Sunday, September 24, 2017

Opening Preparation: The French Defense - King's Indian Attack

Thus far, we have covered a side line for Black against the Advance Variation in the Introduction article, and we've covered the lines where Black should have no problems equalizing, namely the Exchange Variation (Part 1) and the Tarrasch Variation (Part 2), with ideas of how to gain the advantage if White doesn't play perfectly. The articles that follow this one will cover the most critical lines where I feel White can gain a slight advantage with best play from both sides, namely 3.Nc3 and 3.e5, the latter of which will be an article for those of you looking for a line to play as White against the French Defense.

So where does the King's Indian Attack (from here on out referred to as the "KIA") fit into all of this? Well, the KIA is that annoying line that is loaded with tricks and traps. In no way do I believe that White can get an advantage with best play from both sides in the KIA, but Black cannot get away with just understanding concepts like he can against the Exchange and the Tarrasch. It's important to know the theory of White's side lines and various move order tricks in the main line.

Now you might be asking yourself "Is there really a main line in the KIA?". Technically, no! However, there are lines that fit more in line with the Sicilian Defense where Black fianchettos his King's Bishop and develops the King's Knight to e7, and some KIA lines favored by those that don't play the Sicilian or the French, and then there is what some sources have referenced as the "KIA vs French", which involves putting the pawns on e6, d5, and c5, the Knights to c6 and f6, the Bishop to e7, and castling, not advancing any of the pawns on the Kingside and giving White a "hook". This is the line most commonly played by advocates of the French Defense. The diagram below shows what a typical KIA vs French looks like.



A typical KIA vs French



So rather than separate into sections by variation, I am going to start with covering the various move order tricks and why you might face them, and how to deal with each one, concluding with what specific order moves should be played in the main line. I will then go through four games, three of which will be wins by Black, and the other will show a win by White, showing what Black must watch out for. With that, let's take a look at White's move order tricks and what variations we need to account for.

1.e4 e6 2.d3

White also has the option to play 2.Qe2. The point here is to discourage 2...d5 by Black as then White could play 3.exd5 and Black would have to recapture with the Queen rather than the pawn. In this case, I recommend that Black play the move 2...c5! The reason for this is simple. Sure it looks enticing to play 2...Be7, looking to play 3.e5 on the very next move, but this allows White the big center with 3.d4. After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Qe2, it would be Black's move, after which taking on e4 would be recommended as White would be forced to either gambit a pawn or else recapture with the Queen on e4, giving Black developing moves for free as something like 3...dxe4 4.Qxe4 Nf6 develops a Black piece and makes White move the Queen again. However, here, Black is not pressuring e4 yet, and so after 3.d4 d5, White can protect e4 with his Knight or advance the pawn. Particularly in the case of advancing the pawn, often times Black needs that e7-square to get his Knight out, and now the Bishop is in the way. Therefore, I recommend slightly adjusting the move order to 2...c5 followed by either 3...Nc6, 4...Be7, and only then play the moves like ...d5 and ...Nf6. Most of the time, this will directly transpose to the KIA, but there is one alternative in White playing an early f4. A prime example of this, where the game goes 2...c5 3.f4, can be found in my article on the 2017 Charlottesville Open if you go to Round 5 at the bottom of the article. Black reaches a won position before blundering late into a draw.

2...d5 3.Nd2

This move is often played in order to avoid a Queen trade should Black decide to ever trade on e4, and especially if Black plays an early ...Nf6. If White attempts to avoid the Queen trade after something like 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 dxe4, he's out of luck and the Queens will come off whether White likes it or not. The primary alternative is once again 3.Qe2. This move, instead of 3.Nd2, can have the advantage of a theoretically strong line for White via transposition should Black choose to play the KIA vs Sicilian line, but this won't impact us as it should directly transpose to passive 13.Qe2 in the main line, which we will see later in the second game. By the way, that line that White is keeping available to himself by playing 3.Qe2 is 3...c5 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 g6 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.O-O Nge7 8.c3 b6 9.Na3, with ideas of either Nb5 or else Nc2 and b4. This is typically the main reason behind delaying moving the Knight to the passive d2 square. Again, this won't impact us as we don't fianchetto the dark-squared Bishop.

3...c5 4.Ngf3 Nc6 5.g3

White fianchettoing his Bishop is the critical line here. Passive moves like 5.Be2 can be easily defended by using common sense and well known middle game concepts. White's position is totally passive and there is no pressure on the Black position at all here.

5...Nf6

If you are not going to fianchetto the Bishop, as is the case here, then this is the better square for the King's Knight so that the e7-square is available for the Bishop.

6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O O-O

We have now reached the diagram above.

8.Re1 b5 9.e5

This is a key move in this variation. White forces the Black Knight away from the f6-square where it would normally be a key defensive piece for the Black King. White's plan is fairly obvious. He's going for a direct attack at the Black King.

9...Nd7 10.Nf1 a5 11.h4 b4 12.Bf4

And now, some players as Black will play 12...a4 here and others will play 12...Ba6. I am going to recommend the latter as it will allow us to see one more move by White to determine what we want to do. No matter what happens, this is the one line where the move ...f6 is rarely a good idea because White can attack the weak e6 pawn via taking on f6 with his heavy pieces sitting on the e-file along with moving his Light-Squared Bishop to h3 to hit e6. Theerefore, if we never intend to play ...f6 unless we reach an endgame, then e5 won't move, and hence e6 won't move, and so there is no real point in keeping our Bishop on c8. Therefore, we pretty much want to play ...Ba6 no matter what White does, but the move ...a4 may be more effective against certain moves by White versus other moves. Therefore, we will play the move we want to play no matter what first.

12...Ba6

And this takes us to what the games will cover. The first game will show what happens when Black plays 12...a4 and doesn't capture on a3 when it's advanced by White, causing Black's play to be a bit slower. The other three games will show what to do based on White's 13th move, whether that be a slow move like 13.N1h2 or 13.Qe2 (Game 2), which can often arise from the lines with Qe2 played on move 2, 3, or 8-onward or on move 13 itself, or whether that be the aggressive 13.Ng5 (Game 3). The other thing that White can try is to avoid the 12.Bf4 move and try to accelerate the Knight tour with 12.N1h2 and 13.Ng4 (Game 4). The main thing to keep in mind is that in the majority of cases, this turns into a race, and so slow, passive play will get you nowhere in this line.


Game 1: Black Plays 12...a4 and Doesn't Take on a3

W: Kaidanov,G (2625)
B: Nijober,F (2525)
Elista RUS(Round 5), 1998

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.Nbd2 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O b5 8.Re1 O-O

This specific game may have started with a Sicilian move order, but notice that after 8 moves, we are back in the KIA vs French territory. A word of note that the KIA, like some other openings such as the English or various Queen Pawn openings, can transpose at a high frequency, so make sure that you know and understand piece location in addition to various move orders by White. Via our normal move order, this game would have gone 1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nc6 5.g3 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 b5.

9.e5 Nd7 10.Nf1 a5 11.h4 b4 12.Bf4



12...a4

I think this is a move too soon for Black to push the a-pawn again. A better move is 12...Ba6, since he wants to play that move anyway, and wait and see what White does. This will be covered in the final three games.

13.a3

The normal rule of thumb is not to advance pawns on the side of the board in which you are weak. That said, sometimes it's a necessary evil. In this case, White cannot allow Black to play 13...a3 as it will weaken the c3-square and a Black Knight will head into that square via b5 and threaten the a2 pawn, which will be hard to guard except to waste a whole Rook on a1 to baby the pawn as the c2-pawn blocks any lateral guarding of the pawn. If the a-pawn falls, Black has a massive pawn on a3 that is protected, passed, and only two squares away from promotion!

13...Ba6 14.N1h2

I would play 14.Ng5 here instead and take advantage to Black's early commitment to go for a4 and use it against him. Game 3 will show what Black should do against an early Ng5. It turns out, White plays this move three moves later, and it ends up killing Black as he fails to respond properly.

14...c4

Black should instead take on a3, opening up the b-file immediately. Instead, this approach takes Black longer to open up the b-file and shuts down the c-file, slowing down Black's attack.

15.d4 c3 16.bxc3 bxc3 17.Ng5



So let's take a look at the position. Black has an open b-file, but otherwise the a-file, c-file, and d-file are all shut down, and the c3-pawn isn't even protected by the d-pawn, and so even if Black does manage to somehow win the c2-pawn, White can go after the c3-pawn. In the mean time, on the Kingside, it appears as though White's Bishops are blocked by the pawns, and the only slight threat is Qh5, making Black advance the h-pawn and creating a hook for White, but not the end of the world, right? We just get that Knight down to c4 to attack a3 and all is good?

17.Nb6?

Wrong! White's attack may appear dormant, but looks can be very deceiving, and once he gets the attack started, it's full speed ahead for White! Black had to knock the Knight back immediately with 17...h6.

18.Qh5 Bxg5

A sad necessity as 18...h6 doesn't work now. White just ignores the threat to the Knight and plays 19.Ng4!. Kaidanov himself gives the following analysis: After 19...hxg5 20.hxg5 g6 (20...Nxd4 21.Nf6+ gxf6 22.gxf6 Bxf6 23.exf6 Qxf6 24.Be5 and White wins the Queen as any movement by the Queen results in mate on h8 with the White Queen) 21.Qh6 Nxd4 22.Nf6+ Bxf6 23.gxf6 Nf5 24.Qh3 and Black has no way to stop 25.g4 and then 26.Qh6 once the Knight goes away. Black must always watch out for sacrifices on g5 and f6 in these lines.

19.Bxg5 Qe8

Black is looking to answer 20.Ng4 with 20...f5, using a trick that we will be seeing in Game 3. However, this position is totally different, and White has a move that stops Black's defensive idea immediately.

20.Bf6!

Forcing the Black Pawn to remain on f7, and hence Blocking Black from being able to trade Queens or guard the g7 and h7 squares.

20...Nxd4

The lesser evil was 20...gxf6 21.Ng4 Nd7 (to stop 22.Nxf6+ followed by mate) 22.Bxd5 exd5 23.exf6 Kh8 (White threatened mate with 23.Qg5+ and 24.Qg7#, and therefore Black must give up the Queen.) 24.Rxe8 Raxe8 25.Qxd5 Ncb8. White has a Queen and three Pawns for a Rook, Bishop, and Knight, but White's pieces are much stronger than Black's and the advantage clearly belongs to White.

With the game move, Black loses almost immediately.

21.Ng4 Nf5 22.Qg5 Kh8 23.Bxg7+

Black is about to be forced to give up his Queen just to avoid mate.

23...Nxg7 24.Nf6 Qd8 25.Qh6 Qxf6

The only move that stops immediate mate.

26.Qxf6 Rae8 27.g4 Nd7 28.Qf4 Bc4 29.h5 Rc8 30.Rab1 f5 31.exf6 1-0

Black threw in the towel. This game should illustrate how deceptively quiet the KIA can be and yet Black can still get blasted. That Knight that was going after the a-pawn never even made it to c4!


Game 2: Black Plays 12...Ba6 and White Responds Passively

W: Sebastien Maze (2412)
B: Martin Zumsande (2499)
EU-ch Internet Qualifier, 2003

1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.Ngf3 Be7 5.g3 c5 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O Nc6 8.Re1 b5 9.e5 Nd7 10.Qe2

As mentioned previously, this passive line with 13.Qe2 can easily come via transposition where White plays this Queen move at some point earlier in the opening, including move 2 or 3.

10...b4 11.Nf1 a5 12.h4 Ba6 13.Bf4

With a slight change in move order, we end up in the main line where White answers 12...Ba6 with 13.Qe2. If White has intention to play Ng5 and Qh5 to go after the Black King in rapid fire, he is going to end up spending an extra tempo to do it as the Queen will have moved twice. This slower approach gives Black time to expand and open the Queenside without having to worry about defensive moves on the Kingside yet.

13...a4

And so now is the time to play this move! I would also recommend this move against the line with 12.Bf4 and 13.N1h2, where the Queen still sits on d1.

14.a3

As mentioned before, this move is necessary for White in order to avoid Black from being able to play ...a3 and bring a Knight into c3 and attack the a2-pawn. The c3-square will still be somewhat soft, and the a-pawn still won't be completely safe, but a Knight on c3 won't attack the isolated pawn, and if it is ever captured, Black's pawn is a rank further back from promotion. Just this one move alone can sometimes be enough for White to finally go all in and ignore his Queenside weaknesses while banking on his Kingside attack being quicker.

14...bxa3

Immediately opening one file on the Queenside, and not locking all of the other files up, keeping files like the c-file fluid compared to the first game.

15.bxa3 Rb8 16.N1h2 Rb2



17.Rab1

Here is a prime example of the "tricks" in the KIA. White can't afford to not contest the invading Rook, but there is one way for Black to win, and many other ways not to! 17.Ng4 c4 18.d4 Qa5 19.Rec1 (19.Bd2?? c3 20.Bxc3 Bxe2 21.Bxa5 Bxf3 22.Bxf3 Nxa5 -+) 19...Rfb8 (19...Nb6 20.h5 c3 21.Qe1 Re8 22.h6 g6 23.Nf6+ Bxf6 24.exf6 Nc4 25.Qd1 is equal) 20.h5 Qc3!! (20...R8b3? 21.h6 g6 22.Bd2 c3 [22...Nxd4? 23.Nxd4 c3 24.Qe3 cxd2 25.cxb3 dxc1=Q+ 26.Rxc1 Bxa3 27.b4 Bxb4 28.Nc6 and now it's White with the big advantage] 23.cxb3 cxd2 24.Qe3 dxc1=Q+ 25.Qxc1 Rxb3 26.Qxc6 Bb5 27.Qc8+ Qd8 28.Rc1 Bc4 29.Qxd8+ Bxc8 30.Nd2 Rxa3 31.Nxc4 dxc4 32.Rxc4 is equal) 21.h6 g6 22.Bd2 Rxc2 23.Bxc3 Rxe2 24.Ne3 Bf8 25.Bf1 Reb2 26.Bxb2 Rxb2 27.Ng4 Rb3 28.Be2 Rxf3 29.Bxf3 Nxd4 30.Rc3 Nb3 31.Rd1 d4 32.Rc2 d3 33.Rc3 Bb5 and despite being down two Rooks for a Bishop, Knight, and two Pawns, Black's winning.

17...Rxb1 18.Rxb1 c4 19.Ng5 cxd3 20.cxd3

20.Qh5 h6 gives White nothing in this case.

20...Nc5 21.Rd1 Nd4 22.Qb2



Clearly things have gone horribly wrong for White.

22...Ndb3 23.d4 Nd3 24.Qb1 h6 25.Nh3 Nxf4 26.Nxf4 Bxa3

White's position continues to fall apart.

27.Ng4 Be7 28.Bf1 Bxf1 29.Kxf1 Qb6 30.Nh5??

Completely overlooking a tactical shot by Black that abruptly ends the game.

30...Nd2+ 0-1

Passive play by White is not the answer and Black has nothing to worry about. Even so, Black must remain on his toes at all times as shown in the notes to White's 17th move.


Game 3: Black Plays 12...Ba6 and White Responds With the Aggressive 13.Ng5

W: Walter Browne
B: Wolfgang Uhlmann
Amsterdam, 1972

1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.Ngf3 c5 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.e5 Nd7 9.Re1 b5 10.Nf1 a5 11.h4 b4 12.Bf4 Ba6 13.Ng5



White's most aggressive idea. The idea is to play the immediate Qh5 and force a concession from Black, whether that be advancement of the h-pawn, creating a hook for White, or else a parting of ways with his Dark Squared Bishop.

13...Qe8!

This is why we want to hold off on a4. If White goes for this crude approach, this defensive move will tactically stop White in his tracks, and the Bishop being developed to a6 is more useful than the pawn push to a4 as it connects Black's heavy pieces along the back rank and the Bishop eyes d3, which prevents the advancement of the c-pawn by White since the Queen has abandoned ship and has gone hunting for the Black King.

14.Qh5

White continues his aggressive approach on the Black King. If Black wants to, he could play 14...h6 right now when 15.Nf3 can be answered by 15...f5, plugging up the center as White's Queen is hanging, and so he doesn't have time to En Passant, and the center is locked up. If the Queen is not hanging on h5, this trick is not possible as, for the same reason that ...f6 is unplayable in the KIA, White can play En Passant and the e6-pawn is fatally weak.

14...Bxg5

So why does Black take the Knight instead? Black is looking to take advantage of the e5-pawn. He removes the Knight off the board at a time that White can't recapture with the Bishop, and if plays 15.hxg5, his attack is non-existent. If he sacrifices the g-pawn to try to open the pieces up, Black can take with the f-pawn to open up the Rook as the Queen covers e6, and White is unable to put any real pressure on e6 with the resulting setup. If he doesn't sacrifice, where's the attack? The h-file? It will take for ever for White to stir up an attack on the h-file, giving Black time to proceed on the Queenside and making limited defensive moves when necessary. Therefore, White recaptures the way that makes the most sense, which is with the Queen. And based on that, Black will still be able to use the f5-trick in a few moves.

15.Qxg5 a4

Again, Black balances the act between defending his King and proceeding to attack on the Queenside.

16.Ne3 Kh8

A precautionary move, not allowing any tricks with the Knight entering the position on f6 or h6 via g4.

17.Rad1



White bypasses the a3-push and completely ignores the Queenside, thinking that he'll be able to push through with his attack in the center and on the Kingside.

17...h6!

Not so fast says Black as he takes advantage of the Knight sitting on e3, blocking the Rook from e5. Therefore, White's next move is forced to hold on to the e-pawn, and this puts the Queen back on the square that allows Black the trick of plugging up the center.

18.Qh5

18.Qg4 fails to 18...Ndxe5, which not only wins a pawn, but gains time on the White Queen as well.

18...f5!

The center is locked. The Queens are going away. White's attack will be non-existent, and the Black Knights in the closed position are going to cause White a lot more problems than anything that White's Bishop pair can do to Black.

19.Qxe8 Raxe8 20.Nc4

White uses the pin of the d5-pawn to get the Knight to the d6 outpost. However, Black will attack the loose White Queenside rather than react to White's Knight maneuver.

20...Nd4 21.Nd6



21...Nxc2!

Once again, reacting to a threat in a manner that is typical of the KIA, countering the threat with a threat of our own rather than reacting to the Knight.

22.Nxe8 Rxe8

Removing White's best piece is more important than keeping the material balance. White can respond to 22...Nxe1 with 23.Nd6, preserving the annoying knight, rather than recapturing on e1.

23.Re2 b3

Black's advancement on the Queenside is going to be a major problem for White.

24.axb3 axb3 25.Red2 Bb5 26.Rc1 Ra8 27.Bf3 Ra2 28.Bd1 Ba4

This is stronger than 28...Rxb2, which simply leads to a massive tradedown after 29.Bxc2 bxc2 30.Rdxc2 Rxc2 31.Rxc2 with an equal position.

29.Rb1 Kg8 30.g4 fxg4 31.Bxg4 Kf7 32.Kg2 Bb5 33.Bg3 Nb6



34.Bd1?

This move allows a tactical shot by Black. A move like 34.Kh3 was better, though Black still maintains the advantage.

34...Bxd3 35.Rxd3

There is no better move for White as the discovery on the Rook on b1 was just as much a threat as the Knight fork on e1.

35...Ne1+ 36.Kf1 Nxd3 37.Bxb3 Rxb2 38.Rxb2 Nxb2 39.Ke2

The trade down has occurred, and Black is winning as he has a series of threats on the White Bishop that allows him to advance his pawns.

39...c4 40.Bc2 d4 41.Be4 d3+ 42.Kd2 Na4

With the deadly threat of 43...c3+.

43.Ke3 Nc5 44.Bf3 Nb3 0-1

There is no stopping promotion.


Game 4: White Plays a Quick Ng4, Leaves the Bishop Home

W: Bojkov (2475)
B: Potkin (2523)
Germany, 2004

1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.Ngf3 c5 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 b5 9.e5 Nd7 10.Nf1 a5 11.h4 b4 12.N1h2 a4

Again, I'm going to say that I think 12...Ba6 is a better move here, and in the game Lau - Uhlmann, Potsdam 1988, White played 13.Ng4 to which Black immediately responded with 13...Nd4, the move I am recommending when White commits to an early Ng4. With the Knight already moved from h2 to g4, contesting the f3-Knight makes sense. For White to recapture on f3 with a Knight, White would have to lose time, retreating the g4-Knight back to h2. Otherwise, Black has no objection to capturing on f3 if White has to take back with a piece other than the Knight. The immediate 14.Ng5 is too early, especially with the g4-Knight blocking the Queen from getting to h5 quickly. Taking on d4 via 14.Nxd4 does double Black's pawns, but it opens up the c-file for Black to attack the weak c2-pawn. The other thing to keep in mind is that if White doesn't trade on d4, Black may also have the option of going ...Nf5, which can act as a strong defensive piece that is difficult to dislodge, rather than trading on f3. For example, the Knight occupies g4, and even if it moves, advancing g4 to attack the f5-Knight will often leave the h-pawn hanging.

In that game Lau - Uhlmann, Potsdam 1988, after 12...Ba6 13.Ng4 Nd4, the game went 14.c3 Nxf3+ 15.Bxf3 Rb8 16.Bf4 a4 17.Qd2 a3 18.b3 bxc3 19.Qxc3 Rb4 20.Rab1 Bxh4 21.Bc1 Be7 22.Bxa3 Bb7 23.Qc2 d4 24.Be4 Rb6 25.Bc1 Bxe4 26.Rxe4 Ra6 27.Qe2 Re8 28.Kg2 Nf8 29.Rh1 Ng6 30.Rh5 Qa8 31.a3 Rb6 32.Kh2 Rxb3 33.Bh6 Qa6 34.Bxg7 Qxd3 35.Qxd3 Rxd3 36.Bf6 Bf8 37.Re1 Rf3 38.Kg2 Rf5 39.Rh3 h5 40.Reh1 c4 41.Rxh5 Rxh5 42.Rxh5 c3 43.Kf3 d3 44.Bg5 Bg7 45.Ke3 d2 46.Ke2 Rc8 47.Rh1 Nxe5 48.Nf6+ Kf8 49.Nh7+ Ke8 50.Nf6+ Bxf6 51.Bxf6 Rc5 52.f4 Nf3 0-1.

13.a3 bxa3 14.bxa3 Ba6 15.Ng4



15...Nd4

Again we see the same idea as what we saw in Lau - Uhlmann.

16.h5 Rb8

And nothing says that we can't combine ideas. Here we see Black occupying the open b-file, similar to what we saw in Maze - Zumsande in Game 2. White's last move assures us no early Qh5 ideas like we saw in Game 3. Therefore, Black can proceed with his usually Queenside play.

17.h6 g6 18.Be3 Nf5

Now that the Bishop attacked the Knight, the Knight moves to the aforementioned f5-square, where it keeps an eye on the dark squares around the King, particularly h6 and g7.

19.Bf4 Rb2 20.Qd2 Nd4

And now that the Bishop has moved away and the Queen moved to d2, no longer covering the f3-square, the Black Knight returns to d4 with ideas of trading on f3.

21.Nxd4 cxd4



So White decided to trade on d4 instead, which does double Black's pawns, but it comes with many pluses for Black. Again, the c2-pawn is very weak, but there is also a sudden nasty threat by Black and that is the move 22...g5, which would trap the White Bishop and win a piece, and so White must spend time creating an opening for the Bishop.

22.Qc1 Qb6 23.Bg5 Bc5 24.Qf4 Rc8

25.Bxd5!

White's best try here. Note that White gets absolutely nothing after 25.Nf6+? Nxf6 26.Qxf6 Bf8. With no White Knight on the board, the f6-square is the only way in for any of the White pieces, and it's such a bottle neck for White that all Black needs to defend his position is the Bishop on f8 and the rest of the pieces are free to roam. Black would be winning here. The move played in the game maintains equality for the time being, and Black actually has to be careful here.

25...Bf8

25...Rxc2 is also fine for Black, but not 25...exd5? 26.e6 fxe6 27.Nf6+ Nxf6 28.Qxf6 and with the dual threats at g7 and e6, White's advantage would be significant!

26.Bf3

26.Bg2 was probably a better move, not allowing the trick Black executes a few moves from now.

26...Rcxc2 27.Re4 Bb7!

Trying to protect the d4-pawn via 27...Bc5 has it's problems. After 28.Nf6+ Nxf6 29.Qxf6 Bf8 30.Rf4, the attack on f7 is annoying and Black is forced to play 30...Rc7 and he has no real attack. The position is roughly equal. The game move keeps Black's advantage.

28.Rae1

White should probably admit that Black is better and play 28.Ree1. Note that 28.Rxd4 loses to 28...Bxf3!

28...Bxe4 29.Rxe4 Bxa3 30.Rxd4



30...Rxf2!

Black uses the fact that the White King is on the same diagonal as the Black Queen to tactically trade everything down to a winning endgame.

31.Nxf2 Rxf2 32.Kxf2 Bb2 33.Be7 Qxd4+ 34.Qxd4 Bxd4+ 35.Ke1 Bc5 36.Bg5 a3 37.Bc1 Nxe5 38.Be2 Nc6 39.Bd1 a2 0-1

40.Bb2 would be answered by 40...Bd4 and so White resigned.


So we have seen four very exciting and at the same time very complicated games with a couple of other games embedded in the article. Hopefully a very careful study of these games, you can get a better understanding of when to take White's attack seriously, like in Game 1, and when it looks scary but really amounts to nothing, like Game 4. Also, hopefully these games will make you more aware of the potential tricks in the position, like the Queen maneuver we saw in the notes to White's 17th move in Game 2, the importance of eliminating White's best piece rather than counting material like we saw in Game 3, and both the potential traps and opportunities that lie in the position as we saw in Game 4 where Black had to avoid being tempted into taking the Bishop on d5 and finding the tactical opportunity on f2 to seal the win.


Links to the rest of the articles.
Introduction and facing the Advance Variation
Part One: The Exchange Variation
Part Two: The Tarrasch Variation
Part Four: The MacCutcheon Variation
Part Five: The Steinitz Variation
Part Six: Beating the French with the Advance Variation

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