ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks

ND Update - June 2004

With so many games and ideas in computer databases these days how can one find something that's interesting, fresh and that hasn't been analysed to death? One way is to look at old games and books which were written before the computer age was in full swing. Lines which were popular before the mid-1980s will have escaped heavy duty analysis, and there's an argument for going much further back.

GM Nigel Davies

One of my favourite books is 107 Great Chess Battles, a collection of games annotated by Alexander Alekhine between 1939 and his death in 1946. Alekhine was full of original and daring ideas and this book shows the lines along which he was thinking during the final chapter of his career. You can, for example, find an early example of the Benko Gambit which Alekhine had noted with great interest. A number of games were devoted to the Worrall Attack in the Spanish (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Qe2) and it's this line that I will examine in this month's update. I went through Alekhine's notes with some assistance from Shredder and found myself disagreeing with many of the maestro's conclusions. I've also added some games that Alekhine didn't analyse to add context and colour.

Download PGN of June '04 1 e4 e5 games

Worrall Attack

In the first of the Kashdan - Reshevsky games, Reshevsky retreats his bishop to the wrong square (10...Bh5) and finds it shut out of play. White was better but lost his way in what looks like mutual time-trouble. Having had a couple of years to think about it the second features the superior 10...Bd7, but maybe Black's best is the simple capture on f3. In any case White seems to have chances of an edge.

An alternative to 10.h3 is the restrained 10.Rd1 (see Alekhine - Schmidt), putting the onus on Black to come up with a useful move:

But 10...b4 followed by 11...d5 leaves me with the impression that White's play was a bit slow. Especially if Black plays 13...exf3 rather than delay it for a move.

I must admit to having my doubts about the merits of 8...Bg4, surely it must be better to play 8...0-0 or 8...Na5 ? An example of this latter move is seen in Alekhine - Rey Ardid, in which Alekhine replies with the surprising 9.d4!?. Giving the Spanish bishop up is controversial to say the least, and Alekhine himself vowed not to repeat the idea. But the concept is an object lesson in free thinking and rejection of the obvious.

Alekhine - Keres is a heavyweight encounter between two leading experts in the Worrall. After 8...0-0 9.Rd1 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7:

Alekhine's 12.Bg5 is really only equal, though he goes on to win a tough struggle. In Kaminski - Davies White varies with 12.dxe5, but if anything this is even more insipid. I suspect that the only challenging move is 12.d5, as played in the Bronstein game given in the notes.

The line which has discouraged many players from playing the Worrall is the 'Marshallesque' 7...0-0 followed by 8...d5:

It's clearly very dangerous to take this pawn as shown in Foltys - Keres, though White has interesting options such as 10.d3.

The usual way to play it for White is with 9.d3, and this has been the habitual reply of Worrall devotees for the last 60 years. Alekhine - Junge features the over amenable 9...dxe4, which gives White a nice edge without much of a problem. The most troublesome move for White to face is 9...Bb7, as in Davies - Nunn:

I don't think that 10.Rd1 is the best way for White to play it, and Black had an OK position before all hell broke loose.

Last but not least we see 7...0-0 being met by 8.d4!? (Alekhine - Zollner), which leads to interesting and complex play but hasn't been played very much. Certainly it would take many of today's players by surprise and might well be worth a try. Besides the objective merits of a move it's worth considering the impact it will have on your opponents, especially when they are thrown out of their 'book'. And on that note I shall wish you good hunting for another month.

Do you want to improve your chess? Then either email me (as just below), or visit for more information about my coaching services

Please post your Kingpawn Opening queries on the 1 e4 e5 Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions or queries.

Nigel Davies