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This month I've been looking at something rather different. There has been a trend in recent years for Black to combine ...b6 and ...Nf6, and I've been examining situations which fall outside the usual Queen's Indian Defence fare.

Download PGN of November ’18 Daring Defences games

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The Accelerated Queen's Indian Defence (TAQID) [A50]

Some encounters start out as an English Defence (...e6 and ...b6), but then Black opts for an early ...Nf6 (rather than the usual ...f5). This move order I've given the term the Queen's English (as it's essentially an English Defence with a Queen's Indian feel to it). Then there are other cases where a sort of off-shoot of the QID is employed straight away (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 b6!?). What's it called, you might wonder? I have seen a couple of sources describe it as a Queen's Indian Accelerated, but this doesn't sound right to me. In my opinion, the Accelerated Queen's Indian Defence (TAQID) is a more natural way to describe that move order. If White then refrains from an early Nf3, transposition to a mainstream QID doesn't generally occur and, in any case, Black usually has the option of steering the game away from established theory. These lines seem to be placed somewhere in a grey area between the English Defence and the Queen's Indian Defence and don't get the attention they deserve (New in Chess doesn't even have a classification for it, for instance!). Anyway, these systems have been overlooked in my Chesspublishing column until now, and yet they are becoming increasingly popular and not just with rapid time limits.

So are you ready to study the Queen's English and the TAQID!?

To help you get into the swing of it, here is a summary of my recommended responses for Black in the TAQID:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 b6!? 3.Nc3 (after 3.f3 the odd-looking 3...Nc6!? is OK) 3...Bb7 4.Qc2 (4.f3 d5! 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 e5!; or 4.d5 e6 5.a3 Bd6!) 4...d5! 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 e5!

English Defence with ...Nf6 - White plays d4-d5 [A50]

The game Lysyj, R - Ovetchkin, I begins like many an English Defence encounter, but with Black opting for ...Nf6 without ...f5 we have an A50 rather than an A40. The early advance d4-d5 focuses both players' attention: White gains space whereas Black has a target for his counterplay.

Ovetchkin fianchettoes his king's bishop with ideas of obtaining pressure along the long diagonal, but Black's set-up held firm. Indeed, there are probably other ways for the second player to get an acceptable game, so I don't rate this approach by White. In the game, Lysyj, the higher-rated player, outplayed his author colleague by opening up White's king in an opposite bishop middlegame.

Kirill Stupak seems to be a specialist in these TAQID lines, as there are quite a few references with him involved in this month's update. In Enchev, I - Stupak, K White opted for 7.e4 which bolsters the centre and intends pointing the light-squared bishop in the direction of Black's king:

Although it seems that Black obtains an acceptable game, if he is not careful he ends up with less space and few prospects for counterplay. So it's necessary to keep pressing against d5 and the squares around it, just as in the featured game. Later, Black only really won because White's piece sacrifice was far too optimistic, whereas if he had been less ambitious the middlegame was equal and should have logically ended with a draw by repetition.

English Defence with ...Nf6 - White plays f2-f3 [A50]

In the TAQID move order 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 b6, if White opts for 3.f3 then I think that Black's best practical response is the eyebrow-raising 3...Nc6!? as in our featured game:

In Volkov, S - Rakhmanov, Ale White seemed to do lots of logical things but found himself to be worse! It just goes to show that even an experienced Russian Grandmaster might find it difficult to cope with Black's dynamic potential. How far to push and getting the timing right isn't evident, but clearly Volkov's early queenside play didn't work when he was so lagging in development on the other wing. As things stand, the more critical try is 7.Be3, even if the bishops get exchanged, rather than Volkov's 7.Nge2.

In the encounter Ju Wenjun - Li Chao, I'm not quite sure what Li Chao's reasoning was (I know, he likes to provoke sometimes) but his eighth move didn't work very well:

Here, previous experience suggests that 8...Nd7 is fine for Black, but in the game 8...Be7?! enabled White to grab a pawn, and after 9.dxe5 Nd7 10.Qa4 she was better. Later, a very complicated struggle ebbed and flowed, but for most of the early stages White missed chances to be clearly better with a timely e5-e6. When it finally came however, it was too late!

English Defence with ...Nf6 - White plays Qc2, Black avoids ...d7-d5 [A50]

I have to be honest, I'm sceptical about those lines where Black desists from the chance to play an early ...d5. So, for example, in Schreiner, Pe - Shengelia, D the modest 4...d6 gave Black a certain flexibility, but whether he then plays for ...e5 or ...c5 White's central grip is going to remain quite strong. To counter this centre, the creative ...c6, ...a6, and then ...b5 wasn't a bad try, with Black getting some room to dodge and weave on the queenside for the loss of a pawn. It might have offered enough 'practical compensation' to keep White in check, but no more than that. In the game, Shengelia became a little impatient which led to his downfall.

After 4...e6 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bd3 c5 7.d5 I don't think that Black can equalize with quiet play:

Here, I examine 7...d6 as played in Abdusattorov, N - Faizulaev, A plus a few other tries in the notes. In each case the pawn wedge on d5 is awkward for Black whose minor pieces lack space and general effectiveness. He soon ran out of things to do and had to wait patiently while White made progress.

Despite the rather mediocre opening, the game was a great fight with Black showing great resilience even when two exchanges down!

In Rychagov, A - Bortnyk, O a more active reaction was employed, as Bortnyk aimed to counter his opponent's central ambitions with 7...b5, which has to be critical:

The problem is that despite such a vigorous approach the d5-pawn remains in place and with it White's extra space. I am even willing to stick my neck out by considering White to be better then in all lines, especially if he had later played 12.Bg5! rather than 12.Bf4. In the actual game, I'm not sure what happened at the end, but White did snatch a pawn early on and was on top until he lost control in the endgame.

English Defence with ...Nf6 - White plays Qc2, Black reacts with ...d5 [A50]

In Schekachikhin, M - Ladva, O ambitious gambit play by White (see the choice of 5.Bg5!? which has hardly ever been played) pays off after a chaotic and rather original opening which reminds one of other systems where ...dxc4 and ...b5 occur early on.

I can't really give a definitive judgement, but Black is a lot more flexible than in the Semi-Slav (I'm thinking of the Anti-Meran Gambit or Anti-Moscow Gambit). However, this didn't do him any good here as White obtained tricky play in the vicinity of Black's king.

What should Black have done differently then? Well, you are probably expecting some sort of guidance, even in such a murky situation! There were certainly improvements later, but my feeling is that 10...e6 (to anticipate and limit the danger from White's centre) would have been a good idea.

The encounter Shmeliov, D - Akobian, V involved the 'natural-looking, but a shade timid' 7...e6 which led to a sort of inferior Semi-Tarrasch where Black was struggling to obtain counterplay:

Indeed, the whole game Akobian was rather passive in his approach and was fortunate not to go down, as White got his move order wrong when combining on the verge of winning.

All-in-all, I'm not a fan of Black's opening and feel that he needs to try 7...e5! (challenging the white centre immediately) rather than 7...e6.

It seems that the opening sequence in Navara, D - Kempinski, R constitutes the main line of the 'English/QID' hybrid. Both players seemed to be employing the critical moves, in particular note 7...e5! (which deserves its !) and then, a little further on, the Czech Star produced a novelty 11.Qa4 (which I think is more of a !?):

Previously 11.Bxd3 had been played a few times including in an old Bronstein game, but my notes suggest that Black can then get a decent enough position with a quick 0-0-0. Kempinski rose up to the task and was able to diffuse White's initiative, except there was a hint of an edge for White with an alternative on move 22. Although a draw was an honourable result there might even have been an opportunity for Black to play for more near the end.

Till next month, Glenn Flear

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