August update for Daring Defences to 1 d4
GM Glenn Flear
This month, in our first featured game Black's play is a model of how to punish White for not trying d4-d5. Black takes a firm grip on the e4-square and successfully hits back at the centre before gradually taking control. An excellent game from Kalinitschew, see Game One.
Game Two features a promising White idea already played previously by Vallejo Pons:
Curt Hansen at first keeps the tricky Latvian at bay, but Miezes eventually 'sacs' himself out of trouble to escape with perpetual check. White had a couple of other options that retain good winning chances so the Dane was probably disappointed with the result. His opening choice looks awkward for the second player, therefore the question arises as to how Black should react: Can Black make 13...c6 work? If not, should he fall back on 13...b6, or, failing that, 11...Ba7? More tests are required to give a definite answer.
Two crushing wins by White, but the opening was only to blame in Game Three. The topical fianchetto with 9 Rb1 or 10 Rb1 strikes again!
Top Scot Rowson winning in fine style on his way to becoming British Champion.
Another main line is tested in Game 4 where Kharitonov as Black tries a new way of generating counterplay. The idea worked well but was soon spoilt by him erroneously inverting the move order in a series of exchanges. Instead of obtaining a comfortable game he fell into a back-rank mate!
The Leningrad with an early b2-b4 has become popular in recent years. Here White employs this combined with c2-c4, but by reacting with ...e5 quickly Black seems to obtain a satisfactory game.
Game 5 illustrates some of Black's possibilities such as 8...Nfd7! which is an interesting altenative to Nijboer's 8...Ng4:
The Dutchman obtained an excellent opening as Tregubov floundered for something to do. Later on Nijboer went astray towards the time control and Tregubov managed to salvage a half point. A good example of a 'never give up' attitude paying off.
In an even more recent encounter, Lazic tried the critical 9 c5 against the same Nijboer, but he too failed to obtain an advantage either - see the notes.
In Game Six Williams is able to show the potential for the f-pawn in the Dutch even in 'quiet' positions. It's instructive how he keeps his forces active and seeks pressure against White's king even deep into the ending. A great Dutch game.
In Game Seven Tyomkin introduces a novelty. In the diagram position instead of capturing on d4 with great complications (that probably favour White) he plays 12...g5!? 13 Bxg5 Bf5. White has various ways of handling the position but 14 Qe2 and 14 d5 Qg6 15 Bf4 are perhaps the most testing. The Israeli player's idea certainly creates new problems for White and had the bonus of surprise value in the featured game, but nevertheless 8...Nc6 is still without doubt a speculative gambit, whereas 8...Na6 leads to calmer and more balanced vistas.
Game Eight features a theoretical win from our KID specialist.
In Game Nine a tense struggle led to a pleasant perpetual/repetition. It seems that most of this has been played before (until Nataf's 19...Na4), but a review of the current state of theory (see the notes) suggests that Black has nothing to fear. Rather than 10 Be3:
, I believe that White's best tries are perhaps the aggressive 10 h4 or the less-well known 10 a4.
The final game this month features the Russian System where Tyomkin (again handling the Grünfeld in a dynamic fashion this month!) offers his a-pawn as bait to get active. Miton grabs the pawn in a line that is generally accepted as offering enough compensation. I don't think the assessment is changed by this encounter. White spurned a repetition in the middlegame, but this was in fact his best option. The finish of the game is not convincing, nor is it clear exactly what happened, but before that Black missed a mate in two!
Don't forget to keep the questions rolling in, especially if there's a line that you would like clarifying.