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Inspired by recent discussions in the d-Pawn Specials forum, I have decided to take a closer look at the Bogoljubow Defence to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, which arises after the moves 1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3 exf3 5 Nxf3 g6.

Download PGN of July '11 d-Pawn Specials games

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Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Accepted - Bogoljubow Defence 5...g6 [D00]

While working on my book (The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit), I quickly understood why this defence is so popular (according to my database, it is the 2nd most often played defence against the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, right after the Teichmann Defence): Black has an easy game plan in the form of putting his bishop on the a1-h8 diagonal and playing against the d-pawn by means of a well-timed ...c7-c5. As we will see right away, this move will play an important role in this update.

BDG - Outpost Variation [D00]

To begin with, I would like to show you that the Bogoljubow Defence cannot be shaken that easily. A frequent try of jolting the black setup is 6 Bc4 Bg7 7 Ne5, the so-called Outpost Variation:

After 7...0-0, however, f7 is not in immediate danger, and with the knight gone from f3, the white d-pawn is even more prone to advances from the black c-pawn. A good illustration for this is Felber, J - Blankenberg, B, which I invite you to examine carefully in order to get a first idea of the power of ...c7-c5.

BDG - Studier Attack [D00]

By far the most popular way of meeting the Bogoljubow Defence is the so-called Studier Attack after 6 Bc4 Bg7 7 0-0 0-0 8 Qe1:

White's attacking plan is simple: The basic attacking setup White is aiming at is Qe1-h4, Bc1-h6, Nf3-g5 with the idea to play Bh6xg7 followed by Rf1xf6 (and Qh4xh7). There are many ways for Black to deal with this, which all need to be examined carefully; I would like to start with the move 8...Bg4:

After 9 Qh4 play mostly transposes to a line examined further below (the so-called Leisebein Variation, should Black play 9...Nc6 here), 9...c5!? gives this line a little independent value. To my surprise, I could not find anything special for White, which means that Black can already resort to this rather easy line should he be happy with a draw. The game Schuh, H - Neunhoffer, H will provide more details.

BDG - Pachman Defence [D00]

Besides attacking the white center, Black has an alternative plan which consists of blocking the a2-g8 diagonal by playing 8...Nbd7 (followed by ...Nd7-b6-d5), the so-called Pachman Defence:

Personally I do not like this approach; even though White will generally not be able to reach his desired attacking setup, the missing pressure to the d-pawn allows him to get an acceptable game nonetheless. Vanhamme, P - Masquelier, Q will show what I mean.

BDG - Bangiev Defence [D00]

Up next is the so-called Bangiev Defence after 8...Bf5:

With 8...Bf5 Black acknowledges the dangers of the attacking possibilities described above and blocks the f-file (in order to prevent a possible Rf1xf6). He also attacks the c-pawn (now that the white queen is making her way to the queenside), but after 9 Qh4 it is rather dangerous to take it, as 9...Bxc2?! 10 Bh6 gives White a dangerous initiative:

The game Milde, L - Hole, T will show that the white attack is not easy to withstand.

With the previous game in mind, it is easier to accept that 9...Nc6 is the standard move in this position:

Now the immediate 10 Bh6 leads nowhere after 10...Ng4 11 Bxg7 Kxg7. On the other hand, White cannot really afford to commit any more forces to the defence of d4, as that would hurt his ability to create an attack. This leads to the move 10 h3!, which both prevents ...Ng4 and prepares g2-g4 (to chase the bishop away from g4).

Following 10...Bxc2 11 Rf2 Bf5 12 Bh6 we reach a critical position:

With g2-g4 in the air, White seems to be able to initiate the attacking routines outlined above. In my book, the assessment of this line was quite favourable for White, but the move 12...Qd6! casts doubt on this assessment. White is at least not worse, but it is doubtful if he can create an advantage. This, and possible white attacking ideas after the less precise 12...Bxh6?! can be seen in Hucks, L - Druke, V.

BDG - Leisebein Variation [D00]

Even though the Bangiev Defence already seems to be an adequate way of facing the Studier Attack, the Leisebein Variation after 9...Nc6 10 Qh4 Bg4 is an even better way, insofar as it allows Black to create serious winning chances:

By trading his light-squared bishop for the knight on f3, Black is not only removing a key attacking piece from the board, but also a defender of the white d-pawn. Since the threat of trading queens with 11...Bxf3 followed by 12...Qxd4(+) is imminent, White needs to take care of his d-pawn one way or another. One way to do so is 11 Be3, but as it turns out White will not be able to put up an attack in time before Black takes counteractions in the center, as can be seen in Felber, J - Fritsche, F.

However, there is another interesting idea I stumbled across while preparing this update. The alternative 11 Ne2 (instead of 11 Be3) was a mere sideline in my book, where I stated that after 11...Bf5 "the extra move Nc3-e2 has lessened White's chances in 9...Bf5 variations".

This might well be true if you consider 12 Bh6 (which does not work) or worry about the hanging c-pawn. Peter Leisebein did neither when he played 12 a3!? in the game Leisebein, P - Borst, J. All this move does is to ensure that the light-squared bishop keeps his home on the a2-g8 diagonal while preparing to build up the usual attack by h2-h3 followed by a g-pawn push. This certainly seems to be an interesting way of meeting ...Bg4!

BDG - Kloss Variation [D00]

The only major line of the Studier Attack I have not mentioned yet is 9...Ng4!?, the so-called Kloss Variation:

After closer examination this line is even more interesting than I initially thought. Not only does this move prevent 10 Bh6, but Black also goes directly after the white d-pawn. Especially critical is 10 Bf4 e5!, after which I think the best White can achieve is a draw by perpetual check; but I invite you to see for yourself in the game Leisebein, P - Behrendorf, K.

BDG - Long Bogo [D00]

Given the (by now) numerous problems of the Studier Attack, I recommended a different approach against the Bogoljubow Defence, which in my book I have called the 'Long Bogo' (after Rajmund Emanuel, who first recommended this idea on his website): The basic idea is to bring out the dark-squared bishop first, followed by Qd2, 0-0-0, Bh6 and a storm of the h-pawn. The first question is, where to put the bishop first?

At first glance it seems irrelevant if the bishop is put to g5 or f4 in the first place, since it is going to h6 anyway, sooner or later. The key difference (as will be seen below) is that after 6 Bg5 Bg7 7 Qd2 0-0 8 0-0-0 Black once again has the powerful 8...c5!:

Being a pawn down White needs to avoid simplifications, which means that he has no time for 9 Bh6 anymore. The most frequent move in this position is therefore 9 d5, but with the center now being "closed", it is easier for Black to stop White's attacking plans on the kingside while concentrating on building up an attack of his own on the queenside. In Chapman, P - Gosling, B, White tried to evade this by playing 9 Qe1, but I do not think that this idea will become too popular.

This finally brings us to 6 Bf4. The big difference between this move and 6 Bg5 can be seen after 6...Bg7 7 Qd2 0-0 8 0-0-0 c5 9 d5 a6:

While playing 10 d6 was not an issue in the 6 Bg5-line, it certainly is here, simply because Black cannot take on d6 due to 11 Bxd6 and White picks up the c-pawn. In Mann, W - Zielinski, S, Black decided to do so nonetheless and was duly punished.

Finally, please note that I have reanalyzed the June games, and replaced the games file, about a week after the last update was uploaded.

That's all for now! Cheers, Christoph

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