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1. Ni Hua — T. Igonin 2016

2. A. Shimanov — J. J. Cox 2016

3. N. Sedlak — A. Shimanov 2017

4. N. Pert — L. D’Costa 2016

5. N. Sedlak — D. Blagojevic 2016


6. L. Ortega — I. Farago 2000

7. D. Kosic — S. Sanchez Felipe 2014

8. M. Carlsen — E. Tomashevsky 2016

9. G. Kamsky — S.G. de Angelis del Rio 2016

10. G. Kamsky — S. Tiviakov 2007

11. G. Kamsky — A. Bokros 2016

12. D. Bronstein — A. Sokolov 1982


13. V. Smyslov — T. Ernst 1988

14. R. P. Cifuentes — G. Milos 1996

15. N. Konovalov — P. Dvalishvili 2017

16. I. Ibragimov — V. Isupov 1997

17. G. Kasparov — S. Martinovic 1980

18. V. Smyslov — J. Nunn 1982

19. P. Harikrishna — A. Shomoev 2008

20. A. Miles J — S. Sale 1994

Torre with 6...h6 included

21. L. B. Batista — S. Atabayev 2016

22. E. Gausel — J. Aagaard 1998

23. K. Sasikiran — L.J. McShane 2004

24. M. Adams — G. Jones 2016

25. P. Eljanov — I. S. Lopez 2014

26. A. Miles J — J. Nunn 1993

27. V. Kramnik — T. Radjabov 2017


28. K. Landa — P. Simacek 2013

29. F. Berkes — R. Wojtaszek 2002

30. G. Kasparov — A. Graf 1996

31. G. Kasparov — A. Miles 1986

32. G. Sargissian — J. Bartholomew 2012

33. R. Markus — D. Milanovic 2017

34. A. Riazantsev — A. Vaisser 2011

35. I. Ivanisevic — B. Szuk 2008

36. K. Georgiev — J. Ostos 2012

37. B. Abramovic — L. Popov 2007

38. B. Damljanovic — M. Zlatic 2009


Winning with the Modern London System


Cover designer

Piotr Pielach

Cover photo

Ingram Image


Piotr Pielach ‹www.i-press.pl›

First edition 2016 by Chess Evolution

Winning with the Modern London System. Part 2

Copyright © 2017 Chess Evolution

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior
permission of the publisher.

ISBN 978-615-80713-3-8

All sales or enquiries should be directed to Chess Evolution

2040 Budaors, Nyar utca 16, Magyarorszag

e-mail: info@chess-evolution.com

website: www.chess-evolution.com

= Equality or equal chances

² White has a slight advantage

³ Black has a slight advantage

± White is better

µ Black is better

+- White has a decisive advantage

-+ Black has a decisive advantage

÷ unclear

© with compensation

„ with counterplay

ƒ with initiative

→ with an attack

♣ with the idea

☻ only move

N novelty

! a good move

!! an excellent move

? a weak move

?? a blunder

!? an interesing move

?! a dubious move

+ check

# mate


One year after my first book Winning with the Modern London System was published, I decided to round out our white
repertoire to include Black’s response 1...Nf6. I have tried my best to write this book in the same spirit as my first one,
meaning that openings are explained through analysing complete games, putting the accent on typical plans and pawns
structures arising in these kinds of positions. Only a small part of the book contains some forcing positions that need
more in the way of ‘memorising’. This repertoire which I am recommending is a good weapon against very sharp and
well-prepared opponents.

Nikola Sedlak


The book in front of you is organised into four main chapters. The first chapter deals with positions after 1.d4 Nf6
2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4 which I refer to later in this book as the “Updated London System”.

The main subject of this chapter are new positions which have become popular in the last year. The leaders of the black
pieces came up with new, computer-assisted ideas and a big theoretical battle is still in progress.

In the second chapter we will see positions starting with 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 which is also a branch of the London
Most of the games that I analyse here are without Black’s response ...d7-d5, a move which I already covered in my first
book. Most often plans chosen by Black in this line are connected with ...c7-c5 and ...b7-b6, aiming for “hedgehog”
setups. The most prominent exponent in these positions for the white side is the American grandmaster Gata Kamsky
and this chapter features several beautiful victories by him.

Next we turn to the Torre Attack, which starts after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5.

The Torre Attack has become very popular at the top level and constitutes an unpleasant weapon against King’s Indian
and Grünfeld players, because the arising positions are not so forced and sharp. It was often employed by great English
grandmasters, such as Adams and Miles. It is also popular among Indian grandmasters, notably Harikrishna and
Last but not least is the chapter with 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 covering Anti-Benoni positions. The main difference to
normal Benoni/ Benko structures is that White does not play c2-c4, but rather Nc3 immediately - leaving the c4-square
available for the knight. This setup is considered to be unpleasant for Black, because it throws them off their familiar
ground. This repertoire that I suggest to you is simple to grasp, yet the positions are not without venom. The best proof
for this is that these positions were (and still are) in the repertoires of World Champions such as Kasparov, Carlsen,
Smyslov and Kramnik. The positions covered in this book are often interesting and original and I hope that it will help
you to achieve good results in your own games!

Nikola Sedlak



1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4

My suggestion here is to go for a ‘London System’. Compared with my 1st book, here we encounter a difference
because in this position we have inserted the moves Nf3 and ♣Nf6. It doesn’t change so much, only in one position, so
in this chapter we will see only that critical position — and some new plans for Black played in the last year. If you
need more you can find it in ‘Winning with the Modern London System’, Chess Evolution 2016.

3...c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nbd2!?

Only this move-order promises a fight for the initiative. In the past year this position has become very popular, even at
the top level of chess.

Other possibilities, such as 5.c3?! give Black a comfortable position after 5...Qb6 6.Qb3 c4 7.Qc2 Bf5! and Black is


The most critical move, after which the position is going to be very sharp. Black also has other options;

5...cxd4 Here we have a transposition to the famous ‘Carlsbad structure’. 6.exd4 Qb6 Only this move is interesting for
us here. The bad side of this move is that it renders difficult the implementation of a minority attack. Other
continuations you can again find in my first book ‘Winning with the Modern London System’, Chess Evolution 2016 in
CHAPTER 1. (6...Bg4; 6...g6; 6...Bf5) 7.Nb3 Bg4 8.h3 — see Ni Hua–Igonin Temur, Asia Continental Open 2016;

5...Bf5?! at this moment doesn’t work well because White has 6.dxc5! e6 7.Nd4 Bxc5 8.Nxf5 exf5 9.c3² with a long-
term and stable advantage thanks to his better pawn structure;

5...Bg4 is one of the reasonable options: 6.c3 e6 7.Qa4!?

See Shimanov A-Cox J, US Masters Open 2016;

5...e6 is again displayed in ‘Winning with the Modern London System’, Chess Evolution 2016 in CHAPTER 4, but in
this book I will explain a new Black concept, one which started to become very popular at the end of 2016. 6.c3 cxd4!?
7.exd4 Nh5
See Sedlak N-Shimanov A, Minsk 2017.


What else? Otherwise White loses a pawn.


The most principled reaction.

7.Rb1 Qc3☻
The safest place for the queen and preventing c4!

7...Qa3?! — this move is senseless because it allows a quick c4 compared with 7...Qc3;

7...Qxa2? 8.Bb5 Qa5 9.c4 e6 10.0-0ƒ


White has a lead in development and the main debate revolves around White’s ability to use it and gain something more
than compensation for the b-pawn. Tournament praxis shows at the moment that this position is very dangerous for
Black. See the games: Sedlak N –Blagojevic D, Cetinje Open 2016 and Pert N-D Costa L, BCF 2016.

Game 1
Ni Hua — T. Igonin [D02]

Asian Continental op 15th Tashkent (4), 2016

This game is very instructive, mainly because of the famous Carlsbad structure where Black went wrong with the
dubious plan of 6...Qb6. With that move, Black was unable to implement the minority attack, which is the main idea in
similar positions. It gave White time to organize a typical kingside attack undisturbed.

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Nbd2 cxd4 6.exd4

The Carlsbad structure occurs frequently in the ‘London System’, and that’s why it is important to know the chess


This move reduces Black’s opportunities on the queenside, because the minority attack — as mentioned, one of the
main ideas for Black in this structure — is far off.

Much better options for Black are 6...Bf5, 6...Bg4, 6...g6 and all of them are explained in my earlier book ‘Winning with
the Modern London System’.


White is forced to put his knight in a ‘strange’ place in order not to lose a pawn, but in general the knight’s position is
not bad and can often be very useful, especially after pushing a4-a5.


Black can also play the natural 7...Bf5 8.c3 e6 (Preserving the light-squared bishop would be a big waste of time.
8...h6?! 9.a4! a6 10.a5 Qd8 11.Nc5²) 9.Nh4! Be4 10.f3 Bg6 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.g4 Be7 13.Qc2²

8.h3 Bxf3?!
But giving up the bishop pair in this way is not a great idea because it facilitates White’s play on the kingside.

A better option was 8...Bh5

but it’s not without risk. Now White has two ways to continue; very aggressively or more positionally. Let’s see both:
The more positional option is 9.c3 which I suggest because it’s more in the spirit of these structures.

(Very sharp and complex positions arise after 9.a4!? a6. It seems as though Black needs to stop the a-pawn.

(9...e6 10.a5 Qd8 11.a6± and now Black feels the absence of his light-squared bishop from the queenside after the
following Bb5.)

10.a5 Qd8 11.g4!? This is not necessary, but it’s an interesting try.

(It is always possible to play 11.c3 with standard plans.)

11...Bg6 12.Ne5 and now Black needs to play very accurately in view of his shaky bishop on g6. 12...e6 13.h4 Nxe5

(14.Bxe5 Rc8 15.c3 h5„)

14...Qc7! The only way to avoid material losses. 15.Qd4

(15.c3 h5! 16.g5 Nd7³)

15...Nxg4 16.f3 Nh6 17.h5 Bf5

(17...Bxc2? 18.Rc1 Nf5 19.Qd2 Rc8 20.Na1!+-)

18.Qa4+ Qd7 19.Nd4 Bc5 20.Bxh6 Bxd4

(20...Qxa4 21.Rxa4 gxh6 22.Nxf5 exf5=)

21.Bxg7 Rg8 22.Qxd4 Rxg7= and after this all-out melee, the position is approximately equal.)
9...e6 10.Bd3 Qd8! If you are improving your pieces, it can’t be a waste of time.

(At grandmaster level, in one game, Black chose a dubious plan with 10...Be7 11.Qe2 a5 12.Rb1 0-0 13.Nbd2 a4 14.0-0
Rfc8 15.Rfe1 Qd8 16.a3 Bg6 17.Bxg6 hxg6 18.h4² and White had a free hand to build a typical attack with Kg2-Rh1–
h5 Berkes F –Mihok O, Zalakaros 2016)

11.0-0 Bd6 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.Re1 0-0 14.Nbd2 Rab8 15.a4 a6 16.Qb1! Removing himself from the pin with the idea of
Ne5. 16...Bg6 17.Bxg6 hxg6 18.Ne5 Qc7 19.Nd3² It’s easier to play with White. The typical plan with g3-h4-Kg2-Rh1
also works here, and Black’s minority attack with ♣b5 is not dangerous. For example: 19...b5 20.axb5 axb5 21.b4 and
White gains a pleasant position for his knight on c5.

9.Qxf3 e6

Too risky would be 9...Nxd4? 10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.Bb5++- with a decisive initiative for White!

10.c3 a5?!

This move doesn’t really have a deep idea behind it. It looks like a try to justify 6...Qb6 and nothing more.

It is easy to say this in hindsight, but the best plan was to admit the mistake and continue with 10...Qd8 11.Bd3 Bd6²
with an acceptable position.

In a relatively fresh game there was played 10...Be7 11.Bd3 0-0 12.0-0 Qd8 13.Rfe1 Bd6 14.Bg5² with a slight and
stable advantage for White: Nisipeanu,L -Khismatullin,D Gjakova 2016.

11.Rb1 Be7

Forcing events is not going to be in Black’s favour after 11...a4 12.Nd2 a3 13.bxa3! Qa7 14.a4 Be7 15.Bb5 0-0 16.0-0²

12.Bd3 0-0 13.0-0 a4 14.Nd2 Rad8?!

After this move, Black’s queen will remain far from the action.
It was still not too late for 14...Qd8 with the idea of ♣Bd6.

15.Rfe1 Ne8

With a lack of active play, these kinds of moves become a reality.


By pushing the h-pawn, White is going to provoke weaknesses.


Immediately losing is 16...Bxh4 after 17.Qh5+-


White avoids a trade which would make Black’s position easier.

17...Be7 18.Bc2 Qa5

Now White would be happy with swaps after 18...Bxg5 19.hxg5 because White will use his open h-file for the attack by
bringing his rook to h1 after g3-Kg2-Rh1


A somewhat unexpected move.

More natural was 19.Qd3 g6 20.Bh6 Ng7 21.Nf3→ and the attack plays itself.


Black misses his chance.

After 19...a3 20.b4 Qc7² Black could gain decent play (against the pawn on c3).
20.Nf3 Bxg5

Black finally cracks under the pressure.

21.hxg5 g6

Sooner or later, this weakening of the dark squares around the black king was inevitable! White’s threat was Qd3.


Of course, White is going to use these weakened squares.

22...Qc7 23.Qe2 Rb8 24.g3

This is a typical method of using the open h-file with the idea of Kg2-Rh1.


Black defends the e6-point, planning to defend with ♣f6 if necessary.


Probably in time trouble, White allows some counterplay.

After 25.a3± all Black’s dreams on the queenside would disappear.


Spoiling White’s structure doesn’t bring Black a satisfactory result, because all complications lead quickly to Black’s
demise. For example: 25...a3 26.bxa3 Qxc3 27.Ng4! Qxd4 28.Bxb5 Nd6 29.Rb4! Qg7 30.Nf6+ Kh8 31.Rh4+-

This is a typical reaction against the minority attack, but here — concretely — it was not the best idea. Black develops
serious counterplay against the d4-pawn and things are no longer going to be so clear.

Less weakening was 26.Rbc1 bxc3 27.bxc3 with a continuing attack on the kingside.

26...Nc6 27.cxd5 exd5?

Black again misses his chance!

27...Nxd4! would have brought him close to equality: 28.Qe3 Nf5 29.Bxf5 exf5„


The g4-square looks more natural for the knight, but in a big fight, imprecisions are a natural occurrence!

The best move was 28.Rbc1! and after 28...Nxd4 29.Qe3 Qb6 30.Ng4± Black remains with bad piece coordination.

The queen heads far from her weak king.

Black could solve his problems with the active move 28...f5! 29.gxf6 Qf7 30.Nf3 Nxf6 31.Qe6 Qxe6 32.Rxe6 Ne4!„
and a draw is not far off.

29.Nf3 Ng7 30.Rbc1 Rbd8 31.Kg2 f5

Black must somehow oppose the Rh1–Qh4 plan.

32.Qh4 Rde8 33.Rxe8 Nxe8

The only move!

33...Rxe8 34.Rh1 Nh5 35.Bxf5+-


White is not interested in the h-file anymore and instead starts to play against the bad knight on e8.
34...Qb7 35.Rc5 Ne7 36.Qe5

White’s pieces are slowly entering into Black’s camp.

36...Rf7 37.Bb5

The positional advantage is now transformed to a material one as the bishop comes to the ideal b3-square.

37...Ng7 38.Bxa4 Qa6 39.Bb3 Ne6 40.Rxd5!

White finds the fastest and most effective way to finish the game.
40...Nxd5 41.Qxd5 Kf8

Black is forced to give up more material.

41...Re7 doesn’t help because White can utilise the pin with 42.Qd8+ Kf7 43.Ne5++-

42.Qxe6 Qxe6 43.Bxe6 Rc7 44.Bb3 Rc1 45.Ne5 1–0

Game 2
A. Shimanov — J. J. Cox [D02]

US Masters Open Greensboro (1.1), 25.08.2016

In this game Black used one of the most solid continuations with 6...Bg4. The game is very instructive, mainly because
of the many original decisions made by Shimanov, where he often changed the structure in this game with the idea of
avoiding boring positions. This game also shows that the London is not just a static and schematic opening, but offers a
player the chance to show his creativity.

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.Nd2 Nc6 5.c3 Bg4 6.Ngf3 e6

Black chooses a very natural method of development. If White want to fight for the advantage he must do something


A typical reply! White moves from the pin with tempo.

Also making sense was 7.Qa4, in the spirit of the Cambridge Springs variation with reverse colours. The threat is
unpleasant — Ne5 — but Black has a pretty and simple solution 7...Bxf3 8.Nxf3 a6! A key move! Black prevents Bb5
and avoids the trap.

(The famous trap in the London System appears after 8...Bd6? 9.Ba6!±
Skoberne J-Sebenik M, Vidmar Memorial, 2016.)

9.Ne5 Rc8 10.Nxc6 Qd7! 11.Be2 Qxc6 12.Qxc6+ Rxc6 and the endgame is very close to equal. Black’s idea is just to
exchange dark-squared bishops and ‘not play for a win’ anymore.

7...Qc8 8.Nh4!

Only with this move-order can White take the bishop pair avoiding simplifications.

Imprecise is 8.h3 Bh5 9.g4 Bg6 10.Nh4

because Black has the relieving move 10...Ne4! 11.Nxg6 (11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.f3 Be7! 13.g5 c4 14.Qd1 Bg6 15.Nxg6
hxg6 16.h4 Bd8! with ♣Bc7 next and Black is fine!) 11...Nxd2 12.Qd1 hxg6 13.Qxd2 Qd7 14.Bg2 cxd4 15.exd4 Bd6=
1/2 –1/2 Prohaszka P –Horvath J, Hungary 2016.


This is a critical moment and Black plays one of many logical moves in this position! He is improving his queen in
order to play ♣0-0-0 or ♣Bd6 at an opportune moment.

Very logical is 8...h6!? threatening a fork with ♣g5, which leads to very non-standard positions after 9.h3 g5

(9...Bh5 10.Bh2!
10...g5 What else against g4? 11.Nhf3 — and it transposes to 9...g5)

10.Bh2 Bh5 (10...Bxh3 11.gxh3 gxh4 12.dxc5 Bxc5 13.0-0-0 Qd7 14.Qa4²)

11.Nhf3 and White has easier play as his pawn structure is healthier. For example: 11...c4 12.Qd1 Be7 13.Be2² with the
idea to trade bishops after Ne5 and then e4 comes.

Lukewarm moves like 8...Be7 play into White’s hands after 9.h3 Bh5 10.g4 Bg6 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bg2² and White has
achieved what he set out to do; to gain the advantage of the bishop pair.

9.h3 Bh5 10.g4 Bg6 11.dxc5!

A very nice decision, one which is not so typical for the ‘London’: White opens the centre with the idea of long castling.

Total equality results after 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Be2 cxd4 13.exd4 (13.cxd4 Bb4 14.f3 Bd6 15.Bxd6 Qxd6=) 13...Bd6
14.Be3 Qc7 15.0-0-0 0-0-0 16.Kb1 Bf4=;

It was not a good idea to hurry with 11.0-0-0? because Black has 11...c4! and White is under attack.

11...Bxc5 12.0-0-0 0-0-0

Black decides to play ‘safe’.

Very risky would be 12...0-0 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.Be2 and White’s attack is the more real on the kingside after h4-h5.


White continues with very direct play which was probably not necessary.

A more solid option was 13.Nxg6! hxg6 14.g5 Ne8

(14...Nh5 15.Bh2 Bd6 16.Bxd6 Qxd6 17.h4² and Black’s knight is out of play.)

15.c4 Bd6
(15...d4 16.Ne4 Bb6 17.Bg3²)

16.Bxd6 Qxd6 17.Bg2 Nc7 18.Kb1² and White’s bishop is great on g2.

13...Bd6 14.Qa4

Adding more pressure to c6 and threatening Nc4.


Forcing an endgame with 14...a6 reveals small, hidden tactical possibilities for White after 15.Bxc6 Qxc6 16.Qxc6+
bxc6 17.Nxg6 fxg6 (17...hxg6 18.Bxd6 Rxd6 19.Nc4! Rdd8 20.Ne5±) 18.Bxd6 Rxd6 19.g5 Ne8 20.f4² and his better
structure guarantees a long-term advantage.


Again White plays the most unpleasant move, changing the structure and putting new challenges to Black. The biggest
problem for Black is his bishop on g6 which never feels safe.

Black would have a comfortable position after the alternative 15.Qxf4 Qc7=


Black removes himself from the pin and takes aim at the pawn on f4.

Also logical was 15...a6 but after 16.Bxc6 Qxc6 17.Qd4² White has easy play on the dark squares.


With this prophylactic move White loses his advantage. The idea was to restrict a knight from f6 taking the e4-square
under control.

Very logical was 16.Bxc6! and Black is forced into 16...bxc6

(Probably White didn’t evaluate how good the position which arises after 16...Qxc6? was: 17.Qxa7 d4 but after 18.c4
Black doesn’t have real compensation for a pawn. On first sight the d4-pawn looks dangerous but it’s just apparently,
not in reality. For example: 18...Ne4 doesn’t work well: 19.Nxg6 hxg6 20.Nxe4 Qxe4 21.Qc5+ Qc6

(21...Kb8 22.Qe5+ Qxe5 23.fxe5±)

22.Qxc6+ bxc6 23.Kc2±)

17.Rhe1² and White’s king is safer.


A logical move but not the best!

According to my computer the best move was 16...Na5! moving the knight from the strike, after which the bishop on b5
is totally useless and will be attacked with tempo.


(17.Qd4 a6 18.Nxg6 hxg6 19.Ba4 b5 20.Bc2 Nc6 21.Qc5 Kb7³)

17...exf5 18.gxf5 Bh5 19.Qd4 a6 20.Ba4 b5 21.Bc2 Nc6 22.Qc5 d4³


White continues making a mess but this time to his own detriment.

The only good and safe move was 17.c4÷ to keep the c-file closed.


With this intermediate move Black uses his chance to open the position in the centre and in particular against White’s

Again too optimistic!

Best was to search for chances in the slightly worse endgame which arises after 18.Bxb7+ Kxb7 19.Qb3+ Ka8 20.Qxc3
Qxc3+ 21.bxc3 Nd5 22.Nxg6 hxg6 23.Ne4³


Black probably made this mistake out of respect for his much higher-rated opponent. With this swapping of queens,
Black’s advantage disappears.

There was no reason to fear 18...cxb2+ 19.Kxb2 Rxd1 20.Rxd1 bxc6, and Black’s king visually looks weak, but White
gains nothing from 21.Nd6+ Kb8 with ♣Ka8, ♣Rb8 next.

19.Qxc6+ bxc6 20.Nxc3

This unusual endgame is now approximately equal, but the better player should feel more comfortable. Both sides have
weaknesses and skill is needed to play such positions.

20...Bd3 21.Rhe1 Ba6 22.Rxd8+ Kxd8?!

A very strange decision! The only justification is the desire to play ♣h5 with the idea of using a rook on h8.

More natural was 22...Rxd8 23.f5 g5! 24.fxg6 hxg6=

23.Na4 Bc4 24.b3 Bd5 25.Kd2 Kc7 26.Ke2

Slowly, White improves his pieces and defends his weaknesses on the kingside.

26...Kd6 27.Rd1 Nd7?!

Black just stays put, playing without a concrete plan.

Active and good was 27...h5! 28.g5 Ng8 looking for some stronghold for his knight. 29.f5 Ne7 30.fxe6 fxe6=

28.Nc3 a5 29.f5

Ridding himself of doubled-pawns is an understandable decision but in this case it loses time.

Better was to improve the knight’s placement with 29.Ng2 and to eventually cut-out Black counterplay on the queenside
after 29...Nb6 30.Ne3² and now 30...a4? doesn’t work because of 31.Nc4+! Kc7 32.Nxb6 Kxb6 33.Nxa4+±

29...Nb6 30.fxe6 fxe6 31.f4 Kc5?!

An unnecessary excursion with the king!

After 31...a4= the draw would be very close.

32.Nf3 Rf8?

Again imprecision. Black is playing on geometry.

It was still not too late for 32...a4 but Black must find difficult moves after 33.Ne5 axb3 34.axb3 Kb4 35.Kd2 Bxb3
36.Nd3+ Kc4 37.Rc1 Rd8 38.Na4+ Kb5 39.Nxb6 c5! The only move. 40.Ke3 Kxb6 41.Nxc5 Bd5 42.h4² and although
the position has simplified, Black’s king is far from events.

33.Ne5! Kb4?

This is a suicidal move and the final mistake in this game.

The only move was 33...Kd6 and reconcile the hard fight with a draw.

34.Rc1 Ka3?

The king continues his trip into the danger zone.

Actually, now the only way to avoid mating threats was to give up a pawn with 34...a4 35.Nxd5+ Nxd5 36.Rc4+ Kb5
37.bxa4+ Ka6 38.Nd3±


Now the idea is Rc2-Nb1 mate.

35...a4 36.Kd2!

White’s king comes to help in the mating attack.

36...Rd8 37.Ra1!

Another nice move! The threat is Nb1!

37...axb3 38.axb3+ Kxb3 39.Rb1+ Ka3 40.Kc2

and mate is unavoidable!


Game 3
N. Sedlak — A. Shimanov (2642) [D02]

18th ch-EUR Indiv 2017 Minsk BLR (2.31), 31.05.2017

Now we will see a very interesting game, where Black chose a new and modern approach to the London System with
Black. The game was played between myself and the strong grandmaster Aleksandar Shimanov, who also plays the
London System with White, very successfully as we have just seen. I went in for the sharpest line, following an idea of
Gata Kamsky. However, my opponent showed much better preparation than me and I was outplayed from the opening.
Our game shows that nowadays people have started to analyse the London System much more seriously and deeper by
using engines. My main mistake was entering a very forced position, without deep analyses, underestimating Black
chances — mainly because of the awkward knight position on g7. However, my prediction for the future is that this line
will become very common and I expect new ideas and many improvements for both sides.

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 c5 5.Nbd2 Nc6 6.c3 cxd4!?

This is a new concept which became popular thanks to Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura. In general this is a computer
line with very sharp play.

7.exd4 Nh5!

Only with this move can Black attempt to justify 6...cd releasing the tension in the centre. By removing the ‘London
bishop’ from the h2-b8 diagonal, Black is searching for the best place for his dark-squared bishop — which is d6.


8.Bg5!? Deserves serious attention with the idea being to weaken Black’s position after 8...f6 and now 9.Be3 when
White’s main plan is to play c4 at an appropriate moment. 9...Bd6 and here White has two options: 10.Bb5 The most
natural move!

(The other plan is 10.g3 with the idea of preventing ♣Nf4. 10...0-0 11.Bd3 With this developing move, White indirectly
prevents ♣f5.
(One of the first games at the top level continued 11.Bg2?! but Black showed excellent home preparation and answered
very strongly with 11...f5! 12.Ne5 f4 13.Qxh5 fxe3 14.fxe3 Nxe5 15.dxe5 Bc5³ Giri A. — So W. London Classic


(Now 11...f5 just weakens the e5-square. 12.Ne5! and compared with the 11.Bg2 line, here Black can’t play ♣f4.
12...Nf6 13.Ndf3 Bd7 14.Bf4² Hambleton,A-Omar,N Biel SUI 2017)

12.0-0 Ne7 13.Bh6 Ng7÷ with the idea of ♣Rf7 and ♣Ngf5.)

10...0-0 11.0-0

11...a6! Black doesn’t want to allow the possibility of Re1 and returning the bishop to f1.

(In one game Black made thematic moves and found himself facing some problems. 11...Bd7 12.Re1 Qc7?! 13.Rc1 g6
14.c4!² Banusz,T –Goh Weiming, Benasque ESP 2017.)

12.Ba4 Bd7 13.Ne1!? Nf4 14.g3 Nh3+! 15.Kg2 e5 16.Bb3 Ne7 17.dxe5 fxe5 18.Ne4 Be6 19.Nd3 (Karjakin S.-
Nakamura H. Norway blitz 2017.) 19...b6!÷

8...Bd6 9.Ne5 g6

The only logical response!

9...Nf6 doesn’t make sense because of 10.f4²

For me this looks to be the most consistent. In the most aggressive way, White is trying to punish Black’s whole concept
starting with 6...cxd4

Here there are also other possibilities for White and it seems that in all of them Black can reach very solid positions. For
example: 10.Bb5 This looks very natural, but Black has the strong reply.

10...0-0! 11.Ndf3 (11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bxc6 Rb8 13.b4 Qc7 14.b5 Bb7 15.Bxb7 Rxb7 16.a4 a6 17.bxa6 Ra7 with more
than compensation.) 11...f6! 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Bxc6 Rb8 14.b4 (14.Rb1 Ba6!³) 14...Qc7 15.b5 Bb7 16.Bxb7 Rxb7
17.Qd3 Rc8©;

Also 10.Ndf3 makes sense 10...Qc7 (10...f6 11.Ng4 Ng7 12.Nh6!² Jovanic O.-Martinovic S. Valpovo 2017.) 11.Be2 0-0
12.Bh6 Re8÷ Naiditsch A.-Kravtsiv M. Sharjah Master 2017;

10.Be2 Ng7 11.f4 f6 12.Nd3 Nf5 13.Bf2 h5÷ Sandipan,C (2573)-Kobalia,M (2628) Moscow RUS 2017


A very strange position for the knight but it has it’s own good reasons to be placed here. Black’s main idea is to play
♣f6 with a later ♣e5 building a strong centre.

10...Nf6 wouldn’t be the point of Black’s previous play. 11.f4 h5 12.g5 Ng4 13.Bg1 Ngxe5 14.dxe5 Be7 15.Nf3²


White doesn’t care about the pawn and his main idea is to play against the awkwardly-placed knight on g7.

Protecting the knight with 11.f4 was not a good solution because of 11...f6 12.Nxc6 bxc6 and sooner or later the ...e5-
move is unstoppable.

The most human, and the safest, move from many logical tries.

Accepting the challenge with 11...Nxe5 is too risky, without the deep help of an engine! 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.h5 0-0

(13...gxh5 14.Nf3 Bf6 15.g5 Be7 16.Bd3±)

14.f4!? Here is the moment for improvement! The position is very complex with many possibilities for both sides.

(It is well-known now that after 14.Nf3 Bf6 15.Qd2 Black has strong counterplay with 15...d4!

(16.Bxd4 e5! After 17.Bc5 there arises a more unbalanced position. For example

a) In one game a bluff with 17.hxg6? was successful mainly thanks to Black’s imprecisions. 17...exd4 18.0-0-0 dxc3
19.gxf7+ Kxf7 20.Bc4+ Be6 21.Bxe6+ Nxe6 22.Qc2 The correct continuation was 22...Qb6! when Black easily refutes
White’s attack. For example, (22...Qc7? The problem with this move is it allows White to give an additional check with
24...Qb3!: 23.Rxh7+ Ng7 24.Qb3+ Ke8 (24...Kg6! 25.Qc2+ Kf7=) 25.Qb5+ Qc6 26.Qe2+ Kf7? (26...Ne6 27.Re1
cxb2+ 28.Kb1 Rc8 29.Qxe6+ Qxe6 30.Rxe6+ Kd8=) 27.Ne5+ Bxe5 28.Qxe5 cxb2+ 29.Kxb2 Rg8 30.Rd6+- Lie K.-
Arvola B. ch-NOR Stavanger 2017.) 23.Qxh7+ (23.Rxh7+ Kg8 24.Qg6+ Ng7–+; 23.Rd7+ Ke8–+) 23...Ng7–+;

b) The move 17.Nxe5 leads to simplifications and a drawish endgame. 17...Bxe5 18.Bxe5 Qxd2+ 19.Kxd2 Bxg4
20.hxg6 fxg6 21.Bc4+ Be6 22.Bxg7 Rfd8+ 23.Bd4 Bxc4=;

17...Bxg4! 18.hxg6 hxg6 19.Bxf8 Qxf8 20.Qh6 Nh5 21.Qxf8+ Kxf8©)

16...b6„ Kamsky G.-Nakamura H. ch-USA 2017.)


(14...Bc7 15.Qf3 The idea is Qh3. 15...e5 16.fxe5 Bxe5 17.0-0-0©; 14...d4? 15.fxe5 Qd5 16.Qf3 Qxf3 17.Nxf3 dxe3
18.hxg6 fxg6 19.Ng5 h5 20.Bd3±)

15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Nf3÷ All of these positions after 11...Ne5 the reader has to check carefully, because at every juncture
both sides have plenty of possibilities;

Following the main idea also looks dangerous. 11...f6 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Bd3 e5 14.dxe5 fxe5 15.h5 gxh5 (15...e4?
16.Nxe4! dxe4 17.Bxe4 with a decisive attack.) 16.Qa4 Bd7 17.0-0-0ƒ;

11...Qc7 12.h5 gxh5 13.Ndf3 f6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.g5ƒ

12.Bg5 Qb6!÷

A difficult move, but the first suggestion of the engine! Black doesn’t care about Bf6 which looks very unpleasant for
him. In my notes I didn’t take this move seriously and I paid a high price for it in the end.
I already had experience of 12...Be7 but unfortunately I forgot my analyses and I didn’t make the best move. 13.Bxe7

(Very strong was 13.Bb5! Bd7 14.Bxc6 Bxc6 15.Qf3 Rf8 16.gxh5 Bxg5 17.hxg5 Nxh5 18.Qe3±. The idea is Nf1–Ng3
and Black has no counterplay. The knight on e5 will dominate the light-squared bishop and the pawn on f7 will be a
huge weakness.)

13...Qxe7 14.Bb5 0-0? Black didn’t feel the danger and he came under attack.

(He should delay castling with 14...Bd7 15.Bxc6 Bxc6 and the position is objectively equal.)

15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.Rg1! Qxh4 17.Ndf3+- Qf6

(17...Qh3 18.Kd2! hxg4 19.Rh1 Qg2 20.Rh2 gxf3 21.Rxg2 fxg2 22.Qg4+-)

18.Qd2 hxg4 19.Rxg4 Nf5 20.0-0-0 Qh8 21.Rdg1 Rb8 22.Rxg6+ fxg6 23.Rxg6+ Ng7 24.Rh6 1–0 Sedlak,N-
Martinovic,S Mali Losinj CRO 2017;

A terrible mistake would be 12...f6? because of 13.Nxg6+-

13.Bf6 Rg8

Now the position is very concrete. Black has threats to take on b2 and also to take on g4. This was a critical position,
where I spent almost 30 minutes on my next move. Probably I over-rated my position and I was searching for
something ‘big’ — which unfortunately does not exist.

In the beginning, the engine also suggests 13...Kf8?! but it looks really suspicious after 14.Qc2 Bxe5 15.dxe5 hxg4
16.Be2 Rh7 17.Bxg4 Nh5 18.Bxh5 Rxh5 19.0-0-0 Defending the pawn would waste time. 19...Nxe5 20.Rdg1! The idea
is Rg5. 20...Qxf2 21.Bxe5 Rxe5 22.Rf1 Qg3 23.Rhg1 Qxh4 24.Qxg6 Re1+ 25.Kc2 Rxf1 26.Rxf1±


I played this slightly overambitious move as a consequence of my bad preparation and the overlooking of 12...Qb6. I
thought during the game that I had to punish his 12th move, which I underestimated. The idea of this move was to
castle long as soon as possible and to press against the f7 pawn. All other options looked ‘lukewarm’ to me, but
unfortunately my overly-optimistic evaluation during the game was not so good and after this move White is
objectively fighting for equality.

A very logical move, and less-risky, was 14.Nb3 Bxe5! Black needs to destroy this dangerous knight (14...hxg4
15.Nxg4 Nh5 16.Qf3²) 15.dxe5 hxg4 16.Qxg4 Nh5 17.Qg5 Bd7 18.Be2 Nxf6 19.Qxf6 Qd8! 20.Qxd8+ Rxd8 21.f4
Ke7= with an approximately equal endgame.


Clearly the best! In this way Black wins a tempo after the next move.

Other moves promise nothing good for Black. 14...hxg4? 15.Nxg4 Qxb2 16.Rb1 Qxa2 17.Nh6+-;

Or 14...Qxb2? 15.Rb1 Qxa2 16.Nxf7 Kxf7 17.Be5+ Ke8 18.Bxd6 hxg4 19.Qxg4 Nf5 20.Bf4²

15.dxe5 hxg4

Black is simply going to destroy the bishop on f6.

Also after 15...Qxb2 Black would have no worries. For example, 16.Rb1 Qa3 17.Bxg7 Rxg7 18.gxh5 gxh5 (18...Nxe5?
19.Qf6 Qxc3 20.Kd1! Rh7 21.Bb5++-) 19.Qxh5 b6 20.Qh8+ Qf8 21.Qxf8+ Kxf8 22.Nf3 Rg4 23.h5 Bb7 24.h6 Kg8
25.Bd3 Kh8 26.Ke2 Rag8=

16.Qxg4 Nh5 17.0-0-0

White is forced to give up at least a pawn and look for compensation.


A tough decision! To insert ...Nxf6 or not? The text seems like a better choice but also possible was 17...Nxf6 18.exf6
Qxf2 19.Qg5 The idea is h5! 19...Qf5 20.Bb5! Bd7 21.Rdf1 Qxg5 22.hxg5 Ne5 23.Re1! Bxb5 24.Rxe5 Kd7 25.Ree1
Kd6 26.Nf3© and White has strong positional compensation thanks to his very strong knight!

The best attacking piece shouldn’t be exchanged: all compensation will be gone without the dark-squared bishop.


Again the best move! Black is playing this game very well, especially at the most critical moments.

A little trap appears after 18...Nxe5? 19.Bb5+ and now Black has no good options, or 19...Nc6

(19...Bd7 20.Qb4 f6 21.Ne4! This was my main idea in many positions. 21...dxe4 22.Bxd7+ Kf7

(22...Nxd7 23.Rxd7! Rg7

(23...Kxd7 24.Qxb7+ Kd6 25.Rd1+ Ke5 26.Qb5++-)

24.Rxg7 Nxg7 25.Qb5+! Kf8 26.Bh6 e3 27.Qxb7 Qd2+ 28.Kb1 Qd3+ 29.Ka1+-)

23.Bxe6+! Kxe6 24.Qb3+ Kf5 25.Rhf1 Qf3 26.Rxf3+ exf3 27.Be3±)

20.Ne4! Again White has this attractive move! 20...f5

(20...dxe4? 21.Rd8#)

21.Nxf2 fxg4 22.Nxg4± with a terrible endgame for Black. His king is still in danger and the black pieces lack


Of course, the endgame was not an option.

19...Bd7 20.Bb5 Qxe5 21.Bxc6?!

A panic reaction! This totally unnecessary move was made in time-trouble.

Very natural was 21.Rhf1! and White keeps positional compensation for the two pawns 21...f6

(21...Rf8 22.Rde1 Qc7 23.Bxc6 Bxc6 24.Qd4©)

22.Rde1 Qg3 23.Re3 Qc7 24.Bxf6 Nxf6 25.Rxf6 0-0-0 26.Bxc6 bxc6 27.Nb3 Rdf8 28.Qa6+ Kb8

(28...Qb7 29.Qxb7+ Kxb7 30.Nc5+ Kc8 31.Ref3 Rxf6 32.Rxf6 with a drawish position)

29.Ref3 Rxf6 30.Rxf6 Bc8 31.Qf1© White’s compensation is based on good piece coordination and on the weak dark-
squares in Black’s position, the c5-square being especially critical.


21...Bxc6 22.Qb4 Qc7 23.Rhe1© keeping Black’s king in the centre for a long time. The unsafe position of the black
king can be seen in the following variation. 23...e5 24.Rxe5+! Qxe5 25.Nf3 and now Black is forced to give up his
queen on the e-file to avoid being mated: 25...Qe4 26.Re1 Qxe1+ 27.Nxe1 f6 28.Bd2 Kf7 29.Nf3 Rae8 30.Nd4÷ and
these types of non-standard positions are always tricky and it’s not clear who is stronger, the side who has the queen or
two rooks.

A terrible move! My calculation in this game was very bad!

Again I missed a calm move, playing on positional compensation. 22.Rhf1! c5

(22...f6 23.Rde1 Qg3 24.Re3 Qc7 25.Bxf6 Nxf6 26.Rxf6©)

23.Qa6 Qc7 24.c4 Qb6 25.Qa3© and White is still in the game! Black’s king is not so safe in the centre!

22...f6 23.Nc4

This just looks nice and nothing more.


Black almost couldn’t make a mistake here.

Also very simple and winning was 23...a5!

24.Qb7 Qb8–+;

The main idea of White comes after 23...dxc4 24.Rxd7!? but anyway, the position is simply bad 24...Kxd7 25.Qb7+
Kd6 26.Rd1+ Qd5µ

24.Nd6+ Kd8 25.Nf7+ Kc8–+ 26.Qe7

Now it is just delaying resignation and the rest of the game is no longer interesting.

26.Nd6+ Kc7–+

26...fxg5 27.Rd4 a5 28.Rf1 Ng3 29.Re1 Nf5 30.Qxg5 Qg3 31.Qxg3 Nxg3 32.Rg4 Nh5 33.Re5 Kc7 34.Nh6 Rh8
35.Rxg6 Nf4 0–1

Game 4
N. Pert — L. D’Costa [D02]

BCF-chT 1516 (4NCL) England (9.135), 30.04.2016

We come to the critical line, very popular in the last year or so. Black chooses a classical setup with ♣c5, ♣Nc6, ♣Nf6,
♣Qb6. A crucial moment is reached with 9...Bc5?! instead of 9...Be7, after which White grabs the initiative. My
prediction is that this position will be tested many more times with 9...Be7 and you need to pay serious attention to this
moment. In the comments I recommend one improvement for White, and you should also check it. Nowadays in
modern chess you must always work hard on discovering some new ideas, in order to put more problems before your
opponent and also to avoid his preparations.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nbd2 Qb6 6.dxc5 Qxb2

The only consistent move!

It’s not a good idea to take: 6...Qxc5?! 7.a3 With this move, White prepares pawn actions on the queenside gaining
tempos along the way. Black’s experiences have been very bad. 7...g6

a) 7...Bg4 8.c4 e5 9.b4 Qb6 10.Bg5 Ne4 11.cxd5 Nxg5 12.dxc6 0-0-0 13.Be2± Borovikov,V.-Lekic,D Paleochora 2016;

b) 7...Bf5 8.c4 e6 9.b4 Qb6 10.c5 Qd8 11.Bb5± Kramnik V.-Cheparinov I. Berlin 2015;

c) Losing a pawn is 7...Nh5? (Shimanov A.-Kiewra K. Chicago open 2016.) 8.Nb3! Qb6 9.Qxd5 Nxf4 10.exf4 g6
11.Bc4 Be6 (11...e6 12.Qe4 Bg7 13.0-0-0 0-0 14.h4±) 12.Qd3±;

8.c4 Bg7 (8...dxc4 9.Bxc4 Bg7 10.Rc1²) 9.b4 Qb6 10.c5 Qd8 11.b5 Na5 12.Be5² Rahman,Z-Raghunandan,K Mumbai

7.Rb1 Qc3 8.Bb5 e6

Clearly the best move! Black doesn’t need to hurry with taking back the c5-pawn.
After 8...Qxc5 9.0-0 e6 10.c4 — transposes to the next comments after 9...Qc5;

Very logical — but still not checked in tournament praxis — is 8...g6!?

After many hours of analysing these positions which arise after 6...Qb2, my feelings tell me that White should play
9.e4! in this position, trying to exploit his lead in development with quick action in the centre! These lines can be
deeply analysed and exhausting: don’t bother memorising variations, just try to absorb the ideas and get a feeling for
keeping the initiative.

(9.0-0 looks too slow 9...Bg7 10.Ne5 Qxc5 and now White has nothing better than 11.Nd3 Qb6 12.Ne5 Qc5=; Making
sense is 9.Nd4!? Bd7 10.0-0 Bg7 11.N2b3 0-0 12.Ne2 Qb4 13.a4© This can be very unpleasant for Black in view of the
queen position, but engines don’t care so much and continue with the cold-blooded 13...Qa3! not worrying about her
health! 14.c3 Ne4! 15.Qxd5 Bf5 16.Qc4 e5 17.Ra1 Qb2 18.Rfb1 Qc2=)


a) 9...dxe4 10.Be5! A cool move! Utilising a pin, White pressurises the point f6. 10...Qa5
11.0-0! Another strong move in the spirit of the position. No time for limp moves here! 11...exf3 12.Bxc6+ (After
12.Qxf3 Black has a nice defence with 12...Qxb5! 13.Rxb5 Nxe5÷) 12...bxc6 13.Qxf3 Qd8! An only and very hard
move, defending the point f6 and the rook on a8. 14.Ne4 Bg4! As you can see, Black stays alive thanks to some
extremely tough moves, which are almost impossible for a human to find. (14...Bg7 15.Rfd1 Bd7 16.Bxf6 Bxf6
17.Rb7²) 15.Qe3! Only with this move does White keep the initiative. (Other moves lead to simplification, such as
15.Nxf6+ exf6 16.Qxc6+ Bd7 17.Qe4 fxe5 18.Qxe5+ Be6 19.Qxh8 Qc7³; Or 15.Qf4 Bg7! 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Qxg4 0-
0=) 15...Nd5 (The seemingly logical 15...Be6? loses by force after 16.Bxf6 exf6 17.Rfd1 Qc8 18.Nxf6+ Ke7 19.Rd7+!
Kxf6 (19...Qxd7 20.Nxd7 Kxd7 21.Qd4++-) 20.Qd4+ Kg5

21.Rb4!+- and mate in a few moves is unavoidable!) 16.Qe1 The only good place for the queen from where it targets
Black’s king. 16...Rg8 (A forced loss results from 16...f6? 17.Bxf6 exf6 18.Nd6+ Kd7 19.Rb7+ Qc7 (19...Nc7
20.Qd2+-) 20.Rxc7+ Nxc7 21.Nf7 Rg8 22.Qd2+ Ke8 23.Nd6+ Bxd6 24.Qxd6 Rg7 25.Re1+ Be6 26.Rxe6+ Nxe6
27.Qxc6+ Rd7 28.Qxa8+ Rd8 29.Qc6++-) 17.c4 Be6! Black must give back a piece in order to close the e-file and
secure his king. 18.cxd5 Qxd5 19.Ng5 Bg7 20.Bf4² and White still has some pressure! Black has problems with his
rooks’ connection;

b) 9...Nxe4? would be a blunder after 10.Be5+-;

c) Also Black doesn’t have time for 9...Bg7? 10.Be5 Qa5 11.exd5±;

10.Be5! Don’t forget this often key move in these positions.

(Black equalizes after 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.exd5 Bg7! 12.Be5 Qxc5 13.d6 0-0=)

10...Qxc5 11.Bd4! The queen is very often a big worry for Black 11...Qa3 12.Rb3 Qxa2 This risky adventure is
something which Black must do.

(Only safer-looking is 12...Qa5? but it leads to big problems after 13.Bxc6+ bxc6 14.0-0 Bg7

15.Nc4! Again Black needs just one move to bring his king to safety. 15...Qd8 (15...dxc4 16.Bb6+-) 16.Nb6 Rb8
17.exd5 cxd5 18.Ne5 Bb7
19.Ned7! A witty engine move which keeps Black’s king in the centre. 19...Nxd7 20.Bxg7 Rg8 21.Nxd7 Qxd7
22.Qd4!± Black has difficulties mainly because of his unconnected rooks. If he tries 22...f6 for example then comes
23.Bxf6! exf6 24.Qxf6+- with a decisive attack for White.)

13.Bxc6+ bxc6 14.0-0 Bg7 15.Qe2! Qa5

(15...0-0 16.Ra1 Qxc2 17.Rb2+-)


(16.e5 Ne4 17.e6 Bxd4 18.exf7+ Kxf7 19.Nxe4 dxe4 20.Nxd4 Qd5³)

16...cxd5 17.Rb6
17...Nh5! One more unreal move in the series. 18.Ne5

(18.Ra1? Qxb6 19.Bxb6 Bxa1µ)

18...Qa4 19.Nc6 0-0 20.Ra1 Qxd4! 21.Nxd4 Bxd4 22.Rbb1 Bxa1 23.Rxa1 Re8 with an unbalanced position.

9.0-0 Bxc5?!

With this logical move Black will lose many tempos and White will grab the initiative.

The best option for Black is 9...Be7! 10.Nd4!?

This move could be a new, interesting try for White which causes more problems for Black, especially for his queen.

(In tournament praxis 10.Ne5 has been played, but it doesn’t create any serious problems for Black. 10...Bd7 11.Nxd7

(11.Nd3 0-0 12.Bc7 b6!÷)

11...Nxd7 12.e4 0-0 13.exd5 exd5 14.Ne4 dxe4 15.Qxd7 Bxc5 16.Qxb7 Rac8!„ Cornette M.-Feuerstack A. PRO
League Central 207.)

10...Bd7 11.N2b3 0-0

(11...Bxc5 12.Bd3! again the threat of Nb5 is unpleasant. 12...Nxd4 13.Nxc5 Qxc5 14.exd4 Qxd4 15.Bd6© and Black’s
king is still not secure.)

12.Bd3© with the idea of Nb5. An interesting line apeears after 12...e5 13.Nb5 Qb4 14.a3 Qa4 15.Ra1! threatening Nc3
and now Black’s queen is in serious danger. However Black can keep the balance with accurate ‘computer’ moves.
15...Ne4 16.f3 a6 17.fxe4 axb5 18.exd5 exf4 19.Rxf4 Qa7 20.dxc6 Bxc6 21.Qh5 g6 22.Qh6 Rad8 23.a4 bxa4 24.Bc4

(24...a3 25.Bxf7+ Rxf7 26.Rxf7 Kxf7 27.Qxh7+ Ke8 28.Qxg6+ Kd7 29.Qf5+ Kc7 30.Qe5+ Kd7 31.Qf5+=)

25.Bxd5 Rxd5 26.Raxa4 Qb8 27.Rh4 Bxh4 28.Rxh4 Rh5 29.Rxh5 gxh5 30.Qg5+ Kh8 31.Qf6+=;

Also not to be recommended is 9...Qxc5?!

because it allows 10.c4! a6

(10...Be7!? 11.Nb3 Qa3 12.Nbd4 0-0 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bxc6 Ba6 15.Bxa8 Rxa8²)

11.Bxc6+ bxc6

(11...Qxc6 12.Ne5 Qc5 13.Qa4+ b5 14.cxb5 Qa3 15.Qxa3 Bxa3 16.b6 Bb7 17.Rb3 Bd6 18.Nc6! Bxc6

(18...Bxf4 19.Na5 Bxe3 20.fxe3 Rb8 21.Rc1+-)

19.Bxd6 Kd7 20.Be5)


(Here White also has the strong 12.Ne5! Be7 13.Nb3 Qa3 14.Nd4 0-0 15.Ndxc6 with full domination by the white

12...Bd7 13.Ne5 Qa3 14.Qc2 Rd8 15.Rb7 Be7 16.Rc1! 0-0

(16...c5 17.cxd5 exd5 18.Nb1 Qa5 19.Nc3 c4 20.h3!+- A nice move with the idea of opening the back rank. Black is
almost in a stalemate position and doesn’t have any useful moves. For example 20...0-0loses a piece after 21.Bg5+-)

17.c5! Now the black queen is doomed. 17...h6 18.Nd3 Rc8 19.Be5 Rfd8 20.Bb2 1–0 (20) Blomqvist,E (2541)-
Jensson,E (2378) Sastamala 2016.


An important move to implement c4!

10...Qa5 11.c4 Be7

There is no better choice. Black secures the point f6 and moves away from the Nb3.

12.Nb3 Qd8 13.cxd5 exd5

The endgame wouldn’t be such a good option for Black. 13...Qxd5 14.Qxd5 exd5 15.Na5 Bd7 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nxb7
0-0 18.Nc5 Be8 19.Rfc1± White dominates on the b- and c-files.

14.Nbd4 Bd7 15.Qa4

Now White recaptures a pawn and it is just a question as to which way Black will give it back.


Black decides not to return the pawn for now.

There was another solution, 15...0-0, but after 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Bxc6 Bxc6 18.Qxc6± the isolated d-pawn would be
really weak.

16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Ba6 c5☻

The only move to save the rook.

18.Qc2 Rc6 19.Bb7 Re6 20.Bxf6

White chooses a safer move!

With accurate calculation it was attractive to play 20.Bxd5!? Nxd5

(20...Rxe5 21.Nxe5 Nxd5 22.Rfd1 Nf6 23.Nxd7 Nxd7 24.Rb7+-)

21.Rb8 Bc8 22.Bxg7 Rg8 23.Qa4+ Qd7 24.Rxc8+ Bd8 25.Qxd7+ Kxd7 26.Rxc5 Nxe3 27.fxe3 Rxg7 28.Nd4±

20...Rxf6 21.Bxd5 0-0 22.Rfd1±

Now the material is equal but with much-better positioned White pieces, especially his bishop on d5 which will cause
Black huge headaches.

This move prevents Ne5, but now the knight comes from the other side.

23.Ng5! Bf5

23...Rh6? loses by force after 24.Bxf7+! Rxf7 25.Rxd6 Rxd6 26.Qxh7+ Kf8 27.Qh8+ Ke7 28.Qxd8+ Kxd8 29.Nxf7+
Ke7 30.Nxd6+-

24.Be4 Rh6 25.f4 Bxe4

25...Qe7!? is a nice practical chance based on tactical possibilities! But, at the very least, White has 26.g3 (Riskier is
26.Bxf5 Qxe3+ 27.Qf2 Bxf4 28.Nf3 Rf6 29.Bd7 Bxh2+² when White has to be very careful.) 26...Bxe4 27.Qxe4 Qxe4
28.Nxe4 avoiding all the tricky variations and transposing from a complex position to a better endgame.

26.Qxe4+- Qf6

Now Black’s queen doesn’t have a good square.

26...Qe7 27.Rb7 Qxe4 28.Nxe4 Bb8 29.Nxc5+-

27.Rb7 Qc3 28.Rd7 Bb8 29.Rxf7 1–0

Game 5
N. Sedlak — D. Blagojevic [D02]

Cetinje op Cetinje (9), 10.05.2016

This game was very important to me, especially because it was the last round. My opponent was a grandmaster from
Montenegro, a very solid player with a well-established repertoire. Luckily I surprised him in the early stages of the
game with 5.Nbd2 and next 6.dxc5, which was an almost new idea at that moment. Surprised by my choice, he didn’t
react well and he spent a lot of time which brought me the full point much easier than I could have imagined.

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nbd2 Qb6 6.dxc5 Qxb2 7.Rb1 Qc3 8.Bb5 Bd7?

This is a typical ‘panic’ reaction with a new position on the board! Scared of the pin and the threats of Ne5 or Nd4,
Black tries to play the seemingly safest move, which discriminates against development of the kingside. Another
problem is the unprotected b7-pawn.

The only playable move is 8...e6 which was shown in a previous game between Pert-D Costa BCF ch-T 2016.

9.0-0 Qxc5?!

Another slow move in an already problematic position, again neglecting his development.

More logical was 9...e6

10.Bd3! A nice ‘returning’ move with a double idea. The threats are Rb7 and to push e4. 10...Bc8 An ugly move but it’s
not clear if there is something better or not

(10...Qxc5 11.Rxb7 Be7 12.e4± and Black can’t play 12...0-0 because of 13.e5+-; 10...Bxc5? immediately loses after
11.Rb3 Qa5 12.Rb5+-)

11.e4! Qxc5 12.c4! White has to add more pressure to the centre and to open more files. 12...dxe4

(12...dxc4? 13.Nxc4 Be7 14.Be3 Qh5 15.Rb5!+- and the Black queen is captured)

13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 Be7 15.Qc2ƒ and White has strong pressure with many threats. One of the main among these is

9...g6 is very slow here, after 10.e4! dxe4

(10...Qxc5 11.exd5 Qxd5 12.Bc4 Qf5 13.Bg5 Bg7 14.Rb5! In many lines, this move is a killer. 14...e5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5
16.Rxe5+ Qxe5 17.Re1 Qxe1+ 18.Qxe1+ Kf8 19.Qe5!+- and Black loses more material.)

11.Ne5! Nxe5 12.Nxe4!

A typical example of deflecting pieces from the critical square, in this case d7. 12...Nxe4 13.Bxe5 Qd2☻ 14.Bxh8 Bxb5
15.Rxb5 f6 16.Qxd2 Nxd2 17.Re1 Kf7 18.Rxb7+- and Black can’t capture the bishop. For example: 18...Rc8

(18...Kg8 19.c6 Kxh8 20.c7 Rc8 21.Rd1 Ne4 22.Rd8+-)

19.Rxa7 Kg8 20.c6 Rxc6 21.Ra8+-


This is a key move, on which White’s compensation for the pawn is based!

This looks like further neglect of development but the position is simply bad. Black didn’t have much better in the way
of options.

After the logical 10...e6 Black’s position actually collapses: 11.cxd5 exd5

(11...Qxd5 12.Bc4! Qa5 13.Rxb7+- with the main idea after 13...Be7 of 14.Ne4!; 11...Nxd5 12.Ne4 Qa3 13.Nfd2!+-
with the very unpleasant threats of Nc4 or Nd6. For example: 13...Nxf4 14.Nc4 Qxa2 15.exf4 and now the queen is also


A quiet and strong move with the double threat of Rb7 and Rb5! 12...Be7 13.Rb5 Qc3

(13...Qa3 14.Rxb7+- with the idea that after 14...0-0 15.Rxd7! Nxd7 16.Bxc6+- wins)

14.Rxb7 0-0 Although the black king is safe, White’s rook on the 7th rank is still a headache. 15.e4! An important
move, after which Black’s minor pieces become targets. 15...Rfd8

(15...dxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Qxd7+- and Black will lose some material.)

16.e5 Nh5 17.Be3 Rab8 18.Rc7! with the idea of forcing the black rook to a worse position. 18...Rbc8 19.Rxd7! Now
with the black rook on c8, a nice tactic works for White. 19...Rxd7 20.Nd4 g6

(20...Nxd4 21.Bxd7 Rd8 22.e6! fxe6 23.Qxh5 Rxd7 24.Qe8++-)

21.Nb1! Qc4 22.Bb5 Qc5 23.Qa4+- and after complications, White wins material.;

Nothing good emerges from 10...dxc4? 11.Bxc4 b6

(11...Na5 12.Bxf7+! Kxf7 13.Ne5+ Kg8 14.Nxd7 Nxd7 15.Nb3 Qf5 16.Nxa5+-)

12.Rb5 Qa3
13.Ne4! Nxe4 14.Bxf7+ Kxf7 15.Qxd7+- and White regains material, remaining with a huge positional advantage;

Too slow is 10...g6? 11.cxd5 Qxd5 (11...Nxd5 12.Ne4+-) 12.Bc4 Qc5 (12...Qa5 13.Rxb7 Bg7 (13...Nd8 14.Ne5! Nxb7
15.Bxf7+ Kd8 16.Nc6+! Bxc6 17.Nc4++-) 14.Ne4! Bc8 15.Nd6+! exd6 16.Bxf7+ Kd8 17.Qxd6+ Bd7 18.Rd1+- with
mate in a couple of moves!) 13.Rxb7 Bg7 14.Ne4! Qxc4 15.Nxf6+ Bxf6 16.Qxd7+ Kf8 17.Rc7+-

11.Ba4 b5

Black returns a pawn so as not to waste any more time!

Of course, the ugly move 11...Qa7 couldn’t help after 12.e4! dxe4

(12...dxc4 13.Be3 Qb8 14.Rb6! (Less promising is 14.Nxc4 b5 15.Nb6 Ra7±) 14...e6 15.Nxc4 Be7 (15...Nxe4 16.Nfe5!
Nxe5 17.Nxe5+-) 16.Qb3 0-0 17.Rxb7 Qe8 18.Nb6 Na5 19.Nxd7 Nxb3 20.Nxf6+ Bxf6 21.Bxe8 Na5 22.Bxf7+ Rxf7
23.Rxf7 Kxf7 24.Rc1+-)

13.Ng5+- with a poor position for Black. For example: 13...g6 14.Ndxe4 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Bg7 16.Be3 Qb8 17.Nc5+-

12.cxb5 axb5 13.Bxb5!+-

The correct decision!

Taking a tempo to play 13.Rxb5 would spoil the coordination of White’s pieces after 13...Qa7„


Black tries to finish his development as quickly as possible!

He didn’t have time for 13...e6 14.a4 Be7 15.Qe2! A quiet move which prevents castling in view of Rfc1 next. After
15...Nd8 16.Rfc1 Bxb5 17.axb5 Qb6 18.Bc7 Qb7 19.Nb3+- all Black’s pieces are paralyzed.

14.Bxc6 Bxc6 15.Bxe5

Also strong enough was 15.Nxe5 Ba4 16.Nb3 Qa7 (16...Bxb3 17.Qxb3 Be7 18.Rfc1 Qa3 19.Qb5+ Kf8 20.Qb7+-)
17.Ng4! Be7 18.Nxf6+ Bxf6 19.Bd6 Be7 20.Bxe7 Qxe7 21.Qxd5+-


This move shortens the torment and the rest of the game is not interesting enough for detailed commentary.

Black could have continued suffering after 15...Be7 16.Nd4 Bd7 17.Rb7 Qc8 18.Rc7 Qd8 19.Qb1 0-0 20.Rfc1+-
16.Bxf6! gxf6

16...Bxf1 17.Bd4+-

17.Re1 Bd3 18.Rc1 Qb5 19.Nd4 Qd7 20.Qb3 Ba6 21.e4

In a hopeless position, Black resigned!



1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6


In this position I also prefer the ‘London setup’. Actually, the positions arising are very easy to learn and play, because
they are very similar to the ‘original London System’ (1. d4 d5 2.Bf4). Only when Black doesn’t play ♣d5 do the pawn
structures differ and they will be explained in this chapter.


Essentially this move is the most interesting for us. The other moves just amount to differences in move-orders.

3...b6 is also possible but it’s less flexible for Black and he has to be more careful compared with 3...c5. 4.e3 Bb7

(Here Black must also be prepared against 5.c4!? which transposes to a very interesting position from the Queen’s
Indian Defence which can be dangerous for Black. For instance 5...c5 6.d5! exd5 7.Nc3 dxc4 8.Nb5 Na6 9.Bxc4 with a
strong initiative. After 9...d5 the idea is 10.Qa4!+-)


(In this position 5...c5 is very risky because here White has 6.Nc4! with the threat of Nd6 and 6...d5 is not possible
because of 7.Nce5 and Black faces huge problems. He doesn’t have a defence against Bb5 or Ng5.)

6.h3 0-0 7.Bd3 c5 8.c3 Nc6 9.0-0 d5 with a structure from the classical London System. See the game Carlsen,M-
Tomashevsky,E Tata Steel-A 2016;

3...d5 — This transposes to one of the main positions from the book ‘Winning with the Modern London System’, Chess
Evolution 2016.
4.e3 cxd4!?

With this move Black avoids many traps.

4...d5 — again transposing to the afore-mentioned book.

Waiting with ...cxd4 until after 4...b6?!

causes Black headaches after 5.Nc3! — See the game Ortega Lexy–Farago Ivan, Montecatini Terme Open 2000;

Transposition to the London also comes after 4...Nc6 5.Nbd2 d5 6.c3;

This thematic move always deserves attention and is still relatively unexplored in this position. The best reaction is also
very typical: 5.Nc3! see the game Kosic,D–Sanchez,S, Tromsoe 2014;

4...Be7 5.h3 b6 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.c3 Ba6 was seen in the game Kamsky, G–Del Rio de Angelis

5.exd4 b6

This is the most logical continuation of his development, where Black builds a hedgehog position.

6.Nbd2 Be7 7.h3

Now it’s necessary to make a safe place for the bishop on h2.
7...Bb7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 d6 10.Re1 Nbd7 11.Bh2

This is a typical set-up in this line, played many times from a few different move-orders! Here I am going to introduce
you to a pair of very instructive games with Gata Kamsky as White, and one classic grandmaster game Bronstein,D–
Sokolov,A. The games contain all the different plans played by White, so it’s going to be a question of your preferences
as to which route you’ll choose in your own tournament practice.

Game 6
L. Ortega — I. Farago [A47]

Montecatini Terme op Montecatini Terme (7), 2000

Special attention should be paid to this game because of the very dubious move-order which Black used with 4...b6?! In
this game all the critical positions which arise are shown and analysed. Readers should keep this game in mind, because
it’s very concrete and forcing and it would be pity not to take this chance in a game.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 b6?!

Leaders of the Black pieces very often don’t care about move-orders, which displays an underestimation of this opening.


This is the right way to punish the imprecision. The position is going to be very concrete, one where the poor
development of the black pieces is obvious. Practice shows that Black is already in trouble.

The natural 5.Nbd2 transposes to the main position in this opening, but Black wouldn’t have to bear the consequences of
his opening imprecision.


It’s hard to say what the best continuation is for Black in this position: there are and have been many tries for Black
which didn’t make him happy!

One of them on the top level was 5...a6 after which comes a strike from the centre via 6.d5! d6

a) 6...b5 loses time, after which White takes the initiative with 7.dxe6 fxe6
(Going into an endgame doesn’t promise anything good for Black: 7...dxe6 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.a4! b4 10.Nb1± White will
dominate the all-important squares.) 8.Ng5! This is a key move! White has to play something very concrete using his
advantage in development, otherwise Black will consolidate his position. 8...Be7 Black doesn’t have any better choice.

a1) 8...Bb7 9.Bd3 g6 10.Be4! Nxe4 11.Ngxe4± with the very unpleasant Bg5 or Nd6! coming;

a2) Neither does Black have time to build a centre with 8...d5 after 9.Bd3 Bd6 10.Bxh7! Nxh7 11.Qh5+ Kd7 12.Nf7+-;

a3) In one fresh game from this year, 8...c4 was played: 9.a4! b4 10.Nce4 d5 11.Nxf6+ Qxf6

and White can spoil Black’s centre with 12.Bxc4! h6! (12...dxc4 13.Qf3 Ra7 14.Bxb8 Rd7 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Ne4 Qxb2
17.Qe5 Qxe5 18.Bxe5 Bg7 19.Bxg7 Rxg7 20.Rb1 a5 21.c3±) 13.Nxe6! (In the afore-mentioned game 13.Bxd5 was
played, which is not the best. Sedlak N.-Bosiocic M. Croatian Cup 2017. 13...exd5 14.Qxd5 hxg5 15.Qxa8 gxf4
16.Qxb8 Qc6 17.Qxf4 Be7„ and in this position the rook and 4 pawns are not better than the strong bishop pair.)
13...Bxe6 14.Bxd5 Bxd5 15.Qxd5 Nc6 16.0-0-0 Rd8 17.Qc4 Be7 18.Rxd8+ Nxd8 19.Rd1² Black has problems with
the coordination of his minor pieces;

9.Bd3 0-0 10.Qf3 Nc6 (10...d5 11.Qh3 h6 12.Nxe6 Qb6 13.Bf5+-) 11.Nxe6! dxe6 12.Qxc6 Bd7 13.Qf3± and Black has
insufficient compensation for the material deficit;

b) Probably the best continuation for Black in this position is 6...Bb7 7.e4 b5 8.Qe2 This is the only reasonable move,
preparing long castling. 8...c4

9.g4! Only with this aggressive approach can White use his pluses in the position. 9...Bb4 (Suicidal would be 9...Nxg4?
10.Rg1 Nf6 11.0-0-0→ and Black is helpless.) 10.g5 Nh5 11.Bd2 0-0 12.0-0-0² and White has better chances in this
complex position, thanks to better control in the centre and Black’s knight on h5 being very unstable;

7.dxe6 Bxe6 (7...fxe6 8.Ng5→ with Qf3, 0-0-0 next)

8.Ng5! After this move the light squares will become weak in Black’s position — and also the centre will be very
unstable. 8...d5 9.Nxe6 fxe6 10.g4! No rest for Black. 10...h6 11.Bg2 Bd6 12.Ne2?! Karjakin Sergey-Ni Hua Qatar
Masters Open 2016. With this move, the challenger for the World Championship title lost a big part of his advantage
and the game ended in a draw. (The correct move was 12.Qe2! Nc6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.0-0-0→ and Black’s king
doesn’t have a safe haven. For example: 14...b5 15.h4 0-0-0 16.g5 Nd7 17.a4 and the black king is again in danger!);

Also not great is 5...d5 because after 6.Nb5 Na6 7.c3± White will have a dream position from the ‘London’ with a
misplaced black knight on a6.

After 5...Be7 comes 6.d5! and White gains a strong initiative: 6...exd5 7.Nxd5 Nxd5 8.Qxd5 Nc6 9.Ne5! 0-0 10.0-0-0
Bf6 11.Bb5+- and Black loses some material.

Clearly the best move!

Less energetic is 6.Nxd4 after which things are not so clear. Let’s see: 6...Bb4 7.Qf3

(7.Ndb5 0-0! 8.Nc7 Bb7 9.Nxa8 Nd5! 10.a3 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Nxf4 12.exf4 Bxa8 with strong positional compensation for
the exchange!)

7...d5 8.Ndb5 Na6 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.Nxc3 0-0 11.Bg5 Nc5 12.0-0-0 Bb7 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qxf6 gxf6² Sammour Hasbun,J
(2463)-Akobian,V (2616) Saint Louis 2013.


This loses quickly in a tough position.

More resistant-looking is: 6...Nd5 7.Qxd4 Nxf4

(7...Nc6 8.Qa4 and now Black can’t cover the d6-square. For example: (Not good 8.Nd6+? Bxd6 9.Qxg7 Bb4+ 10.c3
Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qf6 12.Qxf6 Nxf6=) 8...a6

a) 8...Nxf4 9.Qxf4 d6 10.0-0-0 and now Black loses a pawn 10...e5 11.Qe4 Bb7 12.Nxe5+-;

b) Also of no help is 8...Bb4+ 9.c3 Nxf4 10.cxb4! Nd5 (10...Ng6 11.Nd6+ Ke7 12.Rd1+- with Be2 and 0-0 next) 11.e4
Nde7 (11...Ndxb4 12.a3+-; 11...Nf6 12.Nd6+ Ke7 13.e5 Ne8 14.b5 Na5 15.Qe4 Rb8 16.Qb4 1–0 (16) Saveliev,A
(2335)-Askerov,M (2375) St Petersburg 2016) 12.Nd6+ Kf8 13.b5 Na5 14.Ne5+- with a terrible position for Black.;

9.Nd6+ Bxd6 10.Bxd6± and the bishop on d6 paralyses Black’s position.)

8.Qxf4 Na6 9.Ne5!

(Less convincing is 9.0-0-0 Qf6 10.Qe4 Rb8 11.Nxa7 Nc5 12.Qe5 Qxe5 13.Nxe5 f6 14.Nd3 Bb7² Ortega,L (2450)-
Marinelli,T (2390) Catania 1993)
9...Qf6 The only move (9...f6 is losing after 10.Qf3 with a double threat Qa8 and Qh5) 10.Qg3 Be7 11.0-0-0 0-0 and
now the tactics work again. 12.Rxd7! Bxd7 13.Nxd7 Qf5 14.Nxf8 Rxf8 15.Qf3± and Black doesn’t have any
compensation for a pawn;

6...Na6 7.Qxd4 Bb7

(Protecting the d6-square with 7...d5 weakens Black’s king much more! 8.Qa4! This is a key move after which Black is
unable to avoid material losses. 8...Nd7 9.0-0-0 Be7 10.Ne5! Nac5

(10...Bb7 11.Nxd7 Qxd7 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.Bb5+-; 10...0-0 11.Nc6 Qe8 12.Nxe7+ Qxe7 13.Bd6+-)

11.Qd4 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 f6 13.Nc7+ Kf7 14.Bg3+-)

8.0-0-0 Nd5 9.Nd6+ Bxd6 10.Bxd6±


Now Black is already lost — on only the 7th move!

Obviously losing is 7...e5 after 8.Nxe5! dxe5 9.Qxe5+ Be7 10.Nc7+ Kf8 11.Nxa8 Nc6 12.Qc7+-


This is a crushing move! It’s a nice example of deflection after which Black’s position collapses.

8...Bxd6 9.Qxg7 Kd7

Black is trying to keep his material advantage, but it’s not possible long-term.

The other possibilities were also not nice. 9...Bb4+ 10.c3 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qf6 12.Qxf6 Nxf6 13.Rd1+-;

Or 9...Rf8 10.Bb5+ Ke7 11.Bg5+

10.Bxd6 Kxd6 11.e4

Now White regains the piece and Black’s king remains in the fire.

11...Rg8 12.Qxf7 Rf8 13.Qh5 Qe8 14.Qe5+ Kc6 15.exd5+ exd5 16.Qxe8+ Rxe8+ 17.Kd2
The dénouement has left White two pawns up and the rest of the game is just a matter of technique.

17...Bg4 18.Nd4+ Kc5 19.c3 Bd7 20.Bd3 Rf8 21.f3 Rf7 22.Rae1 a6 23.Re5 Nc6 24.Nxc6 Kxc6 25.Rhe1 Rg8 26.R1e2
Kd6 27.Rh5 Bb5 28.Rh6+ Kc7 29.Rxh7 Rxh7 30.Bxh7 Rh8 31.Bd3 Bxd3 32.Kxd3 Rxh2 33.g4 Rh3 34.Ke3 Kd6
35.Kf4 Rh8 36.g5 Rf8+ 37.Kg4 Rg8 38.f4 b5 39.f5 a5 40.f6 1–0

Game 7
D. Kosic — S. Sanchez Felipe [A46]

Tromsoe ol (Men) 41st Tromsoe (6.4), 08.08.2014

This game is very instructive and is one of the most important in this chapter. Black chose the typical — and always
questionable idea — 4...Qb6, pressuring the b2-pawn, using the absence of the dark-square bishop now on f4. It’s very
important to know the right reaction with White, because otherwise the advantage can disappear very easily. Pay
particular attention to the forcing positions which are analysed in the comments.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Qb6

With this move Black is trying to provoke b3 or Qc1, disturbing White’s natural development.


Only with this kind of aggressive move can White count on an advantage.

A move such as 5.Qc1?! is too passive and not to be recommended;

Another serious and aggressive option is 5.Na3!?

which sets Black big challenges. The main threats are Nc4 and Nb5. 5...cxd4

(5...d5?! 6.Nb5 — transposes to 5.Nc3; 5...Qxb2? 6.Nb5!± also transposes to 5.Nc3)


(6.Nb5 — transposes to 5.Nc3) 6...Qb4+ (Worse is 6...Bb4+ 7.Nfd2 Qc6 8.exd4 0-0 9.c3 Be7 10.a4²)

7.c3 dxc3 8.a3 c2+ 9.axb4 cxd1Q+ 10.Kxd1 Na6 Preventing Nb6

(10...Nd5? 11.b5 Nxf4 12.Nb6! Nd5 13.Nxa8 Bc5 14.Nd2 a6 15.Ne4 Be7 16.Bc4±; 10...Ne4 11.Nb6 Nxf2+ 12.Ke2
Nxh1 13.Nxa8 d6 14.e4 h6 15.Be3 g5 16.g3 Bg7 17.Bg2 Nxg3+ 18.hxg3±)

11.b5 Ne4

(11...d5 12.bxa6 dxc4 13.Bxc4 bxa6 14.Ke2 Nd5 15.Bg3 Be7 16.Bxa6 0-0 17.Bxc8 Rfxc8 18.Rhc1²)

12.bxa6 Nxf2+ 13.Ke1 Nxh1 14.Nd6+ Bxd6 15.Bxd6 bxa6 16.Bd3 Bb7 17.Ke2 Rc8 18.Rxh1²

In this position Black has many options, but none which are promising!

5...cxd4 6.exd4

(Very interesting and forceful is 6.Nb5!? Nd5 7.Qxd4 Qxd4 8.Nfxd4 Nxf4 9.Nc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 Nd5 11.Be2 b6 12.Bf3
Ba6! 13.a4 Nc6 14.Nb5 Bb7 15.Bxd5 exd5 16.Nac7 a6 17.Nxd5 axb5 18.axb5 Nb4 19.Nxb4 Bxb4+ 20.c3 Bd6 21.f3
Kc7 22.Kf2 Re8÷)


(Black loses by force after 6...Qxb2? 7.Nb5 The player of the white pieces also has experience after: 7...Nd5

(7...Bb4+ 8.Nd2 Nd5

(8...0-0 Saving the king, but the c7-square stays unprotected. 9.Rb1 Bxd2+ 10.Bxd2 Qxa2 11.Nc7+-)

9.Rb1 Qxa2
10.Rxb4! Destroying the opponent’s strongest defensive piece and weakening the dark-squares — a very nice way to
start a decisive mating attack! 10...Nxb4 11.Nd6+ Ke7 12.Qh5 N8c6

(12...Nxc2+ 13.Kd1+-; 12...Rf8 13.Qg5+ f6 14.Qxg7++-)

13.Qxf7+ Kd8 14.Qxg7 Qa1+ 15.Ke2 Nxd4+ 16.Qxd4 Qxd4 17.Bg5+ Kc7 18.Nb5+ Kb6 19.Nxd4± with a clearly
better endgame for White thanks to his fine minor piece coordination and the weak black king.)

8.Rb1 Without the intermediate ♣Bb4+ move Black falls into further trouble. Now the killing Bd2 takes all the dark-
squares from the black queen, which results in a decisive material advantage for White. 8...Qxa2 9.Bd2 Na6

(9...a6 10.Ra1 Qb2 11.c4 Nb4 12.Bc3 Qc2 13.Qd2 Qe4+ 14.Be2 Nc2+ 15.Kf1 Nxa1 16.Nc7+ Kd8 17.Nxa8 Qb1+
18.Qd1 Qxd1+ 19.Bxd1+-)

10.Ra1 Qb2 11.Bc4 Nab4 12.0-0 Qxc2 13.Qxc2 Nxc2 14.Bxd5 Nxa1 15.Nc7+ Kd8 16.Nxa8 Nc2 17.Ne5 Rg8 18.Be4+-
1–0 (36) Kosic,D (2504)–Berczes, D (2433) Budapest 2007).
7.Na4!N The idea of this move is to play c4. 7...Qa5+

(7...Qc6 8.c4 b5 9.Nc3 bxc4 10.Ne5 Qb7 11.Nxc4± with a lead in development and the very unpleasant threat of Nd6+.)

8.c3 d6 9.b4 Qc7 10.c4 Be7 11.Rc1² with a pawn invasion on the queenside.

It is logical to prevent Nb5 with 5...a6 after which White has to play 6.a3 d5

(It looks like a modern approach, but too violent is 6...Nh5?! 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Ne5! A crushing move! 9...gxh4

(Having played 6...Nh5 it looks very illogical to play 9...Nf6 10.Bg3± and Black is left with weaknesses on the kingside
without even taking the bishop pair; 9...Nf4 10.exf4 gxh4 11.Ne4+-)

10.Qxh5 Qxb2 Polgar Zs. -Browne W. Dortmund 1990. and here the simplest is 11.Nd1! Qxa1 12.Qxf7+ Kd8 13.Qf6+
Kc7 14.Qxh8 Be7

(14...Bd6 15.Nc4! Be7 16.Nb6!+-)

15.Qg7 Bd6 16.Nc4 cxd4 17.Nxd6 Kxd6 18.exd4 Nc6 19.c3±)

7.h3 Don’t forget this prophylactic move! 7...Nc6

(7...Bd7 Now the b2-pawn is hanging 8.Rb1 Bd6 9.dxc5 Qxc5 10.Bd3²)

8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Bd3² with the idea of 0-0 followed by e4;

With 5...d5 Black allows 6.Nb5! Na6 7.a4 Be7

(7...c4 8.c3 Bd7 9.b3 Bxb5 10.axb5 Qxb5 11.bxc4 dxc4 12.Qb1!± and his queenside will soon be destroyed.)

8.h3 0-0 9.Be2 Bd7 10.0-0² Miles A–Bologan V, Ohrid 2001.

Taking a ‘poisoned pawn’ with 5...Qxb2? quickly backfires for Black after 6.Nb5 Nd5
(6...Na6 7.a3 Nd5 8.Rb1 Qa2 9.Bd6 Bxd6

10.Bc4! Nc3 11.Bxa2 Nxd1 12.Nxd6++-)

7.Rb1 Qxa2 8.Ra1 Qb2 9.Bc4 Nc3

(9...Qb4+ 10.Nd2)

10.Nc7+ Kd8 11.Qc1 Qxc1+ 12.Rxc1 b5 13.Nxa8+-;

5...Nh5?! brings nothing good to Black here.

6.Be5! An important moment! You should remember the difference between this position and the position which arises
after 5...a6 6.a3-Nh5 6...Nc6

a) 6...d6 7.dxc5! Qxc5 8.Bd4 Qa5 (8...Qc7 9.Nb5 Qd8 10.Nd2 Nf6 11.Nc4 d5 12.Be5+-) 9.Nd2 Nf6 10.Nc4 Qd8
11.Nb5 d5 12.Be5+-;

b) 6...Qxb2? 7.Nb5 Na6 8.Nd2! Nf6 9.Nc4+-;

c) After 6...f6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 comes

8.Nd2! A nice manoeuvre with the idea of bringing a knight to c4 with tempo: 8...g6 9.Nc4 Qc6 10.Bd6+-;

7.Nd2 must be considered when Black’s knight is placed on h5! 7...cxd4 8.Nc4 Qd8 9.exd4 Nf6 10.Nd6+ Bxd6
11.Bxd6± and as usual Black again has problems with the dark-squares.


White has nothing more concrete than to defend b2 pawn!

Very attractive looking is 6.Nd2!? cxd4

(6...d5?? 7.Nb5+-)

7.Nc4 Qd8 8.Nb5 Nd5 9.Ncd6+

(9.Bd6 dxe3 10.Nxe3 Nxe3 11.fxe3 Bxd6 12.Nxd6+

(12.Qxd6 Qh4+! 13.g3 Qe4³)

12...Ke7 13.Qd2 Qa5 14.c3 Qd5=)

9...Bxd6 10.Bxd6

(10.Nxd6+ Ke7 11.Bg3 Qa5+ 12.Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2 dxe3+ 14.fxe3 f6³)
10...dxe3 11.fxe3 a6 12.Qxd5!? exd5 13.Nc7+ Qxc7 14.Bxc7 d6 15.Bxd6 Be6=


Of course a big blunder here would be 6...Qxb2?? 7.Na4+-;

Again you have to know how to react after the irritating 6...Nh5 — so don’t miss this important moment. 7.dxc5! is the
best reaction here

(This time 7.Be5 is not best and Black can equalize after 7...cxd4 8.Nb5 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 Nf6 10.Nc4 Qc6 11.Nxd4 Qc5
12.b4 Qc7 13.Nb5 Qb8 14.Ncd6+ Bxd6 15.Qxd6 (15.Nxd6+ Ke7=) 15...Qxd6 16.Nxd6+ Ke7 17.0-0-0 Ne8=)


(7...Qxb2 8.Na4 Qf6 9.Bc7±)

8.b4 Nxf4

(8...Be7 9.Bd6 0-0 10.Nb5²)

9.Na4 Qc7 10.Nxc5 b6

(10...Ng6 11.c4² With idea Ne4-c5.)

11.Ne4 d5 12.Ned2 Ng6 13.c4! Leaving Black with a difficult choice: play with an isolated pawn or offer White a hole
on d6. 13...dxc4 14.Nxc4 0-0 15.Qd6²

7.Be2 Nh5?!

However, this now-famous move actually appears — but in the worst version for Black!

Very logical was 7...d5 8.0-0 The threat is Na4. 8...cxd4 9.exd4 Be7 10.Na4!? Qd8 11.Nc5 0-0 12.Nd3 Ne4 13.c3² with
a slightly more comfortable position for White.
8.dxc5! Bxc5 9.Bg5?!

This was a critical moment! White missed a chance to claim a big advantage!

Clearly best was 9.Na4! Qa5+ 10.c3 Nxf4 and now comes the tough move 11.b4! Qc7

(11...Nxg2+ 12.Kf1 Qd8 13.bxc5 Nh4 14.Nxh4 Qxh4 15.Nb6 Rb8 16.Qd6± and Black is without counterplay.)

12.bxc5! and the fate is sealed for the light-squared bishop. 12...Nxe2 13.Kxe2± The final precise move, not allowing
♣d6 or ♣d5 and Black again has the unsolvable problem of his bishop.

9...h6 10.Bh4 g5 11.Nd2!?

This is one typical way of retaining the bishop or spoiling Black’s structure.


A very slow move in a sharp position!

11...gxh4 would also be bad after 12.Na4! Qc7 13.Nxc5±;

Black could create a total mess after 11...Be7! Avoiding Na4. 12.Bxh5 gxh4„ with the idea of ♣d5 and later ♣0-0-0,
playing on the g-file.


Probably Black forgot about this move!

12...Qa5 13.Nxc5 Qxc5 14.Bg3 d5

It was not possible to take the dark-squared bishop with 14...Nf5 because White has 15.Ne4 Qb6 16.Nd6+ Nxd6
17.Bxd6 Qxb2 18.0-0±


By ruining the centre White will open central files.

15...Nf5 16.cxd5 exd5

The isolated pawn will be another bother for Black.

A worse alternative was 16...Nxg3?! 17.hxg3 Qxd5 18.Qc2+- with a terrible position for Black who is facing many
threats like 0-0-0, with Nc4 or Ne4.

17.Rc1 Qe7 18.Nb3 0-0 19.0-0

White doesn’t need to hurry and he is going to slowly increase his big positional advantage.
Totally unnecessary would be 19.Qxd5? Be6 20.Qd1 Rad8ƒ

19...Rd8 20.Bd3 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Ne5

Black cannot be released from the isolated pawn with 21...d4 22.Nxd4 Nxd4 23.exd4 because the d4-pawn is

22.Bb1 Bg4 23.Qd4 Be2

Black is doing all he can to improve his pieces.

24.Rfe1 Bc4 25.Na5

White decides to attack the weak queenside instead of the kingside. Another very good option was 25.Nd2 Bb5 26.Nf3
Nxf3+ 27.gxf3± with clear play on the h-file with Kg2-Rh1.

25...f6 26.b3 Bb5 27.Qb6 Rab8 28.Rc7

Slowly White enters the black camp.

28...Nd7 29.Qd4 Qd6

Black had to give up something.

30.Rxb7+- Ne5 31.f4

Now comes the final stage of realising his advantage by attacking the weak king, and the rest of the game requires no

31...Nc6 32.Nxc6 Bxc6 33.Rh7 Rxb3 34.Rxh6 Rf8 35.Rg6+ Kh8 36.Kf2 Rxb1 37.Rxb1 Kh7 38.f5 1–0

Game 8
M. Carlsen — E. Tomashevsky [D02]

Tata Steel-A 78th Wijk aan Zee (6), 22.01.2016

It’s always nice to see a game from the World Champion, which invariably introduces some innovation. This time he
treats the London in a very unusual way, using some non-standard ideas. In the middlegame he developed his rooks to
e1 and d1 — which proved to be very useful, awaiting Black’s reaction.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.h3 Be7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 c5 8.c3 Nc6 9.Nbd2 d5

Black has nothing better than to oppose in the centre.

The approach with 9...cxd4 10.exd4 Nd5 doesn’t work with the bishop on f4. Usually this idea is good when White has
a bishop on g5 and by trading bishops Black gets the f4-square for his knight. 11.Bh2 f5 12.c4 Nf6 (12...Ndb4 13.Bb1²
Now d5 is still a threat and Black’s knights are misplaced.) 13.Re1² with d5 at the appropriate moment, damaging the
black structure.

10.Qe2!? Bd6
Black plans to trade bishops with the idea of pushing ♣e6-e5 in the future...

10...Rc8 11.Rad1 h6 12.Rfe1 keeping all options open.


Aiming for a structure in the centre seen many times in Alekhine and Botvinnik games. In the typical London, White
usually doesn’t have h3 and castles, so the plan Bg3 with the idea Ne5-f4 works. Now White is forced to choose some
other reaction...

11.Bxd6 Qxd6 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 (14.Bxe4 cxd4 15.Rad1 e5 16.Rfe1 Rac8) 14...f5 (14...g6 15.dxc5
Qxc5 16.Rad1) 15.Qe3 cxd4 16.cxd4 Nb4 17.Bc4 Nd5 18.Bxd5 Qxd5 19.Rfe1 Rf6!?=


Black transfers his knight to g6 and places the e4-square under control.

After 11...Bxf4 12.exf4 cxd4 13.Nxd4! Nxd4 14.cxd4

White has obtained what he wanted. The doubled pawns are compensated for by control of the square e5 and the
possibility of f5 at some moment. Also, his bishop is better — but Black’s position should not be underestimated.

The seemingly logical 11...Re8 is not a good option, because after 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.e4! dxe4 (13...e5 14.dxc5 Qxc5
15.exd5 Qxd5 16.Rad1± and the black queen is awkwardly placed! White has many threats: Ne4 or Bc4-Ng5.) 14.Nxe4
Nxe4 15.Qxe4 f5 16.Qe2 Now the pressure on e6 is very strong. After 11.Bxd6 Black has the possibility to introduce
active defence with ♣Rf6-g6, but now it looks so passive. 16...cxd4 17.Bc4!ƒ;

Black loses a tempo after 11...Qe7 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.e4 dxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 and White’s rook on e1 forces
Black into weakening his king’s position by playing ♣g6. Of course, f5 is not possible now. 15...g6 16.dxc5 Qxc5


White plays one more useful move, finishing development and preparing a crafty answer to Black’s obvious plan.

12...Ng6 13.Bxg6! hxg6 14.Bxd6 Qxd6 15.Ne5!

The position is clearer now. Due to the weakness of g6, Black can never push the knight away from e5 without paying
an extra price. Also, Black’s bishop is restricted.

15...g5 16.f4!?

White starts to play concretely!

16.Qf3 was enough for a slight edge. If 16...Nd7?! 17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.Qg4 f6 (18...Qe7?! 19.Nf3 f6 20.h4±) 19.dxc5
bxc5 20.e4! Qf7 21.exd5 exd5 22.Nb3 Rac8 23.Qa4 a6 24.Re2 with unpleasant pressure. Black has problems in
controlling the e-file and c5-pawn at the same time.

16...gxf4 17.Rf1!
White opens the f-line and targets the black king.


Black was not on top form in this game. He chose to play it ‘safe’, but sometimes it is necessary to go for

More consistent was 17...fxe3! 18.Rxf6 exd2!

(18...gxf6? 19.Qg4+ Kh7 20.Rf1!! exd2

(20...e2 21.Qxe2)


and mate is inevitable.)

19.Rf4! The best try to increase the pressure.

a) 19.Qh5 Straight-forward. 19...gxf6 20.Qg4+ Kh8 21.Qh4+ Kg7! 22.Qg3+ (22.Ng4 Qf4!) 22...Kh7 (22...Kh8??
23.Ng6++-) 23.Qh4+ Kg7;

b) 19.Rdf1!? It looks dangerous but intuition says that White’s pieces are preoccupied.
19...Ba6!! Maybe the move that Tomashevsky missed?! 20.Qh5 (20.Qxa6 d1=Q 21.Rxd1 gxf6 22.Qd3 Rfd8µ)

b1) Losing is 20...gxf6? after 21.Qg4+ Kh8 22.Rf4! (22.Rxf6 Bd3 23.Nxd3 d1Q+ 24.Qxd1 Kg7 25.Rf4 f5 26.Qh5±)
22...Bd3 23.Nxd3 d1Q+ 24.Qxd1 Rg8 25.Ne5! Kg7 26.Rxf6!±;

b2) 20...Bxf1 21.Nxf7 Rxf7 22.Qxf7+ Kh8! (22...Kh7? 23.Qg6+ followed by Rf7) 23.Rxf1 cxd4 24.Qh5+ Kg8

21.Rxd1 gxf6 22.Qg4+ Kh7 23.Qh4+ Kg7=;

19...cxd4 20.cxd4 f6 21.Ng6 Rfc8 22.Qxd2

(22.Rxd2 Rc1+ 23.Kh2 e5 24.dxe5 fxe5 25.Nxe5 Re8 26.Rf5 d4÷)

22...Bc6 23.Rh4 Be8 24.Qd3 Bxg6 25.Qxg6 Rc7

White has some threats, but Black could hold on in this position, for example: 26.Rf1

(26.Rh7 Rac8 27.Qh5 Kf8! Cold-blooded.)

26...Rf8 27.Qh7+ Kf7 28.Rg4 Ke8 29.Rxg7 Rxg7 30.Qxg7² and the white monarch is safer, but it doesn’t look enough
for a win.


In the same spirit as his previous moves.

18.Nxd7 Qxd7 19.Rxf4 This looks better for White but Black could fight on. 19...f6 20.Rh4 Qf7 21.Rf1 a5 22.Rf2 Ba6
23.Qg4 cxd4

(23...Bd3 24.e4 dxe4 25.Nxe4 f5 26.Qg3 Bxe4 27.Rxe4 White is slightly better.)

24.exd4 (24.Qxd4!?) 24...Bd3„


By clearing the situation in the centre the position doesn’t change so much after 18...cxd4 19.exd4 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Qc5+
21.Rf2 Ba6

(21...Qe3 22.Nf3 Ba6 23.Re1 Qc5 24.Nd4² and the knight dominates.)


(22.Nf3 Be2!= The main point!)

22...Bd3 Activating the bishop gives Black his best chances, but White is still slightly better after 23.Nb3 Qc4 24.Nd4²
with recapturing of the pawn.

19.Qh4 Qd8?!

Again quite logical, trying to swap queens in order to stop White’s attack.

Engine’s recommend 19...Nh7 20.Rxf4 g5! 21.Rg4 f6 organising a defence on the 7th rank, with an objectively equal
position, but from a human’s point of view this would be very difficult to prove.



A blunder.

Better is 20...cxd4 21.exd4 Ne4 22.Qg4 f5 23.Qg6 Rf6 24.Qh5 Qe8 25.Qxe8+ Rxe8 26.Nxe4 dxe4 27.h4 but in any
case, with a strong knight on e5 White has better prospects.

21.Nxe4 Qxh4 22.Rxh4 dxe4 23.dxc5!

This move was overlooked by Black.

23...bxc5 24.Rd7 Rab8 25.b3!

Zugzwang! No move can keep the material balance.


25...f6?? 26.Ng6+-

26.Rc7 a4 27.bxa4 Ba8 28.a5 Rb7 29.Rxc5 Ra7 30.Nc4

Black didn’t want to check what Carlsen can do with two extra pawns and so resigned.


Game 9
G. Kamsky — S.G. de Angelis del Rio [A40]

Sitges Sunway op Sitges (8), 22.12.2016

This game offers us a very instructive example of how to play against early Black attempts to trade light-squared
bishops. This way of playing allows White to occupy the centre and use it for organising an attack on the kingside.

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 b6?!

The most precise move-order for Black would be 4...Be7 5.Nbd2 b6 6.h3 0-0 7.c3 Ba6 and it transposes to our game.


I don’t think Gata Kamsky was interested in remembering forced lines and he continued to play according to ‘the
scheme’ instead.

5.Nc3!² Ortega L.-Farago I. Montecatini Terme Open 2000.

5...Be7 6.h3 0-0 7.c3 Ba6

Black decides to follow the game Kamsky G.-Dominguez L. Sochi 2016. I must say that I am not a fan of this move: to
me it looks more logical to play some other useful move, waiting for e.g. Bd3 and then to offer a swap with ...Ba6.

8.Bxa6 Nxa6

Here Gata improved on the afore-mentioned game. He doesn’t want to rush with castling.

9.0-0 Qc8 10.a4 Qb7 11.Qe2 Rfc8= Kamsky,G -Dominguez Perez,L Sochi 2016.

9...Nb8 10.e4²

Taking a space advantage is the priority, otherwise after ...d5 Black is ok.


A debatable decision! After this move, White gets clear attacking prospects on the kingside.

It seems like Black can’t reach full equality after 10...Nc6 11.dxc5! bxc5 (11...Bxc5 12.0-0 d5 13.Rad1² with strong
pressure on the d-file.) 12.e5 Nd5 13.Bg3 f6 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.0-0² and the better pawn structure promises White a
slight advantage.


We have now reached a typical structure from the French Defence, where Black doesn’t have his ‘bad light-squared
bishop’, but it doesn’t mean that he has solved all his problems.

11...Nfd7 12.h4!
Now it’s clear why Gata didn’t rush with short castling. The rook on h1 is very useful after some Ng5, or he can join the
attack with Rh3-Rg3.


An interesting try to disturb White’s attack. The idea is ...Qa6. Otherwise the attack by White would progress


This trading of bishops is good for White, because the bishop on e7 is a defender.

The rectilinear 13.Ng5 wouldn’t be a good idea after 13...Qa6 14.Qh5 Qd3!µ


The typical French move 13...f6 doesn’t work here for Black after 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.0-0± when the e6-pawn is very

14.Bxe7 Rxe7 15.h5 h6

If Black rushes with 15...Qa6?! 16.Qxa6 Nxa6 17.h6 g6 18.Ke2² the h7-pawn would be a serious weakness in the


Now the attack is a serious situation for Black and he is forced to search for survival in the endgame.

16...Qa6 17.Rg1!
Not a thematic solution! The decision is made to play for a space advantage in the endgame!

White correctly estimated the position after 17.Qe3 Nc6 18.g5 cxd4 19.Nxd4 (19.cxd4 Nb4„) 19...Ncxe5 20.gxh6

17...Qxe2+ 18.Kxe2 Nc6

Without queens, Black believed that the danger had passed.

It was possible to stop g5 with 18...f6 but after 19.exf6 gxf6 20.Nf1 Nc6 21.Ne3² White would have a pleasant
endgame. The idea is to defend the d4-pawn with Rad1 and to play on the weak square g6 with Nh4.

19.g5! hxg5?!

Probably this accelerates White’s play on the g-file. 19...Kh7² looks better.

20.Rxg5 Kh7 21.Rag1 f6 22.exf6 gxf6 23.Rg6


This is the decisive mistake! Searching for active defence, Black makes a big weakening of the f5 square.

More resistant was 23...Kh8! with the idea ...Rh7, ...Ne7.

24.dxc5!± Rf7

Quickly losing would be 24...bxc5 25.Nh4+-


Counting pawns is not White’s priority. He is aiming to improve his knight, adding him to the attack.

Also good enough was 25.Ng5+!? fxg5 26.Rxc6 Raf8 27.f3 Nxc5 28.Rxg5±

25...Nxc5 26.Ne3 Ne7 27.Nh4!

The rook on g6 is untouchable as White can build a mating net.

27...Ne6 28.Nef5 Nxf5 29.Nxf5 Ng5 30.Rh6+

Before the manoeuvre Ne3-Ng4 White wants to place the black king on g8.

30...Kg8 31.Ne3

Now the f6-pawn is White’s target.

31...Rd8 32.Ng4 Kg7

Also of no help was 32...Rd6 33.Nxf6+ Rdxf6 34.Rxf6 Rxf6 35.Rxg5+ Kh7 36.Rxe5+-

33.Rg6+ Kf8
34.Nxe5 1–0

and Black didn’t want to test Gata Kamsky’s technique so...

Game 10
G. Kamsky — S. Tiviakov [A47]

Montreal 8th Montreal (4), 23.07.2007

We now come to the main position in this chapter, where Black builds a hedgehog set-up. Using the surprise weapon
14.c4, the US grandmaster exploits his experience of this kind of position to confuse his strong opponent...

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Be7 5.c3

This is not necessary so early and you will also see another move-order with a different idea in the next game, Kamsky
G. -Bakros A. EU Cup Novi Sad 2016.

5...b6 6.h3 Bb7 7.Nbd2 cxd4 8.exd4 d6 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Re1 Re8 12.a4 a6 13.Bh2 Qc7

After the ‘all-standard moves’, a surprise appears! With this ‘strange’ move, Kamsky leads out some psychological
warfare, starting action on the queenside. His idea is to play b4 next, and then c5. Usually White first prepares c4 by
improving his knight’s position with manoeuvres such as Nc4-Nfd2-Ne3.


The first side-effects of the surprise appear! This was a critical moment and Black had to make a tough decision. Allow
the pawn advances on the queenside or restrict them? Black decides to stop them, leaving a weak square on b5, with the
proviso that he gets the b4 square in return. It will turn out that the b5 square is more useful for White than b4 is for

The best reaction for Black was to ignore the queenside and continue with his main idea, to implement ...e5. 14...Bf8!
15.b4 (It’s too early for 15.a5?! bxa5 16.Nb3 e5„ Gledura,B (2550) -Hera,I (2622) Bad Ragaz 2016) 15...e5 and it
seems like Black has good counterplay. Or 16.Qc2

a) 16.Bf1 is not option because after 16...e4 17.Nh4 g6! White’s knight is out of play;

b) White has to prevent ...e4 with 16.Qb1 exd4! 17.Nxd4 Rxe1+ 18.Qxe1 Re8 19.Qd1 Ne5 20.Bf1 d5! 21.cxd5 Bxd5
(21...Nxd5 22.Nc4 Bd6 23.Nxd6 Qxd6 24.b5²) 22.Bxa6 Bxb4 23.Bb5 Rd8 24.Rc1 Qe7 25.Nf5 Qe6 26.Nd4 Qe7= with
a perpetual;

16...g6 17.Rad1 a5! In this way Black fights for the c5-square 18.bxa5 Rxa5 19.c5!? e4! (19...bxc5?! 20.dxe5 dxe5
21.Bb5² with Nc4 next) 20.Bxe4 Nxe4 21.Nxe4 Bxe4 22.Rxe4 Rxe4 23.Qxe4 bxc5 24.dxc5 Nxc5 25.Qe8 Ra6
(25...Rxa4? 26.Bxd6+-) 26.Bf4 Qe7 27.Qb8 Qa7=

Of course, with this knight manoeuvre White is going to use the b5 square as soon as possible.


Black’s idea is to play ...d5, so he must first remove his queen from the diagonal.

16.Nc3 d5 17.b3

White is more interested in playing with hanging pawns instead of having an isolated pawn following ...dxc4.

17...Bb4 18.Rc1 Rc8 19.Re3

A very natural move! White moves from the pin, but here there was a hidden — and very strong — idea.

A very nice move was 19.Nb5! with an exchange sacrifice, for which White gets the very important square d6 for his
knight. 19...Bxe1 20.Nxe1 Re7 21.Nd6 Rc7 22.c5 bxc5 23.Nxb7 Rxb7 24.dxc5² with more than adequate
compensation; the bishop pair and dangerous c-pawn are really strong.


Black tries to improve his knight, but does so in a passive way.

He missed a very nice continuation here with 19...dxc4! 20.bxc4 Bxf3! 21.Qxf3 Bxc3 22.Rxc3 Nb8! 23.Be5 Nc6„


Now White has reached a pleasant position. His knight on b5 causes a lot of problems in Black’s position, and the idea
is to open the c-file at a suitable moment.

20...Ne4 21.Rc2!

A very tricky move. The queen is aiming to go to c1, getting ready for the opening of the c-file.

21...Re7 22.Qc1 Nd7

Now it’s obvious that something is wrong with Black’s position: he doesn’t have an active plan.


This was White’s main idea. He is going to use the c6-square and take over the c-file.

23...Ra8 24.cxd5

One more important intermediate move.

24...exd5 25.Nc6 Bxc6 26.Rxc6±

White has reached a dominating position and now it’s time to find the most vulnerable point in Black’s ranks.

26...Qf8 27.Re2!

Another rook is coming to the c-file with idea of playing Rc8 at a favourable moment.

27...Rae8 28.Rec2 h6 29.Bf4!

An extremely nice waiting, and prophylactic, move. White makes room on h2 for his king (to avoid some tricks) and
puts the responsibility on Black to make a move in a very difficult position.


Maybe it looks risky, but Black has nothing to lose. He almost couldn’t move any piece without losing some material.

30.Bc7 Nef6

A very cool and calm move! White is going to use the weak squares in Black’s position, with accurate calculation after


Only at this moment could Black take the queen after 31...Re1+ 32.Nxe1 Rxe1+ 33.Qxe1 Bxe1 but White has 34.Bd6+-
and he recaptures the queen with a big material advantage.


The most active piece needs to be exchanged, as the bishop on b4 is a good attacking piece.


Again 32...Re1+ doesn’t work: 33.Nxe1 Rxe1+ 34.Qxe1 Bxe1 35.Rc8++-

33.Rxd6 Nf8 34.Rc8+-

White penetrates with all his pieces into the Black camp and the end is nigh.

34...Rxc8 35.Qxc8

Now the pawns on the queenside start to fall.

35...Ne8 36.Rxb6 h5 37.Qd8 Re2 38.Bd3

Along with the pawns a knight also falls and the game is over!


Game 11
G. Kamsky — A. Bokros [A46]

EU-Cup 32nd Novi Sad (6.2), 11.11.2016

Gata is a famous, original and innovative grandmaster and he’ll never stop surprising us! In the next game he discovered
a new approach to the position, omitting c2-c3 and seizing the initiative on the queenside with a2-a4-a5, keeping the c-
pawn on its initial square.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 c5 6.h3 Be7 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4

Here we see the most common position, one which is regarded as the best setup for Black. Compared with the previous
game, here White hasn’t played c3 and a little bit later you will see the reason for this.


Black implements an elastic ‘hedgehog’ position.

A very serious alternative for Black is 9...Ba6 with the idea of swapping light-squared bishops: 10.Nc4 Qc8! 11.Ne3

(After 11.Nd6 Black had prepared a small trap: 11...Qc7! 12.Nf5 Qxf4 13.Nxe7+ Kh8 14.Bxa6 Nxa6, and White has
huge problems with his knight on e7.)

11...Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Nc6

13.Bg5!? This move could be a small improvement! The idea is to exchange the not-so-good bishop for the knight.
Black’s knight on f6 performs a very good defensive function.

(In one game on the highest-level there was seen 13.c3 d5 14.Rae1 Qb7 15.Ne5 Rac8 16.a3 Rfe8 17.N3g4 Ne4!=
Kramnik,V -Leko,P Skopje 2015.)

13...d5 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.c3 Qb7 16.h4!? h6

(16...b5 17.Ng5 with good attacking chances.)

17.Ng4 Be7 18.Rae1 b5 19.Qd2 Kh7 and it’s not easy to make progress, but it seems as though here White has better
chances than in the afore-mentioned game. The idea could be g3-Kg2-Rh1 with the always unpleasant Ng5 on the

10.Re1 Nbd7 11.Bh2

A necessary prophylactic move avoiding an eventual ...e5 or ...Nd5!

Also making sense, and with the same idea, 11.Bg3!? perhaps offers more opportunities than having the bishop on h2!


A typical multifunctional move with the idea of ...Bf8, preparing e5 or with the plan of ...Nf8, ...Ng6.


This is the start of a concrete and deep plan from Gata Kamsky, planning to weaken Black’s position on the queenside.


If Black ignores White’s plan with 12...Qc7 then there appears 13.a5 Bf8 (13...bxa5 14.Nb3²)
14.a6! Bc6 15.c4 Rac8 16.b4² with a strong initiative on the queenside, as seen in Kamsky G.-Rozum I. RUS ch-team
rapid 2016.

13.a5 b5

The most natural reaction in order to preserve a healthy pawn structure.

Kamsky also has good experience of 13...d5 14.c3 Bc6 15.axb6 Qxb6 16.Ra2 Bb5 17.Bc2² Kamsky,G (2713) -Friedel,J
(2505) Saint Louis 2014

It’s because of this idea that White didn’t waste time by playing c3 earlier.

14...bxc4 15.Nxc4

The structure has completely changed and both sides get some pluses and minuses: White has an isolated pawn on d4
and Black obtains the nice d5 square for the knight. White’s compensation for that is pressure on the d6-pawn and also
weaknesses in Black’s camp. Mainly the b6-square and fixed pawn on a6.


In this demanding position Black was not accurate enough. Giving up the b6 square is a bad decision.

The only move to keep the balance was 15...Qb8! 16.Nfd2 Bc6 17.Ra3 Ra7!÷ with a very complex position in which
the stronger player should feel more comfortable.

16.Nb6 Ra7 17.Nd2!

Of course the knight from f3 has to support his colleague.

17...Nd5 18.Ndc4 Nxb6 19.Nxb6

The most logical move, increasing the pressure on the queenside!

It’s very interesting to see one of the forcing and crazy lines suggested by the engine! 19.axb6 Ra8

20.Rxe6!? Who could even dream about this? 20...fxe6 21.Qh5 h6

(21...g6? 22.Bxg6 hxg6 23.Qxg6+ Kh8 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Ra3 Bh4 26.Qg6+ Kf8 27.Bxd6+ Re7 28.Qh6+ Kg8 29.Qxh4
Nc6 30.Bxe7 Qxe7 31.Rg3++-)
22.Qg6 Nd7 23.Qh7+ Kf8

(23...Kf7? 24.Bg6+ Kf6 25.Bh5 Nf8 26.Be5+ dxe5 27.dxe5+ Kg5 28.Qxg7+ Kxh5 29.Qg4#)

24.Nxd6 Bxd6 25.Bxd6+ Re7 26.Bc7 Qc8 27.Bg6 Nf6 28.Qh8+ Ng8 29.Rc1 e5 30.Rc5 Qe6 31.Bd3 exd4! 32.Bc4 Qxc4
33.Rxc4 Kf7 and now White’s queen is in danger! 34.Bd6 Nf6 35.Bb8 Nd7 36.Rxd4 Rxb8 37.Rf4+ Ke6 38.Qh7 Nf6÷
This is real computer chess!



White forces a swap on b6, properly assessing that the pawn there will not be weak.

20...Nxb6 21.axb6 Ra8 22.Qa5 Qd7?

This natural move just accelerates the loss, because White gains the c-file.

Black should try to prevent the Rc1 move with 22...Bf6! 23.Ra4 Bc6 24.Rb4 Bg5! 25.Rd1 h6 and it’s still not easy for
White to break Black’s position.

23.Rac1 Rec8?

In a very tough position, Black makes one more mistake.

If he tries to cover the c7-square, then problems arise after 23...Bd8 24.Qb4!±;

And if Black tries to close the c-file with 23...Bc6

there comes the very attractive 24.d5! exd5 (24...Bxd5 25.Rc7 Qd8 26.Be4! Bxe4 27.Rxe4+- and White’s b-pawn will
soon be promoted.) 25.Rc2 Bg5 26.Rxe8+ Rxe8 27.Bg3± and again Black cannot parry the threats of the dangerous b-

24.Rc7! Rxc7 25.bxc7+-

The pawn gets closer to promotion and paralyses the black pieces.

25...Rc8 26.Rc1 Bc6

Everything loses now, White’s main idea being Qb6.

27.Bxa6 Rxc7


The last fine decision, after which White wins material.


Of no help was 28...Bd8 because White has 29.Rxc6! Rxc6 30.Bxc6 Bxa5 31.Bxd7+-


and Black resigned in view of

29...Qxc6 30.Rxc6 Rxa5 31.Rc8+ Bf8 32.Bxd6+- 1–0

Game 12
D. Bronstein — A. Sokolov [A47]

Moscow-ch Moscow (8), 1982

Dear readers, you have to pay serious attention to this very instructive game! First of all there are a lot of tiny shades in
move-orders, especially in White’s reaction with a4, preventing Black’s move ...b5. Likewise, the opening is something
you have to learn by studying chess classics. In this game, White showed a very nice plan — and probably the best
setup for White. It seems like he knew exactly what he was doing in the middlegame and won very convincingly.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3

With an unusual (and not interesting) move-order for us, this game soon transposed to our preferred position.

Once again our move-order would be 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 cxd4 5.exd4 b6 6.Nbd2 Be7 7.h3 Bb7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 d6 10.c3
Nbd7 Because of move-order finesses, always read the introduction to the chapters first!

3...b6 4.Bf4 Bb7 5.Nbd2 Be7 6.h3 0-0 7.e3 c5 8.Bd3 cxd4 9.exd4 d6 10.0-0 Nbd7

Here we are again at the crucial position.


A thematic move, but it reveals the idea!

For me more elastic is first 11.Re1 and then White can choose between Nc4 or Nf1, with idea of bringing the knight to
the ideal square e3. In this way White also keeps open the option to play c4.

11...Qc7 12.Re1 Rfe8

White had to count on 12...b5 as a response and because of that I always like to play first a4, so as to not worry about
this kind of move. 13.Ne3 Bc6 14.a4! a6 (14...bxa4 15.c4!² with the very unpleasant threat of pushing d5: the
unprotected bishop on e7 is a weak point in Black’s position.) 15.axb5 axb5 16.Qe2 Qb7 17.Nd2 b4 18.Ndc4² and
Black has some problems on the queenside.


Again I prefer 13.a4 a6 14.Ne3 with similar positions to the game, but avoiding ...b5. Not working for Black is 14...e5
15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Bg3² and White is better because of his strong pressure on e5.


A standard idea, but it seems like the wrong timing.

Here Black could use the perfect moment to play 13...b5 with the idea being to fix White’s pawns and to take space, and
after 14.Ne3 Bc6 15.a4 is not so strong because of 15...bxa4! 16.c4 Qb7 when the bishop on e7 is protected compared
with our previous line after 12...b5.

Another standard plan is 13...Bf8 14.a4 a6 15.Ne3² with the idea of initiating queenside play as in this game.


A standard idea! The knight on f3 is always under attack and now he moves from danger, seeking a better future.


The plan is to create pressure on the long diagonal (h1–a8) by putting the queen on b7.

This time the irritating 14...b5 was not a serious option, as after 15.Ne3 Bc6 16.Rc1! Qb7 17.c4 bxc4 18.Ndxc4²
Black’s pieces are badly placed.


Finally! White should have reached this position anyway with an early a4, without allowing the option of ...b5.

15...Ng6 16.Ne3²
Try to remember this setup of the white pieces. All of them are ideally placed; the knight on e3 stands very well,
protecting the g2-pawn and other important squares; the bishop on g3 is also nice, protecting against a potential Nh4
and pressuring the d6-pawn; finally, the queen from d1 prevents ...Nh5. Now everything is ready for a pawn launch on
the queenside.

16...Qb7 17.b4 Rac8 18.c4 a5

Black was forced to react somehow, otherwise comes b5, a5.

19.b5 Bd7 20.Be2

This move was not necessary as the bishop on d3 stood well.

It looks nice to take space on the kingside also with 20.h4± and then with h5 pushing Black’s pieces to the 7th and 8th


This is a serious weakening of the light-squares!

Probably better chances were offered by 20...d5 but White would still have a big advantage after 21.Bf3 Bb4 22.Rc1
Red8 23.Rc2! Be8 24.Qc1± when c5 is coming.


White wants to improve his position slowly, but he missed a good moment for a breakthrough.

Very strong was 21.c5! bxc5 22.dxe5 dxe5 23.Ndc4+- and White is positionally winning.

21...Qb8 22.Rc1 Ne4


After this move the holes in Black’s position are obvious, especially the d5- and c6-squares.

23...Bxg4 24.Qxg4 Nxg3 25.Qxg3 Bf8

Passive, but Black’s position is simply very bad. It shows in the following lines...

The seemingly active-looking 25...Nf4 is a possibility, but it doesn’t bring sufficient counter-play after 26.Nf5 g6
27.dxe5 dxe5 28.Nxe7+ Rxe7 29.c5! bxc5 30.Nxa5 Qa8 31.Nc4+- and the two connected pawns will decide the game.

Or on 25...h6 with the idea of activating the bishop on g5 comes 26.dxe5 dxe5 and again comes the breakthrough with
27.c5! Bxc5 28.Nxc5 Rxc5 29.Rxc5 bxc5 30.Nc4± and it’s just a matter of time as to when the a5-pawn falls.


A strange move, the idea behind it being a little unclear.

Instead it was a great moment to occupy the d5-square with 26.Nd5±? covering the f4-square and keeping Black’s
knight passive.


Permanently playing a tough position, Black doesn’t capitalise on the opportunity to complicate the position somewhat.

It was necessary to try 26...Nf4! 27.Nd5

(After 27.Red1 comes a point 27...Nd3!„ and Black activates his position using a small tactical trick.)

27...Nxd5 28.cxd5 exd4 29.Nxd4 Rxc1 30.Rxc1 Qd8² and Black would have some counter-play on the e-file.


Again the same thing happens!

White should restrict Black’s knight with 27.g3±


Sometimes strong players also have a bad day!

Hidden counter-play existed here too, revealed after 27...Nf4!„ threatening ...Nd3 and inserting his rook into play on
the 6th rank.


White wanders from the plan.

Again strong was the typical 28.c5! dxc5 29.dxc5 Bxc5 30.Nxc5 bxc5

(30...Rxc5 31.Rd8+ Nf8 32.Nd5+- and Black can’t move any pieces.)

31.Nc4± with an already-seen position and a crushing of the black position.



A difficult decision, though a choice born of concrete reasons! In general this move has big minuses and restrict many
of White’s better options. The d5-square is no longer weak and the breakthrough with c5 doesn’t work anymore.


The rook will be in the line of fire now, but it was the only active option.

Black would suffer greatly after 29...R6e7 30.Nd2± with easy play on the kingside with Ne4-Nf5-h4.

30.Nd2 Rf4
30...Nf4 31.Ne4 Rg6 32.Qf5± with next g3-Kg2.

31.Qe2 Rd4?

A miscalculation in a demanding position!

More resistant was 31...Rh4 and White needs to play very precisely to keep the advantage! 32.g3! Nf4☻ (32...Rxh3
33.Qg4 Rh6 34.Nf5+-) 33.Qf1 (33.gxf4? exf4„) 33...Nxh3+ 34.Kg2 Rh5 35.Qe2 g6 36.Ne4 Qe7 37.Ng4 Bg7 38.Rh1
Ng5 (38...f5 39.Rxh3 Rxh3 40.Kxh3 fxe4 41.c5! bxc5 42.Ne3±) 39.Rxh5 gxh5 40.Ne3! Nxe4 41.Nf5 Qg5 42.Qxe4±


Now Black’s rook is doomed after Nc2!


It’s too late for this kind of move!

33.gxf4 exf4 34.Qg4!+-

After this move White wins material, in the worst case an exchange.

34...h5 35.Qh4 g6

From all the bad possibilities Black had to choose just one and he decided to give up a piece.

Of no help either is 35...Be7 36.Nf5! Bxh4 37.Rxe8+ Kh7 38.Nxd4 Qd7 39.Re2 Qxh3 40.f3 Bf6 41.Nc6+- and White
has more than enough material for the queen, but nevertheless it was probably the best practical chance.


The best technical move! White gives back some material in order to simplify the position.

Less convincing is 36.Nf3 Rde4 37.Ng2 Qd7 and Black gets some activity and microscopic chances in view of the
awkwardly-placed queen on h4.

36...Rxe1+ 37.Rxe1 hxg4

A mating attack appears after 37...Rxd2 38.Nf6+ Kg7 39.Qxf4 Rd3 40.Re8 threat is Nh5 40...Rxh3 41.Qd4+-

38.Ne4 Rxe4

The only way to avoid mate!

38...Bg7 39.Nf6+ Bxf6 40.Re8+ Kg7 41.Qh8#

39.Rxe4 gxh3 40.Qd8

Now the white pieces penetrate the black camp and the rest of the game is clear.

40...f5 41.Re8 Qf7 42.Re6 Kg7 43.Kh2 f3 44.Qg5 Kh7 45.Kxh3 1–0



1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5

Here I prefer this move which has become very popular in recent years. I am not a supporter of 3.Bf4 in this position, as
Black can equalize relatively easily: the bishop on f4 doesn’t look so nice to me here, Black having the possibility to
play ...d6 striving for ...e5. Our opening setup in this chapter got its name thanks to the Mexican grandmaster Carlos
Torre, although it’s a little strange that part of the name is ‘attack’, because here we don’t see many ‘attacking’
positions. Probably after 2...e6 3.Bg5, which is also the Torre Attack, the resulting positions are sharper, but that is not
our topic right now. This opening is closer to the Reti opening with reversed colours, a tempo up for White. The
classical Reti goes like this 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bg4 or 2...c6 or 2...Nf6 with ...Bg4 next.


Moves like 3...Ne4 just accelerate White’s development after 4.Bh4 c5 (4...Bg7 5.Nbd2 d5 6.e3 c5 7.c3 Nxd2 8.Qxd2²)
5.c3 Qb6 6.Qb3 Qxb3 7.axb3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc6 9.e3 g5 10.Bg3 Nxd4 11.exd4 Nxg3 12.hxg3² when the two open files
and pawn structure promise him a slight advantage

4.Nbd2 0-0

A very serious continuation is 4...c5!?

with the idea of forcing White into e3 but we will also look at 5.Bxf6!? Bxf6 6.Ne4 Bxd4 7.Nxd4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 0-0 9.c4
Nc6 10.Qd2 d6 11.Nc3 — See Smyslov,V–Ernst, T, London 1988 and Cifuentes, P–Milos,G Kop Tjuchem open 1996;

4...d5 — is a transposition to 4...0-0;

4...d6 — transposes to 4...0-0;

The move 4...h6 has been played many times

aiming to take the bishop pair with 5.Bh4 d6 6.c3 g5 7.Bg3 Nh5 8.e4 — see Konovalov,V–Dvalishvili,P Aeroflot open

This is a waiting move which strengthens the centre. White awaits 5... d6 in order to play 6.e4!

It is well-known that after 5.e4 comes 5...d5! 6.e5 Ne4„ with a good position for Black.


Here Black is actually choosing between two equal continuations, to put the pawn on d5 or on d6, the main idea after
...d5 being to fight for the centre and to prevent e4.

The other plan with 5...d6 has the idea of ruining White’s centre with ...c5 or ...e5. 6.e4 c5 is the most common, and
most critical move here. The other gives comfortable positions for White. (In this position the options are 6...Nc6 7.Bb5
h6 8.Bh4 See Smyslov V.-Nunn J. Tilburg 1982; 6...Nbd7 — see Kasparov G.-Martinovic S. Baku 1980.; and 6...Qe8
and in all of them the idea is to play ...e5, when the positions and plans are very similar. See the game Ibragimov I.–
Isupov V. RUS-cup Smolensk 1997.) 7.dxc5 dxc5
and here I will show two possible plans for White. The first is 8.Bc4 — see Harikrishna P.-Shomoev A. Rus ch team
Dagomys 2008, and the second is 8.Be2 — see Miles A.-Sale S. Pula PCA open 1994.)

6.e3 Nbd7

6...b6 7.Be2 c5 8.0-0 Nc6 — see Bruzon L–Atabayev S. Baku ol 2016;

6...c5 7.Be2 Qb6 — see Gausel E.–Aagaard J. Excelsior cup 1998.


A very interesting move is 7.h3!? meeting Black’s main idea of 7...Re8 with 8.Bf4 and having a retreat for the bishop on
h2. The truth is that White hast lost tempos with-Bg5-Bf4 but the ...Re8 move is also not so useful in this structure.
Very often Black performs the manoeuvre ...Ne8-Nd6/Nf6 with the idea of placing the e4-square under control, and the
rook on e8 disturbs this plan.


This is the main continuation: the plan is to confront the centre with ...e5.

Possible is 7...c5, but it just transposes to 6...c5;

Or 7...b6, which is also a transposition to the 6... b6 line, with the small difference that Black’s knight is already on d7.
See Sasikiran K.- Mc Shane Biel 2004.

8.0-0 e5
We come to the most common position and one where White has plenty of intriguing ideas. We will see many
interesting different plans and games. 9.a4 — see Adams M–Jones G, Kilkenny Masters 2016, 9.h3 Eljanov P–Salgado
I, Qatar Masters open 2014 and 9.Nb3 — see Miles A–Nunn J, Lloyds Bank open 1993 and Kramnik V–Radjabov T,
Gashimov Mem. 2017. If White wants to fight for an advantage, the essence of his play must be to keep the tension in
the centre. After 9.dxe5 Black has solved all of his opening problems.
Game 13
V. Smyslov — T. Ernst [A48]

London, 1988

Here we meet with an extremely instructive classical game. Black chose the very interesting move-order with 4...c5,
designed to restrict White’s plans with e4, which is very popular also nowadays. White chose in reply the principled
5.Bf6, avoiding 5.e3 which is not his main idea. This position is underrated for White because it looks equal, but the ex-
World Champion showed the contrary, playing on his space advantage and demonstrating his great skills in the

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 c5!?

This move is directed against White plan of c3, e4.

For example: The main idea for White is to play, after 4...0-0, 5.c3 d6 6.e4 c5 7.d5 and this position will be explained
later in this chapter.


I suggest this move, which leads to a position with a small space advantage without risk.

The alternatives are: 5.e3 cxd4 6.exd4 which leads to some kind of Reti position with reversed colours where Black
continues with ...d6, aiming to play ...e5 at some point;

Also 5.c3 cxd4 6.cxd4 which leads to symmetrical positions where I don’t like the knight on d2 (instead of its natural
position on c3);

and 5.dxc5 Qa5 6.c3 Qxc5 7.Bxf6 Bxf6 8.Ne4 Qb6 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6= after which positions without ‘fire’ arise.

5...Bxf6 6.Ne4

Now Black is forced to give up the bishop pair.

6...Bxd4 7.Nxd4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 0-0 9.c4!

The only way of threatening Black’s position. It’s important to grab space and prevent an eventual ...d5.

White can’t even dream about a direct attack, because Black has a strong reply. 9.0-0-0 Nc6 10.Qd2 d5! and with this
freeing move Black grabs the initiative. 11.Qxd5 Qc7!ƒ with many threats such as ...Be6, ...Nb4, ...Rd8, ...Qf4.

9...Nc6 10.Qd2 d6 11.Nc3

The knight was hindering further development with e4.

11...Be6 12.e4

Now we have reached a typical Maroczy structure, one where Black has less space but without any weaknesses.


A typical move in this structure, preparing ...a6, ...b5. The downside to this move is always the questionable endgames
which arise after Nd5. In this game, Black didn’t find any reason to be happy.

Eight years before, one of the greatest world champions, Gary Kasparov, chose another and more direct plan avoiding
any endgames with 12...Qb6!? 13.Rd1?! Neglecting development of the kingside will cost White expensively by the

(Necessary was 13.Be2 f5 14.exf5 Rxf5 15.0-0 and it’s not visible how Black can intensify his pressure on the f-file.
After this consolidation of the king’s position, White’s plan is clear: to play against the pawn islands. For example:

(15...Raf8 16.Bg4)

16.b3 Raf8 17.Na4! Qc6 18.Qe3

(18.f4?! Nxc4!)
18...Rf4 19.c5)

13...Ne5 14.b3 f5 15.Be2 f4!³ Spiridonov N.-Kasparov G. Each 1980. and the knight secures a dominant position on e5.

13.Be2 a6 14.Nd5!

A very good decision. An endgame with his king closer to the centre than its opposite must be justified.

14...Qxd2+ 15.Kxd2² Bxd5?

A bad swap and Black was not forced to go for this. His knight will not have a safe place or stronghold.

More clever was to use a waiting strategy with 15...Rab8 16.Rac1 Kg7 with a slightly worse but solid position.


In general, without queens on the board, this is the best reaction. The bishop is now more active and White is going to
fight for the open c-file. With queens on the board, White more-often takes with the e-pawn, intending to put pressure
on the e7-pawn combined with an attack on the black king.

16...Nd4 17.Bd3

White keeps his bishop, which has more prospects here than the knight without an outpost.

17...Rfc8 18.Rac1 Kf8 19.Ke3 Nb5?±

An unacceptable error; the knight has no perspective or prospects here.

Much better was to defend the position with one weakness on d6. 19...e5 20.dxe6 Nxe6²

When all your pieces stand well, it’s necessary to grab more space and in this way make progress.

20...h6 21.h4 Na7 22.Rcf1!

Of course, White is not interested in swaps. With less pieces on the board it’s easier for the defending side with less
space. Black’s pieces are far from the kingside, which is becoming vulnerable.

22...Kg7 23.f4

White ignores the queenside and uses the old rule. ‘When your opponent has an isolated piece, in this case the knight on
a7, then switch the play to the other side.’

23...Rc5 24.h5 Rh8

Black was unable to block the kingside with 24...g5 because White has a breakthrough after 25.fxg5 hxg5 26.h6+ Kg8
27.Rh5 f6 28.e5! dxe5 29.d6+-

25.hxg6 fxg6 26.Rhg1

The first stage of White’s plan is successfully completed: the weaknesses in Black’s position are obvious.

26...Nb5 27.a4 Na7 28.Kd4 a5 29.e5!

The second stage begins. White opens the position, aiming to come for the weaknesses in the black camp.

29...Nc8 30.Rc1!

White is now fighting for the c-file and playing against the re-activation of the poor knight.

After 30...b6 Black’s knight would remain forever trapped.

31.Rxc5 dxc5+ 32.Kxc5 Nxa4+ 33.Kd4 Nxb2 34.Bb5!+-

Now White is winning. The bishop has a dual role; taking away squares for the knight and supporting the unstoppable d-

34...a4 35.d6 exd6 36.exd6 Rd8 37.d7 Kf6


The final precise move, cutting off the king and threatening Re8.
38...a3 39.Kc3 Ra8 40.Re8 Na4+ 41.Bxa4

Great technique by Vasja!


Game 14
R. P. Cifuentes — G. Milos [A48]

Koop Tjuchem op Groningen (9), 1996

This game is very similar to the previous one! Once more Black went into a slightly worse endgame, not feeling any
danger, but in this game also White demonstrated great knowledge and shared a recipe of how to play such endgames.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 c5 5.Bxf6 Bxf6 6.Ne4 Bxd4 7.Nxd4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 0-0 9.c4 Nc6 10.Qd2 d6
11.Nc3 Be6 12.e4 Qa5?! 13.Be2 Rfc8

Actually this move is different compared with the previous game. It doesn’t change too much in the position and the
plan for White is practically the same.

In the previous game we saw 13...a6 14.Nd5! with a pleasant endgame for White.


An important prophylactic move against some ...Ne5.


Essentially Black has no other plan except playing for ...b5.


Exactly the same as in the previous game; White at the right moment heads for the endgame.

15...Qxd2+ 16.Kxd2² Rab8

Compared to the previous game Black chooses a more resistant defence, not giving up his bishop by taking on d5.

17.Rac1 Kf8
Black defends the e7-pawn, preparing ...b5!

A big blunder would be 17...b5?? 18.cxb5 axb5 19.Rxc6!+-


Preventing ...b5 without weakening his pawn structure on the queenside.

Always be careful with moves like 18.a4? because very often the pawn b3 can become weak. 18...Nd4 19.Rc3 Bxd5
20.exd5 b5³

18...Rd8 19.Ke3

Black is now going to swap the irritating knight on b6.

19...Ne5 20.Rhd1 Nd7 21.Nxd7+ Rxd7

After 21...Bxd7 comes the same idea as in the game with 22.c5 dxc5 23.Rxc5²


A very nice decision! White will change the structure, making a route for his king on d4-c5-b6. Sometimes only by
simplifying is it possible to make progress, something which we often saw from the 3rd World Champion, Jose Raul

22...dxc5 23.Rxd7 Bxd7 24.Rxc5 Ke8

In this game also White uses the same principle of taking a space advantage, and fixing Black’s pawns on the light-
squares will prove useful for the future.

25...Rc8 26.Rxc8+ Bxc8 27.Kd4

With this swap White has obtained the possibility to activate his king even more.

27...Kd8 28.b4

White is also taking care on the other flank, trying to fix Black’s pawns on the queenside.


The idea of this is to prevent the advance of the a-pawn to a5, but now his kingside pawns will become fixed.
Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have time to prevent both.

In the case of 28...f6 then comes 29.f4 h6 30.a4! b6 31.a5 Kc7 32.Kd5!+- Black is in some kind of zugzwang. 32...e6+
(32...Bb7+ 33.Ke6 Bxe4 34.Kxe7 Bxg2 35.Kxf6 Be4 36.Bxa6+-) 33.Kd4 Bb7 34.g4 g5 35.hxg5 hxg5 36.e5! fxe5+
37.Kxe5 gxf4 38.axb6+ Kxb6 39.Kxf4+-

29.g4 h6


Now the pawns at f7 and g6 become targets.

30...hxg5 31.hxg5 f6

Black is trying to build some kind of fortress with the idea of preventing Ke5.

Passive defence also brings no relief: 31...Bc6 32.Ke5 Ke8 33.Bd3 Kd7 34.f4 e6 Otherwise White will play f5 and fxg6
when the weakness on g6 will be indefensible. 35.Kf6 Ke8 36.Bc2! b6 37.a4 a5 38.b5 Bb7 39.f5! exf5 40.exf5 gxf5
32.gxf6 exf6


Again a trade is the only way to make progress.


Black is forced to allow king into his camp in any event.

Also losing easily was 33...fxe5+ 34.Kxe5 Ke7 35.Bd3 g5 36.Bf5 Bc6 37.Bg4 b6 38.Kf5+-

34.exf6+ Kxf6 35.Kc5

Now the black pawns fall!


35...Bc6 36.Bxa6+-

36.a4 Ke5 37.Bf3 b5 38.axb5

In principle I don’t like this move. With fewer pawns on the board, Black has better chances to survive. Fortunately, in
this specific situation it changes nothing in the position.
I prefer 38.a5 Bc8 39.Kb6 Kf4 40.Bb7 Bxb7 41.Kxb7 g5 42.Kxa6 Kf3 43.Kxb5 Kxf2 44.a6 g4 45.a7+- and Black is too

38...axb5 39.Kxb5 g5

Black seeks his last chance, by exchanging pawns on the kingside with the idea of sacrificing his bishop for the b-pawn.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have time for all that.

40.Kc5 g4 41.Bc6 Bf5 42.b5 Bd3 43.b6 Ba6 44.Bd7 Kf4 45.Kd6 Kf3 46.Kc7

with Bc8! next. A brilliant game by the experienced Spanish grandmaster!


Game 15
N. Konovalov — P. Dvalishvili [A48]

Aeroflot Open B 2017 Moscow RUS (8.20), 28.02.2017

In this game I will show how you should react against Black’s typical plan from many similar openings: ...h6, ...g5,
...Nh5 harassing White’s bishop. Try to memorise White’s plan from this game with the regrouping of his knights,
otherwise you can’t count on an advantage.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 h6 5.Bh4 d6 6.c3 g5 7.Bg3 Nh5

In this way Black’s idea is very clear! He is going to take the bishop pair at all costs, but the negative side of this plan is
his lack of space and White’s strong centre.

8.e4 Nd7

Here Black also has alternatives!

Maybe the most flexible is 8...e6 9.Nc4

and now interesting is the slightly unpredictable move 9...f5!? which creates a mess on the board, and was played in the
game Malaniuk V.-Grigorian K. Rasht Khazar op 2016.

(9...Nd7 -transposes to our main game!; 9...Nc6 10.Nfd2 Nxg3 11.hxg3 b5 12.Ne3 a6 13.f4ƒ)

10.Nfd2! Nxg3 11.hxg3 fxe4 12.Qh5+ Ke7 13.Ne3 d5 14.0-0-0 Qe8 15.Qe2 Kd8 16.f3 exf3 17.gxf3© with strong
positional compensation for White after f4! next;

Undermining the centre with 8...c5 is not to be recommended after 9.dxc5! Nxg3 10.hxg3 dxc5 11.Bc4ƒ with the idea of
Qe2, 0-0-0 and Black doesn’t have a safe place for his king.

An important plan based on the idea of regrouping the knights. The e3-square is ideal for one of them.

9...e6 10.Nfd2 Nxg3 11.hxg3 Qe7

Black doesn’t declare his intentions and preserves the option of long castling.

It appears that the active 11...b5 does not provide sufficient counterplay, e.g. 12.Ne3 b4 (Rahmanov A.-Dubov D.
Aeroflot open 2016.) 13.Bb5! Rb8 14.Bc6 Rb6 15.Ba4 Rb8 16.Ndc4² with domination by White’s pieces.


Clearly the best place for the knight, from where it always prevents the ...e5 move because the f5-square will be too


This is a serious weakening and the beginning of the wrong plan, after which Black loses the option of long castling.

If Black tries to gain space on the queenside with 12...a6 then comes 13.a4 c5 14.d5 Nf6 15.Bc4²;

Clearly the best plan was 12...Nf6 13.f4 gxf4 14.gxf4 Bd7 15.Bd3 0-0-0² with less space but a very solid position and
safe king!


White is playing on both flanks, preventing the Black plan with long castling. Actually the biggest problem for Black in
this position is to find a safe home for his king.

13...a6 14.Bd3 Bb7 15.Qe2!

White has more useful moves! This prevents the long castle and prepares a pawn advance in the centre.

Black still waits, not finding an active plan.

Any active try would be unsuccessful. For example: 15...c5 16.d5 Ne5 17.Ndc4 exd5 18.Nxe5 Qxe5 19.exd5± with a
clear advantage as Black’s king is now more open and White obtains the nice f5 square for his pieces!


Everything is ready to build a full centre and really press the Black pieces.


Very sad for Black, but what else can he do?

After 16...c5 Black will just weaken his position even more! 17.e5 dxe5 18.dxe5 Nd5 19.Ndc4± and White gains the d6-


It seems as though the light-squared bishop starts to work after this, but the other from g7 is restricted, as is his knight
on d7.


With this move Black just opens the f-file against his own king.

Black can’t do anything against White centre. If he tries 17...c5 then comes 18.Ndc4! dxe5 19.dxe5+-;

Probably the best try to obtain counter-play was 17...f5 18.exd6 cxd6 19.fxg5 Kd8 (19...Qxg5 20.Nxf5+-; 19...hxg5
20.Rxh8+ Bxh8 21.Qh5++-) 20.g6 Re8 and although his position is objectively bad, Black has more chances compared
to the game: his optimism could be based on the bishop pair in a more open position.

18.fxe5+- a5 19.Be4!

White is going to trade the only active Black piece or take the important diagonal.

Black decides to avoid this swap, but his position remains very bad anyway.

If for example: 19...Bxe4 20.Nxe4 f5 21.exf6 Nxf6 22.Nxf6+ Bxf6 23.0-0 0-0 24.Rae1± and Black has many
weaknesses around his king.

20.Ndc4 Rd8 21.Bd3 Bb7 22.Rd1

A strange move, but Black can do nothing! It’s just a show of strength by White!

Also very logical was 22.0-0-0 Bc6 23.Bc2+-

22...Bc6 23.Bc2 Kf8

I have almost never seen such a hopeless position with balanced material before... the rest of the game is no longer
interesting and requires no commentary.

24.Qh5 Kg8 25.0-0 Bb7 26.Rf2 Rf8 27.Ng4 Ba6 28.Nd2 f5 29.exf6 Nxf6 30.Nxf6+ Rxf6 31.Rxf6 Qxf6 32.Qe8+ Bf8
33.Re1 Qf7 34.Qa8

This game could serve as a very nice example of the role and significance of the centre in the game of chess!


Game 16
I. Ibragimov — V. Isupov [B07]

RUS-Cup8 Smolensk (1), 1997

In this game Black opposes the White centre with ...e5, which is very normal and natural, especially for King’s Indian
players. White reacted with Bd3, keeping the tension in the centre and the position starts to remind one of the Ruy
Lopez, where White was able to grab space on the queenside. Try to memorise the very convincing White plan starting
from 11.a4

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 0-0 5.c3 d6 6.e4 Nbd7

This thematic move with the idea of playing ...e5 is not so good, because it narrows the possibilities for Black.

With the same idea of playing ...e5, but more active, is 6...Nc6 — see next game.

7.Bd3 e5 8.0-0 h6 9.Bh4


The wrong plan in this position. Black is in a hurry to play ...Nh5 but he hasn’t solved the problem of developing his
light-squared bishop.

Natural was 9...b6 10.a4 a6 11.Re1 Bb7² with a small edge for White thanks to his minimal space advantage! The
position reminds one again of the Ruy Lopez and the popular Breyer variation, where Black has pawns on b6/c7 instead
of c6/b5.

10.Re1 Nh5 11.a4!

White grabs space on the queenside, which makes Black’s position more difficult.


Black is also fighting for space on the queenside, although his choice was not so wide anyway.

For example, he could win a tempo with 11...Nf4 but it doesn’t essentially change the evaluation of this position. White
can continue with 12.Bf1 f5 This violent play doesn’t have a logical basis and White can punish it severely.

(12...a5 13.Bb5! The same motif as in our main game. 13...Kh8 14.Qc2 Ne6 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Nc4± and the disharmony
among Black’s pieces is obvious. Malakhatko,V (2529)-Solovchuk,A (2342) Simferopol 2003)

13.exf5 gxf5 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Bg3 Ng6

16.Nxe5! Ndxe5 17.Bxe5 Bxe5

(17...Nxe5 18.Nc4±)

18.Nc4 Bxh2+ 19.Kxh2± Jussupow, A (2640)-Kindermann,S (2570) Germany 1997


This is a key move which really causes headaches as Black is unable to continue without some future weakening of his
own position because the queen is pinned.

This is a serious weakening! In Black’s camp we can now see that both d6 and b6 are weak squares.

Probably less painful was 12...g5 13.Bg3 Nxg3 14.hxg3 Qe7 15.Nf1 Nf6 (15...exd4 16.cxd4 c5? 17.Ne3!± Bagheri,A
(2521)-Karr,J (2379) Montpellier 2006) 16.Ne3² but now White can play on the weak square f5.

The idea of exchanging dark-squared bishops with 12...Bf6 doesn’t work either, after which White wins material:
13.Bxd7! Bxd7 14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Nc4 Bc6 17.Nfxe5±

13.Bf1 Bf6?

This positionally-justified move is a mistake, the ‘good swap’ wasting a lot of time after which White takes the d-file
under control.

Better was 13...g5 14.Bg3 Nb6 15.Nc4 Nxc4 16.Bxc4 Nxg3 17.hxg3 Qe7 18.dxe5 dxe5 19.Nh2² with a long-term
advantage for White thanks to being able to use the f5-square in the future.

14.Bxf6 Nhxf6 15.Nc4 Qe7 16.Qd2!

This move highlights the shortcomings of Black’s 13th move. Now he loses one more important tempo having to defend
the h6-pawn.

16...Kg7 17.Rad1± Kh7

Black just leaves the move to White in the absence of useful moves. Any attempt would likely only worsen his position.


A useful move which again poses Black some problems.


After all the required preparations White begins some concrete action, exploiting the weak square on d6.

19...dxe5 20.Nd6 Rf8

The more active 20...Rd8 doesn’t bring about a better future. 21.Qe3 Ne8 (21...Nf8 22.Nxf7 Rxd1 23.N3xe5) 22.Nc4!
Any exchange would only facilitate the Black position. 22...b5 23.axb5 cxb5 24.Nb6 Nxb6 25.Qxb6 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 b4
27.cxb4 axb4 28.Qc6± with clear domination by White’s pieces.


White slowly improves his position and restricts the black knight on d7.

21...Ne8 22.Nxc8!?

Simplifying in order to win a pawn is logical!

In the old, classical style would be 22.Nc4 Nef6 23.Rd2±

22...Rxc8 23.Qa7! Nc5 24.Qxa5+-

The big advantage gained in the opening is now materialized into a pawn. The position is winning, but White has still to
work for the full point.

24...Nf6 25.Qb4 Rfe8 26.a5 Ra8 27.Nd2!?

Another knight is going to exploit the weak dark squares.

Also very strong was 27.Qc4 Kg7 28.b4+-

27...Rad8 28.f3

White has a weak complex of dark-squares, but Black cannot use this to mount serious counterplay.
28...Nh5 29.Nc4 Nf4 30.Kh2

Prophylaxis is always necessary in cutting out possible counterplay.

30...h5 31.Nd6!

With this small combination, all Black’s dreams are crushed.


A desperate exchange sacrifice, hoping to avoid a poor endgame.

The best practical chance, however, was 31...Rxd6 32.Qxc5 Red8 33.Rxd6 Qxd6 (33...Rxd6 34.Rd1 Rd7 35.Qxe7 Rxe7
36.h4+-) 34.Qxd6 Rxd6 35.b4 h4 36.Rb1 Kh6 37.b5 cxb5 38.Rxb5 Rd1 39.Kg1 Ra1 40.Rxe5 f6 41.Rc5 g5 with some
minimal chances for survival.

32.Nxe8 Rxe8 33.Qb6 h4 34.b4 1–0

Game 17
G. Kasparov — S. Martinovic [A48]

Baku Baku (15), 18.04.1980

Compared with our previous game, here the ex-World Champion chose another plan with 7.Be2 and next dxe5 defining
the structure. The game is very instructive and represents a model of how White should treat these types of positions.
Again, pay special attention to the knight manoeuvres, aiming for their best positions.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 d6 5.e4 0-0 6.c3 Nbd7 7.Be2

This looks passive, but the bishop will go to f1 later in any event.

7...e5 8.dxe5!?

White is actually playing the best plan from the Reti with reversed colours. The position looks symmetrical, but it is far
from being a boring and bloodless set-up. White’s plan is very simple: to grab space on the queenside! The bishop on
g5 is very unpleasant as it disturbs the typical ideas of ...Nh5 as in the Petrosian variation of the King’s Indian Defence.

Another serious option is 8.0-0 Qe8 9.Qc2 h6 10.Bh4 Nh5 11.Rfe1 Nf4 12.Bf1² maintaining the tension in the centre.


A very similar position arises after 8...Nxe5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.0-0 Qe7 11.Qc2 b6 12.Nc4 Bb7 13.f3 a5 14.a4 Rfd8
15.Kh1 h6 16.Bh4 Ba6 17.Ne3 Bxe2 18.Qxe2² with a long-term advantage thanks to the better bishop as in Ganguly,S
(2595) -Pichot,A (2480) Caleta 2015.

9.0-0 b6?!

This looks logical but it is always a tough question as to where to develop the light-squared bishop. However, here it
seems as though Black didn’t choose the ‘luckiest’ solution.

A more common plan is 9...Qe8, escaping the pin and aiming to play ...Nh5. 10.Re1 Nh5 11.Nc4 Nb6
(Also possible is 11...Bf6 12.Bxf6 Nhxf6 13.Bf1² but Black hasn’t solved his problems by trading the ‘bad’ bishop. He
has instead wasted a lot of time, and the e5-pawn is also weak now.)

12.Ne3! Of course, White avoids swaps. The knight on b6 is not a good piece and might become a target in the future.
12...f6! Black needs to close the diagonal in order to have ...Rd8 later.

(We will see an interesting motif after 12...h6 13.Bh4 Qe6 14.a4 a5 15.Bd8!± and in this very unusual way the bishop
decides the game.)

13.Bh4 Be6 14.c4! The position is very complex and the better player should feel more comfortable. To me it seems like
it’s easier to play with White, mainly because of the simple plan c5-b4, whereas Black’s plan is not so clear. He needs
to make difficult manoeuvres to improve his knights, and the idea of pushing ...f5 looks like an inaccessible dream.


10...Bb7 11.Qc2 h6 12.Bh4 Qe7

The typical idea with 12...g5 13.Bg3 Nh5 doesn’t work after 14.Bxe5! Nxe5 15.Nxe5± Bxe5 (15...Nf4 16.Ng4±)

13.Bf1 Rfe8

There would be a big weakening of the f5-square after 13...g5 14.Bg3 Nh5 15.Nc4² with Ne3 next;

Fighting for space on the queenside with 13...a5 makes sense, but it doesn’t change White’s play 14.a4 Rfe8 15.Nc4
Qe6 16.Nfd2² with the typical plan from the game of f3-Bf2 and at a suitable moment comes b4 with the idea of
making a passed a-pawn, or to create a weakness on a5 if that is Black’s defensive reaction.

So, everything is ready for action on the queenside in order to gain space and provoke weaknesses in the black camp.


A limp move with an obscure idea.

Much more logical was to slow down White’s play with 14...a5!? 15.a3 (Giving up the c5-square with 15.b5? would be
a huge positional mistake 15...Nc5µ) 15...Bc6 (15...Ra7 16.Nc4 Rea8 17.Rad1 Bc6 18.Qb1²) 16.Nc4 axb4 17.cxb4 Ba4
18.Qd2 Red8 19.Rac1 The threat is Nb2 19...c5 20.bxc5 bxc5 (20...Nxc5 21.Qb4±) 21.Qc3 Rdb8 22.Nfd2² with better
control of the important squares and prospective endgames thanks to the a-pawn.

15.Nc4 Rac8?!

This allows easy play with a4.

Better and more natural was 15...Qe6 16.Nfd2 (16.a4?! a5!„) 16...c5 17.a3 Rac8 18.f3²

16.a4 Qe6

After losing space it is harder for Black to find some active plan.

Looking for active play with 16...c5 would be very bad after 17.b5!± and Black will have big problems with his weak
b6-pawn and the d6-square.

17.Nfd2 Nh5 18.f3!

The dark-squared bishop has finished his job on the short diagonal h4-d8 and now he is transferred to the longer and
more useful g1–a7 diagonal to lend support to further activities on the queenside.

18...Bf6 19.Bf2

Of course, White is not interested in exchanging his good bishop.

19...Bg5 20.Ne3!

A nice multifunctional move! This frees the c4 square for the other minor pieces and for running the c-pawn.

20...Ndf6 21.c4 c6

It’s hard to recommend something better!

No joy comes from 21...c5 22.bxc5 bxc5 23.Nd5± and its just a matter of time when Black will collapse. White has
many pluses in this position; his pieces stand much better, especially the knight on d5 which dominates, while Black
can’t bring his knight to d4; The open b-file will be in White hands and probably the biggest problem in Black’s
position is the c5-pawn which will fall sooner or later.


The final minor piece searches for its best spot. White threatens a5 or c5 to get a lovely square for his knight and Black
can’t defend against both.


Black decides to cover the c5-square, otherwise a5 comes — gaining the wonderful c5-square.

23.c5 b5

Temporarily preventing Nc4-Nd6.

24.Red1 Be7

A wonderful move based on a small tactic in order to exploit weak square d6.


The point of the small combination is seen after 25...bxc4 26.Bxc4 Qf6 27.Rxd7+-

26.Nd6 Rb8 27.axb5 cxb5

A very sad position would result after 27...axb5 28.Ra7+-


The c-pawn becomes passed — and unstoppable without material loses. Black can’t oppose Bb6-c7 and the rest of the
game is more than clear.

28...Rbxb7 29.Qa2 Nb8 30.Na5

Concrete play and precise calculation always adorn the ex-World Champion’s games.

30...Qxa2 31.Rxa2 Ra7 32.c6 Ra8 33.Rc2 Bxb4 34.Rd8+ Kg7 35.Bb6 Bxa5 36.Bxa5 Rxc6 37.Rxb8! Rxb8 38.Rxc6 b4

A very mature game from the 17 year old future champion!


Game 18
V. Smyslov — J. Nunn DM [A48]

Interpolis Tilburg (4), 05.10.1982

Now we’ll take a look at yet another classic game where White demonstrated a typical light-square strategic plan.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 0-0 5.e4

As I said in the Chapter 3 introduction, our most accurate move-order is 5.c3 d6 6.e4


because now Black had the possibility to answer in the centre with 5...d5 6.e5 Ne4 and create counterplay.

6.c3 h6 7.Bh4 Nc6

Compared with our previous game, Black puts the knight on a more active square, aiming for ...e7-e5, characteristic of
the King’s Indian Defence.

For 7...Nbd7 8.Bd3 e5 9.0-0 see the game Ibragimov,I - Isupov,V


The most logical developing move! By developing the bishop to b5 White avoids ...e7-e5 for a little while.

8.Bd3 e5 would be a better version for Black compared to our game.


8...e5 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qa4! putting pressure on the weak queenside pawns and preventing ...Ba6 11...Rb8!
(11...Qe8 12.0-0-0 Qe6 13.Nb3 and White’s position looks more comfortable.) 12.0-0-0 and White has the slightly
better position
9.0-0 a6 10.Bc4!?

The 7th World champion predicts ...e7-e5 and puts the bishop on an inconvenient diagonal for Black.

My opinion is that 10.Ba4

is a better retreat square, however, because now White wants to provoke ...b7-b5 making Black’s queenside structure
weaker, as in the Spanish defence. For example: 10...b5 11.Bb3 e5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Re1 and White’s modest advantage
is based on the provoked queenside pawn actions of Black.

10...e5 11.dxe5

A positional mistake.

The pawn should be captured by a piece, because the knight on c6 is restricted by the c3-pawn. 11...Nxe5 12.Nxe5 dxe5
13.f3!? Completing the chain g2-e4 and releasing the f2-square for the bishop. 13...Qe7 14.Qe2 Rfd8 15.Rfd1 Qe8
promises Black good chances to equalize.

12.Re1 Qe8 13.a4!?

Grabbing space and releasing a2 for bishop

It’s interesting, but for old school players an unacceptable option was 13.Bd5 offering up the bishop pair, but releasing
c4 for the knight to put stronger pressure on the e5-pawn. 13...Nd8! (13...Nxd5? 14.exd5 Nd8 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.f4±)
14.Bb3 Nh5 15.Nc4 Be6 16.Ne3 with a comfortable position for White.

13...Nh5 14.Nb3 g5

Also logical was 14...Be6 15.Bd5 (intending Nc5) 15...b6 16.a5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Nxa5 18.Nxa5 bxa5 19.Nd4! and after
next Nc6 the assessment is that White has a clear edge.

15.Bg3 Rd8 16.Nfd2


One more positional mistake, trading an active piece for a passive one and leaving the dark-squared bishop less able to

More aggressive was 16...Nf4 17.Qc2 h5 18.f3 Ne7 19.Nc5 Bc8 20.b4 when a very ‘tetchy’ position appears on the
board. White has better coordination, but Black has chances for a counter-attack on kingside.

17.hxg3 Kh8?!

Black continues to follow the wrong plan.

¹17...Nb8 This complex and not-easy-to-find manoeuvre keeps Black in with a chance of equalising, although after
18.Nc5 Bc6 19.Qe2 Nd7 20.Ndb3² White still exerts pressure.

18.Qe2 Qe7 19.Nf1


Wasting time and removing the well-placed queen.

The ‘must-play’ move was 19...f5 20.exf5 Bxf5 21.Ne3 e4 22.Red1 Bg6 White still has a clear advantage, but Black has
opened the position for his bishops and can wait for a good moment to organise counterplay. This is probably the best
practical chance, as his way of playing in the game looks suicidal!

20.Nc5 Bc8 21.Ne3 Ne7 22.a5 Qg6

Black wasn’t consistent! He played without a plan, let White mobilize his minor pieces on their best squares and pick
off all the important light-squares.


This pawn sacrifice doesn’t solve any of Black’s problems.

¹23...Ng8 24.Bd5 c6 25.Bc4 Nf6 26.Nf5 Rfe8± with ...Bf8 next and Black at least ‘recruits’ his pieces and can still
believe in the game turning round at some point.

24.Nf5! Nxf5

24...Qc6 25.Nxe7 Qxc5 26.Nxc8 Rxc8 27.b4 Qe7 28.Bxa6+- and the game heads the same way...

25.gxf5 Qc6 26.Nxa6+- Bxa6 27.Bxa6

A pawn up and with the better opposite-coloured bishop is enough to evaluate this position as winning for White. Now
everything is a question of technique.

27...bxa5 28.Rxa5 Ra8 29.Rea1 Rfd8 30.Bc4 Rxa5 31.Rxa5 Kg8 32.Ra6 Qd7 33.Bd5 Qe7 34.Qh5 Rd6 35.Rxd6 cxd6

A nice example of the dominance of opposite-coloured bishops.


and the passed b-pawn decides the game, so...


Game 19
P. Harikrishna — A. Shomoev [A48]

RUS-chT Dagomys (8), 10.04.2008

We come now to one of the most critical positions in the Torre Attack. Black uses the idea with 6...c5, the one which
has the best reputation! The Indian star, well-known as a very strong positional player, chooses the plan with 7.dxc5
followed by 8.Bc4 putting his pieces on the most active squares. In general, the position is very unclear and contains a
lot of poison.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 d6 5.e4 0-0 6.c3 c5 7.dxc5

Many times on the top level 7.d5 has been tested but Black didn’t have any real problems in equalising. After 7...e6
8.dxe6 Bxe6=

7...dxc5 8.Bc4

This is the most active place for the bishop. The main idea is to play Qe2 with e5 next if it’s possible.

8...Nc6 9.Qe2 Qc7

This is the usual mode of development for Black. It indirectly opposes e5 and aims for ...Nh5 and then...Nf4.


Always an interesting move, and one which leads to non-standard positions, is 10.e5!? and now Black has two options:
Much the better looking is 10...Nh5!

(It seems as though 10...Ng4?! is not so good after 11.e6 f5

(11...f6 12.Bh4 f5 13.0-0²)

(Too risky would be 12.0-0-0? b5! 13.Bxb5 Rb8→ with a strong attack as in Rodriguez Fontecha,M (2179)-Hebden,M
(2510) La Pobla de Lillet 2005; Deserving of attention also is 12.g3!? with the idea of Bf4)


(In case of 12...h6 an important move is 13.h3! hxg5 14.hxg4 Qf4 15.gxf5 gxf5 16.g3 Qg4 17.Qe3 f4 18.Qe4²)

13.h3 Nf6 14.Rfe1 Bb7 15.Rad1 Rad8 16.a3² and now the pawn on e6 is powerful.)


(At this moment 11.e6 is not so good 11...f6 12.Be3 Na5„ and the e6-pawn becomes a real weakness.)


(On accepting the pawn sacrifice Black is in serious trouble after 11...Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.Rhe1 Bf6 14.Bxf6 exf6


12...Nxe5 Now Black takes the pawn in a better version! 13.Nxe5 Qxe5 14.g4 Nf6 15.f4 Qc7 16.f5© Tzermiadianos A.-
Kotronias V. Acropolis open 2003.


Black is asking White’s bishop to make a statement.

In a game between two strong grandmasters, Black didn’t fare well after 10...b6 11.Rfe1 h6 12.Bh4 Nh5 13.e5! Nf4
14.Qe4 Ne6 15.Bg3 Rb8 16.Bd5 Ncd8 17.Rad1± Sasikiran,K (2675)-Kasimdzhanov,R (2672) Doha 2006.

Surely the most principled.

It seems that 11.Be3 is not the best solution: 11...b6 12.h3 Bb7= and White’s queen on e2 has lost her function; pushing
e5 looks like a distant dream now.

The tested move is 11.Bxf6 but after 11...exf6 Black has good counterplay (Bad is 11...Bxf6 because after 12.Qe3 Black
loses a pawn.) 12.Nh4 g5! 13.Nf5 Bxf5 14.exf5 Rae8 15.Qf3 (15.Ne4 Qe5!÷) 15...Ne5 16.Qe4 Nxc4 17.Qxc4 Qd7„
1/2–1/2 (21) Adhiban,B (2671) -Demchenko,A (2600) Abu Dhabi 2016.

11...Nh5 12.Qe3 Na5

Black chooses to remove the bishop from the dangerous diagonal.

Another very reasonable option was to take the bishop pair with 12...g5 13.Bg3 Nxg3 14.hxg3 b6 15.Nh2!? g4!
Otherwise f4-e5 is coming 16.Rfd1 Rb8 17.Ndf1! Ne5 18.Qf4 Qc6 19.Ne3 Nxc4 20.Nxc4 Bb7 21.Ne5 Bxe5 22.Qxe5
Qxe4 23.Qxe4 Bxe4 24.Nxg4 Kg7 25.Ne3 Rfd8 26.f3 Bg6 with an approximately equal endgame: Black has only one
weakness on h6. Rakhmanov,A -Chigaev,M Voronezh 2014

13.Bd3 c4

Black grabs space and prevents Nc4 or sometimes b4, but the knight on a5 will be out of play for a long time.
Everything has its price!

In case of 13...Be6 there appears 14.e5, which is the main idea.

14.Bc2 e5
The structure has transposed to some kind of Ruy Lopez! Objectively the position is very complex: Black has more
space on the queenside and the white bishop on c2 is very passive, but the other on h4 controls the very important
square d8 which offers the possibility of taking the d-file. Also, Black’s knights are not so well-placed.

15.Rfd1 Be6 16.Nf1 b5 17.Ng3! Nxg3

After 17...Nf4?! White had prepared a nice idea with 18.Nf5! gxf5 19.exf5+- and the Ruy Lopez bishop has become a
beast! 19...Bd7 20.f6 Bh8 21.Rxd7! Qxd7 22.Nxe5 with mate soon.

18.Bxg3 Rfb8?!

A very ugly prophylactic move! And it is a big waste of time!

Black should improve his knight with 18...Nb7 and had no reason to be afraid of 19.a4?! bxa4! 20.Rxa4 Nc5 with strong
counterplay on the b-file.

19.h3 Nb7 20.Rd2 Nc5 21.Rad1 a5?

Black completely overlooked a tactic in this seemingly calm position.

Very strong was 21...Na4! 22.Bxa4 (22.Bb1 b4!µ) 22...bxa4 and now 23.Nxe5 is not as strong as in the game. 23...Bxe5
24.f4 Bf6 25.f5 Qb6! 26.Qxb6 Rxb6 27.fxe6 Rxe6 28.Rd6 Rae8=


A very nice tactical blow based on the bad position of Black’s queen on the h2-b8 diagonal.

22...Bxe5 23.f4 Bg7?

Another wrong move, made in panic.

Black should search for survival in the endgame after 23...Nd3! 24.Bxd3 cxd3 25.fxe5 Qb6 26.Qxb6 Rxb6 27.Rxd3
Bxa2 28.Rd8+ Rxd8 29.Rxd8+ Kh7 30.Bf2 Rb7±

24.f5 Be5

This is too much!

The simplest was 25.Qxh6! with a decisive attack 25...Nd3

(25...Bxg3 26.f6! with mate in 2)

26.Bxe5 Qxe5

(26...Nxe5 27.Rd6!

(27.f6? Qc5+! 28.Rd4 Qf8µ)

27...Qe7 28.fxe6 fxe6 29.Qf4 Nf7 30.Rd7 Qc5+ 31.Kh1 Rf8 32.Qf6+-)

27.Bxd3 cxd3 28.Rf2 Qg7

(28...gxf5 29.exf5 Bxf5 30.Qg5+ Qg7 31.Qxf5+-)

29.Qxg7+ Kxg7 30.fxe6 fxe6 31.Rxd3+-

25...Bxg3 26.Qxg3 Qe7?

One more mistake in a slew of them!

After 26...Nb7! Black would be completely back in the game. 27.Rd8+

(27.fxe6 Nxd6 28.Rxd6 Qc5+ 29.Kh2 Qg5 30.exf7+ Kg7„)

27...Qxd8 28.Rxd8+ Nxd8 and it’s not clear how White can increase the pressure.

27.fxe6 Nxe6 28.e5±

After the fireworks, White is left with big positional pluses: the better bishop and domination of the d-file are enough to

28...Ra7 29.Be4

White is playing for domination in the ending, but probably objectively stronger was 29.h4 playing for the attack.

29...Qg5 30.Qxg5 Nxg5 31.Bd5 Kg7 32.h4 Nh7


White trades pawns in order to open files for his rooks.


Searching for chances in the rook endgame is understandable.

34.exf7 Nxd5 35.R1xd5 Rxf7

Black must give up a pawn anyway.

35...Kxf7 36.h5! gxh5 37.Rxh6+-

36.Ra6 b4

The most active defence in rook endgames is always the best try.

36...a4 37.Rdd6+-

37.Rdd6 bxc3 38.Rxg6+ Kf8 39.bxc3 Rb1+ 40.Kh2 Rc1 41.Rxa5 Rxc3 42.Ra8+ Ke7


The position is now winning, but White still needs to play precisely to neutralize the last danger, the c-pawn. The rest of
the game is pretty clear though and doesn’t require special comment.

43...Rc1 44.a4 c3 45.Ra7+ Kf8 46.Rxf7+ Kxf7 47.Rc6 Ke7 48.a5 Kd7 49.Rc4 Kd6 50.a6 Kd5 51.Rc8 1–0

Game 20
A. Miles J — S. Sale [A48]

Pula PCA op Pula, 1994

It’s always interesting to see the reactions of the very talented and creative grandmaster Anthony Miles. In this game he
showed a very solid and clear plan and actually explained what White has to do in such structures, building his position

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c3 Bg7 4.Bg5 0-0 5.Nbd2 d6 6.e4 c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Be2

This is a different plan compared with the previous game. Here White chooses a more solid way of development, his
bishop going to e2, keeping the c4-square free for his knight.

8...Nc6 9.0-0 Qc7

The move 9...h6 doesn’t make a critical difference, e.g. 10.Be3 b6 11.h3 with completely the same ideas as in the game.


An important prophylactic move, with the idea being to make a safe retreat for the bishop on e3.


In this way White secures his dark-squared bishop.

Less precise is 11.Re1 Nf4 12.Bf1 h6 13.Bh4 and now Black has 13...Nh5!³ with the idea of ...g5

11...b6 12.Re1 Bb7

Tournament practice has also seen 12...Nf4 but its very similar to our game. White’s idea is always the same: Qc2-a4-
Nc4 slowly improving his position and taking space. 13.Bf1 Rd8 14.Qc2 Ne5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Nc4 Bg7 17.a4 Bb7
18.a5 Ne6 19.axb6 axb6 20.Qb3 Bxe4 21.Qxb6 Qxb6 22.Nxb6² Melkumyan,H-Dvirnyy,D Reykjavik 2015.

13.Qc2 Rad8 14.Rad1

Both players have finished their development and now it’s necessary to find a plan. It seems as though White has the
clearer plan with a4-Nc4-Bf1–g3.


A logical move; Black prepares for exchanging rooks.

Trading one pair of knights doesn’t make Black’s position easier: 14...Ne5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.a4 Nf6 17.Bd3 with a4-a5

15.a4 Rfd8 16.Nc4

White is not worried about trading rooks and simply continues with his plan. The knight on c4 is very nice and prevents
Black’s plan with ...a6, ...b5, because there always comes Qb3.


For me this looks like the beginning of the wrong plan. Black is trying to improve his knight but it seems that he didn’t
choose the luckiest solution. A better approach was 16...Nf6! 17.Rxd7 Nxd7 18.Rd1 Nde5 with the idea of exchanging
both white knights, especially the one on c4, after which Black is close to reaching equality.

17.Bf1 Ne6

The knight returns to the game, but his actual function is not so visible.


Now White decides to exchange rooks and base his strategy against the knight on e6.

18...Rxd7 19.Rd1 Kf8


With this move White takes space and will activate his bishop with h4-Bh3.

20...Rxd1 21.Qxd1 Qd8 22.Qc2

With an exchange of queens Black would have an easier defensive time.

22...Qd7 23.h4 Nc7

The knight again seeks a better place and moves from the possible pin after Bh3.

24.Bf4 Ne8

In an elegant way, the bishop comes to h3.

25...h6 26.Bh3 Qd8 27.Nf3 Bc8?!

This was the result of a faulty evaluation. With this exchange, the light-squares on the queenside will become weak.

It was better to continue with a waiting strategy, for example: 27...Nf6 28.Nfd2 Nh5 29.Be3 Nf6 30.f3 h5² and his
position would be a little bit passive but without weaknesses.

28.Bxc8 Qxc8 29.Qd2


Mistakes like this one are very common when missing an active plan in the position.

The best defence was 29...Nf6 30.Qd3 (White can’t make progress after 30.e5 Ng4 31.Qd5 Qe6! 32.Qxe6 fxe6= and the
position is objectively drawn. All White’s minor pieces are related to defence of the e5-pawn and his king with the
pawn on f2.) 30...Qd7 31.Qxd7 Nxd7 32.Bc7!² and White has an easy endgame without risk.


Probably Black missed this strong move. Now he is forced to admit his mistake.


Very bad would be 30...Qxd5? 31.exd5+- and Black’s knight doesn’t have a good square, while Bb8 is also a major


Only with such energetic play is it possible to break down the still healthy black position.

31...Nxe5 32.Nxe5 e6

There are no other ways to avoid material losses.

Alternatives lead to a quick loss: 32...Nd6 33.Nc6 Qc7 34.e5+-;

Or 32...Bxe5 33.Qxe5 f6 34.Bxh6++-

33.Qc6 Qd8

After 33...Qxc6 34.Nxc6 Black can’t defend his pawns on the queenside. 34...a5 (34...a6 35.Nb8+-) 35.Bb8+- with Ba7

34.Nc4 Kg8?
Again a passive move under straitened circumstances.

Black had nothing better than to wait and he should try instead 34...g5! 35.hxg5 hxg5 36.Bd6+ Nxd6 37.Nxd6 Be5
38.Nc4 Bc7² with a still-fighting position, although the queen and knight are famous as a much better combination than
queen and bishop.


The late English chess legend chooses a useful prophylactic move, avoiding a check on d1. It seems that he was not
interested in calculating so much.

Very logical — and faster — was 35.e5! with the idea of taking squares from the black knight and building a stronghold
on d6. 35...Nc7 (35...Qd1+ 36.Kh2 Kf8 37.Nd6+-) 36.Qd6! Qc8 (36...Qxd6 37.exd6 Nd5 38.d7 Bf6 39.Bxh6+-) 37.Qe7
with full domination by the white pieces. 37...Bf8 38.Nd6!+-

35...Nf6 36.Qb7 Qd7 37.Qxd7 Nxd7


This was a key move! White prevents the last active plan with ...a6, ...b5. Now his strategy is very simple: taking space
on both flanks and bringing king to e4, while Black is in some kind of stalemate.


Fighting for the some space with 38...f5 was an option but without any essential difference to the game. 39.e5 g5 40.h5±
and White just needs to prepare a breakthrough with a5 as in the game.

39.f4 Bf8 40.e5 Be7 41.a5!

This breakthrough on the vulnerable Black queenside was expected.

Between two bad options, Black chose this one!

Also unappealing was 41...bxa5 42.Bxa5 f6 43.exf6 Bxf6 44.Bc7 Kf7 45.Kf3± and the king swims across to pick up the
a-pawn with Ke4-Kd3-Kc2-Kb3-Ka4 etc.


This is the point!


Black is unable to defend his pawn with 42...a6 because of 43.Nxb5! axb5 44.a6+- and the white a-pawn is unstoppable.

43.Nc4 Kf8
It was not possible to avoid fixing the pawn on a7 with 43...a6 because White wins a piece after 44.Nb6 Nf8 45.Nc8+-


Of course, sooner or later the a-pawn will fall.

44...Ke8 45.Kf3 f6

Now it’s already too late for counterplay.

The safest way is to bring the king to the queenside!

Unnecessary, and giving counterplay, would be 46.Na5?! bxc3 47.bxc3 fxe5 48.Nc6 c4! and Black is still in the game.

46...Kf7 47.Kd3 g5

This was the last try in a hopeless position.

48.exf6 gxh4 49.fxe7 hxg3 50.Bd8 Nf6 51.Nd6+ Kg6 52.Ke2 1–0

Torre with 6...h6 included [A48]

Against Black’s move-order with 6...h6 included I couldn’t find any good representative games from tournament
practice, so this time I will give you my own recipe on how to treat this position.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 0-0 5.c3 d6 6.e4 h6!

This move-order is regarded as the most precise! Black forces the bishop to h4 with the plan being to get the nice f4-
square for his knight! Pay attention to our previous game Miles-Sale, where Black didn’t include ...h6 and White was
able to play Be3!

7.Bh4 c5 8.dxc5 dxc5 9.Qc2!?

Here I recommend another plan which is not often played! The idea is to bring a rook to d1, with a knight coming to c4
and then to e3 harassing Black’s queen. Actually White waits with the development of his light-squared bishop for the
best moment.

Here, if White continued with the same plan from the game Harikrishna P.–Shomoev A., we can feel the big difference
— and problems — of the unprotected f4-square.

9.Bc4 Nc6 10.0-0

(10.Qe2 Na5! 11.Bd3 Nh5 12.Qe3 Nf4! 13.Qxf4 Qxd3 14.Bxe7 Re8 with a strong initiative! Kacheishvili,G–
Sutovsky,E Guarapuava 1995.)

10...Nh5 11.Qe2 Qc7 12.Rfe1 Na5! 13.Bb5 a6 14.Ba4 b5 15.Bc2 e5³ with a great version of a Ruy Lopez for Black.
The queen on e2 stands awkwardly! Carlsen,M-Inarkiev, E Baku 2008.

Black can equalize relatively easily after 9.Be2 Nc6 10.0-0 Nh5² and again the f4-square is problematic.


The same position arises after 9...Nc6 10.Nc4 Nh5 11.Rd1 but from a different move-order.

10.Nc4 Nc6 11.Rd1 Qc7 12.Ne3!?

The knight stands well here! It aims to go to d5, and protects g2 in case of an eventual ...Nf4!


The most logical! Black needs to cover the d5-square.

An interesting move suggested by the engines! The idea of this move is to play Ng4, targeting the pawn on h6.


13...Qf4 doesn’t make sense because after 14.Bd3 next is Bg3 and the h-file will be opened;

13...Kh7?! 14.Bg3 Nxg3 15.hxg3 Ne5 16.Be2² and Black’s king is under fire on the h-file;

13...b6 14.Ng4 Qf4

(14...Kh7 15.e5!
A very nice move with the threat of Bf6! 15...Ne7 16.Bf6 Ng8 17.Bxg7 Nxg7

(17...Kxg7 18.Qe3² and the knight on h5 is out of play.)

18.Be2 Bb7 19.0-0 The position is objectively equal, but a touch more comfortable for White.)

15.Qxf4 Nxf4 16.Nf6+ Bxf6 17.Bxf6 Nh5 18.Bh4 g5 19.Bg3 Nxg3 20.hxg3 Kg7 21.Bb5 Bb7 22.Rd7 Na5 23.b4 Bc6
24.Bxc6 Nxc6 25.bxc5 bxc5 26.Ke2² with a slight advantage because of the active Rd7 and his king being closer to the

13...g5? 14.Bg3 Nxg3 15.hxg3 Ne5 Trying to prevent Ng4 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Bd3 f5 18.Bb1± with a clear advantage for
White. He has control over the d-file and Black has problems with developing his pieces on the queenside.

14.Ng4 Kh7 15.Bg3 e5 16.Ne3

The engine evaluation doesn’t show an advantage for White, but from a human point of view it’s easier to play as White
mainly because of the weak d5-square.

Game 21
L. B. Batista — S. Atabayev [D03]

Baku ol (Men) 42nd Baku (6.2), 08.09.2016

We come now to another Black set-up with ...d5 instead of ...d6. Of course, Black’s main idea is to take more space. In
general, the main battle takes place around the central fields e5 and e4. The position has a more closed character and
both sides need to have a lot of patience for long manoeuvring. This game is an excellent example of this.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5

The game starts as a Trompowsky but later transposes to our positions.

Our preferred move-order would be 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 d5 5.e3 0-0 6.c3 b6 7.Be2 c5 8.0-0 Nc6

2...g6 3.Nd2 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.Ngf3 0-0 6.Be2 c5 7.c3 b6 8.0-0 Nc6!?

Compared with a knight placed on d7, Black’s main idea is to prevent b4. On the other hand, the knight on c6 is less
flexible and Black has less control over the e4-square, so it means Black doesn’t have ideas with ...Ne4.


Always a useful move in this kind of position: White secures his dark-squared bishop against the potential plan ...h6
...g5, ...Nh5.

Very typical for such positions is 9.Qa4!? Bb7 (9...Bd7 10.Qa3²) 10.Rfd1 and now it’s not easy for Black to find a plan.
His queen doesn’t have such a good spot, while White has many useful moves like Rac1–Qa3 pressuring the centre.
(You always have to be careful about 10.b4?! because here Black has a strong answer with 10...Ne4! 11.Nxe4 dxe4
12.Nd2 cxb4 13.cxb4 a5! 14.b5 Nb4³) 10...cxd4 11.cxd4² and in this symmetrical structure White has the advantage
thanks to his more active bishops.

9...h6 10.Bh4 Bb7 11.a3 a5

If Black allows b4, the whole plan with 8... Nc6 would be senseless.


White gives up on the b4-idea and is instead going to use the weak square on b5.


Black is trying to improve the position of his minor pieces, going for an eventual ...e5 break.


Black’s position is rather sensitive, the central pawn on d5 and the one on b6 becoming targets for White.


By moving his queen from the h4-d8 diagonal, Black is aiming to play ...e5 or ...e6.

An interesting alternative was to improve his useless knight from c6 with 13...Na7 14.Rfd1 Nc8 15.Rac1 Nd6 16.Bg3
Nf5 17.Bh2² but still Black wouldn’t solve all the problems in his position. The white bishop on h2 is extremely strong
and the other White pieces are better placed.

14.Bg3 Re8

Black plays a useful and safe move.

Opening the position in the centre with 14...e5 was not such a good option after 15.Nxe5 Ncxe5 16.dxe5 and Black is
forced to play 16...c4 otherwise the b6-pawn is hanging. 17.Qc2 Nxe5 18.Rfd1² and the d5-pawn would be a long-
lasting weakness.

15.Rfd1 e6

Black gives up on the plan of ...e5 and reinforces his centre instead.
Also here, 15...e5 doesn’t work out well after 16.dxe5 Ncxe5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Bxe5 Rxe5 19.Bg4! f5 20.Bf3± and
Black will have too many weaknesses.

16.Rac1 Ba6

A logical decision! The light-squared bishop is useless!

17.Bxa6 Qxa6 18.Nb1!

White is searching for the best position for his knight — on b5!

18...c4 19.Qc2 b5!

The a5-pawn will not be weak and Black hopes for counterplay on the open b-file by attacking the b2-pawn.

20.axb5 Qxb5 21.Na3 Qa6 22.e4

In this structure, when Black closes the centre with c4, it allows White to play e4.

22...a4 23.Nd2!
The knight is heading for the ideal square e3, creating pressure on the d5-pawn.


A binding move! The idea is to force White’s reaction in the centre but the other side of the coin is that is a weakening
of his king position.

It was again safer to continue the waiting strategy without weakening his position: 23...Qb7 24.Re1 Nf6 25.Re2 Na5
26.Rce1 Nb3 27.exd5 exd5 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Rxe8+ Nxe8 30.Nf1 Bf8 31.Ne3 Nf6= and it’s not easy for White to
intensify his pressure on the d5-pawn.

24.exf5 exf5 25.Nf1 Re4

With this move Black fights for the e-file, which is really important in this position.


A nice prophylactic move against doubling rooks.


26...Rae8 brings nothing for Black because of 27.Nb1! Nb6 28.Nbd2 Re2 29.Ne3 Qb5 30.Re1! (30.Kf1? Nxd4! 31.cxd4
c3–+) 30...Rxe1+ 31.Rxe1 Na5 32.h4! h5 33.Nf3± with many weaknesses in Black’s position.


White is on top-form and avoids traps.

The attractive-looking 27.Nb1 allows 27...f4! 28.f3 Rxd4! 29.cxd4 Nxd4 30.Qxg6 (30.Rxd4 Bxd4+ 31.Bf2 Qxb2
32.Qxg6+ Kf8 33.Qd6+ Ke8–+) 30...Ne5 31.Qd6 Nf7 32.Qg6 Ra6 33.Qh5 Qxb2 34.Nbd2 Ne2+ 35.Kh1 fxg3µ and
White’s position is collapsing.


Black misjudges the position which arises after changing the structure.

Natural was 27...Nf6 28.f3 Rxe1 29.Rxe1 Ra6! 30.Ne3 Rb6 31.Nd1 Ra6= and Black can cover all the critical points in
his position.

28.Rxe4 fxe4 29.Ne3²

So, the structure is changed and Black has lost the counterplay which he had. Now the pawn on d5 becomes even


It seems like Black doesn’t feel the danger and is playing too ‘comfortably’. The best defence was 29...Qxc2! 30.Naxc2
Nf6 (30...Nb6 31.Bc7+-) 31.Na3 Ra5 32.Bc7 Ra7 33.Be5 Ra5 and now the only try left for White is 34.Bxf6 Bxf6
35.Nxd5!? Rxd5 36.Nxc4² with slightly better chances in a complicated endgame.


At the moment White is not interested in the endgame. He makes a square for his knight on c2, heading to b4, after
which queen to b3 can be threatened.


In a tough position to play, Black makes another mistake.

Patience is needed to defend here, e.g. 30...Nb8 31.Nac2 Nbc6 32.Bd6 Qb7² with a more viable position.

31.Nac2 Rb6

Black continues with his plan.

Passive defence also leads to big trouble after 31...Qb5 32.Nb4 Ra7 33.Qd1! h5 34.f3± and White dominates on both


White finds a win after a series of forced moves.

Black was hoping for 32.Nb4? Rxb4 33.cxb4 Bxd4„


32...Rb7 33.Bd6+-

33.Bd6 Nc6☻ 34.Na3 Ra5☻ 35.Bc7 Nb6☻


Now White trades because Black’s queen on b3 stands well.

36...Qxc2 37.Naxc2+-

The d5-pawn is doomed!

37...Rb5 38.Bxb6 Rxb6 39.Nxd5 Rxb2 40.Nce3 Nxd4!?

This is the final practical chance, otherwise Black would certainly lose his a- and c-pawns.

41.cxd4 c3 42.Nxc3 Bxd4 43.Nxa4 Rxf2 44.Kxf2 Bxa1 45.Nc5 Kf7 46.Nxe4
Here Black no longer has any hope and the game is practically finished. The rest was just playing on automatic.

46...h5 47.Kf3 Bg7 48.Nd6+ Ke6 49.Ndc4 Kf6 50.Ke4 Bf8 51.Ne5 Kg5 52.Nd5 Ba3 53.Nf4 Kh4 54.Kf3 Bd6 55.g3+

Game 22
E. Gausel — J. Aagaard [D03]

Excelsior Cup Gothenburg (7), 13.01.1998

In the following game my recommendation for readers is to pay attention mostly to a few critical moments in the


Of course, our move-order should be 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 d5 5.c3 0-0 6.e3 c5 7.Be2

1...g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.c3 d5 5.Nbd2 0-0 6.e3 c5 7.Be2 Qb6


Almost always the best reaction in similar positions: White offers an endgame favourable to him.


And almost always a questionable decision! Black’s centre will not be so stable and White can undermine it with b3
and/or e4.

Another serious alternative is 8...Nc6 9.0-0 Bf5 10.dxc5! The only way to search for an advantage. 10...Qxc5 11.Nd4
Bc8 With this bishop retreat, Black intends to build the centre. (11...Nxd4 12.exd4²; similar to ...Bc8 is 11...Bd7 with
the same idea, but now White is able to capture a pawn. 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Qxb7²) 12.Rfd1 h6

a) 12...e5 13.Qb5! The main point! 13...Qd6 14.N4b3 a6 15.Qd3!

White should be a little bit more comfortable, because the position is very tricky for his opponent. (15.Qc5 Qxc5
16.Nxc5 b6 17.Ncb3 Be6 18.c4 Ne7 19.Rac1 Rfc8=) 15...Rd8 (‘The ‘liberating’ move 15...e4!? doesn’t work because
after 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Qxe4 Qxh2+! 18.Kxh2 dxe4 19.Nc5± Black falls into even bigger problems...; 15...Be6 16.Bxf6
Bxf6 17.Ne4 Qe7 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Nc5²; 15...Bf5? 16.e4±) 16.e4 d4 Black has to pass, because after 16...dxe4
17.Qxd6 Rxd6 18.Nc5± the position is hopeless for him! 17.cxd4 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 Qxd4 19.Qb3!² Speelman J.–
Cramling P. Yerevan ol 1996;

b) ¹12...a6 13.Rac1 Qa5 14.Bh4 Re8 15.N2f3 e6?

Black wants to strengthen the centre, but White has a strong answer. (¹15...e5 16.Nc2 Qc7 17.Nb4 Nxb4 18.cxb4 Qb6
19.Bg3²) 16.c4 Qb4 (16...Nxd4 17.Nxd4 e5 18.Nf3 d4 19.c5 Be6 20.Bc4 Bxc4 21.Qxc4 dxe3 22.fxe3² The queenside
majority gives White the advantage for a while.) 17.Qxb4 Nxb4 18.a3 Nc6 19.cxd5 exd5 (19...Nxd4 20.Nxd4 Nxd5²
and White is better thanks to his better bishops.) 20.Nxc6 (20.Nb3?! Ne4 21.Nfd4² Smyslov, V-Cramling,P/ Sigeman
and Co 1997/1/2–1/2(31)) 20...bxc6 21.Rxc6 Ne4 22.Nd4±;

13.Bh4 e5 14.Qb5 Qd6 15.N4b3 g5 16.Bg3 a6 17.Qc5

17...Qc7 18.c4 Rd8 19.cxd5 Nxd5÷ but Black has to be very careful. The position is still dangerous and tricky for him!
He still hasn’t finished development, his queen is under fire on the c-file and h2-b8 diagonal, while the dark-squares on
the queenside are potentially weak, especially b6;

The endgame that occurs after 8...Qxb3?! 9.axb3²

is promising for White. The open a-file and pawn mass offers nice prospects on the queenside. For example: 9...cxd4
10.exd4 Bf5 11.b4 a6 12.h3 Nc6 13.0-0 Nd7 14.Nb3² with a long-term, slightly better position for White.


A very nice and very important decision! White avoids the endgame in order to ruin Black’s centre with b3.

It wouldn’t have been good to go into the endgame with 9.Qxb6?! because Black would have a space advantage after
9...axb6 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.e4 e6 12.0-0 b5 13.a3 Bd7 14.e5 Be7 15.Rad1 Nc6 16.Ne1 f5! 17.exf6 Bxf6 18.Bf3 b4!
19.axb4 Ra2µ Gostisa, L-Manninen,M/EU-chT Debrecen SLO-FIN 1992/1/2–1/2 (58) 20.Rb1? Bg5–+

9...Nc6 10.b3 cxb3 11.axb3²

The more compact pawn structure secures a minimal advantage for White. The plan is simple: to play b4, preparing b5-
c4 or Nb3-Nc5.


In this most active way Black counters White’s plan.

A lukewarm response is 11...h6 12.Bh4 g5 13.Bg3 Bf5 14.0-0 Ne4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.b4² and the other knight is going
to c5 on the afore-mentioned route.


White ignores Black’s reaction in the centre and continues with his plan.

Also promising was 12.Nxe5!? Nxe5 13.dxe5 Nd7 14.0-0 Nxe5 15.Be7 Re8 16.Bc5 Qc7 17.Bd4² occupying the d4-
square and playing against the isolated pawn.


Black finishes his development, not hurrying to declare in the centre.

The seemingly attractive-looking 12...e4 is possible but after 13.Ne1 Bg4 14.Bxg4 Nxg4 15.Nc2² it’s obvious that
Black’s centre is shaky in view of c4 coming soon.


In the spirit of the position, but not the best!

Better was 13.dxe5 Nd7

(13...Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Nd4²)


again playing against the isolated d5-pawn with a slight edge.


Black had to react somehow.

Another reaction was 13...e4 14.Ne1 Rfc8 15.Nc2² with c4 at the right moment.

14.Nxd4 Rfe8?!
An almost imperceptible mistake which helps White’s plan.

Very logical was 14...Nxd4 15.cxd4 Rfc8 16.Rfc1 Rxc1+ 17.Rxc1 a5 18.bxa5 Qxa5 19.Qxa5 Rxa5 20.Nb3 Ra2
21.Bd3² Ne4 and thanks to simplifying the position, Black has a little bit more drawing chances. I think we should keep
the position as complicated as we can.


White doesn’t feel the moment!

The correct reaction was 15.Nxe6! because now Black doesn’t have the possibility of capturing on e6 with his queen!
15...Rxe6 (15...fxe6 16.b5 Ne5 17.Rac1± and a long-term advantage is guaranteed to White) 16.b5 Ne5 17.Rfd1±

15...Ne5 16.Rfc1

Now would be a bad moment for the capture: 16.Nxe6 Qxe6 17.Rfd1 Neg4= and Black’s knight’s tango could prove
dangerous for White!

A very logical move with the idea of transferring the knight to c5, but unfortunately for Black it allows an unexpected
manoeuvre of White’s bishop.

16...Rec8 17.Qa5 Ned7 with ...Nc5 next gives Black an approximately equal position.


Taking control over the a3-f8 diagonal and now the pawn on a7 becomes a real weakness.

17...Rec8 18.h3 Nc5 19.Qa5?!

Not a good approach shown by Gausel. White should keep the queens on board!

¹19.Nxe6 Nxe6

a) 19...fxe6 20.c4 and White seizes the initiative! For example: 20...Nxc4 21.Nxc4 dxc4 22.Bxc4 Kf7 (22...Bxa1
23.Qxa1 Nd7 24.Qc3± with the idea of Ba3-Bb2.) 23.Bh4 Bxa1 24.Qxa1→;

b) Of course, taking with the queen isn’t possible now: 19...Qxe6? 20.Bxc5+-;

20.Qa2 Nc7 21.Rab1²


Black moves from a potential Ne6 and puts some pressure on the b5-pawn.

Instead 19...Ncd3 20.Rc2² is only visually attractive.


The pressure on the a7-pawn becomes bigger and bigger.

The last chance to run away from trading queens was 20.Qa2² followed by continuing to improve his major pieces’

Counterplay on the c-file is the best counterplay for Black, but more accurate was 20...Qxa5 21.Rxa5 Ne4 22.Bb4 Bf6
23.f4 Nxd2! 24.Rxd2 (24.fxe5? Bg5µ) 24...b6 25.Ra6 Nc4 26.Bxc4 Rxc4 27.Rda2 Bxd4 28.exd4 Kg7 29.Rxa7 Rxa7
30.Rxa7 Bxb5 with a drawish endgame!

21.Nxe4 dxe4


A good assessment! It’s more important to use the time to enter with the rook into Black’s camp than to waste it
defending the c-pawn.

22.c4 ¹Nd3÷

22...Qxa5 23.Rxa5 Rxc3

Black could exchange all the pawns on the queenside with 23...a6 24.bxa6 bxa6 25.Bxa6 Rxc3 26.Bb7 Rxa5 27.Rxa5 f5
28.Bd5+ Kh8 29.Ra7± but his position wouldn’t be easier, because White’s pieces dominate.


The decisive mistake.

The only acceptable option was 24...Rxa7 25.Rxa7 Bc8! With the idea of ...Nd3 26.Ra8 Nd7! Very difficult, but the
only move to equalise. (26...f5 27.Nc6 bxc6 28.Rxc8+²) 27.Bd8 Rc1+ 28.Kh2 Be5+=

25.Rxc1 Rxa7 26.Rc7+-

Black doesn’t have a defence against all the threats.


26...Bf8 27.Bf6+-

27.Bf1☻ 27...b6 28.Bd6


A blunder!

¹28...f6 29.Nc6 Nxc6 30.Rxd7 Ne5 31.Bxe5 fxe5 32.Rb7 Bf8±

29.Nxe6 fxe6 30.Rxg7+

After seeing this game, we can make some conclusions from a practical point of view: even though Black had an
approximately equal position (looking at the engine’s evaluation, of course) he was under pressure throughout the
entire game, so a blunder on the 24th move isn’t totally unexpected or unbelievable. The positions from the opening
aren’t clearly better for White, but they promise better chances later in the game.


Game 23
K. Sasikiran — L.J. McShane [D03]

Biel GM Biel (4), 22.07.2004

Now we will see one of the most common answers for Black against the Torre Attack. In this game, Black chose the
most elastic set-up with a knight on d7 and a double fianchetto. In a very complex position and with a huge struggle,
White showed how to get the maximum from the position and put pressure on his opponent.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 0-0 5.c3 d5 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2


I am not sure about this move-order!

The main move here is 7...Re8 – see our next game;

More often the move-order seen is 7...c5 8.0-0 (Here a very interesting option is 8.a4!? which is almost never played,
with the idea being to meet 8...b6 with 9.a5! bxa5 (9...Bb7 10.Qa4 Qc7 11.0-0 Bc6 12.Qa3!² In this kind of position the
queen on a3 stands well, pressuring the always-sensitive point c5.) 10.0-0 Rb8 11.Qc2 Qb6 12.Ra2² soon recapturing
the pawn and maintaining a better pawn structure.) 8...b6 — transposing to our game!


This move was not necessary right now, but sooner or later it will be shown to be useful. This prophylactic move is
made against the idea of ...h6, ...g5, ...Nh5 or against ...Ne4 with tempo!

In my opinion the best move is 8.b4!

so that after ...c7-c5 White can take bxc5 and open the b-file in his favour! For example, 8...Bb7 9.0-0 c5

(9...Ne4?! 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Nd2 h6 12.Bh4 g5 13.Bg3 f5 14.f3 f4 15.Bf2 exf3 16.Bxf3 Bxf3 17.Nxf3 fxe3 18.Bxe3 e5
19.Qb3+ Kh8 20.Qe6 Qc8 21.Rae1 Re8 22.Qg6 e4 23.Nxg5 hxg5 24.Rf7 1–0 (24) Kavalek,L (2555)-Browne,W (2485)
Estes Park 1986)

10.bxc5 bxc5 11.Qb3 Bc6 12.Qa3!² with unpleasant pressure on the queenside. Pavlovic M.-Charochkina G. Moscow
Aeroflot open 2016.

8...Bb7 9.0-0 c5 10.a4 a6

Black needs to react in this way. Otherwise after White’s a5 with axb6 next, Black will be landed with a weakness on

11.b4 c4!

Logical — and the best reaction! Black gains some space, and that’s the main reason why I recommend 8.b4! before
Black’s move ...c5.

An important move! The main idea is to prevent ...Ne4, since the pawn on c4 will become a target for the White pieces!


A good manoeuvre! His connected knights are useless so Black needs to improve them.



Black goes for the wrong plan, weakening his complex of dark squares.
Very logical was 13...Nd6! creating pressure on the b5-pawn, unafraid of doubled pawns. 14.bxa6

(A big positional mistake would be 14.Bxd6? exd6³

and Black will have full control of the most important central squares as well as a big space advantage! White’s minor
pieces would be limited and without good prospects!)

14...Rxa6 15.e4! dxe4 16.Ne5 Nf5

(16...Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Bd5 18.Bxd6 Qxd6 19.Nxc4 Qc7 20.Ne3 Ra5=)

17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.Nxc4 Nxg3 19.hxg3 Qc7 20.Qd2 Rfa8 21.Rab1 Bd5 22.Ne3 Ra5= with a balanced position.

14.Qc2 f5?!

Black continues to carry out his dubious plan.

More reasonable was 14...Ndf6 15.Ne5 Nd6 16.Bf3 Qe7 (16...axb5 17.axb5 Nxb5 18.Ndxc4²) 17.Qb2 with a slightly
more comfortable position for White.

15.Qb2 a5

Black decides to close the position on the queenside, hoping to achieve good prospects on the kingside.

16.Ne5 Bxe5?!

Another incorrect plan! Black is going for the wrong swaps, losing space.

16...Rc8 17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.Be5² with f4 next and preparing a later g4.

17.Bxe5 Nxe5

Now the pawn on e5 will stifle Black’s position, especially the knight on e8 which doesn’t have any prospects. Along
with his increased space, White also received a nice square for his knight on d4.

18...Qc7 19.f4 g5?!

It was more accurate to play ...Qc5 first in order to prevent White’s knight from coming to d4 so easily.

19...Qc5 20.Kf2 g5 21.Qa3 Qxa3 22.Rxa3 g4 23.Raa1 h5 24.h3² and White would have a long-term advantage. The
idea is to penetrate with the rooks on the h-file and bring a knight to d4 via b1–a3-c2-d4!

20.Nf3 g4 21.Nd4 Ng7


Of course, this is the main plan in the position, Here there were no other ways to open the game.


After 22...gxh3 the reaction would be 23.g3!±

23.Kf2 Kf7 24.Rh1 Rh8

This is an age-old method of fighting for the open file!

25...Rag8 26.hxg4 hxg4

Keeping the h-file closed with 26...fxg4 is of no help because of 27.Rah1 Qd8 28.Rh4± with the further plan of g3-
R1h2-Qc1-Qh1 and material losses for Black are evident.

27.Rah1 Qd8


White finds the weakest point in Black’s camp — f6.

28...Rxh6 29.Rxh6 Rh8 30.Rf6+ Kg8


After a long break, the queen finds a role.

31...Rh1 32.g3

Slow but safe!

White could make a final breakthrough with 32.e4! but maybe he was not completely sure about this and perhaps time-
trouble was the reason for avoiding it. 32...dxe4 33.Qd6! Qxd6 34.exd6 Bc8 35.Bxc4+-

32...Qe8 33.Bf1 Bc8 34.Bg2 Rd1 35.Qd6 Bd7 36.Rh6!?

With patient play, White doesn’t offer any hope to his opponent. The final hope for Black was to bring the queen into
play via square h5.

36...Qf7 37.Bf1 Ra1 38.Qxb6

After his preparations, White goes for concrete action.


Black is forced to give up another pawn.

White would have an easy job after 38...Rxa4 39.Qd8+ Be8 40.Qh4 Nh5 41.Nxe6+-

39.Qxa5 Be8

A small inaccuracy on the last move before the time-control.

The best technical move was 40.Qa8 Qa3 41.Rg6! Kf8 42.Rxg7 Kxg7 43.Qxe8 with a quick mate.

40...Qa3 41.Nc2

Forcing an exchange of queens.

41...Qxa4 42.Qxa4 Rxa4 43.Nd4 Ra2 44.b6 Bd7

44...Rb2 45.Nxe6 Rxb6 46.Nxg7 Rxh6 47.Nxe8+-

The pawn chain is crushed!


45...fxe4 46.Ke3 Rb2 47.Bxg4 Rxb6 48.f5+-

46.Ke3 Rb2 47.Bxc4 Rxb6 48.Rf6

Now one of the pawns falls.


Also of no help is 48...Kh7 49.Rf7 Bc8 50.Rc7 Ba6 51.Bxe6+-

49.Nxf5 Nxf5+ 50.Rxf5 Rc2 51.Rg5+ Kf7 52.Rxg4 Rxc3+ 53.Kd4 Ra3 54.Kxe4

With two ‘healthy’ extra pawns White is winning and the rest of the game is just ‘dry’ technique!

54...Ba4 55.Kd4 Bc2 56.Rg5 Rf3 57.Be2! Ra3 58.Bh5+ Kf8 59.Bg6 Bd1 60.Bd3 Ra4+ 61.Ke3 Ra3 62.Kd2 Bf3 63.Bc4
Ke7 64.Rg7+ Kf8 65.Rg6 Bh5 66.Rg5 Bf7 67.g4 Ra5 68.Kc3 Ra3+ 69.Kd4 Ra4 70.Kc5 Ra5+ 71.Kb4 Ra1 72.f5 Rb1+
73.Kc5 Rc1 74.f6 Re1 75.Kd4 Rd1+ 76.Bd3 Ra1 77.Rg7 Ra4+ 78.Bc4 Ra1 79.g5 Rd1+ 80.Bd3

A very impressive game from Sasikiran!


Game 24
M. Adams — G. Jones C [D03]

Kilkenny Masters Kilkenny (6), 27.11.2016

Now we will meet the crucial position from this chapter, where Black uses what is probably the most logical plan with
...Nbd7, ...Re8, ...e5! Here there arise very complex positions: in general, White plays on the queenside while Black
seeks counter-play on the kingside! In these situations, you must know exactly what to do in the position. In this game,
the fantastic English player Michael Adams displayed what White has to do exactly! With great manoeuvres, he
outplayed his opponent and won in most convincing fashion!

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.c3 0-0 5.Nbd2 d5 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 Re8

This is one of the most common setups for Black. His main idea is to play ...e5, fighting for space in centre.

8.0-0 e5


White takes space on the queenside without reacting in the centre. In this position White has many different plans and
all of them are playable and provide rich play. Over the next three games we will also see other possible plans. My
suggestion is to combine them, avoiding any deep preparation from your opponents!

Also 9.b4 would be in the same spirit!


Black also fights for space on the queenside.

If Black ignores the queenside and starts immediately with his typical plan on the kingside, White will be faster. For
example: 9...h6 10.Bh4 e4 11.Ne1 g5 12.Bg3 Nf8 13.h3! A very important move! White has to stop Black’s plan of
...g4, ...Ng6, ...h5, ...h4! 13...Bf5 Now this is the only logical way of looking for active play on the kingside. The idea is
...Bg6 with ...h5 next. However, it seems slow after 14.a5 a6 White continues his logical plan, exploiting the attacking
potential on a queenside.

(Of course, Black can ignore the a-pawn pushing again... 14...Bg6 15.a6 b6 16.Bb5 Re6 17.Qa4 h5 18.Bc6 Rb8 19.c4²
and it seems that White is quicker.)

15.Nc2 Bg6 16.b4 h5 17.Nb3 h4 18.Be5 N6d7 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.c4² Our attack is more concrete.


Other moves have little point. Our play is on the queenside!


A very typical move is 10...c6 with the idea of reacting to 11.b5 with 11...c5 and now White has to continue with
12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Rc1 followed by c4, aiming to bring a knight to that square. In one game there ensued 13...h6 14.Bh4
Nxf3+ 15.Bxf3 c4 Black gives up the d4-square to prevent c4. 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Re1 Be6 18.Bg4 Rc8 19.Bxe6 Rxe6
20.Nf3² and White had a slight edge in view of the weak d5-pawn. Torre E.-Ftacnik L. Novi Sad 1984.


For me the best reaction. We should keep the tension for a little while.

There are other moves, such as 11.bxa5 Rxa5 12.Nb3 Ra8 13.Nfd2 c5 14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.Nxc5 Qxc5 16.c4 but after
16...Ne4! 17.Nxe4 dxe4 Black has solved all his problems and ‘our’ bishops look passive, or 11.b5 e4 12.Ne1 c5
13.bxc6 bxc6 14.Nc2 Ba6 which gives Black a very nice position.

11...e4 12.Ne1

A typical position for this system. A French Defence structure has arisen with reversed colours, in which White is
looking for his chances on the queen-side. The role of White’s Bg5 is important. It makes any performance of Black on
the kingside slower, like in the Petrosian line of the King’s Indian Defence; pawn advances could leave weaknesses in
Black’s camp. In this game Black tried to menace White’s kingside with piece-play and White’s dark-squared bishop
proved itself doubly important, as an important defender of his monarch and also an active participant on the other

12...c6 13.Nc2 b6 14.c4 This leads to a quick opening of lines on the queen-side, which doubtless suits White;

12...axb4 The reaction of silicon brains here. 13.cxb4 c6 It looks as though the black centre is more solid compared to
other continuations and might provide more freedom for Black in an attempt to create counterplay on the kingside. On
the other hand, it contradicts the classic canon: ‘Don’t play on your weaker side’. The following optional line shows
White’s prospects: 14.Nc2 Nf8 15.a5 Ne6 16.Bh4 h5 17.h3 Bh6 18.Bg3 Nc7 19.Nb1 Be6 20.Nc3 Rec8 21.Na4 Nd7
22.Nc5 The threats of b5 or a6 are a Damoclean sword above Black’s head.


Now this move is very strong because Black isn’t able to react with ...c7-c5!

13...Bb7 14.Nc2 Nf8 15.c4

White defines his target on c7, and Black has the task of how to get counterplay on the kingside — a problem which
Jones didn’t manage to solve in this game.

15...Rad8 16.Rac1

16.f4!? An interesting possibility which completely changes the character of the position. 16...exf3 17.Bxf3 dxc4
18.Qxc4 Bxf3 19.Rxf3 h6 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Raf1 Nh7 22.e4 Rf8 White maintains an advantage but Black’s position is
maybe more resilient than it looks.

16...Ne6 17.Bh4 Bh6

The alternative 17...g5 looks attractive but after 18.Bg3 h5 19.h3 g4 20.h4² Black’s attack appears to have stopped!

18.cxd5 Bxd5 19.Bc4 Bg5 20.Bg3!

White’s bishop protects his king, covers the central square e5 and attacks c7 while Black’s pieces have no coordination.
20...Bb7 21.Rfd1 Ng7



22...Nf5 23.Be5 Nh4 24.Na3!

The worst minor piece finds better prospects!

24...Rc8 25.Rc2 Qd7 26.Rdc1 Nf5 27.Nab1 h5 28.Nc3 Rcd8 29.Ne2±

Typical Adams. With a series of manoeuvring, unpretentious moves he slowly outplays his opponent and his advantage
becomes huge. For sure, Jones could have played better somewhere but it doesn’t change the essence of the position. It
is much easier to play as White.

29...Nh4 30.Nf4

The weakness on c7 cannot be defended and Black tries to find some practical chances in tactics.


For example: 30...Rc8 31.Bxf6 Bxf6 32.Bd5 Bxd5 33.Nxd5 Bd8 34.Nxb6+-

31.Bxf6 Nxg2

Desperation, but everything loses.

31...Nf5 32.exf4 e3 33.fxe3 Rxe3 34.Bxf7+ Kf8 35.Rxc7+- and White is faster, again.

32.Kxg2 Rc8 33.exf4 e3+


Enough and human.

The engine’s way is 34.Nf3 Bxf3+ 35.Kxf3 Qxh3+ 36.Ke2 exf2+ 37.Be5+- but the continuation from the game is safer.

34...exd2 35.Rxd2+-

White is a clear piece-up and the win is now basically a matter of technique.

35...Re4 36.Bb2 Rxf4 37.Qc3 f6 38.Rd4 Rf5 39.Re1 Re8 40.Rde4 Rxe4 41.Rxe4 Kg7

41...Bxd5 42.Bxd5+ Qxd5 43.Qc4

42.h4 g5 43.f3 Bxd5 44.Bxd5 Qxd5 45.Qxc7+ Kg6 46.Qc2 g4 47.Rf4 gxf3+ 48.Kg3

I would dare to say, an excellent game by Mickey Adams! He has shown us a really good way of playing these kinds of
positions. His wonderful feeling for the queenside attack and his unpretentious combined manoeuvres with timely
prophylaxis gave him a great win against the talented Jones.


Game 25
P. Eljanov — I. S. Lopez [D03]

Qatar Masters op Doha (4), 29.11.2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.c3 0-0 5.e3 d5 6.Nbd2 Nbd7 7.Be2 Re8 8.h3 e5 9.0-0

White uses another interesting prophylactic plan, making a place for his knight on h2. Placed on h2, the knight has good
prospects and some positive sides; the rooks are connected, and at any moment White can exchange him with Ng4
which eventually makes Black attack on the kingside less dangerous. In general, however, White’s plan is the same,
based on playing on the queenside.


In case of the typical 9...c6 idea we might see 10.Rc1 e4 11.Nh2! h6 12.Bh4 Nf8 13.c4 g5 14.Bg3 Ng6 15.b4² with a
free hand on the queenside while Black’s counterplay on the kingside is stopped. 1–0 (41) Malaniuk,V (2582)-
Duquesnoy,J (2186) Calvi 2010


Too aggressive in view of the position of Black’s pieces.

The standard reaction is 10...e4 11.Nh2 h5 (11...Nb6 12.Ng4!?One of the points behind Nh2. 12...h5 13.Ne5 Be6 14.c4
c6 15.Rc1² White has a pleasant position; 11...Nf8 12.Ng4 Again! 12...N8h7 13.Nxf6+ Nxf6 14.c4²) 12.b4! with the
standard plan of c4 and creating pressure on the c-file! It’s hard to say is it better for White, but for sure it looks easier
to play.


White still retains the tension in the centre!

A serious alternative was 11.dxc5!? Nxc5 12.b4 Nce4 13.Nxe4 dxe4 14.Nd2 g5 15.Bg3 Nd5 16.Nxe4 Bf5 17.Bf3 Bxe4
18.Bxe4 Nxc3 19.Qc2 Nxe4 20.Qxe4
and life is not so easy for Black. White has dominant pieces and the safer king.


This doesn’t look like the best position for the queen and Black had better options.

11...e4!? This looks quite reasonable here. 12.Nh2 b6 13.Ng4 h5 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.Bg3 Bb7 16.a4 Rc8 17.Qd1 Moving
from cxd4 Bxd4 17...a6 18.a5 cxd4 19.cxd4 b5 20.Nb3 Qe7 21.Qd2 Qf8! 22.Rfc1 Be7÷;

after 11...exd4!? the position would transpose into some classical set up. 12.cxd4 b6 13.Rac1 Bb7 14.Nb1 Rc8 15.Nc3÷


It’s too early to open the position and start fighting: White’s pieces are better placed.

12...cxd4 13.cxd4 e4 14.Nh2 h5 15.Qb3 and White enjoys a small plus;

12...e4 13.dxc5 Nxc5 14.Nd4 Bd7 15.b4 Ne6 16.N2b3 Rec8 17.Rfd1² White will try to play c4 at some moment.

13.Nxe4 dxe4 14.Qxe4 Qxb2 15.Qc2!

Stronger than unnecessary complications.

Interesting looking is 15.Bc4 but it doesn’t promise anything major. 15...Nb6 16.Bxf7+ Kxf7 17.dxc5 Nd7 18.Rb1
(18.Qd5+ Kf8 19.Qd6+ Kf7=) 18...Qxa2 19.Rxb7 Bxb7 20.Qxb7 Kg8 21.Qxd7 a5„

15...Qxc2 16.Rxc2

After this pseudo-active move, Black’s prospects are not so great.

¹16...a6 17.a4 b6 18.Bg3 White has a small but stable plus here.

17.Bg3 g5

After this Black is one step from disaster, defending an extremely unpleasant position.

17...e4 18.Nd2 is also tough for Black.

18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Bxe5


20.Bc4+! looks simpler and more natural. 20...Kg7 (20...Be6 21.Bb5) 21.Bxe5+ Rxe5 22.Rd2 Re4 (22...Be6 23.Bxe6
Rxe6 24.Rd7+±) 23.Bb3 c4 24.Bc2 Re8 25.Ba4 Rf8 26.Rd6±

with domination by White’s pieces.

20...Re7 21.Rd2

Black failed to grab his chance with 21...Bxc3!? 22.Rd8+ Kg7 23.Rc1 Ba5 24.Rd5 Be6 25.Rdxc5 Bb6 26.Rb5 and the
position is close to equal.

22.Rd8+ Kg7 23.fxg3 Rxe3


Unnecessary, but strong enough.

White could have penetrated with his rooks and finished the game off quicker. 24.Rfd1! Re6 (24...Rxc3 25.Re1+-)
25.R1d5 b6

26.Kh2! An important move, avoiding any checks on the 1st rank. 26...Re7 27.R5d6 Kh7 28.Bf3 Rb8 29.Rc6+-


Maybe more stubborn is 24...Re4!? 25.Rfd1 (25.Rc1 Rd4 26.Re8 Re4=) 25...Rd4 26.R1xd4 cxd4 27.c5 Kf6 28.Kf2±

25.Rfd1 Re6 26.Bf3

White is playing on total domination, preventing b6 with an eventual developing of the light-squared bishop. Very
simple was 26.R1d5 b6 27.Rxf5 Re1+ 28.Rf1 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1+-

26...Re7 27.Bd5

Not so precise was 27.R1d5 Rc7 28.Re5 Ra6! 29.Rxc8 Rxc8 30.Bxb7 Raa8 31.Bxa8 Kf6 32.Rd5 Rxa8 33.Rxc5 a4 with
some drawing chances!


28.g4! To open one more line or to have an improved version of the game. 28...f4 (28...fxg4 29.hxg4) 29.Rb1

28...Kg7 29.Rd8 Kf6 30.Rb1 Rc7 31.Rb6+

31.Rf8+! Ke7 32.Rh8 Ra6 33.Re1+ Kf6 34.h4!?+-


A human decision.

The computer gives a faster win with 32.Re8+ Kd4 33.Rb1 a4 34.Rc1 Ra6 35.Rd1+ Kc3 36.Re3+ Kc2 37.Rf1 Kd2
38.Rfe1 f4 39.R1e2+ Kd1 40.gxf4 gxf4 41.Re5 Rg7 42.Rf2 Rg3 43.Bf3+ Rxf3 44.Rxf3+-

32...Ra6 33.Re8+?

33.Rxa6! bxa6 34.Kf2± still maintains the advantage.

33...Kd4 34.Rhh8 Bd7 35.Re7 Rd6 36.a4


White probably missed this nice exchange sacrifice.

37.cxd5 Kxd5 38.Kf2 c4„

Miracles are always around us! All of a sudden Black gains counterplay. White missed a few stronger continuations,
made a few imprecise moves and Black can now hold the position.

39.Rhh7 Kd6 40.Ke3 c3 41.Rxd7+ Rxd7 42.Rxd7+ Kxd7 43.Kd3 Ke6 44.Kxc3 Ke5 45.Kd3

45.Kc4 f4! 46.h4 gxh4 47.gxh4 Ke4 is the position from the game.


45...Kd5 is also enough.

46.h4 gxh4 47.gxh4 Kd5

Opposition. White has a dangerous h-pawn, but Black’s king is better and the pawns on a5 and f4 are close enough to
their promotion squares.

48.Kc3 Ke5 49.Kc4 Ke4 50.Kc5

50.Kb5 Kf5 51.Kxa5 Kg4 52.Kb6 Kxh4 53.Kxb7 Kg3 54.a5 Kxg2=

50...Ke5 51.Kc4 Ke4 52.Kc3 Ke5 53.Kd3 Kd5 54.h5 Ke5 55.h6 Kf6 56.Ke4

The queen ending is the only try for White.

56.Kc4 Kg6 57.Kb5 Kxh6 58.Kxa5 Kg5 59.Kb6 Kg4=

56...Kg6 57.Kxf4 b5 58.axb5 a4 59.b6 a3 60.b7 a2 61.b8Q a1Q

White has two extra pawns but Black pieces are well-placed for resistance.

62.Qd6+ Kh7 63.Qe5!

The best chance. A centralised queen is best in such positions.

63...Qf1+ 64.Kg3 Qd3+

64...Kxh6?? 65.Qf4++-

65.Kg4 Qd1+ 66.Kh4


Black forgot the rule. Of course, it is normal if you defend a bad position long time or if you haven’t enough time.

66...Qd8+ 67.Qg5 Qd4+ 68.Kh3 Qd3+ 69.Kh2 Qd6+ 70.Kg1 Qd1+ 71.Kf2 Qc2+ 72.Ke1 Qc3+= It looks like there is no
progress to be made for White here.

67.Kg3 Qxh6 68.Qf5+ Kg7

68...Kh8 69.Qh3+-

69.Qg4+ Kf6 70.Qf4+ 1–0

Game 26
A. Miles J — J. Nunn DM [D03]

Lloyds Bank op 17th London (6), 1993

The late English grandmaster made an immeasurable contribution to many openings, especially the Torre Attack and
London set-ups. In this game we will encounter another of his plans. Take a look and enjoy!

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c3 Bg7 4.Bg5 0-0! 5.Nbd2 d5 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 Re8 8.0-0! e5 9.Nb3!?

This was a favourite plan of Tony Miles, played many times with great success. The main idea is to make a more natural
‘knight retreat’ on d2 instead of e1 after Black’s move ...e4. It’s very hard to say which retreat is better and both have
their pluses and minuses. The knight on e1 doesn’t look very pretty, but in this case the knight on b3 is also awkwardly
placed. Anyway readers have to choose one of the many possibilities offered, one closest to their own taste.


Before declaring with the e-pawn, Black strengthens the centre waiting to see White’s next move.


White reveals his cards, this move preparing c4.


The most active answer, harassing White knight.

Tournament praxis shows that 10...e4 is in White’s favour after 11.Nfd2 and in this game Black tried to prevent c4 with
further unpleasant pressure on the c-file. 11...b5 12.Ra1! The rook returns in order to help ruin the exposed Black
pawns. 12...Bf8 (12...Nb6 13.Nc5² and a4 comes anyway.) 13.a4 b4 14.Qc2 bxc3 15.Qxc3 Qb6 16.Rfc1 Re6 17.Nc5!±
Miles,A -Becerra Rivero,J Matanzas 1995.

Putting pressure on the centre was the most logical option.

11.a4 doesn’t give any chances for an advantage after 11...Qb6 12.Nfd2 exd4! 13.cxd4 Qb4„ and with weaknesses on
the queenside, White can’t count on a plus. Jussupow A.-Pirrot D. Bundesliga 1994.

11...a4 12.Nbd2 exd4?!

This was an important branching in the game. Black chooses to open the centre, but gives White easy play. It appears
that White gains more activity.

A better option was 12...e4! 13.Ne1 Although the knight came to e1, which wasn’t White’s first idea, Black’s queenside
is compromised in view of the a-pawn’s position. 13...dxc4! To avoid opening the c-file Black is forced to spoil his
own structure, but gains the d5-square for the knight. This would be a hard decision in a game. 14.Nxc4 Nb6 15.Nc2
Nxc4 16.Bxc4 Qd6 17.Bf4 Qe7 18.Be5 Be6 with an approximately equal game.

13.Nxd4 Qa5?!

Another suspicious move! The queen will be exposed to tempo gains and won’t be so safe.

It was necessary to try to simplify the position and open the light-squared bishop with 13...dxc4 14.Nxc4 Nb6² This is
my subjective evaluation of the position. Engines give equal and keep the position so with tactics, but I prefer White’s
position. The bishop on c8 is restricted by the knight on d4 and that’s my main reason for favouring White.

14.cxd5 Qxd5

An unpleasant choice to have to make! Black will lose tempos in all cases.

For example: 14...Nxd5 15.Nc4 Qc7 16.Bh4!² with Bg3 next.

15.Bf4 Ne5

The queen is trapped after 15...Qxa2? 16.Nc4+-



It was necessary to restrict the c8-bishop with 16.h3!² followed by Qc2 and Rfd1 when his advantage will grow.


Black uses his chance to trade his biggest problem (the light-squared bishop).


A miscalculation! White continues with his first idea started with 16.Qc2

The position would be equal after 17.Bxg4 Nexg4 18.h3 Nh5! 19.Bc7 Ne5=


Black misses his the best chance in the game!

Clearly better was 17...Nxc4 18.Nxc4 and probably both players stopped their calculations here in view of the
unpleasant threat Nb6, but now comes the computer move 18...Nh5!
This is very hard for a human to consider, ignoring the threat of Nb6. 19.Bc7

(19.Nb6? Qd8 20.Nxa8 Nxf4 21.exf4 Qxd4 22.Nc7 Rc8–+ and after all the complications, Black will emerge materially

19...Bxd4! Another required move, without worrying about the dark-squares. 20.exd4 Qd7 21.Ne5

(21.Be5 f6! 22.Nb6 Qd8 23.Nxa8 fxe5µ; 21.Bb6? Nf4 and White’s king is in grave danger. For example: 22.Ne5 Rxe5
23.dxe5 Bf3!–+ with a mating attack.)

21...Qxd4 22.Rfe1 Rac8 23.Nxg4 Qxg4 24.Qd2 Nf6µ and compensation for the pawn doesn’t exist.

18.h3 Bd7 19.Be2²

After missing their chances, they arrive back again to the typical positions with standard plans.


Playing on the majority here is not a good idea. By moving pawns, weak squares are created.

Close to equal would be 19...Nd5! 20.Bxe5 (20.Bg3? Nb4 21.Qb1 c5 22.N4f3 Bf5³) 20...Bxe5 21.Nc4 Qc5 22.Nxe5
Qxc2 23.Rxc2 Rxe5 24.Rc4² with a microscopic advantage in a typical endgame.


An interesting option was 20.b4!? Qxb4 (20...axb3 21.N2xb3 Qa7 22.Nc5²) 21.Rb1 Qf8 22.Rxb7²


Beginning with 20...c5 is worse after 21.N4f3 Nxf3+ 22.Bxf3 b5 23.Bb7±


A very strong move, this time based on exact calculations.

21...Nxf3+ 22.Bxf3 Nd5

The point of the 21st move comes after 22...c5

and now White has the beautiful move 23.Bb7!± with the idea after 23...cxd4 24.Bxc8 Bxc8 (the same is true after
24...Rxc8 25.Qxc8+!) 25.Qxc8! Rxc8 (25...dxe3 26.Bxe3+-) 26.Rxc8+ Bf8 27.Bh6 Nd7 28.Rxd4 Qe1+ 29.Kh2+- and
mate is unavoidable.


White’s strategy has won the day! The weaknesses in Black’s position are obvious as the pawn on c6 will be
permanently weak, as will the c5-square.

23...Qb6 24.Qc5 Qxc5 25.Bxc5

The pawn on c6 is doomed!


In a difficult position without counter-play, Black doesn’t play the most resistant move and accelerates his loss.

He could have fought harder with 25...Red8 but then comes 26.b4 axb3 27.axb3± still with a difficult position. The
main threat is Nb5.

After this move, a pawn falls.


26...Nd5 27.Nxb5 cxb5 28.Rxc8 Rxc8 29.Bxd5±


Avoiding tricks from b4.

27...Rb6 28.Nxc6+- Bxc6 29.Bxc6 Rc8 30.Bb4!

The final precision. White uses the weak 8th rank.


30...Rbxc6 31.Rxc6 Rxc6 32.Rd8++-

31.Bxf8 Kxf8 32.Bf3

Anthony Miles was an all-round player, so we don’t need to mistrust his technique.

32...Rc4 33.Kf1 Ke7 34.Ke1

The king always goes first in such endgames. It’s never too late to move the pawns.

34...Nd7 35.Bd5 Rxc1 36.Rxc1 b4 37.Rc7

As usual, the rook on the 7th rank is powerful!

37...Kd6 38.Ra7 Ne5

Black has nothing to lose and seeks some chances to survive.

39.Bxf7 Nd3+ 40.Kd2


Taking another pawn with 40...Nxb2 doesn’t help as after 41.Kc2 a3 42.f4+- the knight will remain misplaced.


With two extra pawns the rest was very clear and requires no comment.

41...Ne4+ 42.Ke2 Rb7 43.Ra6+ Kc5 44.Bb3 Rd7 45.Ra5+ 1–0

Game 27
V. Kramnik — T. Radjabov [A48]

Vugar Gashimov Mem 2017 Shamkir AZE (2.4), 22.04.2017

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.c3 0-0 5.Nbd2 d5 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 Re8 8.0-0 e5


Yet another interesting plan used by the ‘deep-thinking’ Russian ex-World Champion and still top-level player. The
main idea is to play Bg3 asking Black about his reaction in the centre. A very famous position from the Reti goes like
this: 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Bg4 4.0-0 Nd7 5.d4 e6 6.Nbd2 Ngf6 7.Re1 Be7 8.e4 0-0 9.c3 and here the best move
according to theory is 9...Bh5! Here we have completely the same position with reversed colours and a tempo-up for
White. Vladimir Kramnik has played it many times as Black and he probably plays these structures better than anyone
else in the world. It is interesting to note his way of building a compatible repertoire.


A standard move for such positions.

White is never afraid of 9...e4 because it gives him a clear plan. 10.Ne1 Nf8 (The highly ambitious 10...c5 leads to
positions with a more open centre after 11.Nc2 b6 12.c4! Bb7 13.cxd5 Bxd5 14.Nb1! Bb7 15.Nc3² and White’s pieces
stand better. The pawn on e4 is the main problem in Black’s position and is especially reflected in endgames.) 11.c4 c6
12.Nc2² White’s play is easy, with b4-a4-b5 creating pressure on the queenside and on the d5-pawn.


Forcing Black to make a not-so-easy decision!


Black’s decision was to grab space, which looks to be the most logical approach.
Another reaction is 10...exd4 11.cxd4² Of course White needs to avoid symmetry in order to find an advantage. Here
the Carlsbad structure has arisen but with an unusual positioning of the minor pieces. General opinion states that White
can count on an advantage thanks to his more active dark-squared bishop and a minority attack which is more realistic
than Black’s counterplay on the kingside. In one game Black tried playing directly with 11...Ne4?! 12.Nxe4 dxe4
13.Nd2 c5 14.Nb3 Qb6 (14...cxd4 15.Nxd4 Ne5 16.Rc1²) 15.Rc1 cxd4 (Gausel E.- Hermansson E. SWE ch-T 2007.)
16.Bc7! Qb4 17.a3 Qe7 18.Nxd4²


Of course, now White exploits the pluses in his position by not playing Ne1.

11...Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Bf8

Understandable. Black plans to trade bishops in order to get more squares for his pieces.


A very deep idea! White avoids swaps at all costs, with the idea of building big pressure on the shaky knight at f6 —
and with that also on the d5-square.

13...Bd6 14.Bh4 h6

Indirectly Black opposes f3 and prepares ...g5 at a suitable moment.


Starting the attack to ruin Black centre.

15...Be6 16.Rc1 Kg7

Black chooses a safe option, not weakening his king.

A big weakening of the king would result from 16...g5?! 17.Bg3 Bxg3 18.fxg3!→ with pressure on the open f-file.
17.cxd5 cxd5


A standard improvement of the pieces to add more pressure on d5!


Finally Black moves from the pin.


A clever move, avoiding a weakening of the structure around his king.


Black moves the knight from its vulnerable spot!

Of course 19...Bxh2? loses by force after 20.Bxf6+ Kxf6 21.g3+-;

Also logical-looking is 19...Ng8!? Improving him via e7-f5. 20.Nc3 Ne7 21.Bxe7 White doesn’t have a better choice in
view of ...Nf5 next. 21...Rxe7
22.f4! A key move! White needs to close the position, killing the effect of the bishop pair and with the idea of gaining
space on the kingside. If Black doesn’t react now the next move could be g4 with a very pleasant position for White.
Also very risky for Black is 22...exf3?! 23.Bxf3 Bxh2 24.Bxd5 Bd6 25.Qf3 Qe8 26.Bxe6 Rxe6 27.e4± with strong


A surprising and very deep idea connected with a positional pawn sacrifice!


Accepting the challenge was a logical decision. Actually Black avoids the trades which arise after Bxd7 and next Bg3.
In that case Black would remain with a rather prospectless light-squared bishop against the always unpleasant knight.


An imprecision! The idea is good but not conducted in the best way!

Extremely strong was 21.f4! exf3 22.Qxf3 f5☻ 23.g3 g5 24.Rc2! Rf8 25.Bxd7 Bxd7 26.Rxh2 Qd6 27.Nc3 gxh4
28.Rxh4² with a very unpleasant position for Black. Compared to the game, here we have the same number of pawns
and it’s a much better version. The knight dominates and White’s king is much safer.

21...g5☻ 22.Bxd7 Bxd7 23.Kxh2 gxh4 24.Nc3 Qd6 25.Qh5 hxg3+ 26.fxg3©

After a series of more-or-less forced moves, we have an interesting situation. Black is pawn up, but he doesn’t have any
other reasons to be happy. The knight has many potentially good outposts so Black will encounter many headaches
defending this position.

26...f5 27.Ne2 Rac8 28.Nf4

At the moment the best place for the knight, close to his king.

28...b6 29.Rg1 Rf8 30.Kh1

Probably in time-trouble, White is searching for a plan; not damaging his own position and waiting for an eventual
mistake from his opponent.

30...Rc6 31.Qh4 Rxc1 32.Rxc1 Rc8 33.Rf1

White has to keep one rook, otherwise it would be very hard to make any progress. Now Black has to worry about some
g4 move.

33...Rf8 34.Rf2 Rf7 35.Rc2 Rf8 36.Qh5 Rf7 37.a3

It seems as though White can’t increase the pressure on the kingside, so now he is going to play on both flanks.

Timur defends his position very patiently, not moving any pawns.

However, to me 37...a5!? also looks logical to stop a pawn advance on the queenside.

38.b4 Rf7 39.Qh4 Rf8 40.Nh5+ Kg6 41.Nf4+ Kg7 42.Qh5 Rf7 43.Kh2 Re7

After long manoeuvring, White finds a concrete plan.


The queen is going to the other flank, searching for some entrance into the Black camp.

44...Be8 45.Qa6 Bf7 46.Qc8

Now the queen has successfully entered and Black’s defence becomes harder.


Still White doesn’t decide on which way to trade queens.

It was also possible to improve the king’s position with 47.Kh3!? Qxc8 48.Rxc8² exerting very unpleasant pressure.

Another highly unpleasant move was 47.Qc6!? Qxc6 48.Rxc6² and Black’s king is cut-off.

47...Qb7 48.Qxb7 Rxb7 49.a4

It’s very hard to criticize a player like Vladimir Kramnik, but to me it seems as though he has probably lost a small part
of his advantage and also the chance to crown some very deep play. This allows Black to activate his king.
A more precise move was 49.Kh3! Kf6 50.Kh4 Kg7 and now White can start to fix the pawns with 51.a4 Kf6 52.Rc6+
Kg7 53.b5± and at an opportune moment he will make a breakthrough with Nh5, Rd6 or g4, depending on Black’s

49...Kf6 50.Rc6+ Kg5!

Most likely the ex-World Champion underrated this move, hoping for a quick mate of the black king or some zugzwang.
With this move Black doesn’t solve his problems, but hope has appeared.


This is the beginning of the wrong plan. White should keep the h3-square empty for his knight.

White has a promising plan in which Black will have to play unreal moves to survive: 51.Kg2 and Black doesn’t have
much choice. Actually he has to choose his defence, either keeping the pawn on h6 or pushing it to h5. We will see
both: The better option is 51...h5!

(51...Rd7 52.Nh3+ Kh5 53.b5

(It is too early for 53.Rf6?! Rc7 54.Rxf5+ Kg6 55.g4 Kg7 56.Nf4 Rc3 with good drawing chances.)

53...Re7 54.Rf6 Rc7 55.Rxf5+ Kg6 56.g4 Rc4

(56...Rc3 57.Nf4+ Kg7 58.Kf2 Rc2+ 59.Kg3 Rc3 60.Nxd5 Bxd5 61.Rxd5 Rxe3+ 62.Kf4+-)

57.Nf4+ Kg7 58.Kg3 Rxa4 59.Nxd5± with excellent winning chances.)

52.b5 Rd7 53.Nh3+ Kg4

54.Rc1! with the idea of Rf1-Rf4 54...h4☻ 55.gxh4 Kxh4 56.Nf4 Kg4 57.Kf2 Be8

(57...Kg5 58.Kg3 Re7 59.Rc6 Rd7 60.Nh3+ Kh5 61.Kf4+-)

58.Rg1+ Kh4 The best defensive plan is to keep the king on h4, preventing the entry of White’s king which you saw in
the line after 57...Kg5 59.Rg8 Bf7 60.Rg7 Rc7 61.Ke1 All the time Black is almost in zugzwang, but the only chance to
increase the pressure is to bring the king to the queenside, aiming to play a5. 61...Rd7 62.Kd2 (It’s strange but 62.Nxd5
is not enough for the win 62...Kh5! with Kh6 next and White’s pawns on the queenside can become a target.) 62...Be8

(63.Rxd7 only leads to a draw. 63...Bxd7 64.Nxd5 Be6 65.Ne7 Kg5 66.Nc6 Bb3=)

63...Bf7 64.Kc3 Rc7+ 65.Kb3 Rd7 66.Kb4 Rc7 67.Rg7 Rd7 68.a5 Be8 69.Rg8 Bf7 70.Rg1 Be8 71.a6

(71.axb6 axb6 72.Rg8 Bf7 73.Rb8 Kg3„)

71...Bf7 72.Rg7 Be8 73.Rg8

(73.Rxd7 Bxd7 74.Nxd5 Be6! 75.Nf4 Bf7=)

73...Bf7 74.Rb8 Kg3 75.Rb7 Be8 76.Kc3 Kf2 77.Kd2 Kf3 78.Ng6 Kf2!=
with the idea of 79.Ne5 f4!–+

51...Rd7 52.a5?!=

This simplification leads to an easy draw. After such lengthy manoeuvring, the normal reaction is to lose patience.
White didn’t have a win, but he could have tortured Black a little bit more.

52...bxa5 53.bxa5


Finally, Black gains some air and doesn’t miss his chance.
54.a6 Rb3 55.Rc7 Kf6 56.Rxa7 Rxe3 57.Rc7 Ra3 58.a7 Ra2

The pawn on the 7th rank is not dangerous without help from the king and knight. Now White has to be careful to not
pass the ‘risk limit’.

59.Rb7 e3 60.g4! fxg4+ 61.Kxg4 h5+ 62.Kf3 Ra3 63.Ng2 h4 64.Nxe3 h3


White has successfully solved all his small problems and the rest of the game was just automatically playing until the

65...Be6 66.Nf1 Ra4 67.Kg3 Ra3+ 68.Kf4 Ra4 69.Kf3 Ra3+ 70.Ne3 Kg5 71.Rg7+ Kf6 72.Rc7 Kg5 73.Rg7+ Kf6 1/2



1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5


The most consistent — and best — move. In the spirit of this book something like 3.c3 would be an attempt to create
similar structures to our other chapters, but here it doesn’t make sense. After 3.c3 Black has many good options but
chief among them is 3...cxd4 4.cxd4 d5 and we have a position from a harmless variation in the Exchange Slav with a
knight on f3.


Other moves are also possible! One of them is 3...e6 and here my suggestion is 4.Nc3
which promises a slight advantage without risk. 4...exd5

a) The move 4...b5?! in Benko style is very risky for Black: 5.dxe6 fxe6 6.Nxb5 d5 (6...Qa5+ 7.Nc3 d5 8.Bd2 Qb6 9.e4!
d4 10.Nb5 Nxe4 11.Bd3 Bb7 12.0-0±) 7.e4! Nxe4 8.c4 a6 (8...Be7? 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qxd5+-) 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.bxc3² and
Black’s centre is shaky!;

b) 4...d6 5.e4 exd5 6.Nxd5! Nxd5 (6...Nxe4 7.Qe2 f5 8.Bg5 Qa5+ 9.Bd2 Qd8 10.Ng5 Be7 11.Nxe4 fxe4 12.Qxe4+-)
7.Qxd5² Of course the idea is to play on the weak d5-square and against the weak pawn on d6;

5.Nxd5 Nxd5 6.Qxd5 Be7

(6...Nc6 7.Bg5! — see the game Berkes Ferenc–Wojtaszek Radoslaw, EU chT U18 2002.; 6...d6 7.Ng5! Qe7 8.Bf4²
with long castling and pressuring the d6-pawn.)

7.Bf4!² — see the game Landa Konstantin–Simacek Pavel, CZE-chT 2013;

3...b5 This is a favourite move of ‘Benko’ players. The idea is to take space on the queenside with quick pressure
against the d5-pawn after Bb7 next. 4.Bg5!
The sharpest and most dangerous move! 4...Qb6

a) A dubious continuation is 4...Ne4?! 5.Bh4 Bb7 (for 5...Qa5+ — see the game Kasparov Garry–Miles Anthony J Basel
m 1986.) 6.a4 — see the game Sargissian Gabriel–Bartholomew John Chicago op 21st 2012;

b) Also 4...d6?! doesn’t give sufficient counter-play 5.Bxf6! — see the game Kasparov Garry–Graf Alexander, Genève
PCA-GP rapid 1996;

5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.c3 Qb6

(6...d6 7.e3! followed by this very nice idea! White leaves the e4-square free for his b1-knight and exploits the badly-
placed queen. — See the game Markus Robert–Milanovic Danilo, 11th ch-SRB 2017.)

7.e4 g6 8.a4
— see the game Riazantsev Alexander–Vaisser Anatoli FRA-chT 2011;

3...d6 4.Nc3 g6 is a transposition to 3...g6


To leave the c4-square available for pieces (mainly for a knight) and to reject all the sharpest variations of the Benoni.

4...Bg7 5.e4 d6 6.Bb5+

6.h3 is another very interesting approach 6...0-0 7.a4 — see the game Ivanisevic Ivan–Szuk Balasz, Hungarian-chT


6...Nbd7 — see the game Abramovic Bosko–Popov Luben Stara Pazova 2007;

6...Nfd7 — see the game Georgiev Kiril–Ostos Julio, Andorra open 30th 2012.

7.a4 0-0 8.0-0

See the game Damljanovic Branko–Zlatic Mihajlo, SRB-ch Kragujevac 2009.

Game 28
K. Landa — P. Simacek [A43]

CZE-chT 1314 Czechia (1.1), 02.11.2013

In this chapter we will start with 3...e6, a move which doesn’t give Black full equality. The main problem lies in the
queenside development of the black pieces and the weak square d5. This game will illustrate these best!

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 Nxd5 5.Nxd5 exd5 6.Qxd5 Be7 7.Bf4!

An important developing move! White is aiming to stop Black’s idea with ...d6, ...Nc6, ...Be6 by creating strong
pressure on the point d6.

7...Nc6 8.0-0-0 0-0

Another logical option was 8...Nb4

but Black is not in time to open his light-squared bishop with ...d6 or ...d5. 9.Qb3 d5

(9...d6 10.e4 0-0 11.a3 Nc6

(11...Be6 12.Bc4 Bxc4 13.Qxc4 Nc6 14.e5 Na5 15.Qe4 Qe8 16.Rhe1 dxe5 17.Bxe5 Nc6 18.Qg4 g6 19.Bd6 Rd8

12.e5 d5

(12...Na5 13.Qd3 dxe5 14.Qe4 Qb6 15.Bxe5±)

13.Qxd5 Qxd5 14.Rxd5 Be6 15.Rd1± Black doesn’t have sufficient compensation for the pawn.)
10.e4! A crucial and crushing move! Black is too slow because of his king’s position. 10...d4

(10...0-0 11.a3! c4 12.Qe3 Qa5 13.Kb1 Nxc2 14.Kxc2 dxe4 15.Nd4±)

11.Bb5+ Nc6

(11...Bd7? 12.Ne5!+-)

12.Ne5 0-0

(12...Be6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bxc6+ Kf8 15.Qg3+-)

13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bxc6 Be6 15.Qg3 Rc8 16.Bb7±


White starts to dominate and the light-squared bishop on c8 doesn’t have good prospects.

9...Bxd6 10.Qxd6 b6

More active options also don’t promises sufficient counterplay. For example: 10...Qa5 11.a3 c4 12.Rd5 b5 13.e3 Qb6
14.Be2 Bb7 15.Rhd1± with domination on the d-file and the possibility of organising an attack on Black’s king,
because he has no defenders there.

Or 10...c4 11.e3 c3 12.b3 Qa5 13.a4 a6 14.Bd3 Threatening Bh7 14...Re8 15.Bc4! Another nice move; now the f7-point
is very weak. 15...b5 16.Bxf7+! Kxf7 17.Ng5+ Kg8 18.Qd5++- with mate soon! For example: 18...Kh8 19.Nf7+ Kg8
20.Nh6+ Kh8 21.Qg8+ Rxg8 22.Nf7#

11.e3 a6

This kind of move highlights the shortcomings of Black’s position.

11...Qe7 12.Bb5±
12.Bd3 Ra7


White is going to exploit the isolated black pieces on the queenside by starting an attack on the black king.


For lack of any better options, Black is forced to go into a sad endgame.

14.Bf5 Re8 15.Rd5

White slowly increases the pressure on the d-file while Black has no active plan.


15...Nb4 16.Re5+-

16.Rxd6± g6 17.Bh3 Rc7 18.Rhd1 Re7


A nice example of improving the pieces. The best place for the knight is the d5-square and his route is either Ne2-Nf4-
Nd5 or Ne2-Nc3-Nd5.


Black is trying to cutting off the influence of White’s bishop, but on the downside, the pawn g6 becomes a sensitive
point in his camp.

20.Ne2 Re6 21.Nf4 Rxd6 22.Rxd6 Kf7 23.Nd5 Rb7


It’s very important to create weaknesses in Black’s camp, otherwise the road to victory would be very long.

24...Kg7 25.hxg6 hxg6 26.g4!

Now White’s bishop becomes alive again.

26...fxg4 27.Bxg4 a5 28.Bf3 g5 29.Ne7 1–0

Game 29
F. Berkes — R. Wojtaszek [A43]

EU-chT U18 Balatonlelle (3), 15.06.2002

Compared with our previous game, here Black chose a more resistant move, 6... Nc6. However, it seems like it’s still
not enough to reach full equality after White’s aggressive approach here. This game contain many forced lines and
positions, so pay attention to them.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.Nxd5 Nxd5 6.Qxd5 Nc6 7.Bg5!

The most concrete move!


Here Black has many options, but none of them good enough to equalize.

A serious weakening would result from 7...f6? 8.Bf4 Nb4 9.Qb3 and unfortunately for Black 9...d5 doesn’t work after
10.a3 Nc6 11.0-0-0 c4 12.Qc3 when his centre is unstable. For example, 12...Bf5 13.e4!
13...Bxe4 14.Bxc4+- and Black’s king is under the fire;

7...Qa5+ makes sense but it seems as though Black is not in time. 8.Bd2 Qc7

(8...Qb6 9.0-0-0± with the idea of Ng5)

9.0-0-0± d6

(9...Be7 10.Ng5 0-0 11.h4→)

10.Bf4 Nb4

(10...Be6 11.Qxc5±)

11.Qe4+ Be6 12.a3 Nc6 13.e3 0-0-0

(13...Be7 14.Bc4 Bxc4 15.Qxc4±)

14.Ng5 Qd7 15.Qa4! A very important move planning to bring the knight to e4 and increase the pressure against the d6-
and c5-pawns. 15...Be7 16.Ne4 d5 17.Bb5 a6 18.c4 d4 19.b4!± and again Black’s king is not safe!;

After 7...Be7 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.0-0-0 the d6-square is weak again. 9...Nb4 10.Qe5!

(10.Qb3 d6„)


(10...Nxa2+ 11.Kb1 Qxe5 12.Nxe5 Nb4 13.e4 Nc6 14.Nc4! and here the best for Black is to give back a pawn in order
get some air in his position.

(Keeping a minimal material advantage would be a bad idea for Black: 14...0-0 15.Nd6 b6 16.c3 Rb8 17.f4 Bb7 18.Bb5
Ba8 19.Rhe1±; Or 14...Ke7 15.Nd6 Nd4 16.e5 f6 17.f4±)

15.Nxd6+ Ke7 16.Bc4 Ne5 17.Bd5 Rb8 18.Nxc8+ Rhxc8² Although here the bishop is stronger, Black’s position is

11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 12.a3 Nc6

13.Nd2! The knight needs to be improved in order to exploit the weak squares in Black’s position on the d-file. 13...b6
(13...d5 14.Nb3 c4

(14...Kd6 15.c4 d4 16.e3±)

15.Nd4 Rd8 16.g3² The d5-pawn will be a pernament weakness.)

14.g3 Ne5 15.Bg2 Rb8 16.h3 Ba6 17.Nb1! Rhd8

(17...Bxe2 18.Rde1 Bc4 19.f4+-)

18.Nc3 Bc4 19.Bd5 Bxd5 20.Nxd5+² Votava,J -Markos, J Czechia 2012.


This is the only way to keep the initiative!

Very slow would be 8.0-0-0 d6 with ...Be6 next and Black has solved all his problems.


Black is almost lost after 8...f6? 9.Qf7+ Kd8 10.Bxf6+ gxf6 11.Qxf6+ Kc7 12.Nxc6 Rg8

13.Ne7! Qxf6 (13...Qb4+ 14.c3 Qxb2 15.Nd5+ Kb8 16.Rd1+-) 14.Nd5+ Kc6 15.Nxf6±

9.Qxe5+ Qe6 10.Qc7!

Again White has to play the most direct option!


Black needs to cover the d8-square and try to castle as soon is possible.

The immediate 10...Be7 leads to a strategically-lost position after 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.0-0-0±;
Or 10...Qb6 11.Qxb6 axb6 12.e4² with a very pleasant endgame for White.

11.Bf4 Be7 12.e3 d5?!

Probably not the best, because this move allows long-castling with quick action in centre.

Better was first to secure king with 12...0-0 13.Be2

13...Rd8! (Here 13...d5 is too early because of 14.c4! dxc4 (14...d4 15.Bf3±) 15.Rc1± and Black is very weak on the
diagonal.) 14.0-0 d5 15.c4 Rd7☻ (15...d4 16.Bf3±; 15...dxc4 16.Rad1±) 16.Qa5 d4 (16...dxc4 17.Rac1 Kh8 18.Bxc4
Qb6 19.Qxb6 axb6 20.a4²) 17.Qa4 Rd8 18.Qc2 (18.Bf3 Bd7 19.Qb3 Bc6=) 18...Qf7 19.exd4 Rxd4 (19...cxd4 20.Bf3²)
20.Be3 Rd8 21.Bf3²

13.0-0-0 0-0

The most resistant approach was to accept a not-so-great endgame after 13...Qc6 14.Qxc6+ bxc6 15.e4! dxe4 16.Bc4² It
looks ugly, but Black is still a pawn up and has a plan to defend his pawn with ...Bf5 and then to play ...Rd8
exchanging some pieces.

Timely. White opens the e-file and uses his better development. Black needed just one more move, such as ...Qf7, to
consolidate his position.


A tough choice, but Black must play something.

Other moves, like 14...dxe4, also lead to big difficulties. Here is a nice sample line: 15.Rd4! Qf7 (15...cxd4 16.Bc4+-)
16.Rxe4 Be6 (16...Bd8 17.Qxc5+-) 17.Qxb7±;

Or 14...d4 15.Rxd4!+-

A very strange move! With this move White loses a tempo.

Very natural was 15.Bd3! Qa4 16.Rhe1 Rf7 (16...Bd8 17.Qd6 Qxa2 18.c4+- with many threats, e.g. Bh7) 17.Rxe7 Rxe7
18.Qxe7 Qxf4+ 19.Kb1 and now Black is forced to give some pawns in order to finish development and avoid being
mated. 19...Bg4 (19...Bf5 20.Qxb7 Rd8 21.Qe7 Rc8 22.f3±) 20.f3 Bh5 21.Qxb7 Rd8 22.Qxa7±

15...Qb4 16.Bd3?!

Objectively White should force a draw to avoid problems, therefore better was 16.Qxe7 Qxb5 (16...Qxf4+ 17.Rd2 Qb4
18.Be2 Bf5 19.Bf3 d4 20.Qxb7=) 17.Rxd5 Qc4 18.Bd6 Bd7 19.Rhd1 Rf7 20.b3 Rxe7 21.bxc4=

16...c4 17.c3 Qc5 18.Bc2 Qxf2

A totally unexpected mistake! Black avoids a queen trade when he has a weak king?

Very logical was 18...Qxc7 19.Bxc7 Bc5 20.Rxd5 Bxf2³

19.Rhe1 Bc5??

I guess in time-trouble, Black makes a decisive blunder!

The only move was 19...Rf7 20.Bg3 Qc5 21.Qxc5 Bxc5 22.Rxd5 Bb6 23.Ba4² with strong compensation for the pawn.
The main idea is Bb5 or b3 to open the a2-g8 diagonal.

Black resigns because a rapid mate is unavoidable, the point seen in the following line.

20...Rf7 21.Re8+ Bf8 22.Rxf8++- 1–0

Game 30
G. Kasparov — A. Graf [A43]

Genève PCA-GP Credit Suisse Genève (1.1), 29.08.1996

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 d6?!

A dubious continuation. This position reminds us a lot of the Trompowsky attack 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.Bf6 gxf6 4.d5 but
here Black plays ...f5 with a very unclear position. In our game Black doesn’t have time for ...f5, which means that the
dark-squared bishop will be closed in by its own pawns, and also the queenside pawns are already moved.

5.Bxf6 exf6

Less recommended is 5...gxf6 6.e4 Qb6 7.Nh4!² with a lasting advantage for White! Black will have huge problems
with his dark-squared bishop as in Sargissian,G (2667)-Bermejo Martinez,J (2215) San Sebastian 2006.

6.e4 a6 7.a4!
The typical reaction, fighting for the ideal c4-square for his knight.

7...b4 8.Bd3!

A very important move! He should not be allow ...f5, after which Black solves his opening problems.

8...g6 9.Nbd2 Bg7

In one game Black tried to improve his pawn structure, but it didn’t work out well: 9...Nd7 10.a5 Ne5 11.Nxe5 fxe5
12.0-0 Bh6 13.Nc4 0-0 14.c3 bxc3 15.bxc3 f5 16.Rb1 f4 17.Be2 Rf6 18.Bg4 Bxg4 19.Qxg4± Olafsson,H (2550)-
Karason,A (2255) Akureyri 1987

10.0-0 0-0 11.Nc4 a5

Black wants to connect his pawns, preventing White’s move a5.

Also common here is 11...Bb7 with the idea being to play ...f5 next, but then White has the important move 12.a5! f5
13.exf5 Bxd5 14.Nb6 Bxf3 15.Qxf3 Ra7 Pert N.-Ward C. BCF ch 1997. 16.fxg6 hxg6 17.Qd5! Bxb2 18.Rab1 Be5
19.Bxg6² offering better chances for White thanks to his much-safer king position.

12.Nfd2 Qc7?!

This very slow move leaves Black without counterplay.

The move considered critical here is 12...Bb7 and now White has an interesting option, to play 13.g4!?² preventing ...f5.
For example: (Many games have been played with 13.Qf3 Nd7÷; or 13.Qg4 f5 14.exf5 Bxd5÷) 13...f5 (13...h5
14.gxh5 f5 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Kh1± and soon Black’s king will come under a strong attack.) 14.gxf5 gxf5 15.Qh5 Qf6
16.Kh1 Kh8 (16...Nd7 17.Rg1 Kh8 18.Rg5) 17.Rg1ƒ with strong pressure on the g-file.

13.f4 Nd7 14.Qe1

Now White has a clear plan of regrouping all his pieces on the kingside.

14...Ba6 15.Qh4 Rfe8 16.f5!

A very important decision! White seemingly gives up the e5-square, but it’s more important to keep the dark-squared
bishop closed off and again prevent Black’s main idea ...f5.

16...Rad8 17.Rf3 Bc8 18.Raf1 Nf8

A passive position for the knight, but he had no other choice: somehow Black must defend against Rh3.


A nice knight manoeuvre. The knight on d2 was very passive but now he has the c4-square while the other is set to join
the attack.

19...Bd7 20.b3 h5

The only move against Ng4.

21.Ndc4 Bc8 22.g4!

Everything is nicely-prepared for a breakthrough so why wait any longer?

22...Bh6 23.gxh5 Bxe3+ 24.Nxe3 g5

Briefly Black can breathe, but from a strategic viewpoint the position is lost for him. White just needs to open the g-file
with h4 and the game is over!

25.Qf2 Kh8 26.Ng4 Nd7 27.Rg3 Re7 28.h4! c4

All or nothing. Black is looking for his last chance, to play ...Qc5 hoping for something good in the endgame.

White ignores the queenside and continues his attack.

29...cxd3 30.gxf6 Rxe4 31.Qd2!

This was the point of the small combination. Now Black is forced to hand over some material to avoid being mated.

31...Qc5+ 32.Nf2?

We can characterise this move as a consequence of relaxation in a winning position — or time trouble!

A simple win follows 32.Rf2! Re1+ 33.Qxe1 dxc2 34.Qc1+-


The only move, after which things are going to be complicated a little bit.


Probably slightly better was 33.Rxe3 Rg8+ 34.Kh2 Qxc2 35.Qxd3 Qb2 36.Rg3 Qe5 37.Qe3+-

33...Qxe3 34.Rxe3 dxc2 35.Rc1 Nxf6

The remaining moves don’t require additional comments because White easily converted his material advantage.

36.Rxc2 Nxd5 37.Rf3 Bb7 38.Rd2 Nc3 39.Rg3 Re8 40.Kh2 d5 41.Rg5 Ba6 42.h6 Ne4 43.Nxe4 dxe4 44.h7 e3 45.Rdg2
Re4 46.Rg8+ Kxh7 47.R2g7+ Kh6 48.f6 1–0

Game 31
G. Kasparov — A. Miles J [A43]

Basel m Basel (3), 17.05.1986

Let’s go back to the last century... when a 23 year old ‘youngster’ met a famous British grandmaster. Both of them
preferred a sharp mode of play, so it isn’t difficult to conclude that ahead of us lies one very interesting game.
Complications started in the early stages of the game and the World Champion translated this into an effective win.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Qa5+ 6.Nbd2 Bb7

Last century this was a playable and attractive variation for Black, but today computers prove a clear advantage for

6...g6 7.a4! Nxd2 8.Qxd2 Qxd2+ 9.Nxd2 b4 10.e4 Bg7 11.0-0-0 d6 12.f4² The c4-square, space advantage and lead in
development give White an edge.

7.a4!± Bxd5


Now Black’s pawn structure is damaged and the c4-square is unlocked for White’s minor pieces. 8.c3! Double-attack!
White offers the trade of a passive for active knight and in some way ensures his c4-base. 8...Nxd2

(8...Bxd5? 9.Nxe4 Bxe4 10.Rxa4+-)

9.Qxd2 Ba6
10.Qc2! Double benefit again! White releases d2 for manoeuvres and attacks a pawn at the same time. 10...g6 11.Nd2
d6 12.e4 The last stage concerning c4 passes successfully. White offers to exchange a passive for active piece again.
12...Bxf1 13.Rxf1 Bg7 14.Nc4 Fortress! 14...Qa6 15.Qxa4+ Qxa4 16.Rxa4 Nd7 17.Ke2± without any counterplay for

8.axb5 Qc7

Of course not 8...Qxb5 9.c4+- and White wins a piece.


An imaginative and interesting approach in the spirit of this age, but there was a more accurate way to start developing
kingside activity.

¹9.e3 Nxd2

(9...h6!? with the idea of ...g5, ...Bg7. 10.Bc4! A direct move based on concrete calculation! 10...Bxc4 11.Nxc4 e6
12.Nfe5! Bringing the final two pieces into the attack: the knight and queen! 12...d5 13.b6 Qb7 14.Qh5! Nd6 and a nice
combination to end matters... 15.Nxd6+ Bxd6 16.Nxf7 Qxf7 17.Qxf7+ Kxf7 18.b7+-)

10.Qxd2 Bb7

(Another possibility, 10...Bxf3 11.gxf3 e6 12.Bg2 a6 13.Qa5 Qxa5+ 14.Rxa5+- places Black in a hopeless situation...)

11.Be2 f6 A strange move, but the engine’s first suggestion.

(Maybe more logical is 11...d6 with the idea of developing in a normal way: ...Nd7, ...g6, ...Bg7. 12.0-0 Nd7 13.Ra5!
Now White is able to double rooks on the a-file. Winning the a-pawn is then only a matter of time... 13...e5 14.Rfa1 e4
15.Ne1 d5 Very ambitious from Black, but he must hunt for compensation somehow. 16.Bg3 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Qxd6
18.c4± and Black is under strong pressure.)

12.0-0 a6 The only way to continue solving the problems on the queenside. Every other try promises White at least a
better endgame thanks to his pressure on the a-file.

(The other way is 12...e5 13.Qa5 Bd6 when it seems that c4 is calling... 14.Nd2 Qxa5 15.Rxa5 Bc7 16.Ra3 d5

Black’s centre looks unexpectedly powerful, but after 17.Nb3 Nd7 18.Na5 Bc8 19.Rfa1± with Nc6 next White
penetrates via the queenside.)

13.bxa6 Bxa6 14.Bg3 e5

(14...Qc6 15.c4!± Maybe not the most logical at first glance, but this move hides a very cunning plan! White wants to
keep the light-squared bishops on board and exploit the badly-placed queen on c6 with the manoeuvre Ne1–Bf3!
15...Bc8 16.b4! with next b5!? 16...cxb4 17.Nd4 The knight is going to b5 and White gains a decisive advantage.
17...Qb7 18.Nb5 Rxa1
(18...Na6 19.Bf3+-)

19.Rxa1 e5 20.f4+-)

15.Nh4 g6 16.Bxa6 Rxa6 17.Rxa6 Nxa6 18.f4± Black has solved his problems with the a-file and lack of space, but he
has made new weaknesses on his kingside and White starts crushing.

9...Qb7 10.c4 Nxd2


The last chance to transpose to a position with a clear advantage! 11.Qxd2 Be4 12.Ne5! g5!? Now White has two
approximately equal possibilities. The first is to capture this ‘poisoned pawn’ and play more riskily with 3 pawns for a
piece and the second, safer option, to decline this ‘present’ and keep a long-term slight advantage.

a) 12...Bxg2 13.Bxg2 Qxg2 14.Qd5 Qxd5 15.cxd5± with strong pressure;

b) 12...d6 13.f3 Bf5 (13...dxe5 14.fxe4 Nd7 15.Qd5 Rb8 16.e3± and the rest of the game is a question of technique.)
14.e4 Bc8 15.Nd3 and after a few simple moves (Be2–0-0–Rfa1) White’s advantage grows... 15...a6 16.Be2 axb5
17.Rxa8 Qxa8 18.cxb5±;


(13.Bg3 d6 14.f3 Bf5 15.e4 Be6 16.Nd3² and the position is similar to 12...d6 with one positive for Black: the g5-pawn
controls the f4-square and protects the bishop on e6. No matter, White still has a clear advantage.)

13...f6 14.f3
14...Bf5 15.e4 Be6 16.Nd3 fxg5 17.Nxc5 Qc7 18.Nxe6 dxe6 19.Qxg5© and White has enough compensation, but this is
the best practical chance for Black.

11...Nxf1 12.Qd3

A sympathetic plan, probably predicted before 9.Ra4. The idea is to defend the b5-fortress and capture the trapped
knight with the queen, keeping castling options open.

12...d6 13.e4 Nd7

Black should take a pawn with 13...Nxh2! 14.Rxh2 (14.Nxh2 g6 15.0-0 Bg7 16.Nf3 Nd7µ) 14...Nd7 15.Nd2 g6 16.Nc4
Nb6 17.Na5 Qd7 and White has a long journey ahead to prove compensation.
14.Qxf1 h6?!

Too slow in this sharp position.

14...Rb8! Active play is the best way to defend the position! 15.Nd2 g6 16.Qe2 Qxb5 17.Qxb5 Rxb5 18.Rxa7 Rxb2
19.Ra8+ Nb8 20.0-0© but the position has simplified...

15.Qe2 g5 16.Bg3 Bg7

¹16...Rb8 The last chance to put pressure on the awkward b5-pawn immediately and mount a counter-attack. 17.h4
Qxb5 18.Qxb5 Rxb5 19.Rxa7 Rxb2 20.Ra8+ Nb8 21.0-0 f6 22.Rfa1© Perhaps not the easiest task in front of Black, but
the position is objectively equal.


Garry keeps playing sharply.

17.0-0 0-0 (It is too late for 17...Rb8 because White is now able to play 18.Ra5 doubling rooks on the a-file and holding
his b5-pawn with a clear edge. 18...Qc7 19.Rfa1±) 18.h4 g4 19.Nd2 h5 20.f3² and White fires on both flanks!

17...0-0! 18.h4 Qxd5 19.hxg5


It isn’t an easy decision to open files around your own king, but here this was the best move: 19...hxg5 20.Qc2 (20.Nxg5
Nxe5µ) 20...f5 21.Nxg5 Nxe5÷ and Black’s centralised pieces are able to create counterplay!


Probably the move which decides this exciting game... Unfortunately, Black captured with the wrong piece, keeping the
‘Dragon bishop’ in defence, and fell into a hopeless position.

¹20...Bxe5 21.Nxe5 (21.Qc2 f5 22.gxf6 Rxf6 promises Black good chances!) 21...Qxe5 22.Re4 Qf5 23.Rxh6 d5
24.Rhh4! and White has slightly better chances.

21.gxh6 Bf6 22.Rh5 Kh8 23.Nxe5 Qb3 24.Ra3+-

After a few accurate moves, White’s advantage has grown into a winning position.
24...Qb4+ 25.Kf1 Rad8 26.Nc6

Transitioning into a winning endgame.

26...Qxb2 27.Qxb2 Bxb2 28.Rxa7

Now we can see some nice cooperation between knight and pawn against Black’s rooks.

28...Rc8 29.Rxe7 c4 30.Ke2 c3 31.Kd3

When he got his chance, the 13th World Champion came out on top.


Game 32
G. Sargissian — J. Bartholomew [A43]

Chicago op 21st Wheeling (2), 25.05.2012

In front of us is a great game played by the Armenian national team member. He used a few nice ‘human’ ideas during
the game and exploited the weaknesses of Black’s exposed structure and undeveloped pieces.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Bb7 6.a4!

A very important moment! White should start disturbing Black’s queenside pawns as soon as possible. Now, after this
accurate move, Black only has a choice as to which concession he would like to make: to give up the c4-square, or to
support the b5-pawn; occupying the a6-square which he would like to reserve for his minor pieces.


Black decided to keep the tension on the queenside, but now we can see another purpose behind 6.a4! Black continues
the game lacking the a6-square for manoeuvres.

6...b4 First mission complete! White has gained the c4-square for himself and avoided the eventual manoeuvre ...c4,
...Na6, ...Nc5 seen a few times in Topalov’s games. 7.Qd3

(7...f5 A stereotypical move! But it doesn’t make any sense after White has provoked ...b5-...b4. With this move, Black
determines the structure in a bad way and creates additional weaknesses in his position. 8.Nbd2 Ba6 9.Qb3 Qb6 10.e3
Bxf1 11.Rxf1 Nxd2 12.Nxd2 Qh6 13.Bg3± As you can see, with a few normal moves White gains a clearly better

8.e4 The central pawns grab space. 8...d6 9.Qb5+!? Qd7 10.Nbd2 a6 11.Qd3 Now we can see the point of White’s 9th
move. He stole the tempo putting Black’s queen on d7, offering Black an unpleasant endgame. 11...Qc7 12.Bxf6
Maybe White can wait with this trade!? A series of logical moves guarantee him a clear edge. The Croatian
grandmaster hasn’t made a mistake, but from a principled point of view you should keep minor pieces when you have a
space advantage.

(If I was White, the game would continue with 12.Be2 g6 13.Nc4 Nbd7 14.0-0 Bh6 15.Nfd2 a5 16.f4± and I would dare
to say that White has gained a dream position...)

12...exf6 13.a5 Nd7 14.Nc4 and White has a long-term better position thanks to his c4-knight. Jankovic,A-Milanovic,D
Bad Gleichenberg 2014;

6...Qa5+ 7.Nbd2 bxa4

(7...Bxd5 see the game Kasparov — Miles; 7...Nxd2 8.Nxd2 Bxd5 9.axb5± and the advantage is obvious 9...Qxb5 10.e4
Qb4 11.c3+- A crucial point! Now the queen must leave the 4th rank and the bishop falls on d5.)

8.c3! An excellent move! After this double-attack Black has to trade his only active piece or otherwise let White’s
knight into the dream square c4.

(8...Nxd2 9.Qxd2 d6

(9...e6 10.e4+- helps White to exploit his advantage.)

10.e4 g6 11.e5± Black is unable to finish development without consequences.)

9.Rxa4 Qb6 10.Nc4 Qh6

(10...Qc7 Other moves are without sense... 11.Ne3! e6 12.g4+-)

11.e3! Coldblooded. Black’s threats aren’t dangerous. 11...g5 12.Bg3 Nxg3 13.fxg3 Bg7 14.Na5! Opening the 4th rank
and causing Black one more problem before castling. 14...Bc8 (Akobian,V - Ramirez,A 2012.) 15.e4! When you are
leading in development, direct impact must work! 15...fxe4 16.Rxe4 0-0

And now a nice combination gives White a decisive advantage... 17.d6! Qxd6 18.Bc4+ Kh8 19.Qxd6 exd6 20.Nxg5+-

7.Qd3 f5

A standard pawn set-up for this variation.

7...Qa5+ 8.c3 f5 9.Nbd2 transposes to the game.

8.Nbd2 Qa5

8...c4!? A move in the spirit of the position. Black closes the f1–a6 diagonal and covers the b5-weakness in this indirect
way. He also releases the c5-square and the dark-diagonal for counterplay. 9.Qd4 Nxd2 10.Qxd2 Qb6

(10...g6 11.e4! A very important exploitation of the opened diagonal! 11...fxe4 12.Qd4 Rg8 13.Qxe4 and Black’s
position is very confused.)

11.e4 fxe4 12.Ng5 Qf6

(12...Qc5 13.Rd1)

13.Be2 Tricky, but the strongest move! 13...g6

(13...h6? 14.Bh5+ g6 15.Ne6 The main point! 15...Qf7 16.Nc7+ Kd8 17.Qa5!+-)

14.0-0! Bh6

(14...h6 15.Ne6 Qxh4 16.Nc7+ Kf7 17.axb5 Bg7 18.Nxa8 Bxa8 19.bxa6)

15.f3± and White gains a clear edge thanks to this sharp mode of play.


An important move in this variation, no matter which decision Black made on queenside.


Black has to try to destroy the d5-pawn.

After 9...Nd6 all Black’s queenside pieces look trapped.

10.Nxe4 fxe4 11.Qxe4 Bxd5 12.Qf4


Simplifying the position doesn’t solve Black’s problems.

12...Nc6 was seen in the game Burmakin,V - Avrukh,B 2001, but after 13.e4 Bb3 14.Be2 bxa4 15.0-0± White had
completed his development and has a really natural position, unlike Black who has uncoordinated pieces and an
uncastled king.

13.Qxf3± Nc6

The excellently-placed queen does her job in the best way. Controlling the f8-square keeps Black’s king unable to castle
short and also paralyses Black’s pieces on the longest light-square diagonal.

14.e3 White could have chosen this alternative development plan. The main idea is to put stronger pressure on the
exposed a6-b5 pawns. After 14...b4 15.Bc4! Even though this spot really belongs to a knight, the bishop is dominating
from c4 and threatens to destroy Black’s position. 15...Qc7 16.0-0 Bd6 17.Rad1±


Logical, but not a good move in this difficult position.

¹14...bxa4 but after the normal 15.Bg2 c4 16.0-0 Rb8 17.Rfd1 a3 18.bxa3 Ne5 19.Qh5+ g6 20.Qg5 the position looks
very unpleasant for Black.

15.Bxe7 Kxe7 16.Qg4 g6 17.Bg2 b4?!

The most resistant was 17...Rac8 18.0-0 b4 19.Rac1 Qxa4 20.Rfd1 and Black is still in trouble, but not completely lost.


Transitioning into a winning major pieces endgame thanks to Black’s horrible pawn-structure.

18...dxc6 19.0-0 bxc3 20.Qh4+ Kf7 21.Qf4+ Kg7 22.Qe5+ Kh6 23.bxc3
Pawn structure

with a few accurate and well-calculated checks, White runs away without even sacrificing a pawn.

23...Rhf8 24.Rfd1 Rad8 25.Rab1

Completing the final task: penetrating the rook to the 7th rank.

25...Qxa4 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Qe3+ Kg7 28.Rb7+ Kf6 29.Rxh7 Rd5

Enough for a win without any risk, but White missed the direct

30.Qh6! Rd1+ 31.Kg2 Qe4+ 32.f3 Qxe2+ 33.Kh3 Qf1+ 34.Kh4 and mate is coming...

30...Qd1+ 31.Kf2 Qd2 32.Ra7 c4 33.Rxa6 Qd1 34.Rxc6 Qh1 35.Qxe6+ 1–0

Game 33
R. Markus — D. Milanovic [A43]

11th ch-SRB 2017 Kragujevac SRB (6.3), 28.03.2017

This game is one of the key games in this chapter. Black used the ‘regular’ continuation 6...d6, played many times by
strong grandmasters. Surprisingly, this line is almost lost for Black but until this game nobody had shown White how to
play and crush the line! Serbian grandmaster Robert Markus showed his deep preparation and won the game in very
convincing fashion. After this game, Black will have to look for some other solution instead of 6...d6.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 Qb6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.c3 d6?

This move looks very logical, but if we look deeper into the position we can see that the Black queen is not so safe on f6
and is far from the exposed pawns on the queenside which become a target.

A much better move is 6...Qb6 — see the next game: Riazantsev A.-Vaisser A. FRA chT Top12 2011.


This is a very strong novelty! A little bit later we will see the main idea behind this move.

In previous tournament praxis, the main line was 7.e4 a6 8.Nbd2 and now Black has a very good plan with 8...g5!
gaining strong counterplay on the kingside.

7...a6 8.Nbd2

Now the crucial difference between having a pawn on e4 or on e3 becomes visible. The move ...g5 is not option for
Black, because of Ne4, and now he doesn’t have a good option against the a4-plan.


The essence of the new idea from White can also be seen after 8...Bb7 9.a4! White is not interested in protecting his d5-
pawn and continues instead with ruining Black’s queenside. 9...Bxd5 (9...b4 10.Qb3 Nd7 11.cxb4 cxb4 12.Qxb4 Bxd5
13.Bxa6! Rxa6 14.Qb5±) 10.axb5± and the b-pawn becomes Black’s nightmare;

Making less sense is 8...Qf5 because of 9.e4± with a4 next;

Also after 8...e6 comes 9.a4! exd5 (9...b4 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Ne4 Qd8 12.cxb4 cxb4 13.Nfg5± and Black doesn’t have a
good move. For example: 13...Be7 14.Nxe6 fxe6 15.Qg4 Kf7 16.Qf3+ and Black will lose the rook on a8 after the
discovered check.) 10.axb5 Be7 11.Be2 0-0 12.Ra3!± with the idea of Qa1 and Black’s queenside is paralyzed.

9.a4 b4

Very bad is 9...Rb8 10.axb5 axb5 11.Ra5 b4 12.Qa4! bxc3 13.Ne4 Qf5 14.Nxc3+- and Black can’t avoid losing material
after Ra8.

10.cxb4 cxb4

Also 10...Qxb2 is not a good option, because after 11.Rb1 Qc3 12.Rb3 Qf6 13.Bd3± Black has huge problems with his
queen and with finishing development.

11.Ne4! Qg6

An understandable decision!

Black was not brave enough to take the poisoned pawn with 11...Qxb2 12.Bc4! The idea is Ra2. 12...Ne5 (12...Nc5
13.Ra2 Qxa2 14.Bxa2 Nxe4 15.a5!+-) 13.Rb1 (Not good is 13.Ra2? Nxf3+ 14.gxf3 Qe5µ and Black’s queen is safe.)
13...Nxf3+ 14.gxf3 Qe5 15.Qc2 The idea is Bb5 15...Bd7 16.f4 b3 (16...Qf5 17.Rxb4 f6 18.Qd3 g6 19.Bxa6 Kf7
20.Bb5±) 17.Qd3 Qf5 18.Rxb3 g6 19.Qd4 Rg8 20.Bxa6! Bg7 (20...Rxa6 21.Rb8+ Bc8 22.Qc4+-) 21.Qc4 (21.Qa7
looks attractive but is probably not enough for the win. 21...Rxa7 22.Rb8+ Bc8 23.Bxc8 e6 24.Nxd6+ Ke7 25.Nxf5+
gxf5 with good drawing chances) 21...f6 22.Rb6 Qh3 (22...Kf7 23.Rxd6!±) 23.Qc7!± and Black’s king is still in
danger. If Black tries 23...Qf3 than the tactics work for White after 24.Nxd6+! exd6 25.Rxd6 Qxh1+ 26.Kd2 Rd8
27.Bb5+- and Black can’t avoid a quick mate.

A very strong move! With this queen centralization White keeps the knight in the centre, which reduces many of
Black’s possibilities.


This move looks extremely bad, even suicidal, but Black simply didn’t have any good alternative.

For example: 12...Bb7 13.Rd1! Rb8 14.h4± and his queen is in big trouble;

Or 12...Rb8 13.Rc1! and the white rook enters the 7th rank. Black is almost in zugzwang;

Also terrible is 12...e5 13.dxe6 Qxe6 14.Bc4+-

13.Neg5 Nc5 14.Bc4 h6

According to the computer the best move for Black was 14...Bb7 but the position is hopeless anyway: 15.0-0 h6 16.Nh3
e5 17.dxe6! Bxf3 18.Nf4 Qg5 19.h4 Qg4 (19...Qxh4 20.gxf3 Qg5+ 21.Kh2 Qh4+ 22.Kg2 Qg5+ 23.Kh3+-) 20.Bd5!
Bxd5 21.Qxd5 Rc8 22.Rac1 Be7 (22...Qxh4 23.Ng6 Qe4 24.Qxe4 fxe4 25.Nxh8+-) 23.Rxc5! Rxc5 24.Qb7 and a rook
up, Black doesn’t have a defence! The main threat is h5-Ng6 or to play simply f3 with Ng6 next. The pawn on e6 is like
a bone in the throat;

The endgame is strategically lost after 14...Qf6 15.Qxf6 exf6 (15...gxf6 16.Ne6 Nxe6 17.dxe6 Bb7 18.Ke2±) 16.Ne6
Kf7 17.Nfd4±

15.Ne6 Qxg2

Black couldn’t take a pawn with 15...Nxe6 16.dxe6 Bxe6 17.Nh4 Qf7 18.Qb6+-;

15...Bxe6 16.dxe6 Qxg2 17.Qd5 Rc8 18.Rg1 Qh3 19.Bxa6+-

Now, after this precise move and connecting his rooks, White gets a winning position.

16...Bxe6 17.Rhg1!

One more precise intermediate move!

White didn’t want to give any chances after 17.dxe6 Qg4


Black is looking for his last practical chance, but it doesn’t exist. The rest of the game is just simple realization.

After 17...Qh3 18.dxe6+- Black has simply no moves.

18.Rxg1 Bf7 19.Bd3 Rg8 20.Qxb4 Bxd5 21.Bc4 Bf7 22.Nd4 g6 23.Bxf7+ Kxf7 24.Qc4+ e6 25.b4 d5 26.Qc2 Ne4
27.Qc7+ Be7 28.Qe5 1–0

Game 34
A. Riazantsev — A. Vaisser [A43]

FRA-chT Top 12 Mulhouse (1.1), 26.05.2011

In this game White played one of the most critical lines in the anti-Benoni. Compared with the previous game, Black
reacted better with 6...Qb6.

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 Qb6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.c3


Clearly the best move for Black! The queen heads back to the safe zone and helps in defence of his exposed pawns on
the queenside!

7.e4 g6 8.a4 bxa4?

Black plays concretely at the wrong moment!

More reasonable and in the spirit of the opening was 8...b4 9.Nbd2 bxc3 10.bxc3 Bg7 11.Qc2 0-0 12.Bd3 d6 13.0-0 Qa5
14.Ra3 Nd7 15.Rb1 with a balanced position and typical play for this kind of structure. White has a great knight
position on c4 and control of the b-file, while Black doesn’t have weaknesses and has a strong dark-squared bishop.

A very nice move and probably one Black missed! White doesn’t need to defend the b2-pawn.


Black accepts the challenge! Otherwise White will play Nc4 with a much better pawn structure.

For example: 9...Bg7 10.Nc4 Qb7 11.Bd3 0-0 12.0-0 d6 13.Qxa4 Nd7 14.Rfb1 Nb6 15.Nxb6 Qxb6 16.Nd2± with easy
play using the weaknesses on the queenside!

10.Nb5 Bg7 11.e5 a6?!

Black decides on a positional queen sacrifice, trusting in the power of the free a-pawn and also his dark-squared bishop.

The engine’s suggestion is to sacrifice a rook with 11...0-0! which leads to big complications after 12.Rb1 Qa2 13.Nc7
d6 14.Nxa8 Nd7 15.Bd3! White needs to bring his king to safety. 15...Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 17.0-0 Qxd5 18.Nc7 Qc6
19.Nb5 Bb7 20.Qg4 h5 21.Qh3 a6 22.f4 Bf6 23.Na3 Bxc3 24.Kh1 e6 25.Nc4±
and now after all the complications, the rook is stronger than 5 pawns thanks to good piece coordination and good
attacking prospects on the kingside.

12.Rb1 Qxb5!?

An interesting practical decision! Black takes two pieces for the queen instead of rook and minor piece, with the idea of

Taking more material for the queen with 12...Qxb1 wouldn’t bring about success after 13.Nc7+ Kd8 14.Qxb1 Kxc7
15.Qa1 d6 16.Qxa4+- and Black doesn’t have any chances to survive, primarily because of his king’s position.

13.Bxb5 axb5 14.Rxb5 d6 15.0-0 0-0 16.Rxb8!

The simplest decision! White returns part of his material advantage, but destroys the main Black hope, the a-pawn.

16...Rxb8 17.Qxa4 Bf5?

With this move, Black’s last hope is gone!

Black missed a good practical chance here after 17...dxe5 18.Qa7 Bf5 19.Qxc5 Rfd8 20.c4 Bd3 21.Rc1 Rdc8 22.Qxe7
Bxc4 (22...Rxc4 leads to a similar position as in the main line 23.Re1 Re4 24.Rxe4 Bxe4 25.h4 Bxd5 26.Nxe5)
23.Nxe5 Bxd5 24.Rxc8+ Rxc8 with good drawing chances.

18.g4! Bd3 19.Re1 f5 20.Ng5 Bxe5


White destroys a main black defender and plays on the weak black king.

Also strong was 21.Qd7 Bf6 22.Rxe7 Rb1+ 23.Kg2 Be4+ 24.Rxe4 Bxg5 25.gxf5 gxf5 26.Ra4+-

21...dxe5 22.Qd7+-

The queen enters the attack and, with great cooperation from her knight, Black’s situation is left hopeless. The rest of
the game is more than clear and doesn’t require comment.

22...h6 23.Qe6+ Kh8 24.Qxe5+ Kg8 25.Qe6+ Kh8 26.Nf7+ Kg7 27.Ne5 Rb1+ 28.Kg2 Be4+ 29.f3 Rb2+ 30.Kg3 f4+
31.Kh3 Rb7 32.fxe4 Rf6 33.Qc8 Ra7 34.Qxc5 Rb7 1–0

Game 35
I. Ivanisevic — B. Szuk [A43]

HUN-chT 0809 Hungary (3), 30.11.2008

This game will introduce us to a completely new approach. In the early stages of this battle, the famous Serbian
Grandmaster Ivan Ivanisevic reacted very surprisingly with 9.Nd5 sacrificing a pawn and playing for the initiative,
which is not standard for such positions as you will see in the following games.

1.d4 c5

Our move-order is 1...Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.h3 0-0 7.a4

2.d5 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.h3

In this position, White has two other, different plans. They are: 6.Bb5 and 6.Be2 which are more positional. Depending
of your taste and style, you can choose one of them.

6...0-0 7.a4

Avoiding the famous Benoni motif ...b7-b5 and grabbing space on the queenside.


Another possibility for Black is 7...Na6 with the idea of putting the knight on c7 and supporting ...b7-b5. 8.Bc4 b6 9.0-0
Nc7 10.Bf4 Supporting action in the centre!

(White still isn’t ready for 10.e5 dxe5 11.Nxe5 Bb7 12.Nc6 Qe8 13.Qf3 e6 and the position is a little bit unpleasant for

10...a6 11.Qd2 Rb8 12.e5 Nh5

(12...Nfe8 13.Rfe1 b5 14.axb5 axb5 15.Bf1 Bb7 16.Bxb5 Nxb5 17.Nxb5 Bxd5 18.Qxd5 Rxb5 19.Ra7 e6 20.Qc6 Rb6
21.Ra8 Rxc6 22.Rxd8 d5 23.Ra1 Nc7 24.Rd6±)

13.Bh2 b5 14.axb5 axb5 15.Be2² and White’s 5th-ranked central pawns make Black’s pieces very passive!


Actually this introduces the new concept, with the most active developing plan.

The main line is 8.Be2 exd5 9.exd5 Re8 with a typically unclear position for the Benoni.

8...exd5 9.Nxd5!

A surprising weapon! White chooses an unusual and previously undiscovered pawn sacrifice...


Another serious option is 9...Re8 10.0-0 Rxe4

(10...Nxe4 11.Re1 Nc6 12.Ra3!A very important rook lift planning to increase the pressure on the e-file. 12...Kh8☻
13.Rae3 f5 14.Bd3² with a quick recapture of the pawn and the better position. Black’s king will be permanently

11.Qd3 Rxc4

(It looks logical, but on 11...Bf5 White has the strong answer 12.Ng5! Rd4 13.Qb3 Rxc4 14.Qxc4²)

12.Qxc4 Be6 13.Bg5! Continuing to play actively, in the spirit of the opening! 13...Nbd7 14.Nxf6+ Qxf6

(14...Nxf6 15.Qh4±)

15.Qb5 Qf5 16.Rfd1 with insufficient compensation for Black.

10.0-0 Nd7
Tournament praxis notices also 10...Kh8 11.Re1 f5

(Ivanisevic I–Marinkovic I, Boskovic mem. 2009.) There are many ways White can keep compensation, but it seems
like 12.Nc3!N is the best, planning to destroy the main defender (the knight on e4).

12...Nxc3 13.bxc3 f4☻

(13...Bxc3 14.Ra3!+-)

14.Qd5 Nc6

15.Ng5!+- Rxg5 16.Qxg5 Qxg5 17.Re8+ Bf8 18.Rxf8+ Kg7 19.Rf7+ Kh8 20.Bxf4 Qd8 21.Re1 Nc6 22.Bh6+-)

15.Ng5 The idea is Qg8 with a spectacular mate. 15...Qf6☻ 16.Rb1 Ne5 17.Ne4 Qe7 18.Bf1© and Black has huge
problems defending the weak pawns;

10...Re8 Transposes to 9...Re8

11.Re1 Ndf6 12.Ng5!?

Again the most aggressive move, typical for Ivanisevic.

Enough for a slight edge was the more positional 12.Bf4! Nxd5

(12...Bf5 13.c3! Re8

(13...Nxd5 14.Bxd5 Nf6 15.Bxd6 Nxd5 16.Qxd5 Rc8 17.Rad1 Re8 18.Rxe8+ Qxe8 19.Qxb7 Qxa4 20.Re1² and Black
has too many problems to solve, mainly his weak pawns on the queenside and the critical point f7.)

14.Qb3© with Rad1 next and White has strong pressure on the central files.)

13.Bxd5 Nf6 14.Bxd6 Nxd5 15.Bxf8 Kxf8 16.c4 Be6 17.cxd5 Qxd5 18.Qxd5 Bxd5 19.Ne5²

12...Nxg5 13.Bxg5 Be6 14.Rxe6!?

Creating a mess in White’s favour.

Very natural and avoiding any risk was 14.Qf3 Bxd5 15.Bxd5 h6 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Qe4 Qe5 18.Qd3 Qf6 (18...Qd4
19.Qxd4 Bxd4 20.Re7 Bxb2 21.Rb1 Bf6 22.Rexb7²) 19.c3 with long-term compensation. White’s bishop is dominant
compared to his colleague.

14...fxe6 15.Nf4 d5 16.Nxe6


With this move, Black leaves the d7-square unprotected.

¹16...Qc8 17.Nxf8 dxc4 18.Bxf6 Bxf6 19.Nd7 Bd4 20.Ne5! with approximately equal chances.


Also interesting was the exchange sacrifice with 17.Bxf6!? Rxf6 18.Qxd5 Kh8 19.Re1 and White is again playing for

17...dxc4 18.Nd7 Nxd7

After 18...Qc6 White had prepared a small positional trap 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Qd5+!±

19.Qxd7 Qxb2 20.Re1 Rf8


Probably simpler was 21.Qd5+ Kh8 22.Be7 Rg8 23.Qxc4 Qd4 24.Qxc5 Qxa4 25.c4 Re8 26.Qd5 Qc6 27.Re6±


There is also the attractive-looking 21...Qa1+ 22.Kh2 Be5+ 23.f4 Bd4 24.Qe6+ Kh8 25.Qe2 Bg1+ 26.Kg3 Qc3+
but after the king adventures in the middle of the board, Black is lost at the end of it.


Of course, White keeps queens on the board in order to exploit Black’s weak king.

22...Kh8 23.Be3 Qd1+ 24.Kh2 Qxc2 25.Rxb7


Black decides to keep the long diagonal, defending the bishop on g7.
25...Qxa4 26.Bxc5 Qe8☻

(A nice mate would occur after 26...Rg8 27.Rxg7! Kxg7 28.Qe7+ Kh6 29.Be3+ g5 30.Qf6+ Rg6 31.Bxg5+ Kh5 32.g4#)

27.Qxc4 Qe5+ 28.g3 Rc8 29.Qf7± with a permanently weak king.

26.f4 Bh6

Now White blundered and missed a chance to win this great game...


The precise move was 27.Qd7! Qg7 (27...Bg7 28.Bxc5 Rg8 29.Bd6!+- with Be5 next) 28.Qd5 Qf6 29.g3 Bg7 30.Qxc5
Qe6 31.Qxa7±


Probably White missed this nice tactical blow after which a draw is inevitable.

28.Qxe3 Bxf4+ 29.Qxf4 Rxf4 30.Rc7 c3 31.Rxc5 Rxa4 32.Rxc3 1/2

Game 36
K. Georgiev — J. Ostos [A43]

Andorra op 30th La Massana (2), 22.07.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 d6

Possible also is the less-usual move-order 3...g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 0-0?! A very provocative and risky continuation. The
idea is to play ...d6 next move, avoiding Bb5. (5...d6 6.Bb5+ transposes to our game.) 6.e5 White has to accept the
challenge and seize the initiative. 6...Ne8 (in this position the logical 6...Ng4?! doesn’t work because White has the
shocking 7.Ng5!
with a very dangerous attack. 7...d6

a) 7...Nxe5 8.f4 f6 9.Nxh7 Kxh7 10.fxe5±;

b) 7...Nh6 8.h4! f6 (8...Bxe5 9.h5 Bg7 10.Nxh7 Kxh7 11.hxg6+ fxg6 12.Bxh6 Bxh6 13.Qd2+-) 9.Nge4 f5 (9...Nf7
10.h5 f5 11.Ng5 Nxg5 12.Bxg5 Qe8 13.hxg6 Qxg6 14.Bxe7 Re8 15.d6+- Horvath J.-Hamdouchi H. Djerba 1998.)
10.Nxc5 Ng4 11.Nd3 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.h5→ Plachetka J.- Tibensky R. Czechia 2001;

8.e6 f5 (8...Nxf2 9.Kxf2 fxe6+ 10.Nf3 exd5 11.Nxd5 Nc6 12.h4 Bg4 13.Ne3 Ne5 14.Bc4+ Nxc4 15.Nxg4±) 9.Be2 Nf6
10.h4 Na6 11.h5 Nc7 12.hxg6 hxg6 13.a4± Black is left without any counterplay while White has free hands to finish
his attack... G. Mittelman–N. Andrianov, Beersheba 1994.) 7.h4! White needs to play the most aggressive option,
otherwise his centre will be ruined with ...d6, ...Bg4, ...Nd7. 7...d6 8.h5 dxe5 9.hxg6 hxg6 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Rxh6 Kg7
12.Qd2 Nd6 13.Nxe5 Nd7 14.Nc4² Timoschenko G.- Malakhov V. EU-Cup Kalithea 2002.

4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Bb5+ Nfd7

6...Nbd7 7.a4 0-0 8.0-0 a6 — see the next game. (8...Ne8 9.Re1 Nc7 10.Bf1 transposes to game 43).

7.a4 Na6 8.0-0 0-0

In this move-order the most principled way is 8...Nc7, which was played by the famous Yugoslav grandmaster
Velimirovic, inventor of many ideas in the Benoni defence. 9.Re1 White puts his rook on an important file and releases
the f1-square for his bishop. He offers the bishop pair, but in return he grabs space on the queenside and creates really
awkward pressure on the a-file. 9...Nxb5 10.axb5 0-0 11.Bf4 Nb6

(11...f6 12.Qe2!?N The idea is doubling rooks on the a-file and Nd2 when Black’s knight leaves control of the e5-
square. For example: 12...Nb6 13.Nd2² It’s always important to have e5 after Black’s ...f5.)
12.e5! Bf5 13.h3 h6 Sokolov I.-Topalov V. Hoogoveens 2006. 14.g4! This would be an improvement compared with
the afore-mentioned game. With his 12th move, Black put his light-square bishop on its dream diagonal, but also
provoked White’s kingside pawn. White was able to grab a space advantage, so the most logical decision was to
continue in a sharp way! 14...Bc8 15.Qd3 Now Black’s position is too passive and he has unpleasant choices in front of
him: make weaknesses on the queenside or the kingside?! 15...a6

(15...g5 16.Bh2 At the least, White can play without risk and keep his long-term, slightly-better position. The main idea
here is to double rooks on the e-file. But, Black should also be afraid of

(16.Bxg5!? c4 17.Qe4 dxe5 18.Be3 f5 19.gxf5 Bxf5 20.Qh4 Qd6 21.Nd2 Nxd5 22.Nxc4 Qg6+ 23.Kh2 Nxe3 24.Nxe3
with a very unclear position.)


(16...Qc7 17.Re3 Bd7 18.Rae1²)

17.exf6 exf6 18.Qg6 Bd7 19.Nd2 f5 20.Qxd6 fxg4 21.Be5 Bf5 22.hxg4 Bxg4 23.Qg6→)

16.Bg3 and after 16...axb5 17.Rxa8 Nxa8 18.Nxb5 the pressure on d6 is untenable.

9.Re1 Nc7 10.Bf1² b6

Typical for the Benoni, Black is preparing ...b5 and preventing White’s idea of a5.

Worse is 10...a6 11.Bf4 Rb8 (11...b6 transposes to the game.) 12.a5 b5 13.axb6 Rxb6 14.Qc1² with the plan of Nd1–c3-

11.Bf4 a6 12.Qd2 Rb8 13.Bh6 Ne5

13...Bxh6 14.Qxh6 f6 15.Nd2 b5 16.axb5 axb5 17.f4 Rf7 18.Nf3 b4 19.Nd1 Nb6 20.Ne3± Plachetka,J (2480)-
Velimirovic,D (2515) Skara 1980;

13...b5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.axb5 axb5 16.b4!±

14.Nxe5 dxe5


The c4-square belongs to the knight.

15...Qd6 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Ne3

Now Black has to open the a-file and let the rook-penetrate the 7th rank, or fight against Nc4

17...b5 18.axb5 axb5 19.Ra7 Bd7 20.Qc3 f6

White decides to fix the structure on the queenside, even though there is a risk of blocking the position.

Maybe a little more accurate was 21.Rea1 Ra8 22.b3 Rxa7 23.Rxa7 Ra8 24.Rxa8 Nxa8 25.Qa5 Nc7 26.c4 b4 27.Nd1²


A blunder!

Black had to create a blockade with 21...c4 22.Rea1 Rfc8 23.g3 Ra8 24.Bg2 Rxa7 25.Rxa7 Ra8 26.Rxa8 Nxa8 27.Qa3
Nb6 and it’s not clear how White can make progress.


Kiril chooses the most attractive way to play for the win.

Simpler was 22.Qa1 Bc8 (22...Ra8 23.bxc5+-; 22...Nxb4 23.c3+-) 23.c4 cxb4 24.cxb5±

22...Qxa6 23.bxc5 b4 24.Bxa6 bxc3 25.c6 Bc8 26.Bd3 f5 27.f3

Long pawn chains represent more than compensation for the exchange. The black bishop is condemned to spend the rest
of the game on its initial square.

27...f4 28.Nc4 Kf6 29.Ra1 g5


White is unnecessarily trying to restrict Black’s counterplay on the kingside. Better was

30.Ra3 h5 31.Kf2 g4 32.Rxc3+-

30...h5 31.h3 hxg4 32.fxg4 Rh8 33.Kg2 Rh4 34.c7 Rb4 35.Ra8 Rh8 36.Rb8 Rb7 37.Rxb7 Bxb7 38.Nb6 Kg7 39.Bb5
Bc8 40.Kf2

For some unknown reason, Black resigns. Probably the rest of game was not inserted correctly into the database.
Conclusion: After the opening White had a clear advantage thanks to trading dark-squared bishops, the better structure
and the occupied open e-file.


Game 37
B. Abramovic — L. Popov [A43]

Stara Pazova Stara Pazova (4), 27.07.2007

This game is a very nice example of the dangers that Black can encounter with thematic, careless play.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 g6 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Bb5+ Nbd7 7.a4 0-0 8.0-0 a6!


Less precise is 8...Ne8?! because it allows 9.Re1 a6 10.Bf1².


Also making sense is 9.Bc4!? with the idea of later playing Qd3 and fighting against ...b5 in that way.

9...b6 10.Re1 Ne8 11.Bf4

Here, as in the previous game, White uses the same plan of trading dark-squared bishops — aiming to play e5 at the
right moment.

Transferring a knight to c4 doesn’t make so much sense here. For example: 11.Nd2 Rb8 12.Bf1 Nc7 13.Nc4 Ne5! and
now Black swaps the knights, so the manoeuvre Nd2-Nc4 was shown here to be senseless. 14.Nxe5 Bxe5 15.Bh6 Re8=
and ...b5 comes easily.

A stereotypical move!

With his lack of space, Black should go for the trade of knights with 11...Ne5! unafraid of doubled pawns in order to
bring knight to its ideal square d6. 12.Qd2 (12.Nd2 f5! 13.exf5 Bxf5 14.Bg3 Nc7 and Black has active play; 12.Nxe5
dxe5 13.Bg5 Nd6„ with a very flexible position for Black.) 12...Nxf3+ 13.Bxf3 Rb8 14.Bh6 b5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.axb5
axb5 17.b4! Qb6 18.bxc5 Qxc5 19.Ne2 Nf6 20.Nd4 Bd7 21.e5 dxe5 22.Rxe5 Ra8! 23.Rae1 Ra4 24.Nb3 Qb4 25.Qxb4
Rxb4 26.Rxe7 Rc4 and Black has excellent drawing chances.

12.Qd2 Rb8

It was possible to avoid trading bishops with 12...Re8, but then another problem appears: 13.Bh6 Bh8 14.Ng5 Rb8 and
now White can use the absence of pieces around the Black king with 15.h4! b5 16.axb5 axb5 17.h5→ Soon the White
queen will transfer to the h-file. For example: 17...Ne5 18.Qf4 f6 and the tactics work for White after
19.Nxh7! Kxh7

(19...g5 20.Nxg5 fxg5 21.Bxg5± with the idea of Qg3-f4)

20.hxg6+ Nxg6 21.Qh2 Bg7

(21...Bd7 22.Be3+ Kg8 23.Bh5 Kf7 24.Bxg6+ Kxg6 25.Qh6+ Kf7 26.Qh5+ Kg7 27.Bh6+ Kh7 28.Bf4+ Kg7 29.Re3+-)

22.Be3+ Kg8 23.Qg3 Kh7 24.Bh5 Nh8

(24...Nf8 25.Bf7+-)

25.Bxe8 Qxe8

(25...Nxe8 26.Bxc5±)

26.Bxc5± with a material and positional advantage for White;

12...Ne5 13.Nxe5 dxe5 14.Be3±

13.Bh6 b5 14.Bf1?!
This is also a typical reaction after ...b5. White ignores the queenside, allowing ...b4 in order to get the c4-square for his
knight. In general the idea is good, but concretely it doesn’t work well here and that will be explained after Black’s
15th move.

Instead very strong was 14.axb5 axb5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 and now comes a famous move in the Benoni 16.b4! stopping
Black’s counterplay on the queenside! 16...cxb4 17.Na2± with exploitation of the weak c6-square after Nb4 next and a
later Nd4.

14...b4 15.Nd1

White is aiming at the c4-square for his knight.

Another plan is 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Ne2 a5 17.Ng3 Rb6! A very important move. Black prepares ...e5, but before it he
needs to defend the d6-pawn. 18.c4 e5= with an improved version of a King’s Indian setup. Black doesn’t have a ‘bad’
dark-squared bishop and also has more space than usual.

Probably the decisive mistake! After this ‘lukewarm’ move, White realises everything he has imagined and leaves Black
without counter-play.

The key move was 15...Nf6! with the idea being to prevent the knight manoeuvre Ne3-Nc4 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.c4 (Too
slow is 17.Bd3 because Black reacts quickly in the centre with 17...e6! 18.dxe6 Nxe6 19.Ne3 Bb7 20.Nc4 d5 21.exd5
Qxd5 22.Bf1 Rbd8„) 17...e5!= Also a very important move! Black must oppose in the centre in order to grab some
space, otherwise he will stand too passive.

16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Ne3±

From here on, the Serbian old-school classical player shows a recipe for how White should reinforce the position
without affording even microscopic chances for survival.


The crucial move! The idea is to break the blockade on the queenside.


An understandable wish to prevent e5.

The attempt to grab space would be unsuccessful after 18...e5 19.dxe6 Nxe6 20.Bc4± and Black would have many
weaknesses. 20...Bb7 21.Bxe6 fxe6 22.cxb4 axb4 23.a5 Nc8 24.Ng4

19.cxb4 axb4

This was a really unpleasant choice for Black. To leave a passed pawn or to give the d4-square to the knight.

Even worse looking is 19...cxb4 20.Nd4 Bd7 21.Rec1 with domination of the c-file and an exploitation of the c6-square.
Of course 21...Nxa4 22.Rxa4! Bxa4 23.Rxc7!+- doesn’t work.

A very appealing move. White secures the c4-square and makes space for the queen on b2 which will support a later
breakthrough with e5.

20...Bd7 21.Qb2 Kg8 22.Nd2

White patiently prepares for a breakthrough with f4-e5, taking the all-important squares and improving all of his pieces.

22...Ra8 23.f4 Bc8

With his lack of space, Black tries to realise ...Ba6 to exchange some pieces hoping for an easier life.

24.Ndc4 Nxc4 25.Bxc4 Ba6 26.Rad1

White brings his last piece into the game and now everything is ready for e5. However, the Black exchanges did not
bring him relief. The knight on c7 is left clumsy and can’t help against e5.

26...Ne8 27.e5!
The plan has been implemented!

27...fxe5 28.fxe5 Ng7

The final Black hope is to trade the knights but it looks unrealistic.

29.Bxa6 Rxa6 30.Rf1!

The rook has finished his job on the e-file and now it’s more important to prevent ...Nf5.

30...Rxf1+ 31.Rxf1 dxe5

What else against e6-Rf7?

32.Qxe5 Qd6 33.Qe4

By keeping queens on the board White is playing against the weak king.

33...Nh5 34.Nc4 Qd8 35.d6!

After this final accuracy, Black’s rook is cut-off and mate is unavoidable.

35...Ra7 36.Qe6+ 1–0

Game 38
B. Damljanovic — M. Zlatic [A43]

SRB-ch Kragujevac (5), 06.04.2009

In front of us is a very important game which contains many strong positional ideas and many important prophylactic
moves. One of the best and most-experienced Serbian grandmasters shows his high-level of chess understanding!

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.a4 0-0 8.0-0


One of three equivalent possibilities. Here Black is going to trade bishop for knight in order to have more space for his
pieces and to have better control of the e5-square.

Another serious alternative is 8...Bxb5 9.axb5 Nbd7 10.Qe2 The best place for the queen. It’s necessary to connect
rooks in order to double them on the open a-file as soon as possible. 10...Ne8 11.Bd2!? This move could be an
interesting new try in this position. Using the a-file and playing on the queenside is White’s priority.

(A famous plan involves 11.Rd1 playing for e5: 11...Nc7 12.Bf4 Nb6 13.e5 but here Black has the strong move 13...f6!
forcing White’s reaction in centre. 14.exd6

(14.e6 Qe8„ with the idea of ...g5 next grabbing space and also ...f5 targeting White’s pawns on b5 and d5.)

14...exd6= The idea is ...Qd7-f5 with excellent counterplay.)

11...Nc7 12.Ra2 Nb6 13.Rfa1 a6 14.bxa6 Rxa6 15.Rxa6 bxa6

(15...Nxa6 16.Qb5 Qc7 17.Nd1² and White controls the important squares on the queenside.)
16.Nd1! A typical move in such positions. The knight was useless on c3 and he needs a better home, while the bishop
from d2 can now find his function on a5 or c3. 16...Qd7 17.c4 e6 18.Ba5 Rb8 19.h3² and the better structure guarantees
a long-term advantage;

8...Na6 9.Re1 Nc7

(One of the most important games for this opening comes after 9...Nb4?! 10.h3 e6 11.Bf4! A key move! Black is forced
into 11...e5 relieving the tension in the centre. 12.Bg5² with a very pleasant position for White. The plan is clear; to
bring the knight to c4 creating pressure against the permanently weak pawn on d6, while Black is unable to organize
counterplay on the kingside. Kasparov G.-Beliavsky A. Candidates qf2 1983.)

10.Bf1 a6 11.a5 Nb5

12.Nb1! Always a very unpleasant move, avoiding simplifications and leaving the knight on b5 awkwardly situated.
12...e6 13.c4 Nd4 (13...Nc7 14.Nc3±) 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.b4!² The idea is Bb2, forcing the e5 move and then to prepare
a breakthrough on the queenside with c5.


A useful developing move with the idea of making room on f1 for the bishop.

9...Nbd7 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Ne8

Black doesn’t have another plan except for playing ...b5.

Causing damage to the bishop on b5 was not possible: 11...Ne5 12.Qd1 c4 13.f4± and Black loses a pawn.

12.Bf1 Nc7


A clever move! The queen on f3 didn’t stand well and heads for the ‘safe zone’ avoiding ...f5 or ...Ne5 with tempo.


Without the light-squared bishop, 13...f5?! is not so strong. 14.exf5 Rxf5 15.Bd3 Re5 (15...Rf7 16.Ne4±) 16.Ne4± and
the light-squares around Black’s king are weak.


Don’t miss a chance to play this move!

This was a critical moment in the game. Black is aiming to play ...b5 anyway, not worrying about the structure. Pressure
on the b-file and the long diagonal a1–h8 can be unpleasant. The very strong and experienced Serbian grandmaster
solves this problem in a highly intelligent way.


A brilliant idea! The knight searches for a better place, moving away from the diagonal and in this way weakening the
effect of the dark-squared bishop.

15...b5 16.axb6 Nxb6

After 16...Rxb6 17.c3 e6 18.Nd2± White will have a dream position.

17.Nd2 e6

This decision was a matter of taste! White decided to keep the centre and to play against the knight on c7.

Also interesting was to open the centre for the bishop pair with 18.dxe6 fxe6 19.Nf3²

18...exd5 19.exd5 Nd7 20.Qc2 Nf6?

A strange move without any obvious idea.

Black should grab some space with 20...f5!² with a slightly worse but solid position;

20...Re8 21.Rxe8+ Qxe8 22.Nb3²

21.Nf3 Re8 22.Bd2 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Nd7 24.b3±

White has successfully solved the problems on the queenside and now Black doesn’t gain any benefits from the
diagonal or b-file.


One more cool move! Keeping more pieces on the board with a space advantage is always a good decision and the
knight on e5 will be sent away after f4.


Again 25...f5 was a good idea.


Tapping in place! Probably in time-trouble, White plays an indifferent move — missing a chance to gain space on the

Very strong would be 26.f4 Nd7 27.g4!±

26...Qb6 27.Rb1 Nf6?

Probably Black missed his last chance to come back into the game.

This is the third time in the game that Black has missed 27...f5!²

28.Ba5 Qb7 29.Qc2 Qc8 30.f4 Ned7


A typical move for such structures! White gains space and plays on both flanks.

31...Qb7 32.Nf3 Re8 33.Re1

Now White does not avoid swaps because his aim is to go into an endgame with minor pieces, where he will dominate
with his big space advantage and bishop pair.

33...Rxe1 34.Bxe1 Qc8 35.Bd3 Ne8 36.Kg2

Without hurrying, White improves all his pieces and cuts-out any counterplay for Black.

36...Qd8 37.Qa2 Qc8 38.Ba5 Nef6 39.Qe2 Qe8

Surely Black is not happy with this endgame, but his queen had no good prospects in any event.

40.Qxe8+ Nxe8 41.Nd2

In this kind of position, White doesn’t need to hurry moving his pawns: he will always have time for this. First it’s
better to prepare it.

41...Kf8 42.Ne4 Ndf6


Black’s pieces are bothering each other, especially the knights, so trading one pair of knights would be a big help to

43...Nd7 44.h4

Everything is nicely-prepared, so its time to move a pawn in order to fix Black’s pawns, creating a minimum of one
more weakness. One main weakness on d6 is sometimes not enough for the win.

44...Ke7 45.h5 Bb2 46.Bd2

A very careful move, avoiding any possible counterplay such as ...Ba3-...Bb4.

46...Ng7 47.Kf3 Ne8 48.Bc2 Nef6 49.g5

With very patient play, step-by-step, White makes progress.

49...Ne8 50.Ke2 Bd4 51.f5

Slowly a weakness on the kingside starts to be visible.

51...Ne5 52.Ba5 Bb2


White decides to fix the f7-pawn, not simplifying the position. With fewer pawns, the chances for survival are generally

53...Kd7 54.b4!+-

It is necessary to open a new front, avoiding some fortress, and stretch play on both flanks aggravating Black’s defence.
The pawn on d6 is a main weakness in the Benoni so for this reason White usually comes for the d6-pawn.


54...cxb4? 55.Ba4+ Kc8 56.Bxe8+-

55.hxg6 hxg6 56.Ba4 Nc7 57.Bb3


Black is trying to hold the c5-square but it is not possible to do so for long.

After 57...cxb4 White makes the breakthrough easily after 58.Bxb4 Ne8 59.Ne4 Kc7 60.Ba4 Nd7 61.c5! dxc5 62.d6+!
Kd8 (62...Nxd6? 63.Ba5++-) 63.Nxc5 Nxc5 64.Bxc5+- and White wins a piece after Bb6 next.

58.Ne4 Be5 59.Ba4

By putting pressure on the knight d7, the square c5 is unholdable.

59...cxb4 60.Bxb4

Now it’s much easier to attack the d6-pawn.

60...Ne8 61.Kd3 Bf4 62.Kc2

Black can’t move, so White’s king can go smoothly to take the a-pawn.

62...Kc7 63.Kb3 Bh2 64.Bc6 Bg1 65.Ka4 Be3

It was not possible to prevent Ka5 with 65...Bb6 66.Ba5! Bxa5 67.Kxa5+- and the king penetrates anyway.

66.Ka5 Bd4 67.Bxd7

Now White simplifies the position.

He could also have kept his bishop with 67.Ba4+- and next Ka6.

67...Kxd7 68.Kxa6 Be3 69.Kb7 Bg1

Now its clear why it was very important to fix the pawns on the kingside. White wins mainly thanks to the weakness on
f7, and now he just needs to bring a knight to h6. The rest of the game is very clear.

70.Bd2 Bd4 71.Ba5 Be3 72.Bd2 Bd4 73.Bf4 Bg1 74.Nd2! Bd4 75.Nf3 Bf2 76.Nh2 Bd4 77.Ng4 Bc3 78.Nh6 Bxf6
79.gxf6 Nxf6 80.Nxf7 Ne4 81.Kb6 1–0