The Latest Developments - January '04
Hi everyone, this arrives a little bit later than I had hoped, but I have just had a hectic three weeks playing club matches in different parts of Europe, and finding time to sift-out interesting games and then annotate them has been difficult.
Still, the good news (or bad news?) is that I have played a number of interesting games myself.
There is also a new E-mailbag this month, although I have answered one question on the Mikenas Attack here.
[A29]: Istratescu,A - Mullon,J is a nice thematic game in the Reversed Dragon.
[A33]: In the Four Knights line with 6 Nb5 d5:
White normally plays 7 Bf4, but while waiting for my opponent to play this the other day, I started wondering what was wrong with taking the d-pawn by 7 cxd5 Nxd5 8 Nxd5 exd5 9 Qxd5, and so I was glad to be able to examine the recent game Nyback,T - Lehikoinen,P - and now I know why White doesn't take the pawn!
[A34]: The Keres-Parma Variation is relatively rare these days, but I have faced it a couple of times recently. My preferred move in the following position:
is 8 Nxd5 and both games have continued with the unusual 8...Qxd5 when I quite like the pawn sac line 9 d4!?. Have a look at Kosten,A - Schroll,G for the details
Incidentally the surprising rook and pawn endgame here was described by Stefan Kindermann as 'Philidor's Grief'!
[A34]: As part of this month's Mikenas coverage, the brilliant tactical game Mohr,G - Haba,P could have arisen from White playing 4 Nf3 instead of the critical 4 e5.
Some of the moves and positions that occur in this game are truly amazing.
[A10]: I am not really sure that Stripunsky,A - Shabalov,A shouldn't be classed under Larsen's Opening as it is very much a 1 b3 game. White tries to blast his way through the black kingside with a rook sac, but Black was on his toes and managed to defend.
[A17]: More 4 g4 grief for Black, and this time yours truly has the white pieces. Kosten,A - Balogh,C is my first time with this sharp line, and I was impressed: in how many openings can you get such a vicious attack so quickly?
[A19]: Jeffrey Reep sent the following email: «Could you perhaps give some more coverage of White's other options in the c5 Mikenas? From both sides of the board I have been wondering about this.
In your mainline, I do not like that pawn sacrifice (or maybe just don't understand it). To compound matters, I do not understand at all why 10 ...f6 is played. I really do wonder about why you seem to give the impression as to White's advantage in the mainline?»
My reply went: «the mainline is critical (and really good for White because of the space advantage and powerful dark-squared bishop) because other moves mostly allow Black to play ...d5.
My personal experience with this line is that Black's position is so difficult to defend (for us humans, that is!) that I have always won very quickly!»
This is the position in question:
So first up, a look at alternatives to 10...f6 where Black moves the knight from it's central post in Cramling,D - Bergstrom,C. The main problem seems to be that neither option does anything to control Black's weakened dark squares.
Jeffrey Reep continues: «Also, from the Black side of the board, I have encountered numerous other moves on White's fourth. So far, I have not yet had to defend your mainline. However, moves like 4. Nf3 and 4.d3 have shown up for me. (And one 4.g3, in which I forgot about ...d5!.)»
Therefore Miezis,N - Tissir,M considers alternatives to the mainline (but also see the Mohr,G - Haba,P game above), and in each case Black gets a good position with accurate play.
[A01]: Can Black play a Stonewall Dutch against Larsen's Opening? Maybe not, for in the diagram position:
White has the surprising and strong move 3 e4!, see Jadoul,M - Fontaine,P.
Please feel free to share any of your thoughts with me, whatever they are, suggestions, criticisms (just the polite ones, please), etc. Drop me a line at the Flank Openings Forum, or subscribers can write directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next month, Tony K