The Winawer Exchange
An introduction for White
If you asked me for a way to play as White against the Winawer that avoids theory but also gives attacking chances, I would have to recommend the Winawer Exchange Variation. It might be said to be the perfect weapon for the average club or tournament player: White has a simple plan in the mainline that is difficult for Black to meet.
Here and next month I will give a comprehensive introduction to the line: it's biased in White's favour, but I want to show you all the basic ideas.
Play begins 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bd3:
Part One: the IQP treatment
Now first of all let's imagine that Black isn't afraid of an Isolated Queen's Pawn and so counterattacks immediately against d4 with 5...c5. The French Super GM Fressinet shows how to build up the initiative as White without transposing into normal IQP lines- check put Fressinet - Pieroni.
Part Two: Black plays Nf6
From the diagram above, play often continues 5...Nc6 6.a3 Bxc3+ [6...Ba5 is also considered in the analysis to the Skripchenko game] 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.Ne2:
The basic set up White wants is Ng3 and Qf3 with h2-h3 thrown in as appropriate to stop his queen being hit by Bg4 [though this won't always be necessary]. If Black plays passively, White will soon get a big attack with Bg5 etc.
Here is a typical example of White's attack in Senff - Poldauf.
Instead Black might oppose the plan of Qf3 with a quick Bg4. In that case you could follow the plan of dominating the e-file seen in Skripchenko - Mkrtchian.
In the October update I'll complete the survey by looking at lines in which Black plays ...Nge7 rather than ...Nf6.
Tarrasch Guimard 3.Nd2 Nc6
Still a fertile soil for new ideas
IM Tom Rendle tried out the Reefschlaeger and Guimard stuff discussed on this website at the recent British Championships and scored 3.5/4 as Black- a 2600+ Elo performance. [If you are reading this Goh Weiming thanks for all the analysis- hope it's not too cheeky to ask if you have any more!]
Here is Tom's first round win. It just shows you the effect of surprise- GM Stewart Haslinger is normally very well prepared in the opening, but he soon goes astray in Haslinger - Rendle.
Tarrasch 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5
Dark days for the black king
In principle 4...Qxd5 is a very solid opening line: Black gets to dissolve the white centre whilst avoiding any weaknesses in his pawn structure. Therefore, as long as his king stays out of trouble not much can befall him. That doesn't sound too much to ask, but unfortunately for Black in recent games his king has been getting into trouble on the queenside, kingside and in the centre!
One of the drawbacks of always playing the same opening variation is that sooner or later some wise guy is going to catch you out with computer assisted prep. And that's exactly what happened to GM Kruppa in the diagram position:
Kruppa, playing Black, has dangerous threats such as 17...Bc6 or 17...Ng4, but the wonderful move 17.Qd4!! killed him stone dead. You get the whole story in Paligras - Kruppa.
So Kruppa's attempt to escape the mainline came to grief. We can't blame him too much, as the variation 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 11.Re1 Bd7 has been looking very dodgy for Black recently due to the move 12.Bg5!:
White avoids 12.c3 as he intends after 12...0-0-0 to introduce combinative threats down the c-file by utilising his rook on the third rank with Re1 and Re3. As yet Black has found no convincing rebuttal to this plan- check out two more victims by clicking on Sjugirov - Vysochin.
Hecht-Reefschlaeger 3.Nc3 Nc6
If you want to surprise your opponent's, subscribe to this website!
We discussed Tom Rendle's first round game at the British Championship in the Guimard section above. Here you can see Tom's game from the last round that won a best combination prize by clicking on Greet - Rendle.
An expert speaks out
Filippo Nicolo sent me the following comments after seeing the analysis to Wirig-Iotov in the previous [August] update.
It concerns a complex variation after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2, which runs 5...Ne7 6.Nb5 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 0-0 8.f4 a6 9.Nd6 cxd4 10.Nf3 Nbc6 11.Bd3 f6 12.0-0 fxe5 13.fxe5 Rxf3 14.Rxf3 Nxe5 15.Qf4 Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Nc6 17.Qf7+ Kh8:
«I wish to point out to Your attention a big improvement for White in the analysis to Wirig-Iotov: 18.Kh1!!, as suggested by Alburt, Dzindzichashvili, Perelshteyn in the book "Chess Openings, for White, Explained", vol. 1, 2007, pag. 357.
This book received a very bad review by John Watson some time ago on TWIC. In one word Watson described the book with the adjective "Disastrous": but I do not think all the ideas (analysis) contained into the book deserved ... that judgment and this line could be exactly the case.
The move 18.Kh1 has been used as back as 2003 in an official game by IM Perelshteyn (nowadays is GM and he was an author of the book) and seems better than 18.Qh5 which guaranties no more than a draw for perpetual check as you showed (same line as yours was in the book). The game I refer to is Perelshteyn-Berg, 2003 (a crushing win for White).
It seems as, after 18.Kh1, with best play Black can end up in a position with just one pawn down.»
Here, with Filippo's comments added, is Version Two-Wirig-Iotov
«If this move (18.Kh1) is really so good, then Black has to change before and I would suggest to follow John Watson in the line (for the complete version of Watson's analysis refer again to the review mentioned above).»
Filippo tested the idea online as Black using the alias 'Peramor'- check out yellowlab - peramor.
Thanks Filippo- there's not much I can add as you seem more of an expert on this variation than me!
That's all for this month. As always good luck with your chess, and remember to have fun whether you are playing your own chess or watching World Championship matches!
All the best, Neil
Subscribers can email me at email@example.com.