Playing White against odd Black defences after 1.e4 (2)

A4. Piece attacks vs. Pirc/Modern 1. e4 ...d6/...g6: 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3

The trouble with the Pirc is that Black will just lurk behind his pawns, and your pieces won't find much to attack. I play the Pirc/Modern as Black, and am always more impressed by systems which threaten to open lines with pawn breaks than any of the piece play lines. But that's not to say they aren't all dangerous; the player with a plan will always beat the player without one.

There are two principal 'piece play' lines available:

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. Qe2

rnbqk+-r
ppp-ppbp
-+-p-np+
+-+-+-+-
-+BPP+-+
+-+-+N+-
PPP+QPPP
RNB-K-+R

White concentrates on rapid development and aims at a timely e5.

 

The other line I have in mind is:

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. Qd2

rnbqk+-r
ppp-ppbp
-+-p-np+
+-+-+-+-
-+-PP+-+
+-N-B-+-
PPPQ-PPP
R-+-KBNR

Now the simple idea is to play the standard attack with O-O-O, f3, g4, h4, Nge2-g3 and h5. Let's see this in action:


Hort,V - Rota [B07], Aachen/SW,16,18

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. Qd2 O-O 6. O-O-O

rnbq-rk+
ppp-ppbp
-+-p-np+
+-+-+-+-
-+-PP+-+
+-N-B-+-
PPPQ-PPP
+-KR+BNR

6... c6 7. Bh6 b5 8. f3 a5 9. h4 b4 10. Na4 Bd7 11. h5

rn-q-rk+
+-+bppbp
-+pp-npB
p-+-+-+P
Np-PP+-+
+-+-+P+-
PPPQ-+P+
+-KR+BNR

11... Nxh5 12. Rxh5 Bxh6

[12... gxh5 13. Qg5 b3 14. Qxg7#]

13. Rxh6 c5 14. Rh2 1-0

This plan depends a little on Black castling King's side, although it will not have guaranteed safety on the other side, nor in the centre. See the example games.

 

Example Games A4

Firstly, let's look at a few games in the Bc4 lines .

A4.1. Examples with Bc4


Christ,R - Kljako,D [B07], it, Biel

1. e4 d6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 c6 6. e5 dxe5 7. dxe5 Nd5 8. Bd2

rnbqk+-r
pp+-ppbp
-+p+-+p+
+-+nP-+-
-+B+-+-+
+-N-+-+-
PPPBQPPP
R-+-K-NR

Simple development is the trademark of the White system

8... Nxc3 9. Bxc3 O-O 10. f4 a5 11. a4 b6 12. Nf3 Ba6 13. Rd1 Qc7 14. O-O Bxc4 15. Qxc4 Na6

r+-+-rk+
+-q-ppbp
npp+-+p+
p-+-P-+-
P+Q+-P-+
+-B-+N+-
-PP+-+PP
+-+R+RK-

White has a simple advantage in space.

16. Ng5 h6 17. Ne4 Qc8 18. Rd3 Rb8 19. Rh3 b5 20. Qe2 b4 21. Bd2 f5

-rq+-rk+
+-+-p-b-
n+p+-+pp
p-+-Pp+-
Pp-+NP-+
+-+-+-+R
-PPBQ+PP
+-+-+RK-

Black was cramped, but this bid for freedom looks very loose.

22. exf6 exf6 23. f5 g5 24. Qc4+ Kh7 25. Bxg5 fxg5 26. f6 Bh8 27. Nxg5+ Kg6

-rq+-r-b
+-+-+-+-
n+p+-Pkp
p-+-+-N-
PpQ+-+-+
+-+-+-+R
-PP+-+PP
+-+-+RK-

Black's King is being knocked about all over the place, while the Black pieces watch glumly from the wings.

28. Rxh6+ Kxh6 29. Qh4+ Kg6 30. Qh7+ Kxg5 31. h4+ Kg4 32. Qg6+ 1-0

 


Knippel,M - Stratmann,B [B08], NRW

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Qe2 Nc6 7. e5

r+bq-rk+
ppp-ppbp
-+np-np+
+-+-P-+-
-+BP-+-+
+-N-+N+-
PPP+QPPP
R-B-K-+R

This is the key break in the Bc4 systems.

7... Ng4 8. h3 Nh6 9. g4 Na5 10. Bd3 b6 11. Bf4 Kh8 12. O-O-O

r+bq-r-k
p-p-ppbp
-p-p-+pn
n-+-P-+-
-+-P-BP+
+-NB+N+P
PPP+QP-+
+-KR+-+R

Black's next move seals the centre, but White's King's side attack can now proceed without worrying about the central tension.

12... d5 13. Qe3 Ng8 14. Rdg1 h6 15. h4 Nc4 16. Bxc4 dxc4 17. h5 Bb7 18. g5

r+-q-rnk
pbp-ppb-
-p-+-+pp
+-+-P-PP
-+pP-B-+
+-N-QN+-
PPP+-P-+
+-K-+-RR

It looks grim for the Black King.

18... Bxf3 19. Qxf3 Qxd4 20. Rd1 Qc5 21. Rd5 Qc6 22. gxh6 Nxh6 23. hxg6 Qxg6

r+-+-r-k
p-p-ppb-
-p-+-+qn
+-+RP-+-
-+p+-B-+
+-N-+Q+-
PPP+-P-+
+-K-+-+R

Recapturing with the pawn wasn't pretty, but this fails to:

24. Rdd1 1-0

25. Rdg1 is killing.

See also the games under the Gurgenidze System

 

|
A4.2. Examples with Be3


Adams,M - Wolff,P [B07], London

1. e4 d6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 c6 5. Qd2 b5 6. h4 Nf6 7. f3 Qc7 8. Bh6 Bxh6 9. Qxh6 Be6 10. Nh3 Bxh3 11. Rxh3 Nbd7 12. O-O-O

r+-+k+-r
p-qnpp+p
-+pp-npQ
+p+-+-+-
-+-PP+-P
+-N-+P+R
PPP+-+P+
+-KR+B+-

White's K-side initiative persuades Black to castle Queen's side.

12... Nb6 13. Kb1 O-O-O 14. Qe3 e5 15. a3 d5 16. dxe5 Qxe5 17. f4 Qe7 18. e5 Nfd7

-+kr-+-r
p-+nqp+p
-np+-+p+
+p+pP-+-
-+-+-P-P
P-N-Q-+R
-PP+-+P+
+K+R+B+-

White opens up the Q-side; he can skip the Rh3 across easily.

19. a4 a6

Taking on a4 will allow Ba6+.

20. a5 Na8 21. Nxd5 cxd5

n+kr-+-r
+-+nqp+p
p+-+-+p+
Pp+pP-+-
-+-+-P-P
+-+-Q-+R
-PP+-+P+
+K+R+B+-

The entry of the Queen is decisive.

22. Qa7 Nc7 23. Rc3 Nb8 24. g3 1-0

 


Lane,G - Saucey,M [B07], Royan

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 Nf6 5. Qd2 O-O 6. f3 e5 7. Nge2 c6 8. O-O-O Nbd7 9. g4 b5 10. Nb1 Nb6 11. Ng3 Be6 12. b3

r+-q-rk+
p-+-+pbp
-nppbnp+
+p+-p-+-
-+-PP+P+
+P+-BPN-
P+PQ-+-P
+NKR+B+R

Black now takes on d4, and the game starts to look rather like the Yugoslav Attack in the Sicilian Dragon.

12... exd4 13. Bxd4 d5 14. g5 Nfd7 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. f4 f6 17. h4 Bg4 18. Be2 Bxe2 19. Qxe2 Qe7 20. Rdg1

r+-+-r-+
p-+nq-kp
-np+-pp+
+p+p+-P-
-+-+PP-P
+P+-+-N-
P+P+Q+-+
+NK-+-RR

Again, White's attack has proceeded faster than Black's.

20... f5 21. exf5 Qxe2 22. f6+ 1-0

Black will have no prospects in the endgame with White's secure pawn on f6.

 


Chacon,E - Blazquez,J. L [B07], Alicante

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 Nf6 5. f3 c6 6. Qd2 O-O 7. Bh6 Bxh6 8. Qxh6 Qb6 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. h4

r+b+-rk+
pp+npp+p
-qpp-npQ
+-+-+-+-
-+-PP+-P
+-N-+P+-
PPP+-+P+
+-KR+BNR

A typical thrust.

10... c5 11. d5

Often, if the situation in the centre is clear, the attack is easier.

11...Ne5 12. h5 Bd7 13. Be2 c4 14. Nh3

r+-+-rk+
pp+bpp+p
-q-p-npQ
+-+Pn-+P
-+p+P+-+
+-N-+P+N
PPP+B+P+
+-KR+-+R

White threatens Ng5 after which hxg6 and f4 look very strong.

14... Bxh3 15. Rxh3 g5 16. Qxg5+ Kh8 17. g4 Rg8 18. Qd2 Qa5 19. g5 Ne8 20. f4 Nd7 21. Qd4+ f6 22. Bg4 Nc5 23. Bf5 Qb6 24. Kb1 h6 25. Bg6 Nd7

r+-+n+rk
pp+np-+-
-q-p-pBp
+-+P+-PP
-+pQPP-+
+-N-+-+R
PPP+-+-+
+K+R+-+-

White's King's-side initiative will persist into an endgame.

26. Qxb6 Nxb6 27. gxh6 1-0

After 27... Nc7 28. h7 Rg7

[28... Rgf8 29. Bf5 Na6 30. Rg3 Nc5 31. Rdg1 Rfe8 32. Rg7 Nbd7]

29. Rg3 e5 30. h6

the endgame is hopeless for Black.

 

A5. Piece attacks vs. Sicilian: lines with piece play

 

A5.1. Ideas with Be2

rnbqkbnr
pp+ppppp
-+-+-+-+
+-p-+-+-
-+-+P+-+
+-+-+N+-
PPPPBPPP
RNBQK-+R

It would be wrong to say there is much theory on these lines.

The basic idea is to develop the King's side pieces quickly, and play c3 and d4 (very much the same plan as the normal 1. e4 e5 openings).

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3

Now Black has a basic choice between 2...d6, 2...Nc6 and 2...e6. Alternatives are less strong, e.g. 2...a6 3. c4 or 2...Nf6 3. e5. These should not be scorned - GMs have played each line - but are less good for Black than normal lines.

2...d6

[after 2... e6 White can play an interesting gambit, borrowed from a variation of the English Opening: 3. Be2 Nc6 4. b4 Nxb4

[4... cxb4 5. d4]

5. c3 Nc6 6. d4;

(compare the line 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 e4 4. Ng5 b5)]

3. Be2 Nf6

[3... e6 4. c3 Nc6 5. d4 Nf6 6. Nbd2]

4. c3 Nc6 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 Qa5+ 7. Nc3 Nxe4 8. d5

r+b+kbnr
pp+ppppp
-+n+-+-+
q-pP+-+-
-+-+n+-+
+-N-+N+-
PP-+BPPP
R-BQK-+R

...with interesting gambit play in each line.

 

A5.2. Ideas with Bb5

Rossolimo Variation with 2... Nc6

3. Bb5

r+bqkbnr
pp+ppppp
-+n+-+-+
+Bp-+-+-
-+-+P+-+
+-+-+N+-
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK-+R

Now the most common line is

3...g6

Alternatives:

[3... Nf6 e.g. 4. e5 Nd5 5. Nc3 Nc7 6. a4 Nxb5 7. axb5]

[3... e6 e.g. 4. O-O Nge7 5. c3 d5 6. exd5]

4. O-O Bg7 5. c3 Qb6 6. Na3 Nf6 7. Re1

r+b+kb-r
pp+ppppp
-qn+-n-+
+Bp-+-+-
-+-+P+-+
N-P-+N+-
PP-P-PPP
R-BQR-K-

[or 7. e5 Nd5 8. Bc4 Nc7 9. d4]

...when White has good play.

 

Rossolimo Variation with 2...d6

3. Bb5+

rnbqkbnr
pp+-pppp
-+-p-+-+
+Bp-+-+-
-+-+P+-+
+-+-+N+-
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK-+R

This is a complex line. After 3...Bd7 White will often play 4. Bxd7+ and 5.c4, placing the pawns on light squares to complement the dark-squared bishop.

One example in another line:

3... Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Ngf6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Nc3 Be7 8. O-O a6 9. Bxd7+ Bxd7 10. Rad1 Bc6 11. Rfe1 O-O 12. Bxf6 gxf6

r+-q-rk+
+p+-bp+p
p+bppp-+
+-+-+-+-
-+-QP+-+
+-N-+N+-
PPP+-PPP
+-+RR-K-

Again, White has good piece play, although the bishops may be dangerous

 

 

Example games A5

A5.1. Examples with Be2

Basman-Stean,Hastings 1974

This is a famous game in this line.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Be2 Nf6 4. c3 Nc6 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 Nxe4 7. d5 Qa5+ 8. Nc3 Nxc3 9. bxc3

r+b+kbnr
pp+ppppp
-+-+-+-+
q-pPn-+-
-+-+-+-+
+-P-+N+-
P+-+BPPP
R-BQK-+R

9...Ne5

[9... Nd8 may be better]

10. Nxe5 Qxc3+ 11. Bd2 Qxe5 12. O-O Qxd5

[The main alternative is 12... a6

Nikolenko-Obukhov 1991

13. Rb1 g6 14. Rxb7 Bg7

[14... Bxb7 15. Qa4+ Kd8 16. Ba5+ Kc8 17. Qe8#]

15. Qa4+ Kf8 16. Rc7 Bf5

[16... Qxe2 17.Qc6 Bb7 18. Qxb7 Re8 19. Rc8 Qb5 20. Rxe8+ Qxe8 21. Rc1]

17. Qc6 Rd8 18. Bxa6

-+-r-k-r
+-R-ppbp
B+Qp-+p+
+-+Pqb+-
-+-+-+-+
+-+-+-+-
P+-B-PPP
+-+-+RK-

idea Re1 - Gallagher]

The game as it goes is a rout.

13. Rb1 e6 14. Bb5+ Bd7 15. Bxd7+ Kxd7 16. Qa4+ Kd8 17. Rb5 Qc6 18. Rc1 Qa6 19. Ra5 Qd3 20. Be3 d5 21. Rxa7 Rxa7 22. Qxa7 Ba3 23. Qb8+ Ke7 24. Bg5+ f6 25. Qxb7+ Kd6 26. Qc7#

 

A5.2. Examples with Bb5

|


Georgiev,Kr - Feher,G [B30], Cappelle

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. b3 Qb6 6. Na3 Ng6 7. Bb2 a6 8. Nc4 Qc7 9. Bxc6 Qxc6

White is miles ahead in development, so breaks with d4.

10. d4 cxd4 11. Nxd4

r+b+kb-r
+p+p+ppp
p+q+p+n+
+-+-+-+-
-+NNP+-+
+P+-+-+-
PBP+-PPP
R-+Q+RK-

Black now grabs a hot pawn while behind in development. (Kids! Don't try this at home!)

11... Qxe4 12. Re1 Qf4 13. Nb6 Rb8 14. Nd5

-rb+kb-r
+p+p+ppp
p+-+p+n+
+-+N+-+-
-+-N-q-+
+P+-+-+-
PBP+-PPP
R-+QR-K-

Almost inevitable

14... f6 1-0

 


Smirin,I - Nun,Ji [B30], Polanica

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. b3 Ng6 6. Bb2 Be7 7. Bxg7 Rg8 8. Bb2 h5 9. Nc3 Qc7 10. Re1

r+b+k+r+
ppqpbp+-
-+n+p+n+
+Bp-+-+p
-+-+P+-+
+PN-+N+-
PBPP-PPP
R-+QR-K-

10... h4 11. Nd5

A very typical Sicilian sacrifice.

11...exd5 12. exd5 Nd4 13. Nxd4 cxd4 14. Ba3 Qa5 15. Bxe7 Nxe7 16. Qe2 Qa3

r+b+k+r+
pp+pnp+-
-+-+-+-+
+B+P+-+-
-+-p-+-p
qP+-+-+-
P+PPQPPP
R-+-R-K-

White threatens Qe5 and d6, winning the knight. Black keeps the Knight, but loses the King.

17. Qe5 Kf8 18. d6 Ng6 19. Qf6 Qa5 20. Bc4 Rg7 21. Re7 1-0

 


Bogumil - Sarosi [B30], Budapest

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. c3 d5 6. exd5 Qxd5 7. d4 cxd4 8. c4 Qd8 9. Nxd4 Bd7 10. Nf3 Nf5 11. Nc3 Be7 12. Ba4 O-O 13. Bc2 Nh4 14. Nxh4 Bxh4 15. b3 Bf6 16. Ba3

r+-q-rk+
pp+b+ppp
-+n+pb-+
+-+-+-+-
-+P+-+-+
BPN-+-+-
P+B+-PPP
R-+Q+RK-

A neat move making use of the extra space and mobility.

16... Re8

[If 16...Bxc3, 17. Qd3!]

17. Qd3 g6 18. Rad1 Ne5 19. Qg3 Qa5 20. Ne4 Bg7 21. b4 Qc7 22. Nd6 Red8 23. Bb2 Nc6

r+-r-+k+
ppqb+pbp
-+nNp+p+
+-+-+-+-
-PP+-+-+
+-+-+-Q-
PBB+-PPP
+-+R+RK-

White is obviously winning. He finds a neat unmasking (Nf5)

24. Bxg7 1-0

 

 

B. Slow attacks with f4 against the common half-open defences

 

The move f4 is often a strong idea against the Sicilian and Pirc, and to some extent the French; less good against other lines. The ideas are similar:

­ develop rapidly

­ use the extra space given by the extra central pawn

­ use the f4 pawn to break open lines against the King

 

B1. Playing f4 vs. Alekhin 1. e4 Nf6: 1. e4 Nf6 2. d3 and 3. f4

Sadly, this line has no real force and is not a good line to adopt.

If you insist on consistency, you can try it, but otherwise I would look at a different line.

 

Example games B1


Lazarevic,M - Maric,D (6) Pula, 1990[B02]

1. e4 Nf6 2. d3 d5 3. e5 Nfd7 4. f4 Nb6

rnbqkb-r
ppp-pppp
-n-+-+-+
+-+pP-+-
-+-+-P-+
+-+P+-+-
PPP+-+PP
RNBQKBNR

With the N on b6 it is harder to organise the obvious 'French' break with f6.

5. c3 c5 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Be2 e6 8. Na3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Nc2 Nc6 11. Ne3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3

r+-q-rk+
pp+-bppp
-nn+p+-+
+-ppP-+-
-+-+-P-+
+-PPNB+-
PP-+-+PP
R-BQ+RK-

Black has done everything right so far, but gets careless.

12... d4 13. Ng4 dxc3 14. bxc3 c4 15. d4 Nd5 16. Bxd5 Qxd5 17. Ne3 Qb5 18. Qe2 Rac8 19. f5 Bg5 20. f6 gxf6 21. Ng4 Ne7 22. Bxg5 fxg5 23. Nf6+

-+r+-rk+
pp+-np+p
-+-+pN-+
+q+-P-p-
-+pP-+-+
+-P-+-+-
P+-+Q+PP
R-+-+RK-

White should never have been allowed to reach this easy attacking position.

23... Kg7 24. Qh5 h6 25. Ng4 Ng8 26. Nxh6 Nxh6 27. Qxg5+ Kh7 28. Rf6 Nf5 29. Rf1 Rg8 30. Qh5+ 1-0

 

 

|
B2. Playing f4 vs. Caro-Kann 1. e4 c6: 1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. f4 (a line of the Dunst opening, 1.Nc3)

I couldn't find a single example of this with f4. This is probably because it's not a very good line!

 

Example games B2


Van der Vaeren - Savva, Haifa, 1989[A00]

1. e4 d5 2. Nc3 dxe4 3. Nxe4 c6 4. Bc4 Nf6

This could have arisen from the Caro-Kann

5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Ne2 Be6 7. Bxe6 fxe6 8. Nf4

rn-qkb-r
pp+-+-pp
-+p+pp-+
+-+-+-+-
-+-+-N-+
+-+-+-+-
PPPP-PPP
R-BQK-+R

Hitting at the weak White squares. Black now prompts an elementary combination.

8... e5 9. Qh5+ Ke7 10. Ng6+ hxg6 11. Qxh8 Kf7 12. Qh3 Qd7 13. Qb3+ Ke7 14. O-O b6 15. d3 Qd5

rn-+-b-+
p-+-k-p-
-pp+-pp+
+-+qp-+-
-+-+-+-+
+Q+P+-+-
PPP+-PPP
R-B-+RK-

An interesting moment: I would have swapped off here to try and win on material.

16. c4 Qd6 17. Be3 c5 18. a4 Nc6 19. a5 Nb4 20. axb6 Qxb6 21. f4 exf4 22. Bxf4 Kf7 23. d4 Nd5 24. Qf3

r+-+-b-+
p-+-+kp-
-q-+-pp+
+-pn+-+-
-+PP-B-+
+-+-+Q+-
-P-+-+PP
R-+-+RK-

Black is very wobbly here.

24... Nxf4 25. Qxa8 Ne2+ 26. Kh1 Nxd4 27. Rxa7+ Kg8 28. Qd5+ Qe6 29. Qxe6+ Nxe6 30. Re1 1-0

 

 

B3. Playing f4 vs. French 1. e4 e6: 1. e4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. f4 (a line of the Dunst opening, 1.Nc3)

Now, I have found a few of these. With the P on e6, Black is necessarily a little more passive than the Caro lines above. I don't think White can claim much advantage (indeed, John Watson reckons that the Pf4 may be in the way of the Bc1), but it's an easy line to understand.

 

Example games B3


Hill,S - Wright,A , ch-AUS/SW,5,18, 1989[B21]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Nc6 6. Bc4

r+bqkbnr
pp+-+ppp
-+n+p+-+
+-p-+-+-
-+B+NP-+
+-+-+N+-
PPPP-+PP
R-BQK-+R

White has nicely centralised pieces.

6... Nf6 7. Nxf6+ Qxf6 8. O-O Bd6 9. d3 Bxf4 10. Ng5 Qxg5 11. Bxf4 Qe7 12. Qg4 O-O 13. Rae1 Kh8 14. Qg3 Rd8 15. c3 b6 16. Re3 Re8

r+b+r+-k
p-+-qppp
-pn+p+-+
+-p-+-+-
-+B+-B-+
+-PPR-Q-
PP-+-+PP
+-+-+RK-

Every White piece is well-placed.

17. Bd5 Bb7 18. Be4 Nd8 19. Bg5 f6

r+-nr+-k
pb+-q-pp
-p-+pp-+
+-p-+-B-
-+-+B+-+
+-PPR-Q-
PP-+-+PP
+-+-+RK-

White now plays a sacrifice which is easy to think of but hard to analyse!

20. Bxh7 Kxh7 21. Qh4+ Kg8 22. Bxf6 gxf6 23. Rg3+ 1-0

 


Campora,D. H - Shirazi,A , Ch New York ( open ), 1989[B21]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Nge7 5. O-O a6 6. Be2 g6 7. d3 Bg7 8. c3 d5 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Qe1 b5 11. Qf2 Qb6

r+b+-rk+
+-+-npbp
pqn+p+p+
+ppp+-+-
-+-+PP-+
+-PP+N+-
PP-NBQPP
R-B-+RK-

A position that could have arisen from either the French or the Sicilian.

12. e5 f6 13. d4 cxd4 14. cxd4 fxe5 15. fxe5 g5 16. g4 h5 17. gxh5 g4 18. h6 Bxh6 19. Nc4 dxc4 20. Bxh6 Nf5

r+b+-rk+
+-+-+-+-
pqn+p+-B
+p+-Pn+-
-+pP-+p+
+-+-+N+-
PP-+BQ-P
R-+-+RK-

Rather a sign of distress; White is winning.

21. Bxf8 Kxf8 22. Nh4 Ncxd4 23. Bxg4 Bb7 24. h3 Qc5 25. Rae1 Kg8 26. Kh2 1-0

 

 

B4. Playing f4 vs. Pirc/Modern 1. e4 ...d6/...g6: 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 (Austrian Attack)

 

Against the Pirc, f4 is not a particularly slow line!

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O

[5... c5 is probably a better way to equalise, or so the books say in 1990]

6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O

r+bq-rk+
ppp-ppbp
-+np-np+
+-+-+-+-
-+-PPP-+
+-NB+N+-
PPP+-+PP
R-BQ+RK-

The White attack is easy to understand; White will complete development and then break with e5 or f5 - or both!

 

 

Example games B4


Ekebjaerg,Ove (2580) - Van Manen,Gerben (2580) cr Blass-mem, 1990[B07]

1. Nc3 Nf6 2. e4 d6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. d4 O-O 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Bg4 8. e5 Nd7 9. Be3

r+-q-rk+
pppnppbp
-+np-+p+
+-+-P-+-
-+-P-Pb+
+-NBBN+-
PPP+-+PP
R-+Q+RK-

A set-up for White which is easy to understand. I have watched relatively weak (170-grade) players carve up 200-strength players in this line.

9... dxe5 10. dxe5 f6 11. exf6 Bxf6 12. h3 Be6 13. Qe2 Bf7 14. Rad1 Qe8 15. f5

r+-+qrk+
pppnpb+p
-+n+-bp+
+-+-+P+-
-+-+-+-+
+-NBBN+P
PPP+Q+P+
+-+R+RK-

The classic break.

15... Kh8 16. fxg6 Bxg6 17. Bxg6 hxg6 18. Nd5 Rc8 19. Bh6 Rf7

-+r+q+-k
pppnpr+-
-+n+-bpB
+-+N+-+-
-+-+-+-+
+-+-+N+P
PPP+Q+P+
+-+R+RK-

Black is busted.

20. Ng5 Bxg5 21. Bxg5 Nb6 22. Nxb6 cxb6 23. Qe6 Rf5 24. Rxf5 gxf5 25. Rd7 Rd8 26. Bxe7 1-0

 

Mednis-Vadasz 1978

Another typical White win in this line

1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Bg4 8. e5 dxe5 9. dxe5 Nh5 10. Be3 f6 11. exf6 Bxf6 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3

r+-q-rk+
ppp-p-+p
-+n+-bp+
+-+-+-+n
-+-+-P-+
+-NBBQ+P
PPP+-+P+
R-+-+RK-

threat f5

13... Bd4 14. Ne2 e5 15. Nxd4 Nxd4

[15... exd4 16. Bd2 Ne5 17. Qxb7 Rb8 18. Qe4 Nxd3 19. Qxd3 Rxb2]

16. Qe4 Nxf4 17. Bc4+

r+-q-rk+
ppp-+-+p
-+-+-+p+
+-+-p-+-
-+BnQn-+
+-+-B-+P
PPP+-+P+
R-+-+RK-

1-0

[17... Nfe6 18. Qxe5]

 


Bareev - Norwood, Marseilles, 1990[B09]

Norwood, in his book Winning with the Modern , offers this game as a reason for Black to avoid the Austrian at all costs.

1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 c5 6. e5

[Book is 6. dxc5 or 6. Bb5+]

6...Ng4

[6... Nfd7! was essential]

7. dxc5 dxc5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Nh6 10. Be3 b6 11. O-O-O+ Bd7 12. g4 Kc8 13. Ng5 f6

Yeuch

14. Rxd7 Kxd7 15. Bb5+ Kc8 16. Ne6 Bf8 17. Nd5 Nf7 18. Ndc7 Nd8 19. Rd1 Nxe6 20. Nxe6 fxe5 21. Rd8+ Kb7 22. Bd3

rn-R-b-r
pk+-p-+p
-p-+N+p+
+-p-p-+-
-+-+-PP+
+-+BB-+P
PPP+-+-+
+-K-+-+-

1-0

Black never got going.

 

B5. Playing f4 vs. Sicilian (a) 1. e4 c5 Grand Prix attack

This is another system where the White side is easy to understand, and where Black has struggled to find a clear equaliser. 2. f4 can lead to the slow Sicilian with g3 and Bg2, but several English players have adopted the more aggressive system with Bc4. We will look at both systems.

A second idea is to play Bb5xNc6 and then play a slow Dutch-style attack with Qe1 and Qh4.

1. e4 c5 2. f4 g6

rnbqkbnr
pp+ppp+p
-+-+-+p+
+-p-+-+-
-+-+PP-+
+-+-+-+-
PPPP-+PP
RNBQKBNR

There are alternatives:

[2... d5 can be met by 3. Nc3 (EG)

rnbqkbnr
pp+-pppp
-+-+-+-+
+-pp+-+-
-+-+PP-+
+-N-+-+-
PPPP-+PP
R-BQKBNR

[The point of 2...d5 is the wicked gambit line 3. exd5 Nf6 4. c4 e6 5. dxe6 Bxe6 devised by Mikhail Tal]

]

[2... e6 3. Nc3 d5

rnbqkbnr
pp+-+ppp
-+-+p+-+
+-pp+-+-
-+-+PP-+
+-N-+-+-
PPPP-+PP
R-BQKBNR

[3... Nc6 4. Nf3 Nge7 5. Bb5 d5 6. Qe2 d4 7. Nd1]

4. Nf3]

3. Nf3 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Bc4

[The other idea in this line is 5. Bb5 to exchange off the Nc6, and then play a standard Dutch-style attack with Qe1 and Qh4 (EG)]

Black can play ....d6 (EG) but more often goes:

5... e6

r+bqk+nr
pp+p+pbp
-+n+p+p+
+-p-+-+-
-+B+PP-+
+-N-+N+-
PPPP-+PP
R-BQK-+R

6. f5

This is the sharpest line, although White does not have to gambit

[e.g. 6. O-O Nge7]

Now the complications that follow...

6... exf5 7. d3 Nge7 8. O-O O-O? (EG)

or

6... gxf5 7. d3

...must be known in a little detail to be played safely. There is also plenty of scope for original analysis - for example, what should happen after

6... d5

The gambit is probably best declined with

6... Nge7 7. fxe6 dxe6

[7... fxe6 may be better

r+bqk+-r
pp+pn-bp
-+n+p+p+
+-p-+-+-
-+B+P+-+
+-N-+N+-
PPPP-+PP
R-BQK-+R

when Black's King is in danger but the central pawn mass is dangerous and may trap the White Q-side pieces]

There are also many lines with f4 in the open Sicilian i.e.. 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 (...) 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 (...) 6. f4.

 

 

Example games B5a

First, a straightforward quick attack down the King's side

|


Hodgson - Ady, Streatham Vs Ymca, London, 1981[B23]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Bc4 e6 6. f5 exf5 7. d3 Nge7 8. O-O O-O?

r+bq-rk+
pp+pnpbp
-+n+-+p+
+-p-+p+-
-+B+P+-+
+-NP+N+-
PPP+-+PP
R-BQ+RK-

This natural-looking move is probably a decisive mistake. Black has no effective counter to White's simple mating attack.

9. Qe1 Nd4 10. Qh4 Nxf3+ 11. Rxf3 fxe4 12. Rh3 h6 13. Bg5 Re8 14. Rf1 d5 15. Nxd5 hxg5 16. Nf6+ Black resigns

[16. Nf6+ Kf8

[or 16... Bxf6 17. Qh7+ Kf8 18. Qxf7#]

17. Nh7+ Kg8 18. Bxf7+ Kh8 19. Nxg5+ Bh6 20. Qxh6#]

1-0

 

Next, a slower attack with the Bb5 idea


Hebden - Large, British Ch'p, 1982[B21]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Bb5 Bg7 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. d3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. O-O b6

r+bq-rk+
p-+-ppbp
-pp+-np+
+-p-+-+-
-+-+PP-+
+-NP+N+-
PPP+-+PP
R-BQ+RK-

White has an obvious plan. And the player with a plan will always beat the player without one.

9. Qe1 Ne8 10. Qh4 Nd6 11. f5 gxf5 12. e5 Ne8 13. Bh6 f6 14. Kh1 Bxh6 15. Qxh6 Ng7 16. Rae1 Be6 17. Ne2 c4 18. Nf4 cxd3 19. cxd3 Bxa2

r+-q-rk+
p-+-p-np
-pp+-p-Q
+-+-Pp+-
-+-+-N-+
+-+P+N+-
bP-+-+PP
+-+-RR+K

Black might as well snatch a pawn, he has achieved nothing to counter White's simple attack.

20. e6 Qc8 21. Re3 Nxe6 22. Nxe6 Bxe6 23. Rxe6 Rf7

[23... Qxe6 24. Ng5 Qf7 25. Nxf7 Rxf7]

24. Rfe1 1-0

 

And what if Black throws a spanner in the works with 2...d5?


Plaskett - Howell, British Ch'p, 1983[B21]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 e6 5. Nf3 Be7 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. Qe2 Nc6 8. c3 O-O 9. O-O b6 10. d3 Bb7 11. Ng3 Bd6 12. Bd2 Qc7 13. Ng5

r+-+-rk+
pbq-+ppp
-pnbpn-+
+-p-+-N-
-+B+-P-+
+-PP+-N-
PP-BQ+PP
R-+-+RK-

Black's pieces are nicely placed but going nowhere. White, as usual, knows where he is going!

13... Ne7 14. N5e4

forcing an exchange he had earlier avoided

14... Nxe4 15. dxe4 Ng6 16. Nh5 Kh8 17. Rae1 Rad8 18. Bc1 Rd7 19. e5 Be7 20. f5 exf5 21. Rxf5 Bd5 22. Bxd5 Rxd5 23. Qg4 Qd7 24. Ref1 Kg8

-+-+-rk+
p-+qbppp
-p-+-+n+
+-prPR+N
-+-+-+Q+
+-P-+-+-
PP-+-+PP
+-B-+RK-

25. Nxg7 Kxg7 26. Qh5 Kg8 27. Bh6 Qe6 28. Bxf8 Nxf8 29. c4

[29. Rxf7 Rxe5]

29... Rd4 30. Rxf7 Qg6 31. Qf3 Ne6 32. Rxe7 Rf4 33. Rxe6 1-0

 

Ekebjaerg,Ove - Danner,Georg, cr Nielsen-mem, 1987

[B23/07]

1. Nc3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bc4 e6 6. f5 Ne7 7. O-O O-O

rnbq-rk+
pp+-npbp
-+-pp+p+
+-p-+P+-
-+B+P+-+
+-N-+N+-
PPPP-+PP
R-BQ+RK-

A typical sort of position in this line, although an odd move order (no ...Nc6)

8. fxe6 fxe6 9. Ng5 d5 10. Rxf8+ Qxf8 11. exd5 b5 12. Bxb5 exd5 13. Qf3 Qxf3 14. Nxf3

rnb+-+k+
p-+-n-bp
-+-+-+p+
+Bpp+-+-
-+-+-+-+
+-N-+N+-
PPPP-+PP
R-B-+-K-

White is simply a pawn up and needs only consolidate to win the ending.

14... Ba6 15. Ba4 Bb7 16. d3 Nbc6 17. Bg5 h6 18. Bxe7 Nxe7 19. Re1 Nf5 20. Bd7 Nd4 21. Be6+ Nxe6 22. Rxe6

White has given up both bishops, which would make me anxious, but he seems to know what he is doing.

22... g5 23. Na4 Rc8 24. Ne5 Rc7 25. Re8+ Kh7 26. Nc3 a6 27. Nd1 d4 28. b3 h5 29. Nb2 g4 30. Nbc4 Kh6 31. Nd6 Bd5 32. Nec4 Kg6 33. Nb6 Bf7

-+-+R+-+
+-r-+bb-
pN-N-+k+
+-p-+-+p
-+-p-+p+
+P+P+-+-
P+P+-+PP
+-+-+-K-

34. Nxf7 1-0

Without the light-squared bishop Black is in trouble, but it might have been worth struggling on over the board (this was postal).

 


Hodgson - Nunn, Aaronson Open, 1978[B23]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Bc4 d6

r+bqk+nr
pp+-ppbp
-+np-+p+
+-p-+-+-
-+B+PP-+
+-N-+N+-
PPPP-+PP
R-BQK-+R

[5... e6 and now 6. f5, 6.e5, 6.O-O, 6. d3, and 6.a3 have been tried. Since Grandmaster Nunn lost this dashing game to the young Hodgson, hardly anyone has tried this line!]

6. O-O Nf6 7. d3 O-O 8. f5 gxf5 9. Qe1 fxe4 10. dxe4 Bg4 11. Qh4 Bxf3

[11... Bh5 idea ...Bg6]

12. Rxf3 Ne5 13. Rh3 Ng6

[13... Nxc4 14. Nd5 Re8 15. Nxf6+

[15. Bh6 Bxh6 16. Qxh6 Ne5 17. Rf1]

15... exf6 16. Qxh7+ Kf8 17. Rg3 Bh8]

14. Qg3 Qd7 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5 e6 17. Bb3 d5 18. Qf3 c4 19. Ba4 Qxa4 20. Qh5 Rfd8 21. Qxh7+ Kf8 22. Bh6 Bxh6 23. Rxh6 Rd7

[23... c3 =+ Nunn]

24. Rf1 Ke8 25. Qg8+ Nf8 26. Rxe6+ Kd8 27. Qxf8+ Kc7 28. Qc5+ Kd8 29. Rh6 1-0

 

 

B5. Playing f4 vs. Sicilian (b)Traditional Closed Sicilian

This line has been adopted by three World champions at one time or another: the young Karpov, the mature Spassky, and by Smyslov throughout his chess career. And as we shall see, Kasparov knows about the line.

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. f4

r+bqk+nr
pp+-ppbp
-+np-+p+
+-p-+-+-
-+-+PP-+
+-NP+-P-
PPP+-+BP
R-BQK-NR

[6. Be3 e5 7. Qd2 is another popular line; Black gets into trouble after 6...e6 7. Qd2 Nge7?! 8. Bh6 e.g. 8...O-O? 9. h4! or 8...Bxh6 9. Qxh6 Nd4 10. O-O-O]

6... e6 7. Nf3 Nge7 8. O-O O-O 9. Be3 Nd4

is the main line, although Spassky has tried 9. Bd2. After 6...e5 Spassky has experimented with more active 7. Nh3 Nge7 8. O-O Nd4 9. f5!?

Theory is not so critical in the Closed Sicilian because of the non-forcing nature of the line.

 

 

Example games B5b

Spassky - Geller, Candidates, 1968

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. d3 Bg7 6. f4 Nf6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. O-O Rb8 9. h3 b5 10. a3 a5 11. Be3 b4 12. axb4 axb4 13. Ne2 Bb7 14. b3

-r-q-rk+
+b+-ppbp
-+np-np+
+-p-+-+-
-p-+PP-+
+P+PBNPP
-+P+N+B+
R-+Q+RK-

Another defensive move! Is White just going to stand and get punched apart?

14... Ra8 15. Rc1 Ra2 16. g4

-+-q-rk+
+b+-ppbp
-+np-np+
+-p-+-+-
-p-+PPP+
+P+PBN+P

r+P+N+B+
+-RQ+RK-

At last an attacking gesture

16... Qa8 17. Qe1 Qa6 18. Qf2 Na7 19. f5

-+-+-rk+
nb+-ppbp
q+-p-np+
+-p-+P+-
-p-+P+P+
+P+PBN+P

r+P+NQB+
+-R-+RK-

The characteristic break

19... Nb5 20. fxg6

Opening the f-file (so what? see move 23!)

20... hxg6

[20... fxg6 21. Nf4 Bc8 22. Ng5 Nc7]

21. Ng5 Na3 22. Qh4 Rc8

-+r+-+k+
+b+-ppb-
q+-p-np+
+-p-+-N-
-p-+P+PQ
nP+PB-+P

r+P+N+B+
+-R-+RK-

the Q-side is about to give, but...

23. Rxf6 exf6 24. Qh7+ Kf8 25. Nxf7 Rxc2

[25... Kxf7 26. Bh6 Rg8 27. Nf4 Rxc2 28. Rf1 Kf8 29. Nxg6+ Kf7 30. Nf4

or Nh8+

30... Kf8 31. Nh5 Bxh6 32. Qxh6+ Ke7 33. Qh7+ Kd8 34. Nxf6

-+-k-+r+
+b+-+-+Q
q+-p-N-+
+-p-+-+-
-p-+P+P+
nP+P+-+P
-+r+-+B+
+-+-+RK-

is just terrible]

26. Bh6 Rxc1+ 27. Nxc1 Kxf7 28. Qxg7+ Ke8 29. g5

[29. e5 Bxg2 30. e6]

29... f5 30. Qxg6+ Kd7 31. Qf7+ Kc6 32. exf5+

-+r+-+-+
+b+-+Q+-
q+kp-+-B
+-p-+PP-
-p-+-+-+
nP+P+-+P
-+-+-+B+
+-N-+-K-

1-0

32... Kb6 33. Qxb7+ Qxb7 34. Bxb7 Kxb7 35. f6 1-0

 

Psakhis - Kasparov, La Manga, 1990 [compare B23]

Oddly, one of the best example games I have on file for the Closed Sicilian is this one, from quite a different opening

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 d6 5. Nf3 e5 6. d3 f5 7. O-O Nf6

r+bqk+-r
ppp-+-bp
-+np-np+
+-+-pp+-
-+P+-+-+
+-NP+NP-
PP-+PPBP
R-BQ+RK-

8. Rb1 h6 9. b4 O-O 10. b5 Ne7 11. a4 Be6 12. Ba3 Rc8

-+rq-rk+
ppp-n-b-
-+-pbnpp
+P+-pp+-
P+P+-+-+
B-NP+NP-
-+-+PPBP
+R+Q+RK-

Black does not rush but secures the Q-side.

13. Nd2 b6 14. e3 g5 15. d4 exd4 16. exd4 f4

-+rq-rk+
p-p-n-b-
-p-pbn-p
+P+-+-p-
P+PP-p-+
B-N-+-P-
-+-N-PBP
+R+Q+RK-

17. Re1 Bg4 18. Nf3 Qd7 19. c5 Rce8 20. Rc1 Nf5 21. Qd3 Kh8 22. cxd6 cxd6 23. Rxe8 Qxe8 24. Rf1 Qh5

-+-+-r-k
p-+-+-b-
-p-p-n-p
+P+-+npq
P+-P-pb+
B-NQ+NP-
-+-+-PBP
+-+-+RK-

The Black pieces hover like vultures

25. Ne4 Nxe4 26. Qxe4 Bh3 27. Ne5 Bxg2 28. Kxg2 g4 29. Bxd6 Rf6 30. Bb8 Qh3+

-B-+-+-k
p-+-+-b-
-p-+-r-p
+P+-Nn+-
P+-PQpp+
+-+-+-Pq
-+-+-PKP
+-+-+R+-

0-1

 


Smyslov - Romanishin, Moscow, 1976 [B23]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Nh3 h5

r+bqk+nr
pp+-ppb-
-+np-+p+
+-p-+-+p
-+-+P+-+
+-NP+-PN
PPP+-PBP
R-BQK-+R

The sixth moves on each side are unusual.

7. f4 Bg4 8. Qd2 Nd4 9. Ng1 Qd7 10. h3 Be6 11. Nce2 h4 12. g4 f5 13. exf5 gxf5 14. g5

r+-+k+nr
pp+qp-b-
-+-pb+-+
+-p-+pP-
-+-n-P-p
+-+P+-+P
PPPQN+B+
R-B-K-NR

Black can find no refuge on the King's-side, it is clear.

14... O-O-O 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. Ne2 Bf7 17. c3 dxc3 18. bxc3 Kb8 19. Rb1 d5 20. O-O e5 21. fxe5 Bxe5 22. d4 Bc7 23. c4 Ne7 24. c5 Rdg8 25. Qb4 Bd8 26. Rf3 Nc6 27. Qb5 Bh5 28. Rfb3

-k-b-+rr
pp+q+-+-
-+n+-+-+
+QPp+pPb
-+-P-+-p
+R+-+-+P
P+-+N+B+
+RB-+-K-

White's tripling is very threatening.

28... Rg7 29. Nf4 Bxg5 30. Nxh5 Rxh5 31. Qe2 Bxc1

-k-+-+-+
pp+q+-r-
-+n+-+-+
+-Pp+p+r
-+-P-+-p
+R+-+-+P
P+-+Q+B+
+Rb-+-K-

And the coup de grace:

32. Rxb7+ Qxb7 33. Qe8+ Kc7 34. Rxb7+ Kxb7 35. Qxh5 Nxd4 36. Kf1 Be3 37. Qh8 Rd7 38. Qe8 1-0

 

Chess Quotes

"The loser is always at fault."
— -- PANOV