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I was lured into this opening playing black. The moves are: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4
The problem is that white's e4 pawn can quickly cause problems for black, especially in developing the knight in g8 to f6.
Does anyone know of any model responses for black in this position?
Sure, the main line ;).
I play 3...ed4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 myself.
Taking on c6 and pushing e5 creates problems for both players, not just Black.
Pfren's recommendation is what I play: play usually continues 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 and then you choose between Ba6 and Nb6.
Of course, the game can deviate any number of places (5. Nc3 for example), but that's the most challenging main line.
The choice between 8...Ba6 and 8...Nb6 is really very difficult. Both moves are sound, and in both variations Black (and white) have a multitude of ways to play "solidly" or aggressively". Personally I have played Ba6 almost exclusively, but I believe Nb6 is by no means inferior.
But generally I believe 4...Nf6 is more enterprising than 4...Bc5, where Black limits himself to an ultra-solid approach, but leaves white with a very wide range of options.
8...Ba6 9.b3 g5 is where the fun is.
I play "queen out early", which is probably not recommend, but still interesting one (I think it's Steinitz variation)
Ahh, the so-called "Anand variation". Bad memories. I have played this once against WGM Kitty Grosar (she was by that time the gf of the ex-child prodigy Joshua Waitzkin, who watched the game with great interest), I got a fine unbalanced endgame (white bishop and knight, black rook and two pawns), but in a clearly superior position, I played too dogmatically, and eventually lost. After the game Josh was claiming white is (at least) slightly better, but this wasn't the case.
It's very playable, but not my favorite anymore.
A definition of "fun" I hadn't thought of yet. I prefer the Nb6 retreat.
I noticed that black moved 8. ... Kd8
Was that to avoid a possible King pin by White's rook?
No, to protect c7. Qe5 doesn't work because of f4.
12/11/2013 - Topalov-Kramnik, Dortmund 1996
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