White develops his pieces behind the broad back of his pawn center. Having a pawn center brings this advantage: your pieces can take up active central squares, while your opponent's pieces get squeezed out of the action.

With the text. White intends to play Qdl-d2 and probably Be3-h6, seeking to trade Bishops. White embarks on this plan because the g7-Bishop will serve as an excellent defender of the Black King The move also radiates a subtle influence queenside.

Though not unknown, this isn't Black's most standard move in this position.

Most common would be 6...e5, taking a stand in the center. After 7.d5 clamps down the center, Black would take up his play on the kingside with 7...Nh5 8.Qd2 f5 (8...Qh4+ is an interesting idea of GM David Bronstein) 9.0-0-0. with a difficult fight ahead. Besides 6...e5, Black's choices would include 6...a6.6,..c6.6...c5, 6...b6. and 6...Nc6, all pointing in the direction of queenside play.

The text is intended to disguise Black's plan. He may still play for ...a7-a6, ...c7<6.

and J>7-b5, to accomplish queenside expansion. Black could also play for ..x7-c5, aiming for a Benoni Defense style of play. At this stage of the game, the choice of opening and defensive moves is largely a matter of taste.


The text offers the most standard treatment of the position. White keeps a flexible approach. He may castle queenside and go for a kingside attack, or he may castle kingside and play for a queenside attack! Once again. White's central pawn advantage gives him the choice of where to attack.

This move would not be my choice for White in this particular position. The major drawback for White when playing the Saemisch is deciding what to do with the gl-Knight. I consider Blacks sixth move to be imprecise because it helps Wfhite answer this question. My choice would be 7.Nh3!, taking advantage of Black s previous move. White would now be ready for Nh3-f2 and further development of his position.

A recent game of mine, played in Moscow against Andrei Istratescu in 1994, continued with 7.Nh3 e5 8.d5 Nh5?! 9.g4 Nf4 10.Nxf4 exf4 ll.Bxf4 Ne5 123e2 f5

13.exf5 gxf5 14.0-0 fxg4 15.fxg4 h5!? 16.Bxe5 Bxe5 17.Qd3!, giving a clear advantage to White.

Another approach featuring rapid piece development would be 7.Bd3 c5 8.Nge2, developing behind the central pawn front.

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