Black can also test the theory that when the queen has gone on a foray it is often better not to retreat to safety, but to stay in the enemy camp as a nuisance: 14.. Jtb4+! 15 <4>e2 16 £kl5? (162bl £>c3+ 17 £>xc3 ®xc3 18 2b3

White, which explains his ability to survive what appears to be a risky situation.

11 £ic4 Wa6 12 i.fl looks awkward for Black, but 12...b5 13 h5 (or 13 <£e3 £.b4!7) 13.. Jbtc2! 14 ®xc2 bxc4 of Bertona-Soppe,

®c5 and White lacks compensation) 16.. Jth5+ San Luis 1999 favours Black, who as well as

#xa2! 21 £ixb4 ®c4+ and Black has a strong attack according to Bticker. This is probably just winning. That line features a queen that is not afraid to wander: ...®d8-d5-a5-a6-e6-b6-b2-a2-c4.

If 15 c3 ®xf4 16 £ixc7+ <£d8 17 &xa8, 17...£>e4 is too strong.

Black is clearly better according to Bticker, who gives the sample line 18 £kI5 c6! 19 £>bc7+ <&d8 20 ¿hxaS cxd5 21 0-0-0 &xc3 22 $Ld2 d4, winning.

Here's a more respectable version of that same variation. A dynamic struggle erupts into a slugfest as Black pits structure and development against White's space and flank attack. To being a pawn up has his knights out and good prospects for his bishop and rooks. Il...<â>xd7 (D)

A typical idea these days: Black is more in-

maintain the balance, Black risks putting his terested in exchanging pieces and preserving king in the centre, even though that allows an immediate line-opening move against it. The queen's role is at first to support Black's pieces. Then at the key moment, instead of retreating to a safe square indicated by the pawn-structure, an active move seems to justify the whole mid-dlegame strategy.

Egger - Soppe

Manila OL 1992

1 e4 d5 2 exd5 ®xd5 3 £tc3 ®a5 4 d4 £tf6 5 ±g4 6 h3 AhS 1 g4 Ag6 8 e6 9 Ag2 c6 10 h4

White has obtained very good play against 8...e6 and 9...c6, so Black has become discouraged from playing this line. The dynamic response that comes next is probably the only chance for equality.

This move challenges the centre just in time but risks being subject to a serious attack because it commits Black to his 11th move. Notice that Black now has more pieces out than his pawn-structure than in finding a traditional spot for his king. It all depends upon tactical issues.

12 Ad2

Played to defend against h5, obviously, but also to enforce some simplification and therefore protect Black's king.

13 g5 hxg5 14 hxg5 2xhl+ 15 i.xhl £>e8 16 d5! (D)

Opening up lines against the king, which is necessary if White is going to have any pretensions of an advantage or perhaps even of avoiding a disadvantage; e.g., 16 £\e4 #b6 17 £k:5+ 4>c7 18 £>b3 a5 19 a4 £>d6 and Black has the better-placed pieces.

The key queen move that makes sense of both ...®a5 and ...4>d7, based only upon active play and move-to-move threats. Needless to say, this is all extremely risky on Black's part, yet White has some loose pieces as well.

• / ✓

Everything is getting tactical. White drops a piece after 18 b3?? ®h4, but 18 £>c3 #xc2 19 JLf4+ is critical. Play should continue 19... Ad6 20 i.xd6 ^xd6 21 £ib5 (White needs to force the play) 21...Wc5 (21...£d3!? 22 £kd6 Wxb2! 23 Sc 1 #b4+ 24 #d2 Wxd6 with equality) 22 £ixd6 «xd6 23 Wa4+ *e7 24 2dl ®e5+ 25

Curt Hansen, upon whose thorough notes I am heavily relying, suggests 18...^c?!? with the idea ...2ad8.

This exchange helps to defang the attacking plans that Black might have had against White's exposed pawn-structure, e.g. by ...#h4.

19...#xdl+ 20 Bxdl £hS 21 Scl 2c8 22 c5 ¿hbS 23 b4

An example has arisen of a queenside majority well supported by bishops. We have seen elsewhere, however, that with the kings centralized, this tends not to be much of an issue. White's real advantage, such as it is, is that Black normally would like to get his central majority moving with ...e5 and ...f5, and that idea isn't realizable.

Hansen mentions that 24 ±bl 2b8 25 c6+ &c7 doesn't really improve White's position, and in fact Black would have the more active pieces.

This is meant to stop ...£kl4, which can be effective in a line like 25 a4 £>d4 26 b5 ¿hb3 27 2c4 £ixd2 28 4>xd2 5d8+ with equality, as given by Hansen.

Not the most accurate. Black can gain essential activity with Hansen's suggestion 25... jte7 26 a4 £>d6 27 Sh4 ±g6 28 £>c4 &xc4 29 2xc4 ±d6 with the idea ...2h8. Then all of Black's pieces are well posted and he can begin to think about advancing his centre pawns.

26 2h4 i.g6 27 a4 £>d4 28 1x3! £k2+29 *hxc2 &xc2 30 b5

Now White is better, because Black has to defend his pawns and has no counterplay. . rest of the game is marked by inaccuracies and finally White loses the thread. I give minimal notes following Hansen's.

31 2f4 seems to give a considerable advantage, the first point being 31...2dl+ 32 <&e2 2xhl 33 2xf7 &xa4 34 £e5+.

32...Sdl+ 33 <4>e2 I.d6 wins the c7-pawn and effectively equalizes.

33 A.c6! is much better.

Finally Black gets to play this move, and it wins.

36 2d7 Ab4+ 37 &e2 le6 38 2dl &xc7 39 f4 ±d6 40 fxe5 Axe5 41 Axe5+ fxe5 42 <4>e3 2d8 43 2cl? 2d4! 44 ±dS+ ¿dl 45 &xe6+ <4>xe6 46 2c7 2d7 47 2c8 <&f5 48 2e8 g6 0-1

In many ways the variation we examine in the next game with 3...#d6 is a more direct test of early queen development at the cost of time than 3...®a5 is.

Biriulin - Melts com 1988-90

International Correspondence Master Michael Melts has specialized in this move and written a fascinating book about it. 3...Wa5 has always taken preference here, but 3...«d6 is also logical because it covers key central squares like e5 and d4. At first glance the queen looks vulnerable to attack by Af4, but this proves hard to arrange and not always effective. A hallmark of the variation is that the queen tends to move forward instead of backward when attacked, often to grab pawns!

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