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Scandinavian Czebe Variation 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 g6 6.Nb5 [B01]
Four consecutive moves by the white knight
In the nine months I've been in charge of the 1 e4 Others section the most exciting development has been the continued rise of the 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6! Scandinavian (and 3...Qd8 has also done pretty well). Let's take a look at 6.Nb5!?:
This is perhaps the critical test of Black's opening system, as White's results with 6.g3 haven't been particularly impressive. Sutovsky makes four consecutive moves with his knight to get it from c3 to the e5 square. He gains some pressure against f7 but with careful play Black should be OK in Sutovsky - Spraggett.
Scandinavian 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 [B01]
Whites anti-Czebe system
Among White's sidelines, 5.Be3 deserves attention:
Objectively speaking it shouldn't cause Black many problems, but it deters him from playing ...g7-g6 and ...Bg7, the so-called Czebe System, which is his standard plan in this variation. In this month's game Black chose 5...c6, leading to a hard struggle in Kozlitin - Kryakvin.
Alekhine's Defence Exchange-5...cxd6 [B03]
The power of a new move
An opening novelty doesn't have to be objectively strong to cause the opponent problems. It is enough that it takes him out of his preparation. And what terrible things people do when they have to think for themselves! Even top players go astray when they are surprised.
Here, in the mainline after 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.b3, Black tried the unusual move 9...Bf5!?:
He was soon rewarded for his spirit of adventure in Suarez Uriel-Fernandez-Garcia.
Modern 4.f4 a6 [B06]
The Tiger versus the Austrian Attack
A critical line is 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 a6 5.Nf3 b5 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.Be3 Bb7 8.e5:
A fierce battle is afoot between White's direct, Classical play and Black's Hypermodern set up which seeks to prove White is overpressing by seizing so much space in the centre. Andrew Martin has remarked on ChessPub 'this position has been hotly debated since the publication of Tiger's Modern', where the Swedish GM more or less recommended Black's set up as the best way play against the Austrian Attack. You can see the latest assessment of this variation in Bobras - Navara.
Modern 4.Nf3 a6 [B06]
The Tiger versus the Classical Variation
Next up is 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 a6 5.Be2 b5:
You would imagine that the Tiger Modern would be especially comfortable against the 'slow' Classical Variation. Black is falling behind in development, but White isn't making any aggressive noises. Nonetheless, the set up does contain some poison, as you can see in Solodovnichenko - Hillarp Persson.
Caro-Kann Two Knights 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 [B11]
Black's most aggressive riposte
Here we examine Black's most energetic response to the Two Knights, with play going 4.e5 Ne4 5.Ne2 Qb6:
I wonder in how many opening systems Black threatens mate on move five? In a previous game given on ChessPub Vachier Lagrave got into trouble as Black versus Dominguez, so it's good to see his play strengthened in Barrenechea - Bartel.
Caro-Kann Panov-Botvinnik 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 [B13]
A nasty improvement for White?
Finally, new subscriber Paul Brøndal (welcome back to chess!) has asked me about the position at move 14 in the variation 6.Bg5 dxc4 7.Bxc4 h6 8.Bh4 Qxd4 9.Qxd4 Nxd4 10.0-0-0 e5 11.f4 Bg4 12.Nf3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Rc8 14.Bf1:
Paul writes 'I have read Schandorff's fantastic book on the Caro-kann. Here he concludes that Black has an excellent position after 14.fxe5. However, White has the nasty improvement 14.Bf1! which really displays White's domination of the white fields; the bishop may go to h3 or b5. Black has mostly tried Nd5 but the results haven't been very good. Other tries are Bd6 and g5. Do you have any good ideas here or should Black avoid the 5.- Nc6 line?'
Actually I don't think it is that bad for Black, and found what seems to be the antidote in the ChessPub archives. (There is a lot of buried treasure in the 25,000 odd games in the archives). I've incorporated this into Zumsande - Taylor.
As this will be my last update for the foreseeable future let me say thanks for subscribing to ChessPub. I hope you've found lots of ideas you can use. Good luck with your chess.
All best wishes, Neil.
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