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I encountered this interesting line yesterday and thought it deserves some analysis:
After 5. d4, the game transposed to a variation of the Steinitz Variation of the French Defense. It usually arises after 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Nf3. Most popular is 5. f4, when you have competing pawn chains, but 5. Nf3 is the second most popular move. Here is what Steffen Pedersen has to say about the 5. Nf3 line in his book The Main Line French: 3. Nc3:
"This is a sensible developing move, but now White cannot support his centre with c3 and/or f4 because the pawns are both blocked by knights. Therefore Black can break up the centre with ...c5 and ...f6. This leads to an interesting strategic struggle since the pawn-structure is defined by white pawns on the second rank (a-c and f-h) against the three black pawn islands a7+b7, d5+e6 and g7+h7. This means White will be attempting to gain control over the central dark squares, e5 in particular, while Black in turn will try to break this stronghold and seek counterplay on the semi-open c- and f-files."
Here is his main line:
1. e4 e62. d4 d53. Nc3 Nf64. e5 Nfd75. Nf3 c56. dxc5 Nc67. Bf4 Bxc58. Bd3 f69. exf6 Nxf610. 0-0 0-011. Ne5 Bd712. Qe2 Qe713. Rae1 Rae814. Kh1 a615. Bg3 Nxe516. Bxe5 Bc6
Rogers-Psakhis, Wijk aan Zee, 1997, was agreed drawn after 17. a3 due to the solidity of 17. ...g6 followed by ...Nd7.
Was this game at the latest NSCC? If so, which round? I assume you were white in this game.
It's not a game I played. If you look at the note to White's 21st, I credited the game as Roy Chowdhury - Mueller 2005 and gave an improvement. Actually this was shown to me by a friend at the Evanston club on Tuesday.
I prefer the Tarrasch, and I doubt White has anything after the more intuitive 8...Nc6.
Ah, looks like a battle between two Wisconsinites. Well, now I know what Mueller plays!
18... 0-0 was a blunder. ...f6 is better, but in all the lines I analyzed, White ends up winning eventually.
I'm only a 2050 player so my analysis may not be the best, but I consider the bishop misplaced on c5 in the opening (even though it "seems" the most natural), and I always recapture with ...nc5 for that reason. It also avoids this line, which, the more I look at it, looks more and more like a solid victory for white.
...Nxc5 is another line. Pedersen gives that one in his notes as an alternative , too.
Yes...I have already found this in my own independent analysis, at the end white has probably a decisive advantage. It is not clear though. I remember one very funny line with 18..f6 19.Nf7 O-O
Elubas and I talked about this a few months ago on live, and we came to the conclusion its likely much better for white, but nothing decisive yet.
It is a nice combination though really.
black can't play the natural Bxf2+, this is nearly a blunder.
probably has to play some h6, i played a standard game in this line a few months ago, and got a quite playable position. White has very good attacking chances on the kingside though.
Btw, either knight sack after you win the queen on g5, is quite playable, its not clear which is better atm.
Why is Bxf2+ natural? Black is underdeveloped and attacking while the king is still in the center; that is the most unnatural idea I know of in chess.
It is natural because on the surface it looks like it wins a pawn atleast (missing the Kd2 idea, most chess players would, and without it, white is dead, therefore its natural), deeper analysis reveals otherwise though to "refute" the idea entirely ---- pawn grabbing while underdeveloped = unadvisable.
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