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Hi everyone!

I received a couple of emails asking about 9 d4 in the Closed Lopez. This took on an even greater importance after the third game of the Hydra-Adams match where Black suffered a crushing defeat.


Download PGN of July '05 1 e4 e5 games

Spanish Central Attack - 9 d4 [C91]

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 d4 (or 7...0-0 8 d4 d6 9 c3) 9...Bg4:

This line has become popular for three reasons: first, it is very useful to surprise your opponent nowadays, second, this line can be used as very good anti-Marshall weapon, third, it is much faster to learn this line than to become acquainted with all the latest subtleties of the long mainlines.

It is very difficult to describe all the niceties of this rich line in only one month, so I have decided to cut it into two parts. Next month we will see Part 2, 10 d5, but this month in Part 1 we have 10 Be3 exd4 11 cxd4:

A) 11 ...Na5 12 Bc2 Nc4 13 Bc1 c5

The position may transpose to Benoni-like positions (should White continue d5 at some point).

As an illustration I have chosen a sharp game of Bologan, Dominguez - Bologan. Please also take a look at the old game Tal - Portish - you won't regret it!

B) 11 ...Na5 12 Bc2 c5 13 dxc5 dxc5

Although this looks quite harmless Black has to be very accurate to equalize:

Game 3 is a very interesting battle between Timofeev (representing the young generation) and Tseschkovsky (the old guard).

C) 11...Na5 12 Bc2 c5 13 h3

This line has been discussed a couple of times during the last World Championships in Tripoli and is full of life:

White plans to lock Black's bishop on g6, and I decided to use a game of Romanishin's with black, Shomoeev - Romanishin, to illustrate the problems.

In Dominguez - Inarkiev Black never find a clear way of equalizing either, and therefore it is legitimate to cast some doubts on this formation.

Finally, I invite the reader to look at the game Kasimdzhanov-Adams again (see the notes). What a tragedy!

D) 11...d5 12 e5 Ne4

This is a completely different pawn structure:

If White avoids playing h3, then Black has the perfectly adequate 14...f5! as Nigel Short demonstrated against Grischuk this year in Wijk aan Zee, see Game 6.

In Timofeev - Smirnov White plays h3, but maybe Black can try 15...f5 anyway? See my analysis.

Last but not least, I advise the reader to enjoy the very nice finish of the game Svidler - Delchev, and also the game Smirnov - Sorokin.

Enjoy yourself!


Please post your Kingpawn Opening queries on the 1 e4 e5 Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions.