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ND Update - March 2004

Texan reader Doug Schwetke always sends in interesting questions. This month I'd like to take a look at two of the lines he is curious about, the 6...Bd7 Variation of the Two Knights Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ Bd7) and the Vienna Game with 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 g6!?.

GM Nigel Davies

Two Knights Defence

Vienna Game

Download PGN of March '04 1 e4 e5 games

Two Knights Defence

6...Bd7 is certainly an interesting alternative to the 'traditional' 6...c6, and amongst the 1...e5 specialists who have favoured this move number Britain's Mark Hebden and Sweden's Jonny Hector:

In Short - Hector, Short tries to improve on an earlier game he played against Xie Jun, but although he won the game it was not because of the opening. Some months after the game Short - Hector, in Game 2, Pavasovic repeated Short's first 12 moves but then varied with 13.Be2. Despite the outcome of this game it seems that the position is still far from clear.

Short's first battle against 9...Bg4 was his game against Xie Jun, not one of his more auspicious appearances. Whether 11.Qd4 was perspiration or inspiration isn't clear, but in any case it runs into the powerful 11...c5!:

See Game 3.

The Greek GM Skembris is full of original and creative ideas. In the game Felgaer - Skembris he comes up with 9...Re8, a natural move which had not been seen previously. Black seems to have quite reasonable compensation for his pawn. Besides 9...Bg4 and 9...Re8, Black's other 9th move alternative is 9...c6, which Skembris played in an earlier game against Gikas. It looks as if Black gets reasonable compensation for his pawn, see Game 5.

Given the problems White faces after 9.0-0 Bg4, there's a strong argument for exchanging the bishops off with 9.Bxd7, as in Sokolov - Kunte:

Most of the games with this line have quickly fizzled out to draws, but it's worth looking at 11.Qxe5.

In Sax - Hector we see one of White's less usual moves, 8.d4. I am curious as to how Sax gets into a horrible position so early on, it seems that he must have missed something after his 9.b4(?):

7...Bd6!? is an interesting alternative to 7...Be7. Here in Game 8 we get something of a theoretical duel in which Rausis introduces an important novelty on move 16.

Vienna Game

In the Vienna Game, 5...g6 is a nice antidote, forcing the exchange of queens and getting a fairly level endgame:

In Dragojlovic - Dervishi Black was even slightly better until his blunder on move 33. As a reminder of the 'main line' there's the game Simmons - Hector. After 5...Nc6 6.Nb5 White wins the exchange, but he loses a lot of time in doing so. The jury is still out on the position after 10...b6:

I'm not sure I'd want to play it with either side!

Two Knights Defence

Vienna Game

See you next month.

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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