ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Two Vienna Games (although one is really a King's Gambit!), strong new ideas in the Scotch Four Knights, Pomtow Attack and Exchange Spanish, there's lots to get your teeth into in this update!

Download PGN of March ’22 1 e4 e5 games

>> Previous Update >>

Vienna Game/King's Gambit Declined with ...Bc5 and 6...exf4 [C28/C30]

Several Forum members and subscribers expressed interest in the line 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 (2 f4 Bc5 3 Nf3 d6 4 Bc4 Nc6 5 d3 Nf6 6 Nc3 would be a possible move order from the King's Gambit) 2...Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d3 Bc5 5 f4 d6 (with this move order 5...0-0 is a good alternative) 6 Nf3 exf4 7 Bxf4 O-O:

Now, Victor examined the most popular move 8 Na4?! a while ago in the game Grischuk,A-Dominguez Perez, but in Cominato Neto, J - Dos Santos, J I analyse the best move 8 Qd2! Black is doing well in this simple line, which avoids the need to remember the sharp variations after 2...exf4.

Vienna Game 2...Nf6 3 f4 d5 4 fxe5 Nxe4 5 Qf3 [C29]

After 2...Nf6 3 f4 d5 4 fxe5 Nxe4 the move 5 Qf3 puts pressure on e4 while bringing the queen to the f-file ready to castle and attack f7:

It is tricky and scores well, and I noticed it was even tried by the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, quite recently. So, I decided to have a deeper look at this and show how I think Black should play. Lau, F - Kardoeus, D is a fine attacking game where the white king finds itself wandering around in front of its own pawns, which is rarely a good sign in the middlegame.

Scotch Game 4...Bc5 5 Be3 Qf6 6 c3 Nge7 7 Bc4 O-O [C45]

I decided to stop playing 4...Nf6 a couple of years ago after a bad defeat, and to instead play 4...Bc5. In January I had a look at 5 Nb3 and this month I consider the mainline 5 Be3 Qf6 6 c3 Nge7 7 Bc4 followed by 7...O-O 8 O-O Bb6:

This is sound and good, although less popular than the lines involving 7...Ne5, or even 8...Ne5, see Amonatov, F - Tsydypov, Z.

In the notes I have also examined the interesting alternative 7...b6 followed by 8...Bb7, which is not bad and has the advantage of being relatively unknown.

Scotch Four Knights 7 Bd3 O-O 8 O-O d5 9 exd5 cxd5 10 h3 Rb8 [C47]

The next game, Rublevsky, S - Artemiev, V, impressed me greatly. Following the normal 7 Bd3 O-O 8 O-O d5 9 exd5 cxd5 10 h3 Black avoided the usual ...c6, and instead activated his queen's rook by 10...Rb8 11 Qf3 Rb6!:

Not only does the rook defend f6, it can also swing across to e6 or f6, and if Black has time to play ...Bb7 and ...c7-c5 he can soon be much better. This manoeuvre could finish the 10 h3 line!

Giuoco Piano, Pomtow Attack, 7 Nbd2 Nxe4 8 d5 Ne7 9 O-O [C54]

Forum members may remember that the Pomtow Attack was the subject of a Kaissiber Competition on the ChessPub Forum some years ago, where we tried to find new ways to play.

In the game Dubov, D - Karjakin, S, following the mainline 7 Nbd2 Nxe4 8 d5 Ne7 9 O-O Nxd2 10 Nxd2 O-O:

The brilliant Dubov soon played a strong novelty and built up a dangerous attack. Black defended well up to a point, but it is nigh impossible to keep finding strong defensive moves in a blitz game, and he was crushed.

Spanish, Exchange Variation 5 O-O Bg4 6 h3 Bh5 [C68]

My first impression, when playing through Leonova, A - Repka, C, was that Black's play was very provocative, but, of course, there is an enormous rating difference between the two players. However, on closer examination I realised that this line is far from easy for White. Following 5...Bg4 6 h3 Bh5 7 g4 Bg6 8 Nxe5, instead of the 'standard' 8...Qh4, Black played 8...Bd6 9 Nxg6 hxg6:

and followed-up with ...Qd7, ...O-O-O and ...f5, tearing the white kingside apart. In fact, it seems that Black can play the computer-approved ...f7-f5 even earlier, with excellent chances.

The ball is definitely in White's court now, as my predecessor often said!

Spanish, Exchange Variation 5 O-O Ne7 6 Nxe5 Qd4 7 Qh5 [C68]

I have been wanting to re-examine 5...Ne7 for quite a while now. It is a tempting move, as if Black can avoid tactical mishaps, and get into an endgame, he doesn't have to worry about a white kingside majority and will be doing very well with his strong bishop pair. However, after 6 Nxe5 Qd4 7 Qh5 g6, instead of the 8 Qg5 that Victor looked at ten years ago, White has the far stronger 8 Nf3! Qxe4 9 Nc3! Qf5 10 Qh4 Bg7 11 Re1:

Can he survive? Maybe, but see the brutal game Smirnov, A - Croad, N.

Spanish, Anti-Marshall 8 d4 Nxd4 9 Nxd4 exd4 10 e5 Ne8 11 c3 [C88]

Thirteen years ago, after 8 d4 Nxd4 9 Nxd4 exd4 10 e5 Ne8 11 c3 Victor suggested that Black had to take the pawn on c3, but nowadays we know that 11...c5! is the best move:

The point is that after 12 cxd4 c4 13 Qf3 Nc7 14 Bc2 d5 (or 13 Bc2 d5) we reach a typical position where White has an advanced e-pawn and can think about attacking on the kingside. However, it is actually easier for Black to advance his queenside majority with ...a6-a5 and ...b5-b4 and he can also prop up his kingside defences with ...Ra8-a6 and ...f7-f5. Meanwhile the c7-knight often comes to the strong blockading square on e6.

Black has a good score in this line, see Gullaksen, E - Kvaloy, A for the details.

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.