Sunday, 14 September 2014

Build up a sharp repertoire by IM Zoran Ilic

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Early wing attack g3-g4

By International Master Zoran Ilic
Remote Chess Academy
The trend of undertaking an early wing attack with g2–g4 started back to the beginning of 1990s. Than, the enterprising GMs Shabalov and Shirov introduced this idea in the
Semi-Slav line 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c3 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4!?.
Previously Black had to meet the aggressive g2–g4 idea mainly in various Sicilian systems.
In the years that followed, the early advance of the g-pawn has become a common pattern in many openings including classics Queen’s Gambit and Philidor. With the risk to spoil the integrity of the pawn structure White plays violent g2–g4 with the aim to disturb the natural development flow of Black’s pieces. The dynamic g4 (g5) does contribute to the fight for the centre dislodging a Black knight from f6. Only by active measures can Black hope to demonstrate serious consequences of White’s aggressive idea.
Usually it means a proper reaction in the center, according the old saying that “Premature flank attack should be refuted by a thrust in the center“. But, g2–g4 is an dangerous idea and responding it correctly in practice is not easy at all. It demands full alertness and good preparation. If Black only simply follows the mentioned rule, without specific preparation, he could not hope to achieve promising positions as has been proved many times.
Two latest, very high level games, from just finished French Championship and Tromzo Olympiad, confirm convincingly this statement. The dangerous g2–g4 idea was successfully implemented versus  Bogo and Nimzo Indian, two openings which enjoy quite reliable reputation.
Bacrot,E (2720) – Sokolov,And1 (2556)
89th ch-FRA 2014 Nimes FRA (4), 20.08.2014
You can also find the games in PGN format here:LINK
 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 c5 The so-called ViKoNi variation of Bogo Indian, named after Vitolinsh, Kortchnoi and Nikolic who were its first practitioners.
 5.Bxb4 cxb4 Black leaves his opponent a pawn majority in the centre and concentrates his play on the dark squares, the so-called dark-square strategy.
 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.e3 More common is to play the fianchetto 7.g3, but GM Bacro has another more ambitios idea in his mind…
 7…b6 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.Qc2 d6 10.g4!? 
In my youth I was learnt that you should only initiate a flank attack if the center is stable and secure. However, this rule, as well as several others firmly established chess dogmas, have been challenged in computer era.
In a number of openings, White has started pushing the g-pawn very early and with the central tension still intact. Natural continuations are 10.0-0 or 10.Ne4. In my databases I found only one game when 10.g4 was played in this kind of Bogo Indian. And it was again Bacro…
10…g6 10…h6? would just pouring gasoline onto the fire, while 10…Nxg4  was played in the first game mentioned above when Black (experienced GM) was crushed quickly after 11.Bxh7+ Kh8
Diagram212.Rg1 f5 (12…Nf6) 13.d5 exd5?(Neglecting development.
Better try was 13…Nd7! when one possible line could be 14.dxe6 Nde5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.Bxf5 Qf6 17.e4 Bxe4 18.Qxe4 Qxf5) 14.Bxf5 Nh6 15.Be6 with decesive threat Ng5 15…Qf6
(15…Nd7 is now too late as after16.Ng5 Nf6 17.Ndf3 following with Nh4 and White is unable to defend the whole complex of light squared weaknesses around his king.)
16.cxd5 Na6 17.Rg6 Qe7 18.Rg3 b3 19.axb3 Nb4 20.Qe4 a5 21.Ng5 g6 22.Qxg6 Rf6 23.Nf7+ 1–0 (23) Bacrot,E (2705)-Farago,I (2472) Deizisau 2013
11.h4 Consistently played. For sure, it’s not at all the the kind of position you hope and like to meet when playing a solid opening like the Bogo Indian. Instead of having complicated strategical battle to create a stronghold for a knight on c5 (the main feature of the line), Black is challenged to response a direct king side attack.
 11…Nxg4 There is no better option than to accept the sacrificed pawn. Comparing the position with the previous example, the interpolated moves …g7–g6 (closing the b1–h7 diagonal) and h2–h4 seems to be in Black’s favour.
12.h5 Following the basic idea. It is an imperative to open h-file.
12…f5! Being a pawn up Black wants to create a kind of stonewall that protects his king. He achieved his main  defensive task – to close the b1–h7 diagonal.  It seems that he has fair defensive chances.
13.hxg6 hxg6 14.Ke2 Obviously White has to involve another rook to support his attack. But, since the f2 pawn is hanging, in case of 14…0–0–0, White’s King has to stay in the centre. Will it be the target for potential counter play?
14…Qf6 Computer suggests the following defensive set-up: 14…Nd7 15.Rh3 Rf7 16.Rah1 Nf8 with a complex game. Black chooses another plan – instead of giving defensive role to his knight he developed it on c6 aiming to strengthen pressure on White’s center and support its opening. In spite, that his choice have a drawbacks of closing his light squared bishop and provoking a possible d4–d5 I regard both plans to be acceptable.
15.Rh4 Nc6 16.Rah1 From now on, both sides have to evaluate the possible transformation of the position in case of trading two rooks for the queen after Rh8+. Of course, White don’t need to hurry with that trading, but it is a potential asset which could be used in an appropriate moment.
So far, both sides completed their development.
17.Qa4! Obviously, White is not able to strengthen his direct king side attack. Moreover, as Black concentrated his forces towards his king, he has to cope with Black’s idea of opening central lines.
White can’t wait and in order to confuse Black’s plan he found right idea – to switch his activities across the weakened queen side. His chance is to create an additional weakness in Black’s camp there.
White is combining play on two wings (the direct threat is 18.d5). An instructive example for two principles:  PLAYING ON TWO WINGS and narrow related TWO WEAKNESSES PRINCIPLE. It sounds illogical, but to win on the King side, White must play on the Queen side. When most of the action is taking place on one part of the board, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the board exists. REMEMBER: The whole board is a battlefield!
17…Re7 In case of  17…a6 an interesting line is 18.a3 bxa3 19.Qxa3 e5 20.Qb3 Rf7(20…e4 21.c5+ Rf7 22.Rh8+ and White wins21.Rh8+ Qxh8 22.Rxh8+ Kxh8 23.Ng5 Rd7 24.d5 Ne7 25.Qxb6 with almost decisive advantage for White
18.R1h3 A useful prophylactic move but the direct approach 18.d5 also deserved attention. In that case a pretty forcing line would have been 18…exd5 19.cxd5 Nce5 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.Rh8+ Qxh8 22.Rxh8+ Kxh8 23.Qxa7 and White’s chances are preferable.
 18…e5? Black didn’t resist to play this tempting move. The idea is correct but the TIMING wrong! One should always invest a considerable time when the issue of opening position arises. Black miscalculated the consequences of opening position.
 After the patient  18…Ba8 the outcome of the game remains unpredictable.
19.d5 The game reached the moment when exact calculation is needed.
19…Nd4+ Perhaps Black relied his hopes on this blow but it doesn’t work. Anyway, alternatives are unsatisfactory too:
19…e4 20.dxc6 exf3+ 21.Ke1 Bc8 22.Rh8+ Qxh8 23.Rxh8+ Kxh8 24.Qxb4 Rf6 25.Nxf3±; 19…Nd8 20.Ng5! Qxg5 (20…e4 21.Bxe4 fxe4 22.Ngxe4+–) 21.Rh8+ Kg7 22.R3h7+ Kf6 23.Rxf8++–
20.exd4 e4 21.Kf1 exd3 In case of  21…a5 22.Qb5 exd3 23.Qxb6+– Black position is hopeless as well.
22.Qxa7 Black queen side has been demolished and his position went down rather quickly. Here we see the importance of suggested prophylactic 18…Ba8 move (Re7 protects a7 pawn).
22…b5 An desperate attempt to activate Bb7.
23.c5 Ra8 Or  23…Bxd5 24.Rh8+ Kf7 25.R3h7+ Ke6 26.Qb6+–
24.Qb6 Black has many weaknesses and his pieces are uncoordinated without chances to create counter play.
24…dxc5 25.d6 Rd7 26.Qxb5 Rf7 27.Qc4 27.Ng5 or; 27.Rh8+ also wins
27…b3 28.a3 Keep it simple!
28…Raf8 29.d7 Qe7 30.Rh8+ Kg7 31.R3h7+  1–0
The final position deserves diagram. An outstanding creative achievement by GM Bacro. The uncompromising battle between wings and central strategy is won by later. Let’s  sum up the key points we learnt though this highly instructive game:
  • energetic opening play (10.g4!?) with the aim to imbalance position and opponent in early
  • stage, playing on two wings nerrowly related with two weaknesses principle  (17.Qa4!)
  • Sensitive issue of timely opening position (18…e5?). Chess is a complex game. You will lose a lot of games by playing logical moves and, on contrary, gaining wins by braking rules with illogical moves.
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 Continue to GAME 2….
Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2743) – Ivanisevic,Ivan (2613)
41st Olympiad Tromso 2014 Open Tromsø¸ (5), 06.08.2014
You can also find the games in PGN format here:LINK
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 The so-called Zurich variation, not the most popular against 4.Qc2, but a solid choice if Black wants to avoid highly developed theoretical lines.  Recommended to players looking for complicated strategical battle, wishing to test the positional understanding of the opponent.
 5.Nf3 d6 6.g4!? 
No, this is not a “finger fehler” but an creative attempt to imbalance position in an early stage and force opponent to be on his own as of move 6th.  Since Black has relatively good control in the center, this attack should not be too dangerous, but meeting it over the board may be unpleasant without previous preparation.
6…e5 Black decided to follow the main idea of the whole line. It is difficult to criticize his decision (the wing attack has to be answered by central stroke), but there were alternatives: 6…d5, preparing to meet 7.g5 with …Ne4, or 6…Nxg4 7.Rg1 e5 played in Chatalbashev-Vocaturo, Deizisau 2008
7.dxe5 dxe5 If  7…Nxe5? 8.Nxe5 dxe5? 9.Qa4+ White wins a piece; 7…Nxg4!? 8.Bg5 leads to very complex game.
8.g5 Bxc3+ This forces White to double his pawns, but it is of irrelevant significance having in mind the dynamic character of the position.  Additionally it enables dark squared bishop to be developed on a3–f8 diagonal. But, in case of
8…Nd7 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.Qxc3 White position would be preferable as well.
9.bxc3 [White has to avoid 9.Qxc3 Ne4 10.Qe3 Bf5 with active play.
9...Nd7?! After this, carelessly played move, Black's position becomes critical. Transferring the knight to queen side consumes precious time and obstructs the development.  Better attempt was
9...Nh5 10.Ba3 Qd7 followed by ...Qf5.
10.Ba3 [#]This simple bishop move paralyzes Black position.
10…Nb6? Ivanisevic lost the sense for danger completely. Now his position is exposed to crossfire with unavoidable material loses.
With 10…Na5 followed by …c7–c5 and …0–0 he could still hope to stay in the game giving quite reasonable resistance.
11.Rd1 Bd7 12.Bh3
A strange position for Nimzo Indian. Inspite of the fact that Black has a perfect pawn structure he is unavoidably lost. The triumpf of dynamic over static features!
12…Bxh3 A desperate measure.
There was no other way to free himself from the pin, for example 12…Qc8 13.Rxd7 Nxd7 14.0–0 followed by Rd1.
13.Rxd8+ Rxd8 14.Qe4 Black’s main problem is not his material deficit but incurable bad position of his king.
14…Na4 Setting up a nice but a pretty cheap trap.
15.Qe3 Not 15.Nxe5? Rd1+ 16.Kxd1 Nxc3+ wins
15…Rd7 16.Nd4 Bg2 17.Rg1 Kd8 18.Nf5 Be4 19.Nxg7 
 After liquidating important g7 pawn White easily penetrated Black’position via f6–square.
19…Bg6 20.Qh3 Nb6 21.Nh5 f5 22.gxf6 Nxc4 23.Be7+ Nxe7 24.fxe7+ Rxe7 25.Nf6 Bf7 26.Rg7 Be6 27.Qh6 Nd6 28.Rxe7 Kxe7 29.Ne4 Nxe4 30.Qg7+  1–0
The early g2–g4 trend has been continuing. I hope the given examples will encourage, especially those players willing to take a risk and demonstrate their creativity, to adopt wings attack in their repertoire.
Two high level games that I presented (Bacro – A.Sokolov and Mamedyarov – Ivnisevic) clearly demonstrated the positive side of an early g2–g4 attack. Being Black it’s easy to go astray, and if the players rated around 2600 feel uncomfortable when facing it, you can imagine the degree of effectiveness at low level.
One example cross up my mind. The game D.Poleksic – N.Radovanovic was played in recently finished Serbian Youth Championship. Notice the ELO rating difference between players, more than 400 points in Black’s favour!
Poleksic,Dusan (1925) – Radovanovic,Nikola (2366)
Serbian Youth Championship, 2014 Beograd (5), 20.08.2014
You can also find the games in PGN format here:LINK
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 Nbd7 6.g4 0–0
7.h4 c5 8.d5 a6 9.a4 Ne8 10.h5 Nc7 11.Qd3 e5 12.hxg6 hxg6 13.Qh3 f6 14.Qh7+ Kf7 15.Rh6 g5 16.Nh3 Rh8 17.Qg6+ Kf8 18.Bxg5 fxg5 19.Nxg5 Qe8 20.Qxd6+ Qe7 21.Qxe7+ Kxe7 22.d6+ Kd8 23.dxc7+ Kxc7 24.Ne6+ Kb8 25.Rxh8 Bxh8 Of course, White is completely winning but having pure technique he “succeeded” to make a draw in 108 moves.
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