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August '01- What's New




Hi all!

Caro - Kann Defence

Last weekend I played in the Chorley Open and witnessed a crucial last round game (Surtees - Arkell) proceed with the moves 1.e4 c6 2.Ne2 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4!?.

The idea is similar to a gambit line that I like against the French; 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4!?. After 4...cxb4 5.d4, White doesn't have to worry about the usual counterplay against his d4 pawn but can just get on with his play on the kingside. The cost is a pawn, but maybe it's not bad value.

Keith Arkell managed to win which left us sharing first place, but it wasn't without a few anxious moments and White could certainly have improved. Very often the aspiring gambiteer will try too hard to justify his pawn sac, but I think you can let the compensation unfold quite gradually.

I got home and looked for some games with Surtees' gambit, and soon found Richmond - Lee, AUG01/01, and a couple of others. With the thought that it might not be a good idea to play 4.b4!? in every game I also checked out some games with the conventional 4.d4, AUG01/05, and Black's third move alternative, 3...Bf5. It was no surprise to find Nigel Short's name amongst the White exponents of this line (AUG01/02, and see below), but what did surprise me is that the young Gary Kasparov played it- AUG01/03.

So there we have it, a dangerous weapon for White 1.e4 players and something that Black should be taking quite seriously. If you want a line with Black, take a closer look at Botvinnik's little-tried 5...Bg4!? in the notes to Short - Gulko, AUG01/04. The Short - Speelman note here is also something worth checking, especially with Botterill's suggestion of 8...g6!?.

Modern Defence

A number of subscribers requested treatment of the Modern Defence line 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 Nc6, so for your edification see Lautier - Speelman, AUG01/06. I tried to get 4...Nc6 to work for years but White can get the better game rather easily. Take my advice and play something else, 4...Nf6 is a good move....

Pirc Defence

Moving on to the Pirc, another of the 'special requests' has been the Austrian Attack (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3) with 5...c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7 Bd3 Qxc5 8 Qe2 0-0 9 Be3 Qa5.

Fierz - Gurevich, AUG01/07, provides further confirmation that the conventional 10.0-0 Bg4 11.h3 is harmless for Black, but watch out for wrinkles like Mortensen's 11.Qe1!? He doesn't put his h-pawn on h3 because he wants to stick a rook there! The way that Black played it in Mortensen - Nilsson, AUG01/08, he suddenly found himself floundering around in some kind of Sicilian Dragon. Needless to say this is another Mortensen speciality - and he also plays 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4!? against the French!

Alex Volzhin provided some coverage of Judit Polgar's 10.h3 which avoids 10...Bg4 altogether. I have a couple of additional games to offer in Polgar - Hennigan, AUG01/09, and 'Computer' - Ioseliani, AUG01/10, both of which were both lost miserably by Black, but actually offer two of the best antidotes if followed up correctly. That's one of the misleading things about chess theory; the books are full of variations and practical examples, almost all of which have improvements for both sides!

Best wishes

Nigel Davies