No time to study opening theory? Shock your opponent with an SOS!
With an SOS you deviate early (usually before move 6!) from regular lines in mainstream openings. So you will reach positions you have actually studied without having memorized tons of stuffy theory, while gaining time on the clock! And you will have fun watching the horror on your opponent's face...
SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW AN SOS CAN SHOCK AND CONFUSE!
Every month, the editor of the SOS Secrets of Opening Surprises book series, IM Jeroen Bosch, annotates a game which was recently played with an SOS-variation.
SOS Game of the Month: June 2013
See also SOS–13, Chapter 4, page 35
In SOS–13 Simon Williams wrote on what he dubbed 'The Williams anti-Grünfeld Variation': an immediate 3.h4!? versus the King's Indian/Grünfeld Indian. Williams repeatedly played his line for two reasons:
- To avoid reams of theory, and
- To annoy Grünfeld players.
In SOS–13 he presents a strong case against the Grünfeld move 3...d5, while admitting that King's Indian or Benko set-ups are more difficult to tackle. In the recent Sigeman tournament the young (and strong!) Hungarian GM Richard Rapport had the audacity to play 3.h4 against Nils Grandelius. Funnily enough both players followed a previous Williams game, but apparently they were not familiar with his analysis in SOS–13.
Here's the complete text of this game analysis:
Malmo Sigeman 2013
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.h4!?
An excellent psychological ploy. Grandelius only plays the Grünfeld, so he will now be forced to play unfamiliar structures. However, 3.h4 is a concession of sorts as well, so both players now have to go all-out.
Aiming for a King's Indian, which you can also do with the slightly more flexible 3...Bg7, when after 4.Nc3 Black can opt for the King's Indian and the Benoni. Or can he go for the Grünfeld after all?
- - 4...d5. Well, the answer could be the Obama-like 'yes he can', but there is a snag. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.h4 (see SOS-3, Chapter 3, p.28!),
Black's best option is 4...c5! (see the SOS Files of SOS–12!). While after 4...Bg7, which leads to the position in our present move order, White has 5.h5!, and this position is actually quite dangerous for Black, and at least theoretically sound for White: 5...gxh5?! (for 5...Nxh5 see SOS-3 and SOS–13 for more details) 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Rxh5 Nb6 8.Nf3 Bg4
9.Rg5!! Bxf3 10.Rxg7 Bh5 11.Rg5 Bg6 12.e4, White better, Williams-Hegarty, Sunningdale 2011.
- - 4...c5 5.d5 (5.dxc5 is similar to the Ivanisevic game after 3...c5, but note that after 4...c5 5.d5 Black cannot play the Benko – which was the point of 3...c5) 5...e6 6.Bg5 (interesting is 6.h5 Nxh5 7.g4 Nf6 8.g5 Nh5 9.Bg2) 6...Qa5 7.Qd2 exd5 8.cxd5 0–0, and now (rather than 9.e4?!) 9.h5 Nxh5 10.Bh6 favours White!, Le Ruyet-Berchtenbreiter, Pardubice 2012.
- - 4...d6 transposes to our main game.
Immediately aiming for 'the Grünfeld' with 3...d5 is bad, as there is no white knight to exchange on c3: 4.cxd5 Qxd5 (after 4...Nxd5 both 5.e4 and 5.h5 are strong and favour White) 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.Bd2 Qb6 (6...Bg7 7.e4) 7.h5!? gxh5 8.e4 Qxd4 9.Nf3 Qb6 10.Be3 Qxb2 11.Bd4! c5 (11...Bg7 12.Nd5+–) 12.Rb1 Qa3 13.Nb5 Qa5+ 14.Bc3 Qd8 15.e5!+– Ng4 16.e6! f6 17.Qa4 Nc6 18.Rd1 Qb6
19.Ba5!. Black must lose the queen or be mated. A lovely win! Williams-Platel, Dieppe 2009.
3...c5, the Benko, is a good choice for Black, according to Williams: 4.dxc5!? (or 4.d5 b5 and now 5.h5!? Nxh5 6.cxb5 a6 7.e4 d6 is about equal according to Williams in SOS–13) 4...Na6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 (6.h5!? Nxh5 7.Be3 is an interesting thought - in the analysis it's always easy to sacrifice the pawns of someone else!) 6...Ng4!
7.Bd2 Nxc5 8.Nh3 d6 9.e3 Nf6 10.Nf4 Nfe4 11.Rc1 0–0 12.Be2 Bf5 13.h5 g5 14.Nfd5 h6 15.b4 Nxd2 16.Qxd2 Nd7 (if anyone, then Black is slightly better) 17.Nb5 Nb6?! 18.0–0 Nxd5 19.Qxd5 Qd7 20.Nd4 e6 21.Qb5 Qxb5 22.cxb5 Bxd4 23.exd4 Rac8 24.f3 e5 25.dxe5 dxe5 26.Rc5!, and White eventually won a better rook ending in Ivanisevic-Neubauer, Plovdiv 2012.
Less accurate, or at least less flexible, is 4...Nbd7 after 5.e4 e5 6.d5 Nc5 7.Qc2 a5 8.Be2 h6?! (8...h5) 9.h5 g5.
White has excellent control over the light squares. This is a typical example of a King's Indian gone wrong for Black. Williams continued 10.Be3 b6 11.Bd1! Bd7 12.Nge2 c6 13.Bxc5!? bxc5 14.Ng3 cxd5 15.cxd5 Be7 16.Be2 Kf8 17.Bb5 Bc8 18.Nd1 Ne8 19.Ne3 Ng7 20.Be2 Rb8 21.0–0, with a clear edge, Williams-Poobalasingam, Hastings 2008/09. The whole game with extensive notes can be found in SOS–13.
An excellent choice. Black is going for a Benoni set-up. This opens up the centre, which is therefore a proper reaction to the h4 flank-attack.
5...Nc6!? was Williams-Mestel, England tt 2010/11.
Black should play it fast. Look what happened in a juvenile game of Williams: 6...0–0 7.Be2 a6 8.a4 e6 9.h5 exd5 10.hxg6 d4 11.gxh7+ Kh8 12.Nd5 (White better) 12...Nxe4 13.Nf3 Bg4 14.Nh4 Re8 15.Nf4 Qf6 16.f3
16...Ng3 17.fxg4 Nxh1 18.g5 Qd8 19.Qd3 Be5 20.Nhg6+! fxg6 21.Nxg6+ Kg7 22.Qh3 Bg3+ 23.Kf1 Kxg6 24.Qh6+ Kf5 25.Bg4+ Ke5 26.Qg7+ Ke4 27.Qg6+ Ke5, and 28.Qf5 would now be mate. Williams-Palliser, London 2000.
7.Be2 exd5 8.exd5 0–0 9.h5 Re8
Both sides are playing with admirable consistency. White is still attacking on the kingside, Black has opened up the centre. Chances are about even.
This is indicated as premature by Williams.
However, his suggested improvement of 11.f3 is actually worse after 11...Nh5!.
Best is the prophylactic 11.Kf1!, and the position offers equal chances, although it is very tense of course.
Indicated as best by Williams in his notes to his game with Meszaros in SOS–13.
12.Na4? Qc7? (12...Qb4+!) 13.f3 a6 14.Nc3 b5 15.Qd2 Nbd7 favoured Black in Williams-Meszaros, Reykjavik 2009.
12...Ne4 13.Nxe4 Rxe4
And according to Williams Black must be better here. This seems to be true (after 14.f3 Re8), but as indicated, 11.Kf1 was a better (and more careful) way of playing the position.
14...Rd4!? 15.Qe3! Nd7 (15...Qxb2?? 16.Qe8+ Bf8 17.Rh8+ Kxh8 18.Qxf8+ Kh7 19.Qxf7+ Kh8 20.Bf6 mate) 16.Qe8+ Nf8 17.b3 is perhaps already better for White.
14...Re8 15.0–0–0 is sharp, but should be OK for Black.
15.Qxb2 Bxb2 16.fxe4 Bxa1 17.Be7
Although a pawn down at the moment, White is at least not worse in this ending. He looks actually to be a bit better, which would mean that Black's 14th was not best.
17...Be5 18.Kf2! (18.Nf3 Bg3+ 19.Kd2 Nd7), planning 18...Nd7 19.Nf3.
Black sets up a blockade after 18.Bxd6 Be5!, but White still keeps a slight edge after 19.Bxe5 Nxe5 20.Nf3 f6 (20...Ng4!?) 21.Nxe5 fxe5.
18...Bc3+ 19.Kd1 Nf6!
20.Bd3 Ne8 21.e5 dxe5 (21...Bxe5 22.Nxe5 dxe5 23.Re1 b6 24.Rxe5 Bd7 25.Re1, White slightly better) 22.Bxc5 Bg4 23.Kc2 Bxf3 24.gxf3 Bd4 25.Bxd4 exd4 26.Rh4, equal.
Better was the sharp 20...Ne4 21.Rh4 Ng3 22.exd6 Bf5, which is pretty unclear.
21.Kc2 Ba5 22.Ng5!
22.exd6 f6 is somewhat better for White.
22.Bxd6 Bf5+ 23.Kb3 Nf2 24.Rh4 Ne4 gives Black counterplay.
Black is in dire straits here.
23...dxe5?? 24.Bxg4! Bxg4 25.Bf6 Bh5 26.g4, winning.
23...Re8 24.exd6 Nf2 25.Nh7 (25.Rh2 is also good) 25...Nxh1 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Nxe8 Ng3 28.Bf3, winning.
24.exd6 Ne5 25.Rf1!?, planning 26.g4, also preserves an edge.
24...Rxd8 25.Bxg4 Bxg4
White is also better after 26.Ne4 Kg7 27.Nxd6 f6 28.Ka4!, but the combination in the game transfers into a winning ending.
26...Kxh8 27.Nxf7+ Kg7 28.Nxd8 dxe5 29.Nxb7 e4
29...Kf6 30.Nxc5 Bf5 31.Kc3, winning.
30.Nxc5 e3 31.Kc3 Kf6
This mistake appears to throw away half a point.
Winning was 32.Kd4! e2 33.Nd3 Bc8 34.c5 Ba6 35.Ne1.
Or 32.Nd3, which will come down to the same thing.
This was Rapport's idea. The knight will support its passed pawns. However, Black gains counterplay with his passed e-pawn after 33.Nd3 e2 34.Ne1 Ke5.
33...Ke5! 34.c5 Kf4!
35.c6 Kg3 36.d7 e2 37.d8Q e1Q+.
35...Kg3 36.Nc2 e2 37.Ne1 Kf2 38.Kd2 Bd7
After a forcing sequence, Black has now firmly blocked the passed pawns. The draw cannot be avoided.
39.g4 g5 40.Nd3+ Kf1 41.Ne1 Kf2 42.Nd3+ Kf1 43.a3 a5 44.Ne1 Kf2 45.Nd3+ Kf1 46.Ne1 Kf2 47.Nc2 Ba4 48.Ne1 Bd7