London Defense

As its name suggests, the London Defense is a venerable one noted for its solidity. Black opens with his Queen Pawn and develops in classical fashion while White plays the Barcza setup As so often happens in openings, Black's first two moves are often interchanged. 3.Bg2 Bf5 4.0-0 These moves lead to the position shown in Diagram 200. White has built his house and now needs to find a plan. Black has developed three of his units, which all control the sweet center. In fact, all three of Black's...

Dragon Variation

I started my description of the Open Sicilian Defense with the Schevenin-gen Variation because that is really the classical way of handling the Sicilian. Black's e6- and d6-pawns act as a central buffer between the two armies. Of course, this central buffer is quite dynamic and Black can try a number of different central structures. A favorite of mine, if only for the name, is the Dragon Variation. I covered this defense in some depth in Winning Chess Brilliancies (Microsoft Press, 1995), and I...

Smith Morra Gambit

In the first scenario, White doesn't waste any time in achieving the desired move. He simply occupies the center (l.e4 c5). Naturally, Black isn't about to let White keep a classical center. Now White must decide how to recapture the d4-pawn. If he plays 3.Qxd4 Nc6, his Queen is lured into the center prematurely, and Black has superior play. He can play 3.Nf3, anticipating Nf3xd4, which will transpose into a variation described later in this chapter. Instead White initiates the Smith-Morra...

Scotch Game

Once again the most direct style of play is to attack the e5-pawn. 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 The opening is called the Scotch Game. Today's highest-rated player, Garry Kasparov (1963-, World Champion 1985-present), has employed the Scotch Game from time to time with enormous success. Black gains nothing from trading Knights by 4 Nxd4 5.Qxd4. White's Queen although prematurely developed is hardly assailable in the middle of the board in this position. Black's best play is thought to be an attack on the...

Chigorin Variation

White has taken several approaches in playing for control of the center, including White plays directly in the center, trying for e2-e4 and quick development. This move is called the Chigorin Variation. If White is able to play e2-e4, the variation works well for White and he gains an advantage. Black can put a stop to White's plans by 2 Nf6 This makes it difficult for White to reinforce his control over the e4-squarc. White now has two direct choices 3.Bg5 (Richter Attack) 3.e4...

Tarrasch Variation

As you've seen from the 3.Nc3 variations, committing the bl-Knight to the c3-square invites a pin and makes it awkward for White to defend the d4-pawn after c7-c5. With this in mind, White has taken another approach to the French Defense (l.e4 e6 2.d4 d5) 3.Nd2 White defends his e4-pawn while keeping a flexible approach toward the defense of his center. Diagram 80 shows the Tarrasch Variation. At first glance, the move makes a poor impression because it blocks the cl-Bishop from developing....

Tarrasch Seirawan Variation

If either of the above lines don't appeal against the Tarrasch Variation, Black can always play (l.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2) 3 dxe4, transposing into the Rubinstein Variation, or he can wait for White to commit himself 3 Be7 4.Bd3 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Nd7 6.Nf3 Ngf6 The game has transposed right back into the Rubinstein Variation. (See page 107.) (l.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7) 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 cxd4 As shown in Diagram 83, Black is once again trying to exchange light-squared Bishops and White...

Danish Gambit

The preceding lines show that when facing 2.d4, Black should not defend his e5-pawn on move two. Instead he should capture the d4-pawn This is Black's best move. He wins a pawn and leaves it up to White to decide how to get it back. 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 This is known as the Danish Gambit. White sacrifices a pawn but has developed two units, the e4-pawn and the c3-Knight. Black will have to catch up in development and comfort himself with the thought that he has won a pawn. The Danish Gambit is a...

Classical Defense

Another response to the Ruy Lopez Opening is the Classical Defense. 3 Bc5 Black ignores White's play and instead develops his own Bishop. This reasonable decision asks White how he intends to further his As we've seen, White prepares to establish a classical pawn center with Unimpressed, Black responds with a counterattack to the e4-pawn. This line is quite comparable with the Giuoco Piano variation Diagram 26 the key difference is that White's Bishop is on the b5-square instead of the...

Exchange Variation Modern Line

Today's grandmasters have devised a new approach to the Exchange Grunfeld that involves placing the King's Knight more aggressively l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 Diagram 191 shows the more combative approach. Modern players have devised a way of meeting the Bc8-g4 pin. And this is it. The b7-pawn needs protection and the c8-Bishop is to be kept at home. If Black tries to block the Rook's attack, 8 b6 9.Bb5 disrupts Black's plans of attacking the d4-pawn. Once...

Dutch Defense Main Line

If he likes, White can also play into the main line of the Dutch Defense Q.d4f5 Black continues his strategy of controlling the e4-square. Black's position is about equal because in this main line, the cl-Bishop has a limited role. Most players like to fianchetto their fl-Bishop as in the Catalan. Of all the modern defenses, Black's most popular opening defensive move is Ld4 1 Nf6 As shown in Diagram 137, Black hasn't committed his central pawns and remains flexible about his intentions. He may...

Slav Defense

One of the most solid defenses to the Queen Pawn opening is the Slav Defense, which was favored by Vasily Smyslov 1921-, World Champion 1957-58 and Mikhail Botvinnik 1911-95, World Champion 1948-57, 1958-60,1961-63 .The Slav Defense begins l.d4 d5 2.c4 Black bolsters his d-pawn and offers White a symmetrical position after 3.cxd5 cxd5 This position, shown in Diagram 51, is known as the Slav Defense Exchange Variation. White has a small advantage in having an extra tempo for development. This...

Evans Gambit

Return now to Diagram 22 and the Italian Game, which starts l.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4. Continue with 3 Bc5 From this position, White has four main options 4.b4 Evans Gambit 4.c3 Giuoco Piano 4.d4 Max Lange Attack I'll discuss each option in turn. The first option, 4.0-0, brings his King to safety, which is quite reasonable, but the move isn't considered that dynamic. Black plays 4 Nf6, continuing a balanced game. 4.b4 This energetic pawn sacrifice is known as the Evans Gambit As usual, the idea...

Two Knights Defense and Traxler Gambit

A key alternative for Black following l.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 is 3 Nf6 Black counters with an attack against the e4 pawn, initiating the Two Knights Defense. White can shore up his e4-pawn by 4.d3 or 4.Nc3, or he can initiate a complex attack This attacking move has been debated for centuries By continuing to attack the f7-pawn, White plays consistently. But with only two pieces developed, is White's attack premature In my younger days, attacking was the most enjoyable aspect of chess and I...

Cozio Defense

Black covers his c6-Knight but also compromises his f8-Bishop in a line called the Cozio Defense, which is favored by few players today. 3 Nge7 4.0-0 d6 Black reveals his point. He hasn't been forced to trade his strong e5-pawn. Black continues to keep his e5-pawn protected. In return, however, White now gains a d5-outpost Not concerning himself with the e5-pawn, Black attacks White's e4-pawn as in the Petroff Defense. 3 Nf6 This move initiates the Berlin Defense, which continues to be popular...

Queen Raid

After determining that my cannon-fire ideas weren't doing the job, a careful rethink of my opening approach was necessary. This was a critical phase of my chess development. It seemed that chess was far too difficult for my poor mind. Was trying to get better worth getting stomped by my friends All chess players at one time in their very early career are struck by this telling question. Many decide that, indeed, chess isn't their shtick. Fortunately for me, a serendipitous outside influence...

Glossary

Active An aggressive move or position. Advantage A net superiority of position, usually based on force, time, space, or pawn structure. Algebraic Notation The international standard for writing chess moves. Each square on the chessboard is given a letter and a number, as shown in Diagram 239. When a piece travels from one square to another, algebraic notation enables you to identify the piece and the square to which it is moving. For example, if the Rook moves from square al to square a8, you...

Najdorf Variation Main Line

Najdorf Variation

By now you should be getting an idea of just how complex the Sicilian Najdorf has become. But wait, I.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 7 Be7 This natural developing move is the most popular way to play the Naj-dorf. Black breaks the pin and prepares to castle out of the central dangers. 8.Qf3 White makes way for his own King to castle. Black has also played the Najdorf with 8 h6 9.Bh4, intending to provoke a sharp encounter by playing .g7-g5. 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 The position...

Ruy Lopez Closed Variation Main Line continued

In the meantime, return to the main line l.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nffi 5.0-0 This initiates the Ruy Lopez Closed Variation. Black quite contentedly develops his Bishop and prepares to exit his King to safety. White again is asked to find a way of disturbing the equilibrium to his favor. The path is rather narrow. White has two key choices. He can play the main line, 6.Rel, defending the e4-pawn. Or he can play the Delayed Exchange Ruy Lopez Besides these two main variations, White can...

Dragon Variation with Kingside Castling Levenfish Attack

Castle Kingside

One popular attacking scheme for White is the Levenfish Attack l.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 White threatens e4-e5, which Black immediately prevents. Diagram 108 shows a common position of the Levenfish Attack. White's attacking scheme is to play Qdl-el-h4 in conjunction with f4-f5 and Bcl-h6. Black has to come up with a reaction. If he plays 9 d5 10.e5 , White will have a big advantage. Thus it is difficult for Black to make a meaningful counter in the center. Black can...

Sicilian Defense

Of the modern defenses to a King Pawn Opening, the overwhelming favorite is the Sicilian Defense This is the granddaddy of modern defenses. The plans are so rich and varied for both sides that hundreds of books have been written about this provocative and complex defense. In an effort not to overwhelm the poor reader, Til just tread lightly upon the major defenses. As shown in Diagram 96, Black hasn't tried to block White's e4-pawn with e7-e5, nor has he tried to attack the e4-pawn with Ng8-f6...

Giuoco Piano

Another option for White's move four in the Italian Game, which starts l.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5, This is quite a direct attempt by White to grab the center. Just as in the Evans Gambit, White insists on playing d2-d4, which attacks the e5 pawn and, as an added bonus, the c5-Bishop. This move is known as the Giuoco Piano. Black is quick to respond in the center too The position in Diagram 26 makes a very agreeable impression. White's two central e4- and d4-pawns create a formation called the...

Closed Catalan Variation continued

While the Dutch Stonewall is an intriguing defense, most players prefer not to commit their f-pawn so early. In the Closed Catalan l.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c6 4.Qc2 Nf6 , Black aims for quiet development. Both players aim to complete their development. Black has a problem of what to do with the c8-Bishop. It's stuck inside his pawn chain, blocked behind the e6-pawn, as shown in Diagram 60. _ _ A Quiz. How would you try to activate the c8-Bishop The solution is at the end of this chapter.

Grunfeld Defense Bf

Defense Diagram

This last look at the Grunfeld features another logical move that ignores the action in the center White develops his Bishop and targets the c7-pawn. This is crucial to White's opening strategy. The Bishop is developed outside of the pawn chain and reinforces the d4-pawn. Diagram 197 shows the position, with Black hav- ing to choose between 5 c6, 5 c5, and 5 O-O. 5 c6 This passive move doesn't suit the nature of the Grunfeld Defense. White can trade by 6.cxd5 cxd5, with a favorable Exchange...

Caro Kann Defense

In the Scandinavian and French Defenses, Black attacks the e4-pawn with his d5-pawn. The drawback to the Scandinavian is that the Queen is brought out too quickly, whereas in the French Defense, Black suffers from a cramped c8-Bishop. The Caro-Kann Defense intends to attack the e4-pawn without these disadvantages. 1 .e4 c6 Black gives his d-pawn added support in advance. 2.d4 d5 These moves distinguish the Caro-Kann, as shown in Diagram 86. The Caro-Kann has been embraced by Mikhail Botvinnik...

Leningrad Variation

If Black is going to pin White's Knight, it's only fair that White might return the favor l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 White pins Black's Knight and hopes to play e2-e4 in the near future. This line is called the Leningrad Variation, and it was a great favorite of former World Champion Boris Spassky. Now that Black has traded away his dark squared Bishop, he quickly puts his center pawns on the dark squares where they will not obstruct his c8-Bishop. White has to go slowly in the center....

Exchange Variation

If White wants to play a more open game, the Exchange Variation is the ticket l.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 These moves, shown in Diagram 89, open the game a bit. White hopes that having an extra move will give him an advantage. Black is happy to trade away his c6-pawn for Whites e4-pawn. White has to make a choice of whether to play c2-c4, attacking the d5-pawn, or whether he would prefer c2-c3 and a quiet existence. Exchange Variation, Rubinstein Variation Once more we have an opening variation...

Solution to the King Pawn Opening

King Chess

_ fter discovering the solidity of building a house in chess, I became attracted to the very same formations against White's King Pawn Opening. This time, however, the ideas were far more tricky for me than in a Barcza Opening and a King's Indian Defense KID . In time, I learned to play the Pirc Defense, which became a career defense that I still use to this day. The opening move order is quite important for Black as a single mistake can give him a bad game. The opening moves are 1 ,e4 d6 Black...

Czech Benoni Defense

If Black is unhappy about giving White a central majority, he can absolutely lock up the center using a Czech Benoni l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Instead of challenging White's d5-pawn, Black's e-pawn whizzes right by it. The center now becomes totally blockaded 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 Diagram 152 shows he starting position of the Czech Benoni Defense. White has a fine wedge in the center which cramps Black pieces, but how will he further exploit it With the center so locked, play on the flanks becomes all...

Geller Quiet System h

White makes luft and prevents annoyances from happening on the g4-square, by l.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0 c6 White also is set to play 8.e5 dxe5 9.dxe5, forcing the f6-Knight to retreat. 7 Nbd 7 Black concedes that b7-b5 is not yet a threat. Black stands badly after 7 .b5 8.e5 dxe5 9.Nxe5, when Be2-f3 gives White strong pressure. Otherwise Black will play .e7-e5. Kasparov as Black has faced 8.Bf4 Qa5 9.Qd2 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 ll.Bh6 Re8 and...

Grunfeld Defense

Pawn Knight Queen Bishop

The last modern defense against the Queen Pawn Opening I consider in this survey is the Grunfeld Defense. More than any other modern defensive scheme, the Grunfeld typifies piece play for Black and occupation of the center by White. The opening moves are l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 2 g6 This time Black decides to fianchetto his own King's Bishop. 3.Nc3 White is ready to play e2-e4 with central domination. 3 d5 Black makes a surprising move by striking in the center. It is Black's third move that initiates...

Closed French Defense

Kingside Fianchetto

If Black tries to occupy the center, but doesn't want to weaken his d5-square, he can try a different formation l.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 Nc6 Black is happy with his central gains and plays to strengthen his center. The position is shown in Diagram 209. By now White's play should be quite familiar. He will again use his e-pawn as a battering ram. 7.e4 O-O As White, this was one of Bobby Fischer's favorite positions, which he used to score a number of fine wins. While the center is not locked, it...

Austrian Attack e

Adolf Anderssen

The central push seems logical, but Black should be happy because he can chip away at White's center l.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 O-O Black is forced to retreat, but in so doing opens the way for his g7-Bishop. Black's central focus will be the e5-pawn, and he'll use c7-c5 to undermine White's central support. White develops and tries to restrain the c7-c5 break. White has tried 7.Bc4, 7.Bd3, and 7.h4, but in each case 7 .c5 gives Black good counterplay. 12.Bc5 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Ne4...

Pawn Storm Variation

The most dangerous weapon in White's arsenal to try to defeat the Benoni is an immediate Pawn Storm Variation l.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 White immediately expands in the center. One of Black's aims in the Benoni, as in the Benko Gambit, is to fianchetto his f8-Bishop where it might be more active on the long diagonal. Black starts this strategy now. White is planning to blow away the f6-Knight with e4-e5. This is an important intermezzo move. White would like to play...

Queens Indian Defense Main Line

The most popular way for White to meet the Queen's Indian is to fian-chetto his own Bishop l.d4 Nffi 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 White reasons that if Black just tries to play with his pieces, his position will invariably become cramped. At some point, Black will have to commit his central pawns in the meantime, White has a safe haven for his King on the Kingside. 4 Bb 7 An entirely different idea of the Queen's Indian is for Black to change his approach and target the c4-pawn. Black reasons that if...

Pire Defense Be

Diagram 233 shows White's belligerent move. It's appalling that White decides to storm the house before the Black King even makes it to the Kingside. White's intentions are as clear as they are aggressive. He will push his h-pawn and rip open the Kingside. It would now be a grievous error for Black to play 5 O-O, for as they say in chess parlance, Black would castle into it. And by it, they mean a bone-crunching attack. After White's fifth move, Black should definitely be put off from castling...

Grau Variation

While the QGD is a solid defensive choice, players have looked for ways of activating their c8-Bishop before committing their e-pawn. The most common tries for Black are 2 Bf5 the Grau Variation and 2 Nc6 the Chigorin Defense . The Grau Variation begins l.d4 d5 2.c4 2 Bf5 Black develops a Bishop and controls the sweet center, but this move has a tactical drawback that earns White an advantage. This allows a moment to introduce another opening principle Develop your Knights before developing...

Paulsen Sicilian Reti Variation

One of the ways that White should consider punishing Black's move order is by l.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.c4 As shown in Diagram 123, Black has not provoked Nbl-c3 by Ng8-f6, and thus White's c2-pawn can stake a claim to the sweet center. This move introduces the Reti Variation. White aims to keep both the breaks .b7-b5 and .d7-d5 from being played. Black exerts pressure on the e4-pawn. 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.Bc2 White has the superior position due to his central control. In this final look at...

Open Catalan Variation

Deciding to capture the c4-pawn is a sensible reaction because the c4-pawn lacks protection. 3 dxc4 White intends to recapture the pawn soon. First he completes the fian-chetto White shouldn't be too anxious to recapture the pawn 4.Qa4 Bd7 5.Qxc4 Bc6 6.Nf3 Bxf3 7.exf3 Nc6 8.Be3 Qd5 leaves a fine game for Black. 4 Nf6 Black proceeds with his development. He can also consider 4 c5 5.Qa4 Bd7 6.Qxc4 Bc6 with approximate equality. After 5.Qa4 Nbd7 6.Qxc4 c5, it is highly likely that the game will...

Yasser Seirawan versus Unknown Unfriendly

Follow my moves in silent fascination. Why this mistaken move Actually I wasn't sure what to do. Of the chorus this one little pawn seemed to cry loudest. I make this pass move as I had already discovered a brilliant strategy, which I will soon reveal. 1 d5 My more experienced opponent makes a very reasonable move. This was my brilliant discovery I would merely duplicate my opponent's move, thereby negating the need for any thought on my part. Clever, no I would keep a careful eye on my...

Chigorin Defense

An altogether different and tricky problem is presented by the Chigorin Defense l.d4 d5 2.c4 2 Nc6 Black plays for piece play and an open game. Unconcerned with the fight for the d5-square, Black plays for a counterattack against the d4-pawn and seeks to play .e7-e5 with an explosion in the center. White s most reliable reaction is to cover the e5-square. Black intensifies the fight for the e5-square. White strips Black of his central bulwark. Black must play energetically to stay in the...

Geller Quiet System Pirc Defense Main Line

Russian Grandmaster Efim Geller is a first-class attacker of the highest order. He is one of the few players in the world to have a better score against Bobby Fischer. When such a bold player devises a quiet line against the Pirc Defense, you just know that things are boiling below the surface. Play begins with a fundamentally principled move in which White develops his Knight to its best square l.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 O-O 6.0-0 Diagram 235 shows the starting position of...

Najdorf Variation Polugaevsky Variation

Yet another vexing continuation of the Sicilian Najdorf is the Polugaevsky Variation l.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 7...b5 Russian grandmaster Lev Polugaevsky devised this monstrous move, shown in Diagram 116. Black is not oblivious to White s threat of e4-e5 on the contrary, he encourages it. Furthermore, Black shows his intention to start his own counterattack with ...b5-b4, pushing away the nicely placed c3-Knight. What arrogance White accepts the challenge This...

Winawer Variation

Today most French Defense players prefer to play the Winawer Variation l.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 3...Bb4 Black pins the Knight and threatens to capture the e-pawn. In most variations of the Winawer, Black will trade his Bishop for the c3-Knight and double White s Queenside pawns. The strategic plans for both sides require study and experience. 4.e5 White advances in the center to grab as much space as he can. He can also play 4.exd5 exd5, transposing into an Exchange French with Black having...