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This month we'll be looking at some slightly less well known ideas from a number of openings. Although these aren't always mainstream they are sometimes more successful than standard moves even at a high level.

Download PGN of August '05 Daring Defences games

Here's a brief introduction to whet your appetite to the highlights:

  • Morozevich's system in the Albin with 5...Nge7 seems to be here to stay as White's efforts to tame Black's play haven't been at all convincing.
  • A not so new, but robust system of development in the Benko is represented by Cao Sang's wins over Pelletier and M.Gurevich with the black pieces. His move order could prove to be the antidote to 10 Rb1.
  • Simon Williams remains true to his beloved Classical Dutch and holds his own at the European Championships in Poland.
  • Christian Bauer shows that blocking the queenside can give Black a comfortable game in the Owen's.

English Defence

Game 1 after Black's sixth move:

After 7 e4 fxe4 8 h4 White certainly had some fun as Black found himself defending a sort of attempted Leningrad Dutch! However let's be honest, if this is theoretically sound then it means that ...f5 and ...g6 can be met by h2-h4 in virtually any variation! Malakhatko obtained the full point, but I doubt that he'll try it again, as later opponents will not be shocked into errors as Kulesza was. In the notes I've suggested how Black should obtain a good (and perhaps even favourable) game.

Budapest Gambit

One of the main lines seems good for White in Game 2. I suggest that Black play more dynamically with 10...a5 in this line as otherwise I can't see him getting a satisfactory game. It's debatable but perhaps the move 9...d6:

is rather committal and alternatives such as 9...b6!?, or 9...0-0 10 0-0 a5, are more challenging.

Benko Gambit

Game 3 and Game 4 will read like 'breaths of fresh air' for Benko players who must be accustomed to seeing 10 Rb1 score heavily:

Here virtually unknown Cao Sang scores 2/2 with Black in consecutive rounds against players 150 rating points higher. He reacted well against his opponent's new ideas, refuting Pelletier's exf3 with a neat knight manoeuvre and diffusing Gurevich's counter sacrifice. He kept control each time leaving White floundering in both cases.

The early 10...Qa5 is one of Black's most natural and solid continuations against 10 Rb1, and when White eventually gets his bishop to b2 he has to face 16...c4:

This occurred in the latter game when 17 b4 deserves a closer look as although material is equal White has access to d4, which Black must be careful about. Gurevich's idea is interesting but I doubt that this will put Benko aficionados off.

With 10...Qa5 looking good, does this mean that Black has a safe way to equality?

Dutch Defence

It's great to see chess authors holding true to what they write! The following diagram is from Game five after 10...Nc6!:

The exclamation mark is Williams's. Black is OK, so they say.

Simon Williams wrote in his book Play the Classical Dutch (Gambit 2003) that Black should then meet 11 e4 with 11...e5. He claimed that the second player would be at least equal, which is perhaps a shade optimistic, but he never seemed to be in trouble against his higher rated opponent. In Games 5 and 6 Williams employs 7...a5, although his recent results with 7...Ne4 have also been reasonable, in order to keep his opponents guessing. Black was the only one to miss any chances to win with the promising 45...Nxc5, but I presume that time was short by then.

In Game Six Bruno's new retreat 10 Bd2 seemed to put Simon Williams off-balance and he didn't react that well. In fact his risky play should have been punished and he was lucky to escape with a draw. After 10...Qe8, White could have tried 11 e4 with chances for an edge which indicates that 8 Bg5 is an interesting option for White.

Owen's Defence

In Game 7 Christian Bauer demonstrates that this opening can be played in important games against strong opposition. The plan of closing the queenside seems to give White nothing and in fact in the later stages it was Black who had any chances that were going. I remember Christian playing this way in Bilbao against Moiseenko in a Blitz play-off game and winning. In that case there was something like 3000 Euros at stake!

If clogging up the whole board doesn't suit you, I've suggested a couple of sharper ideas in the notes that might appeal.

Albin Counter Gambit

The Morozevich system:

This position defies appearances. Black gives a central pawn and then proceeds with the rather leisurely idea ...Ng8-e7-g6. Surely (one thinks) White will simply punish such an outrageous plan! Well actually no! White can't find anything!?

In fact from this position Morozevich as Black has more than held his own against some of the world's best.

First of all Game Eight involves 7 Bf4 which Tiviakov used successfully some years ago in a theme tournament and Black's best method hasn't yet been worked out. Here Maslak obtained a reasonable game from the opening and again Black had the better chances in the middlegame despite the impression that 7...h6 is 'slow'.

In Game Nine Khenkin tried Qa4 (against Morozevich himself) and Game 10 features Milov trying an early Qb3 (against Raetsky) to no avail. In both cases Black was soon on top.

Does anyone know what to play against the Morozevich System?


Till next time,

Glenn Flear

If you have any questions, either leave a message on the Daring Defences Forum, or subscribers can email me at