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May '01- What's New


Centre Counter


Want an easy to learn, attacking weapon for Black against 1 e4? Doesn't everyone, and in answer to these prayers the Scandinavian or Centre Counter has been touted as just such an opening.

Its popularity has even eclipsed that of the currently maligned Alekhine Defence.

Centre Counter

The main interest at club level has been around the so-called 'Centre Counter Carnage' lines which arise after either 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6

and now either 3.c4 e6!? or 3.d4 Bg4!?

If you believe the propaganda this should be loads of fun for the well-prepared Black and a scary prospect for those who want an easy and pleasant time with White. But it ain't so easy, and in this month's update I hope to show you why.

I recommend that White should sidestep the 2...Nf6 gambit lines with the cunning 3.Be2, which calmly develops the kingside and certainly prevents any 3...Bg4 nonsense. White intends to follow up with Nf3, d2-d4 and 0-0 after which his d4 pawn gives him a small space advantage. See Kotronias - Thorhallsson MAY01/01, Degraeve - De Wolf MAY01/02 and de Firmian - Schroer MAY01/03 for details.

Black has also been playing 2...Qxd5

with some success, with Julian Hodgson being just one GM who has included it in his opening repertoire.

Since time immemorial White has automatically attacked the queen with 3 Nc3, but there are some players (myself among them) who think that the knight may be misplaced on this square in the coming middle-game. I suggest committing 'treason' by not gaining time on the queen straight away, and first developing the kingside with Nf3, Be2, d4 and 0-0 (not necessarily in that order). After that you gain the time with c4, but this time have a much better grip on the centre. Check out MAY01/04, MAY01/05 and MAY01/06

Alekhine Defence

One of the readers' requests has been coverage of the Kengis line of the Alekhine, which has become something of a workhorse for Alekhine experts.

1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 dxe5 5 Nxe5 g6

Does this disarm the dreaded 4 Nf3?

Not really. Black can handle the crude 6 Qf3 (Ernst - Josefsson, and has been getting a solid enough game against 6 Nd2 (Miles - Pons), 6 g3 (notes to Miles - Pons). and 6 Bc4 (Nijboer - Vaganian, ) but he's being having a fairly miserable time of it against 6 c4 (Ernst - Bagirov MAY01/10). Maybe the Grischuk - Baburin game given in the notes points to a solution, only time will tell.

Next month I'll review the 150 Attack against the Pirc plus

1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d5

Best wishes

Nigel Davies



Centre Counter