Always be alert to the possibility of g7-g5 Fortunately the h-pawn is an integral part of White's opening and middlegame strategy anyway and can be pushed almost automatically

9 c4

In view of what Black has in mind I would suggest that 9 d4 is preferable — see Psakhis-Sminn

10 dxc4 Ab7

11 0-0 Wc7

No prizes for guessing where Black intends to put his king In any case the e5-pawn is as unwelcome as usual in Black's half of the board, and White enjoys the luxury of being able to give his knight a more aggressive posting than the traditional d2

Before castling queenside Black sends his knight over to the kingside on a mission to chase or capture White's dark-squared bishop The immediate 12 0-0-0 invites 13 5ic3 a6 14 £kl5,r> which looks very dangerous. while even 14 Sadl is already difficult for the defender

in m

Ci.il ill!

The exact order of White's moves is important here Obviously the black knight is about to land on g6 to hit the bishop, but White has only one way of dealing with this which guarantees him the better game For example the first choice, 13 h5, does not have the desired effect, for after 13 h6 White cannot prevent g7-g5»

14 Ad2!

Over-protecting the e-pawn released the bishop from defensive duty, leaving White free to evict the knight at his convenience White has calculated that the bishop will not be a liability on the d-file once Black has castled long

The coast is clear — for the moment at least — now that White's bishop has been forced to retreat Addressing the threat on the king-side by occupying the h5-square with his own pawn does not solve Black's problems, eg 14 h5 15 £ia3 a6 16 <Sc2 followed by a2-a3 and b2-b4, when Black's king will have trouble finding a safe haven

White shows that he has confidence in his position, believing that he will get the better of a complex struggle Given his territorial superiority in a relatively safe pawn structure this is hardly a brave decision The alternative is to propose a series of exchanges from which White emerges with a safe lead This is initiated by hitting the knight — 15 h5 Qgxe5" (15 ilf8 16 £lc3 a6 leads back to the game) 16 5)xe5 5)xe5 (16 lfxe5'> 17 Axc6)

17 Axb7+ <4>xb7 18 AM' (18 Wxe5 Wxe5 19 2xe5 Af6 is not so clear)

18 f& (18 Ad6 19 £)c3') 19 Axe5 fxe5 20 £)c3 and White has en edge due to his superior minor piece and the potential targets in Black's pawn structure, though he should be careful not to let Black in on the d-file

15 £igxe5 here runs into 16 £ixe5 £ixe5 17&b5

Perfect timing

Necessary Taking on e5 still works out in White's favour, e g 16 £igxe5 17 £ixe5 £>xe5 18 Axb7+ #xb7 (18 19 Af4)

19 Wxe5 Sxd2 20 txg7 Ef8 21 £se4 followed by removing the h7-pawn, after which White's passed h-pawn is unleashed

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