagonal is
It is difficult to criticize this natural Black's main trump. The best way
move, but it unnecessarily activates to build the fi.1!1' battery is 27...1!\'f4!
the rook at al. 10 ...M5 ll.gxf5 g6! 28.gxh5 td6.
was stronger since 12.lilxa5 lilh5
would tie White up and down. 27 hxg4
.. 28.hxg4?! l!l'f4+
29.l!l'e2 td6 30.l'lel lild5 31.lilfl
21.axb4 .ixf5 22.exf5?! hb4 32.l'ldl? lilc3 0-1
Chapter 14. 1.g3

Main Ideas

1.g3 is often used against concrete 1. To meet c4 by ... d4, although ...c6
opponents in order to exploit their is probably not worse;
narrow opening repertoire. For ex 2. To lead out our king's knight to
ample, the King's Indian adepts f6, although the set-up with .Jue7
should reckon with 3.e4, reach is also possible. A good example to
ing the Pirc. However, it does not follow is Grune 32 Venya-Bereza,
pose any problems to us and we email 2013:
can choose both 1.. .e5 or 1.. .d5 to 3 ...lilf6 4.c4 d4 5.lil:f3 d6 6.0-0
achieve the following position: 0-0 7.e3 c5!? (7...dxe3 is "only"
equal!) 8.exd4 cxd4
1. e5 2.g2 d5 3.d3

9.c5 c7!? 10.b4 e6 and White

Chapter 11 has taught us to meet c4 had to struggle all the game due to
by ...d4!. We can also transpose to Black's superior centre.
other chapters of this book by de
fending the centre with ... c6. How The other important pawn structure
ever, my main idea against the Eng you should know arises when White
lish and similar "irregular" open plays e4 instead of c4. Then I sug
ings is to seize as much space as gest to bolster the centre with ...c6,
possible. Therefore, we should bet complete development with ...d6,
ter cross the centre and bolster the 0-0 and see the enemy's plan. I be
pawn at d4 rather than at d5. Thus lieve that we should refrain from
I recommend: ...d4 and fix the centre with ...dxe4

Chapter 14

to avoid total exchanges which 8.b3 a5! 9.a3 lllbd7 10 ..tb2 dxe4
could occur after White's d3-d4. 11.dxe4 Wlc7 12.lllh4 b5 13.illf5 MS
Black's further play has some nu
ances depending on the placement
of White's queen's knight:

a) 4.lilf3 .td6 5.0-0 0-0 6.lilbd2

1'1e8 7.e4 c6

See Game 33 Gabrielian-Riazant

sev, V1adivostok 2014.

b) 6.illc3 c6 7.e4 dxe4 - the knight

on c3 enables the possibility of d3-
d4 so we should exchange on e4 im
Our natural play should be on the mediately. 8.dxe4 llla 6!? 9.h3 lllc7
queenside, aiming to seize space 10.lllh4 lll e6 ll.illf5 .tc7=.
with moves like ... a5, ...b5.
On the kingside, I prefer a passive I want to stress that after l.g3, our
stand without making any weak- tactic in the opening should be not
nesses with ...g6 or ... h6. A good to equalize, but to take the centre
manoeuvre is ... lilb8-d7(a6)-c5-e6. and fight for the initiative. White's
My main line runs: extra tempo is not worth much.

Chapter 14. 1.g3

Step by Step

l.g3 e5 2 .tg2 d5
7...lilc6 (7... lilf6!?) 8.lilxc6 bxc6
9.b3 cxb3 10.axb3 h5! was the
curious miniature Hulak-Beliav
sky, Pula 2000: 11..W.a3 .W.b6
12.h4 lilh6 13.d4 e3 14.f4 .tg4
15.'l:!'d3 lilf5 16.0-0 !lh6 17.c4
dxc4 18.\We4+ @d7 19.lilc3 lilxg3
20.\Wc2 tf5 21.\Wcl lilxfl 22.@xfl
hd4 23.'l:!'dl @es 0-1.
9 ... lilf6 10.b3 0-0 ll.bxc4 dxc4
12.lila3 \Wd5+, Durarbayli-Kharlov,
Kazan 2013.
3.. lilf6

3.c4d4! (3... c6 4.d4 e4 is mentioned

in Chapter 2) 4.d3 lilc6 transposes 3...lilc6 4.lilf3
to Chapter 11. After 4.c4 best is 4...dxc4 (4...d4
5.lilf3 is Chapter 11/Line B).
3.lilf3?! .W.d6 4.d3 lilf6 is considered 4... lilf6 5.0-0 ie7 is the Pirc Re
below. However, we should better versed. It is not the subject of this
switch to punishing mode with 3... book, but it is a safe and proven way
e4! 4.lild4 c5 5.lilb3 c4 (5 ...lilc6) of meeting l.g3.
6.lild4 tc5 7.c3
3 ...c6 4.lilf3 id6 5.c4 lile7 6.0-0 0-0
7.lilc3 lild7 is another solid set-up,
which I considered in the previous


4.lild2 td6 5.e4 c6 6.lilgf3 is co

vered in line B. Sometimes White
tries the original set-up with 6.lile2,
Chapter 14

but it has no advantages over the A. 6.c4

standard lines. Polzin-Boensch,
Berlin 1994, went 6... 0-0 7.0-0 I offer you now two good continua
dxe4 8.dxe4 ie6 9.b3 a5 10.liic3 tions to choose from:
lii a6 ll.ib2 b5. Al. 6... d4; A2. 6...c6

Wbite's passive tactic allows for

more active approaches and the Al. 6...d4 7.e3
best retort to 4.lii d2 is 4...ic5! since
it hinders 5.liigf3 in view of 5...e4, 7.liibd2 lii c6 8.a3 a5 9.Zlbl a4. A
and 5.e4 due to 5...dxe4 6.dxe4? liig4 typical way of discouraging b2-b4.
7.liih3 hf2+ ! 8.liixf2 liie3 9.11>\'h5 Black's pieces control more space,
liic6 ! . Therefore, White has to resort e.g. 10.11>1'c2 h6+.
to another passive move - 5.e3, giv
ing Black a free hand in the centre. 7.b4 only weakens the queenside.
He can choose any plan at his liking. Black answers 7... Zle8! and gains
control of c5:

4 ... liic6 is possible again.


5.c4 d4 or 5...c6 transpose to the

main line.

5... 0-0
8.a3 a5 9.b5 lii bd7 10.a4 ib4 ll.ta3
c5, or 8.11>\'b3 a5 9.b5 liibd7 10.liibd2
h6, followed by ...lii c5.

7... c5!?

7... liic6 transposes to Chapter 11/

Line B after 8.exd4 liixd4=.
Another option is 7 ...dxe3 8.he3
liic6 9.liic3 Zle8. This position may
be objectively balanced, but Black
I'm going to analyse from here the lacks an active plan. Conversely,
English approach in line A. 6.c4, White may try to display activity on
and the Kl plans with B. 6.liibd2 the kingside - 10 .h3
and C. 6.lii c3, followed up by e2-e4. 10.a3 if5 ll.b4 a6 12.d4 exd4

? ? t'.

13.lilxd4 lilxd4 14.hd4 c6 was 7..ig5 liJbd7 should transpose to the

harmless in 'Movsziszian-Kir. main line, but Black could also take
Georgiev, Benasque 2010. on c4.
10 ...MS ll.g4 h6 12.!lel, Andria 7.a3 resigns the battle for the cen
sian-Ter Sahakyan, Yerevan 2015. tre and gives Black time to bolster
his pawn pair with 7...h6 or 7... !le8.
8.exd4 cxd4
7 cxd5 8.lilc3

The only way to play for a win. 8...

exd4= leads to a symmetrical struc This move order is more clever than
ture. 8.g5 lilbd7 9.lilc3 h6 10 ..txf6 12lxf6
ll.\1:ilb3 d4 12.lild5 lilxd5 13.\1:ilxd5
9.c5 \1:ilb6 14.a4 e6 15.\1:ilb5 !lacs when
Black was at least equal in Kachei
shvili-Jobava, Tbilisi 2000.

8... lilc6

The attempt to anticipate g5 by

8...lilbd7 could be exploited with
9.e4 d4 10.lilb5 c5 ll.a4.


9 .ic7!?

9...hc5 10.lilxe5 d6 ll.lilc4 .ie7=

was eventually drawn in Grego
Calio, ICCF 2015.

The text keeps the game strategical

ly unbalanced and full oflife. White
is somewhat overextended on the
queenside. See Grune 32 Venya
Bereza, email 2013. 9 . e7!

This surprising retreat allows us

A2. 6 .. c6 7.cxd5
. to keep the centre fluid. 9 .. $.e6
10 ..txf6 \1:ilxf6 ll.liJd2 d4 12.lilce4 is
White cannot rip any dividends easier to play with White.
from delaying this exchange: After the text White does not have
7.lilc3 will face 7...d4 8.liJa4 !le8. a convincing way to force ...d4 un-

Chapter 14

less he plays e4, which would shut the initiative after 11.\!iic2 a5 12. li:lc4
off his only good piece. fil8 13.a4 b5 14.lila3 ia6 15.fill
10.\!!lb3 could be repelled by 10 ... l'leb8. Chekhov proposes as an im
li:laS. Another way to oppose Black's provement 11.b4, but then 11... li:lb6
dominance in the centre is: 12.\!!lc2 c5 13.b5 a6 14.bxa6 l'lxa6 fa
vours Black. In general, his pieces
10.d4 e4 11.lile5, are all targeted towards the queen
side so the plan with c3 only plays
but then both: into his hands.
u....ie6 bxc6 13.lila4 h6
By fianchettoing his bishop, White
14.if4 lild7 15.l'lcl l'lc8 16.\!!ld2 l'le8
hopes to mount a kingside attack.
17.l'lc2 Ms 18.\!!lcl, draw, Steinke
Gasanov, Lechenicher SchachSer
8...a5! 9.a3 lilbd7 10 ..ib2 dxe4
ver, 2012, and:
11 ...h6 12 ..txf6 .txf6, Seeman Logical alternatives are 10 ...d4 11.c3
Miezis, Tallinn 2005, are fine for c5 and 10 ...\!!lc7 ll.l'lel dxe4.
ilack. The latter game went 13.l'lcl? !
when 13 ....ixeS! 14.dxeS .ie6 would 11.dxe4 \!!lc7 12.lilh4
have even gained some advantage.
12.l'lel does not make sense any
more - the rook might be needed
on the f-file. Black can answer 12 ...
B. 6.lilbd2 !<e8 7.e4 c6 bS, followed up by ...a4, ... cS.

12 13.lilf5 MS


8.l'lel lilbd7 9.c3 aS 10.d4 exd4 Black's play on the queenside is eas dxe4 annihilates ier than White's attempts on the op
the centre. Perhaps that is the rea posite side of the board. See Grune
son why Karpov preferred: 33 Gabrielian-Riazantsev, Vladi
9 ...dxe4!? 10.dxe4 \!!lc7 to take over vostok 2014.


C. 6.lilc3 c6 7.e4 1978: 8.lilh4 i.c5 9.Vfiel (protecting

the h4-knight in the event of future
f4 exf4) 9 ...1le8 10.h3 lila6 11.lilf5
lilc7 12.g4 lile6 13.lile2 @h7

We are faced here with a crucial

choice of plans. The engines like 7... Black has covered everything and
d4 8.lile2 c5, but that would mean now he can turn his attention to the
to withstand a classical King's Indi queenside.
an attack with clear two tempi down Probably the above-mentioned
and a bishop on d6. While email "threat" to suck out any life from the
games bring Black excellent results, position with 8.d4 tips the balance
I'm far from the thought that the KI in favour of:
is so bad that we should enter it at
any cost. At least for practical rea 7...dxe4
sons, it is safer to keep tension in
the centre. It opens a file to ensure counterplay
against a direct pawn storm on the
The next question we should an kingside, and stabilises the pawn
swer is: how much tension are we structure in the centre.
ready to maintain? The knight is
much more active on c3 than it 8.dxe4
was on d2 in line B. It exerts a sig
nificant impact on the centre and 8.lilxe4 lilxe4 9.dxe4 simplifies the
moves like 7... 1le8 could be met by position without changing much its
8.exd5 cxd5 9.i.g5. That hints the strategic canvas. As in the main line,
move 7...h6, but it has flip-sides, Black can choose either a stand with
too. One of them is the possibility ...g6, or with ...lilb8-a6-c5, ... 1le8.
of 8.d4 exd4 9.lilxd4 dxe4= which Here is an example: Jones-Howell,
leaves no tension at all. Another op Halifax 2010: 9...Vffe7 10.lilh4 g6
tion is 8.lilh4 when Black should be 11.Vffe2 lila6 12.i.e3 i.e6 13.lilf3 f6
very accurate in order to not fall un 14.1lfdl 1lfd8 15.c3 lilc7.
der attack. A good model to follow is
the game Seirawan-Dolmatov, Graz 8 .. lila6!?

Chapter 14

Black had to decide how to meet the 12.a4 lilbd7 13.1'1fdl 1/i!e7 14.a5 lilc5
manoeuvre lilf3-h4-f5. I suggest to 15.h3 ie6.
simply ignore it and transfer our
own knight to e6 via c5 or c7. 9.h3 (9.lilh4 ig4=) 9 ... lilc7
10.lilh4 lile6 11.lilf5 ic7 12.ie3
Another possible approach is to
take f5 under control with ...g6:
Ricki-Benham, Adelaide 1990,
saw 8 ...1/!Ye7 9.lilh4 g6 10.ig5 1'1d8
ll.1/!Ye2 lilbd7 12.1'1adl?! (Strong
er is 12.f4! @g7 13.f5 ic5+ 14.ffihl
h6 15.fxg6 fxg6 16.id2 lilb6 with
complex play) 12 ...lilc5 13.1'1d2 lile6
14.ie3, when 14...b5 would have
passed the initiative to Black.
Nakamura-Harikrishna, Wijk aan
Zee 2013, shows another version
of this stand: 8...1'1e8 9.1/i!e2 ifS
10.lilh4 g6 11.ig5 ig7 In the stem game Rohde-Browne,
USA 1989, White chose to return
the knight disgracefully to h4 and
became worse. He should have opt
ed for 13.1/i!xdS 1'1xd8 14.lile7+ @g7
15.lbxcS with a roughly equal posi

Chapter 14. 1.g3

Annotated Games

32. Venya - Bereza though, as 13 ..ia3 .ia5 14.l'lcl .ic3 2013 also offers Black some initiative.

l.g3 e5 2 .ig2 d5 3.c4 d4 4.d3

13 hg2 14.li1xg2 1Nd5+ 15.?Nt'3

lilf6 5.lilt'3 .id6 6.0-0 0-0 7.e3 c5 ?Nxt'3+ 16.lilgxt'3 b6

8.exd4 cxd4

9.c5 .ic7 10.b4 .ie6 11.b5
17.cxb6 axb6 18.a4 looks attractive
White's advanced pawns are not for White in view of the ''bad" bish
dangerous since they are not backed op on c7. In fact that bishop is quite
up by pieces. I think that quick de "good" since it protects both black
velopment like 11.l'lel lilbd7 12 ..ia3 pawns while the d3-pawn would
(defending c5 against the treat of turn very sensitive once Black puts
... a5) or ll..ig5 lilbd7 12.lilbd2oo was his knights to c5 and d5. The a4-
more to the point. pawn is also a potential target in
view of the idea ... l'la7, ...l'le-a8.
11....id5 12.lilbd2 l'le8 13.lilg5
17... a6 18.cxb6 hb6 19.l'lel
White decides to trade light-squared lilbd7 20.bxa6 lild5! 21..id2 f6
bishops in order to enable lild2-c4,
but that leads to destruction of his The d3-pawn is a cause of constant
queenside. concern and White cannot get rid
It is not easy to give a better advice of it. Still, his biggest problem is the

Chapter 14

lack of space. If you cast a look at should not underestimate his re

the next diagram, you11 notice the sources. Look at the blitz game
siguificauce of Black's pawn centre. Fedoseev-Bologan, Berlin 2015:
It helps his pieces to dominate the 8...lila6 9.ib2 lll c7 10.h3 a5 11.a3 h6
board. 12.!lel dxe4 13.dxe4 b5 14.lllfl Wie7
15.lile3t g6 16.Wicl h5 17.lilh4 ic5
22.!lecl !lxa6 23.!lc6 !la7 24.a4 18.@hl li:lh7 li:lg5?
lll e7 25.!lc4 ic7 26.!lb4 @f7
27.lll el lll c6 28.!k4 !lbS 29.!lxc6
!lxb3 30.a5 lllbS 31.!lc5 l!le6
32.!lacl id6 33.!lcS @d5 34.@fl.
lll a6 35.!ld8 lll c5 36.l!le2 f5 37.f3

20.lilxe5 lilxh3 21.lild3 ib6!

and the charged rifle (the b2-
bishop) fired the decisive shot -
22 . . 23.Wih6 f6 24.exf5 1-0.

37 !lab7
. s ...a5 9.a3 lllbd7 10.tb2 dxe4
11.dxe4 Wic7 b5 13.lllf5
Black's rooks threaten to invade the MS
third or the second rank.

38.!laS e4 39.a6? (39.fxe4+)

39 exd3+ 0-1

33. Gabrielian - Riazantsev

Vladivostok 2014

1.e4 c6 2.d3 d5 3.llld2 e5 4.lllgf3 Black does not have any weakness
id6 5.g3 lllf6 6.tg2 0-0 7.0-0 es on the kingside and is very sta
!leS 8.b3 ble there. On the other part of the
board, he has a clear plan to open
In principle, this is a logical ap lines with a4 15.b4 c5.
proach - White develops his bish White might have had the idea of
op towards the enemy king. You opening the f-file, but now it tran-


spires that Black's counterplay is However, it is White to move and

faster - 14.lilhla4 15.f4 h6! 16.illf3 he can cut across his opponent's
b4 17.1lel axb3 18.12Jxe5 bxa3. hopes with 26.e5! he5 27.l'leL The
White decides to counter the enemy tables have turned and White has
activity in advance. activated all his forces - for a mere
14.c4 i.b7 15.c2 b4 16.axb4
axb4 17.1lxa8 1lxa8 18. illf3 g6 26.c5? 1ld8+ 27.l'ldl i.cS 28.e5
19.ille3 1le8 20.h3?! he5 29.l'lel i.g7 30.i.d5

Intending illg4. That would have

been a decent positional idea if
White had the more active piec
es. In the current situation, it only
wastes time and makes a new weak
Although Black has more space on
the queenside, the position would
be close to equal after 20.ill el illc5
2Lill d3. 30...i.e6! 31.he6?

20 ... illc5 21.illg4 illxg4 22.hxg4 Trading c4 for the c6-pawn would
give more chances for a draw. For
instance, the rook endgame should
not be a problem to hold. The bish
ops complicate White's task, but af
ter the exchange on e6, he is just

31...fxe6 32.1lxe6 d3-+ 33.1lxc6

7 bl 35.l'lcS xcl +
36.lilg2 1lxc8 37.xcS+ i.fS
Now 22 ...h6! 23.l'ldl i.c8 would 38.e6+ lilg7 39.d7+ gS
have found employment to the doz 40.e6+ lilg7 41.d7+ f6
ing b7-bishop. 42.d4+ f7 43.d5+ eS
44.c6+ dS 45.d5+ c7
22 ...i.g7 23.d2 ill xb3 (23... 46.f7+ b6 47.xfS xc4
12Jxe4!) 24.xb4 illd4 25.12Jxd4 48.d6+ b5 49.f3 c2
exd4 50.bS+ c4 51.c7+ b3
52.b6+ c3 53.a5+ b2
Perhaps Black assessed this posi 54. e3 c3 55.a4 cl 56.f4 g5
tion in his favour in view of his bet 57.f3 h5 58.gxh5 g4+ 59.xg4
ter pieces after a possible ...c6-c5. d2 60.b5 d1=1'1'+ 0-1
Index of Variations

The English Opening

1.c4 e5

2.a3 c6 136
2.d3 ib4+ 135 (2 ...f5 140)
2.lllf3 e4 3.llld4 lllf6 138 (3...ILJc6 138)
2.g3 c6 3.lllc3 d5 (3...lllf6 64) 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.d4 e4 50
3.ig2 d5 50; 3...lllf6 15
3.lil:f3 e4 4.lild4 'm>6 44 (4...d5 44) 5.lilb3 45
5.e3 lllf6 45; 5.lll c2 45
3.d4 e4 4.lilc3 (4.d5 49; 4.lllh3 d5 5.lll c3 h6! 53) 4 d5 50

5.cxd5 cxd5 6.'1;\'b3 50 (6.lilh3 50)

5.ig2 ib4!? 51 (5 ... lllf6 22)
5.lllh3 h6 53 (5 ... ILJf6 53)
2 lilf6 3. .tg2 c6 4.'1;\'a4 15; 4.d3 15; 4.e415

4.lll c3 d5 5.cxd5 16 (5.d4 e4 22)

4.lllf3 e4 5.d4 '1;\'b6 (5...d5 18) 6.lllc2 19 (6.e3 19; 6.lllb3 20)
4.d4 e4 5.lll c3 (5.d5 22; 5.ig5 22) 5...d5 6.ig5 22 (6.cxd5, 6.lllh3 22)
6 ... lllbd7 (6 ...ib4 23) 7.cxd5 (7.lllh3 25) 7...cxd5 8.f3 25
8.e3 27
8.'1;\'b3 id6 9.'1;\'b5 28
9.f3 31
9.e3 31
2.lilc3 lilf6 3.g3 c6 4.ig2 d5 5.d4 e4 21 (5.cxd5 cxd5 6.\Wb3 16)
4.lil:f3 e4 5.lild4 'l;l'b6 (5 ... d5 64) 6.lll c2 64
6.lllb3 64
6.e3 65
4.d4 exd4 66 (4...e4 5.ig5 ib4 66)

3.lilf3 lilc6 4.d4 exd4 75
4.a3 e4 76
4.d3 tb4 77
4.e4 tb4 80
4.e3 tb4 5.Wc2 (5.12ld5 87) 5...txc3 6.Wxc3 88
6.bxc3 92
4.g3 tb4 5.lild.5 e4 103 (5...tc5 103)
5.tg2 0-0 6.0-0 e4 (6 ...d6 117) 7.12lg5 (7.lilel 127)
7...hc3 8.bxc3 '1e8 9.f3 e3!? 119
9 exf3 10.lilxf3 d5 121

10 ...We7 124

The Reti
1.lilf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 f6 4.Wa4+ 148, 4.tb2 148
4.d3 148
4.e3 e5 5.c5 a5 6.Wa4+ 149 (6.tb5+ 149, 6.tc4
4.12la3 e5 5.12lc2 12la6 151
3.e3 lilc6 (3 ...c5 161) 4.exd4 162
4.b4?! 165
3.g3 c5 4.e3 12lc6 5.exd4 cxd4 6.tg2 e5 7.d3 td6! 177
(7... 12lf6 177)
3 lilc6! 4.tg2 e5 5.d3 (5.0-0 e4! 188) 5...tb4+
179 (5...12lf6 179)
2.g3 c6 3.c4 tg4 4.Wb3 txf3 196 (4...Wb6 196)
4.tg2 e6 5.Wb3 198
5.0-0 199
5.cxd5 exd5 202 (5...txf3 208)
3.g2 g4 4.0-0 e6 5.d4 217
5.b3 218
5.d3 219
1.g3 e5 2 .ig2 d5 3.d3 (3.12lf3?! e4 225) 3 lilf6 4.lilf3 (4.12ld2 225) 4

td6 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d4 226

6...c6 227
6.lilbd2Eie8 7.e4 c6 228
6.lilc3 c6 7.e4 229


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