ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
White gets a massive score this month (8/10 from the featured games!) but in several cases Black had good, if not superior positions, only to go down later.

Download PGN of June '05 Daring Defences games

English Defence

I start this time with two games against White's popular 4 Bd3 line.

Bunzmann again plays his trademark system involving ...f5 and ...Bb4+. He gets lots of fun games and here he even manages to win but I'm dubious about it's overall soundness, as you'll see in the notes to Game 1.

In the diagram position 7 c5 is a worthwhile alternative to the better known 7 Be2 and 7 Nf3, and I consider that all three give Black theoretical problems. In practice, of course, the position becomes a mess, White may not be able to keep control and then anything can happen, but still, this line is only for the ultra-daring.

Bareev chops up Chernyshov on the kingside in Game 2 as Black doesn't have enough defensive cover on that front. However I prefer 7...Ne7 (which a number of strong players have used successfully) to the game continuation, as I really don't think it's wise to give up one of Black's bishops too lightly. In fact 7...Bb4 with 8...Bxc3+ is unlikely to become popular after this drubbing.

Benko Gambit

Black sacrifices a second pawn in Game 3 for control of the longish a7-g1 diagonal and the guarantee that White's king will have problems to escape to safety. Volkov decides to castle long, which is courageous but perhaps not best, and Black obtains adequate chances for his material investment. More critical for the soundness of Black's idea is for White to play Bxf6 followed by Kf1 with the idea (if given time!) of g2-g3 and Kf1-g2.

The actual result of the game is probably heavily influenced by time trouble as Black mishandled the bishop ending between moves 38-40. The way that Volkov won is nevertheless highly instructive.

Dutch Defence

In Game four Bronznik obtained a respectable opening and then tried an enterprising pawn sacrifice with ...f4 in the ...Qe8 Leningrad:

It's not clear if this is 100% sound, but in practical terms Black has enough chances for a modest material investment. White's king becomes rather exposed and his defence isn't at all easy. Bronznik would no doubt have won with a crushing attack if he had found 21...Rf3, against which I can't find a defence, but after a further error or two he was the one who got mated!

Game five shows how Black can play sensibly and obtain a comfortable game by not committing himself too early, notably on moves 4 and 9! In fact Iljushin only played ...b6 as late as move 12, but didn't have any problems completing development and laying claim to his fair share of the centre. An imprecision on move 21 gave him the slightly worse ending, but I'm still not sure how he lost, or did he really lose?. The final position is an unlikely one:

So if anyone can fill me in...

In Game Six Ulibin again shows his willingness to employ the Stonewall. He soon obtained a pleasant opening and it just got better and better until he became so short of time that he missed a simple win.

These two Stonewall games, and their notes, illustrate the point that the exchange of dark-squared bishops isn't such a problem for Black.

Owen's Defence

Morozevich plays in classical style in Game 7 against Black's hypermodern opening. In fact despite White's central pawns and Black's backward e-pawn I think that Cherynshov was doing OK (albeit there was probably always a slight pull to White). It was only the inspired move 22 d5! in the following position that created serious difficulties for the second player:

As 22 d5! basically refutes Black's light-squared strategy maybe 16...Nxb4 should have been tried.

Neo-Grünfeld Defence

In the Neo-Grünfeld White sometimes allows ...dxc4 and then recuperates the pawn with N-a3. However in Game Eight we see that if Black has already played ...c6, and can then grab the c-pawn with ...dxc4 White has difficulty in proving any opening advantage.

In the game Bologan found a new way to gambit a pawn and although he went on to win his early compensation is at best a bit vague. Later on, the way his minor pieces stomped all over the rooks in an open position is amazing. So it's worth remembering that rooks don't just need open lines, they also require targets!

Grünfeld Defence

In Games 9 and 10 a couple of theoretical variations in the Russian System come under the microscope.

In Game Nine a fashionable line of the Hungarian System didn't really impress. Van Wely also lost with 14...Nc6 recently, so I suggest that investigating the complications of 14...Bxb2 is a better prospect for Black:

White's c-pawn is an important trump card in this line and I feel that Black really should take the b-pawn to counterbalance this fact.

Gyimesi has a wealth of experience playing against the Prins system. Although 11...Bf5 remains the main line, enterprising players such as Sutovsky and Svidler have been willing to give 11...Nb4 a go:

Here in Game 10 Black achieved a respectable middlegame position reinforcing the belief that this variation is sound for the second player. Iordachescu obviously overlooked 29 Qf6+ and spent the rest of the game desperately defending, but if he'd played 27...Bc6 I can't see how White can use the d-pawn.


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