Welcome to the August 2004 French Update!
First of all, Juan Carlos Sánchez Jiménez sends the following query:
«In the 'What's Hot' section you mention the following:
There are some amazing developments in the Tarrasch. In the line with 3...Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 f4, a sharp sacrificial line may have to be completely reassessed
Where can I see this?
Many thanks. Juan Carlos Sánchez Jiménez (FM) Spain»
This refers to the analysis in the game Mack-Beach (get this from ChessPub.exe) which seems to resuscitate the line 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ndf3 Qb6 8.g3 cxd4 9.cxd4 f6 10.Bh3 fxe5 11.fxe5 Bb4+ 12.Kf1 0-0 13.Kg2 Ndxe5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 for Black.
On the subject of the Haldane Hack in the Classical Variation, I've just learnt that there is going to be an article about it in the UK magazine Chess. So I thought I'd wait until I've had the chance to read it before adding any more analysis on the website.
Well let's get down to business with this month's update.
An anti-Winawer Move order
This variation can also be reached via a Classical move order with 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nf3 c5, and so it is classified by ECO under C11; but I have put it into the C00 e-book as the 'non-2.d4' move order is by far the more usual. This is because White wants to play his special variation without the risk of being 'ambushed' en route after 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 by 3...Bb4. Therefore as a rule he delays d2-d4- though this doesn't stop some die hard Winawer fanatics trying 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4!?
In this month's game, it is White who tries to force the pace with the result that he is trounced in most instructive style. The moral is: if you play a solid opening, you must be prepared to play a solid middlegame. Here is Schneider - Ulibin.
An aggressive mixture of two systems
3.Nc3 Bb4 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bd3
Here I'll have another little whinge about the ECO code.
It's strange that this variation is classified in the ECO code as C01, that is the French Exchange, when it more properly belongs in the C15 section along with White's other off beat lines against the Winawer. Well to avoid confusion it had better stay in the C01 section here as well.
When White adopts this variation he is usually looking for a fight, as there is an imbalance not present in the normal Exchange Variation. He accepts doubled pawns after Bxc3+, but hopes that the two bishops will prove a useful asset, especially as the position is more open than usual in the French.
For an interesting novelty by Black and a battle in which the black knights trump the white bishops, check out Bluvshtein - Efimenko.
More on the Wade Variation
Bob Cochran sent me the following email:
«I would be interested to know your opinion of the Wade Variation in the Advance French (1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Qb6 intending ...Bd7 and ... Bb5. It seems to do well in practice but doesn't get much attention otherwise as far as I can tell.»
It is certainly popular at the moment. There are about six games on ChessPub in this variation, which can be found in the Advance 6.a3-and early Qb6 chapter in the eBook. You can find one of the latest tussles between top class GMs by clicking on Grischuk - Vaganian.
A lazy bishop move wins the day
So far here on ChessPub after 4.e5 c5 5.Qg4 we have given games on 5...Kf8 and 5...g6, and examined the not quite sound 5...g5. Now it is the turn of 5...Bf8!?:
This retreat means that out of a total of five moves Black has spent two of them playing his bishop from f8 to e7 and back again! No wonder we can't rely exclusively on general principles and have to learn opening theory the hard way.
Anyway, if you play this line as Black you will enjoy Malysheva - Riazantsev.
A combination Paul Keres missed
On the other hand, you won't enjoy the next game very much. Black, rated 2585, falls for a very nasty trap and has a lost position after only eight moves. His only consolation is that the legendary Paul Keres once missed the chance to implement the trap, so it is by no means obvious. Here is Mahjoob - Chernyshov.
Tarrasch Universal System with Ngf3
In the previous update we offered a print-out-and-keep guide to the Tarrasch Ngf3 System. This will already need a little amending as Black has successfully tried out a new idea in the ...Qb6/...a7-a5 line. There are, however, some doubts over its value, which you can investigate by clicking on Hansen - Schlecht.
How to win without knowing any opening theory
Next up is a model game for Black in one of my favourite opening lines. White runs out of constructive ideas and is gradually softened up until a violent breakthrough is possible. Check out Bluvshtein - Rozentalis.
Mixed fortunes for Karpov and Morozevich
The Rubinstein has the reputation of being a solid, rather passive opening, but this month there have been some fierce clashes
Firstly, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov has to face a dangerous attacking system that has been tested by Kasparov and Adams. Theoretically, I think things should have been OK for Black, but the difficult defence proves too much for Karpov in a rapid play game. It's rather sad to see a hero of my youth blunder his queen after 22 moves, but here is Vescovi - Karpov.
Black has more luck in the next game. I read about a year ago that Alexander Morozevich wasn't studying much chess these days. Well it doesn't seem to stop him coming up with a lot of new ideas in the French, whether White and Black. Here he crushes his opponent with a strong novelty in Pelletier - Morozevich.
OK, that's all for this month. I hope you enjoyed the games above. Best of luck in using ChessPub to improve your chess!