What's New- August '01
Welcome to this month's Update. Here besides my own analysis you will find interesting contributions by GMs Jonathan Rowson and John Emms.
The critical position in the mainline is reached after 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 a6 11.h4 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5
Here 13 Bxc5 has proved ineffective for White and last month the variation 13.Rh3 b4 14.Na4 Bxd4 15.Qxd4 f6! was restored to health for Black. The third alternative 13 h5 is dealt another blow in the game selected here. Black always seems at least equal though it was rather hair raising for a couple of moves.
If we add to these successes the fact that the 7...a6 system is alive and kicking and Kasparov plays 10 g3 to avoid the mainline, then these are great days for fans of the Classical! Have a look at Resika-Schneider, AUG01/07.
The Classical 4 e5 Nfd7 5 Nce2
This variation has been used over the past year or so with tremendous success by Anand as White. His most notable victory was against Shirov in the FIDE World Championship match in Tehran. I guess Black players in the Classical just aren't used to White being able to support his centre with c2-c3! Nevertheless, Black is now fighting back strongly. After 5...c5 6 c3 he has an important decision: should he play an early ...c5xd4 or keep the tension? In the latter line there has been an important development as regards Black's best move order: it seems he should restrain White on the queenside rather than attack White's centre immediately. Have a look at Jamrich-Schneider-Zinner, AUG01/08.
The alternative treatment also worked out well for Black in a recent game. You may recall that in the Anand-Shirov. game in Frankfurt, Black made a serious positional error after which he came under a lethal attack. Well forewarned is forearmed and he makes no mistake in Konguvel-Vuckovic, AUG01/10.
Last month playing Black Anand was defeated by Topalov in the variation 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Nf3 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Bb5+ c6 10.Bd3. It looks harmless, but....
Now Korchnoi has shown that Black can equalise in fairly straightforward fashion. The veteran's philosophy seems to be: 'White has turned it into a Caro-Kann by forcing me to play c7-c6; very well then, I will treat it like a Caro-Kann and castle queenside!' The game ended as a comfortable draw for Black rather than a win, but overall it was an important contribution to Korchnoi's triumph at Biel- the greatest result ever by a 70 year old. Have a look at Svidler-Korchnoi, AUG01/03.
In last month's update we saw GM Jonathan Rowson beat Paul Motwani on his way to winning the Scottish Championship. He did so in the system that begins
4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qa5 7.Bd2 Qa4 8.Qb1!? c4 9.Ne2
After Black played 9...Nc6 the plan of putting the knight on h5 turned out very well for White, though after the game Rowson himself was a little critical of his own play. In any case at the subsequent British Championship Rowson got the chance to play 9 Ne2 again. This time IM Nick Pert elected to attack White's centre immediately with 9...f6. You can see this game with notes by Jonathan Rowson and also a slight reappraisal of the Motwani game by clicking on Rowson-Pert, AUG01/09.
In the mainline after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.0-0 Qc7 12.Bg5 0-0 one of the rules of thumb for Black is 'if Bh4, ...Nh5- otherwise ...Ng4!'
Well at the British Championship IM Simon Williams ignored this advice by answering 13 Rc1 not with the usual 13...Ng4 but with 13...Nh5!?
This is a highly unusual move in this position- after 13 Bh4 it would have had the justification of preventing 14 Bg3 exchanging off his good bishop. Instead here White has made the good developing move 13 Rc1 rather than moving his bishop a second time; if the bishop proves just as good on g5 as h4 then White is in some sense a tempo up. Can this be exploited? Fortunately the player of White was GM John Emms and he has again provided ChessPublishing.com with his thoughts. You can see them in Emms-Williams, AUG01/05.
Last month I was talking about how the Greek Gift sacrifice doesn't always work. In fact, sometimes Black should be prepared to walk right into it- even against a Greek Grandmaster! In the example here Black ends up in a rotten position as he is afraid to castle. I don't like to see 3...Be7 beaten, but I have to admit this is an extremely classy performance by Kotronias. Maybe you are looking for new opening ideas- that's a good idea- but remember improving your understanding of positional chess is even more important. Have a close look at Kotronias-Barsov, AUG01/01.
To cheer up 3...Be7 players, next up is a win for Black in the 4 e5 variation. White is still struggling to find a good way to hold the d4 point against a concerted attack by the black pieces- truly he has the wrong knight on f3. In the latest game White tries to defend d4 with b2-b3 and Bb2, but he gets struck by a blow from a different direction. Here's Sulskis-Lputian, AUG01/02 for you.
More testing for Black has been the variation with 4.c3.
Now after 4...Nf6 5 e5 Nfd7 6 Bd3 Black could easily end up with the bishop misplaced on e7 rather than d6. Therefore the key line begins 4...c5 5 dxc5 Nf6. At the British Championship John Emms had a theoretically important skirmish in this system with GM Julian Hodgson. He has generously made his analysis of this game open to subscribers to chesspublishing- have a look at Emms-Hodgson, AUG01/04.
The final game this month features the set up which is heartily recommended on the 'Solid Line for Black' subpage. However, it all goes wrong when Black responds to h2-h4 with ...h7-h5? giving away the g5 square. White exploits this in great style leading to a fine attacking finish. Have a look at Kunte-Hoang Thanh Trang, AUG01/06.
Well that's all for this month. I hope your chess is going well- best of luck!