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Bogo-Indian: 4 Bd2 Bxd2+ 5 Qxd2 d5 [E11]
Previously we’ve covered 4...Qe7 (traditionally Black’s most popular response), 4...a5 and 4...c5. However, it’s come to my attention that we haven’t yet studied 4...Bxd2+, and that’s a considerable gap that’s been left to fill. In the past decade 4...Bxd2+ has been played by Carlsen (on numerous occasions), Kramnik, Grischuk, Vitiugov, Dominguez Perez and many other strong GMs, so it needs to be taken seriously as an option for Black.
5 Qxd2 is White’s best response, but we’ll also briefly look at 5 Nbxd2.
A) 5 Qxd2
White generally wants to recapture with the queen so that the knight can be developed most actively on c3.
What separates 4...Bxd2+ from many other Bogo lines is that Black typically chooses the QGD structure instead of ...d6 and ...e5. Black often castles first but it comes to the same thing.
White now has a fundamental decision to make: to develop with Nc3/e3 or with g2-g3.
A1) 6 Nc3
6 e3 0-0 7 Nc3 transposes
6...0-0 7 e3
Now it’s Black who has a choice:
A11) 7...Qe7 has been the most popular choice for Black, who prepares ...dxc4 and ...c5. After 8 Rc1 dxc4 9 Bxc4 c5, Black plans ...Rd8, ...Nc6, ..cxd4 etc, and this has proved to be a very solid option - see the notes to Artemiev, V - Carlsen, M.
8...Rd8 (instead of 8...dxc4) has actually been Black’s most popular choice. This may well transpose to ...dxc4 lines, but White may also force a Carlsbad structure with 9 cxd5 exd5 10 Bd3:
One would expect Black to continue in typical fashion with ...c6 and ...Nbd7, and this is certainly a playable option. However, it’s noticeable that 10...Nc6!? is Black’s most popular choice here. This move looks odd at first sight because the knight doesn’t normally choose to go to c6 in the Carlsbad, but Black has some concrete ideas which are covered in the notes to Goganov, A - Kryakvin, D.
Black isn’t restricted to the ...Qe7, ...dxc4, ...c5 plan, and 7...b6 is another valid option. Essentially, Black is playing in the style of the QGD Tartakower. After 8 cxd5 Nxd5!, just as in the Tartakower, Black likes to recapture on d5 with a piece, thus keeping the long diagonal open. 9 Rc1 Bb7 10 Nxd5 Qxd5! proved to be okay for Black - see Bacrot, E - Paichadze, L for analysis.
A2) 6 g3
This is the alternative to the Nc3/e3 development, and a natural choice for Catalan players.
6...0-0 7 Bg2 c6:
After 8 0-0, Black has two choices:
a) With 8...c6 Black chooses a solid Closed Catalan set-up. Here supporting the c4-pawn with 9 Rc1 has been White’s most popular choice, and after 9...b6 we get typical Closed Catalan-style play - see the notes to Andreikin, D - Bogosavljevic, B. Incidentally, that’s a fitting surname for someone choosing to play this line as Black!
b) With 8...dxc4!?, Black is prepared for some positional discomfort for the sake of winning a pawn. This is a more ambitious and riskier alternative to 8...Nbd7, and is analysed in Dragnev, V - Vitiugov, N.
Finally, White can avoid gambitting a pawn by playing 8 Qc2 (instead of 8 0-0), and following 8...Nbd7 9 0-0 b6 we get another Closed Catalan without the dark-squared bishops - see the notes to Flear, G - Arkell, K.
B) 5 Nbxd2 d6!:
The knight on d2 usefully protects the c4-pawn after ...d5, but it’s less well placed when Black chooses the ...d6/...e5 set-up. After 6 g3 0-0 7 Bg2 the game may transpose to less critical 4...Qe7 lines if Black chooses 7...Qe7, and this is a fine option. However, Black also has alternatives, including 7...Nc6 8 0-0 e5 9 d5 Ne7 - see Popov,E - Wharrier,J for details.
Till next time, John
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