ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month features lots of strange lines once again, plus two games involving London System specialist Gata Kamsky as White and another two with KID/Dragon expert Gawain Jones as Black.
I have also continued to keep an eye on Jonathan Tait's 'A Disreputable Opening Repertoire' and noticed that while most of the lines are indeed quite disreputable, some others are actually perfectly sound mainlines - a curious mix! I haven't read the whole work yet, but what I have read I've enjoyed. The book is well researched, the analysis is thorough, the text interesting and entertaining, and I think that any king-pawn player will find it useful, even if they just cherry-pick the lines that interest them, or that plug holes in their own repertoire.

Download PGN of June ’22 1 e4 e5 games

>> Previous Update >>

Nakamura Attack 2 Qh5 [C20]

This ridiculous-looking beginner's move is not as bad as you might think! It has actually been played by a lot of very. very strong players: Nakamura, in particular, but also Carlsen, Rapport, Fedoseev, Sevian, etc. It has had a few names over the years, Parham Attack seems to be the most common but maybe Nakamura Attack would be the most appropriate?!

Following 2...Nc6 3 Bc4 (threatening Scholar's Mate!) 3...g6 4 Qf3 Nf6 5 Ne2 d6 6 h3 Bg7 7 d3 we reach a fairly standard setup in this line. White will play Nbc3, Be3 or Bg5, and then 0-0-0 followed by g2-g4 and Ng3 with a kingside attack, see Liang, A - Nihal, S.

Incidentally, Jonathan Tait's recipe for Black involves 4...f5 which is actually rather good - I might try this myself the next time I get a chance!

Philidor Defence, Hanham Variation 6 0-0 c6 7 a4 h6 8 a5 Qc7 9 Re1 g5 [C41]

Olexandr Bortnyk has been playing the Philidor line with ...h6 (that I looked at a couple of months ago) a lot recently with very good results, but a closer examination reveals that this line is beginning to creak at the seams!

Firstly, in Kamsky, G - Bortnyk, O, after 6 O-O c6 7 a4 h6 8 a5 Qc7 9 Re1 g5!? (Bortnyk often plays this move first before manoeuvring the knight to g6 via f8) 10 Be3 Nf8:

Kamsky played a tactic that looks to me like a forced win for White! If that wasn't bad enough another strong move has been found for White after 8. Ba2 - see the notes for this.

This line will often have surprise value but at the moment (and against a well-prepared opponent) it is starting to look a bit dodgy.

Petroff Defence 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nd3!? [C42]

This move looks odd, impeding White's development, but in fact the knight is heading for d5. Recently it has been played by some really strong players, so it is definitely time to take a good look at it. In Van Foreest, J - Bjerre, J the game continued along 'standard' lines with 4...Nxe4 5 Qe2 Qe7 6 Nf4 Nc6 7 Nd5 Nd4 8 Nxe7 Nxe2 9 Nd5 Nd4:

Now the young Dutch GM showed some very nice preparation by playing a new and sharp sequence involving a temporary sacrifice of his a1-rook, winning a good game. Objectively Black might be OK, but he has to be very accurate, and it is more sensible to go for a solid alternative on move 6.

Scotch Four Knights, Belgrade Gambit 4 d4 exd4 5 Nd5 Be7 6 Bc4 [C47]

We haven't looked at the Belgrade Gambit for a while, and I noticed that Gawain played a couple of quite provocative moves for Black in Souleidis, G - Jones, G, firstly 6...Nxe4:

Later in the game Black has two simple ways to get the better side of equality, which would certainly dissuade me from playing this with White, but my overall impression is that this line is fairly drawish.

Two Knights, Ulvestad Variation 5...b5 6 Bf1 Nxd5 [C57]

Jonathan Tait proposes the Ulvestad Variation against the Two Knights, and as this is a line I quite like, and have scored heavily with in blitz games, I thought it was time to have a deeper look. Following 5...b5 6 Bf1 (the only good move) Tait suggests 6...Nxd5, which was only Ulvestad's second idea, apparently:

The mainline continues 7 Bxb5 Bb7 8 d4 exd4! 9 0-0 Be7 10 Qh5 with sharp play where Black normally castles queenside and appears to obtain a satisfactory position, have a look at Jakubowski, K - Sarkar, J.

Schliemann Gambit Mainline 4 Nc3 fxe4 5 Nxe4 d5 6 Nxe5 dxe4 7 Nxc6 Qg5 [C63]

As we saw last month Jonathan Tait recommends the Schliemann or Jaenisch Gambit against the Ruy Lopez. The 'mainline of the mainline', using Tait's words, goes 3...f5 4 Nc3 fxe4 5 Nxe4 d5 6 Nxe5 dxe4 7 Nxc6 Qg5 8 Qe2 Nf6 9 f4 Qxf4 10 Ne5+ c6 11 d4 Qh4+ 12 g3 Qh3 13 Bc4 Be6 14 Bg5 O-O-O 15 O-O-O Bd6:

Black's e4-pawn is isolated and White should be a little better, but as Victor wrote: "it's not easy for White to prove his superiority." Anyway, I've had a look at this in the recent game Kamsky, G - Vujic, M and with a bit of care Black does seem to be fine in every variation.

Delayed Steinitz 5 0-0 Bd7 6 c4 g5 [C72]

When quickly playing through the most recent games I assumed that the g-pawn went to g6 on move six, as it normally does, in Villanueva, M - Flores, D, and it was only after it captured a knight a couple of moves later did I realise that something was amiss!

White's sixth move plans d2-d4 with a space advantage while hindering Black's thematic ...b7-b5 and Black's flank attack fights for control of the temporarily weakened d4 square. This line was first played by Gurgenidze, as far as I can see, and tried a few times by Mamedyarov, and is risky but perfectly playable, see my analysis.

Spanish 3...a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 d3 b5 6 Bb3 Bc5 7 a4 [C77]

I wandered over to look at the game Shirov, A - Jones, G a few times while I was playing in the 4NCL a few weeks ago and couldn't make head nor tail of the wild position. So, I decided to have a good look at it here.

In the perfectly reasonable diagram position Alexei played 17 h4!? g4 18 Ng5!? and all hell broke loose!

Until next month, Tony.

>> Previous Update >>

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