Luke McShane’s Larsenous Attack in the Olympiad

Luke McShane’s Larsenous Attack in the Olympiad‎

NM GreenLaser
19 | Strategy

Luke McShane (pictured younger) was born January 7, 1984. He won the World Under-10 Championship while only eight years old. At sixteen he became the youngest ever British grandmaster. His record stood until David Howell broke it in  2007. He won the silver medal at the World Junior Championship in 2002. In 2003 he won the British Blitz Championship with a score of 14.5/16.
In the recent Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, McShane played for England. In nine games he scored 5-4 with 2 wins, 6 draws, and one loss. The game selected from that event was against Tze-Meng Mok. Mok is a Malaysian international master who scored 6-5.
The opening is usually called Larsen’s Opening or the Nimzo-Larsen Atttack. White starts with 1.b3 followed by Bb2. The center is not occupied early in accordance with the hypermodern ideas of Nimzowitsch. This does not give White an attack, despite what the opening’s name suggests. White does not play for early critical positions requiring correct moves, but lets Black face positional choices move after move. This is philosophically harmonious with the saying. “Always give a patz a choice.” It also fits in with my, “Fish to move and lose.” It is difficult for the weaker player to make a move that does not lose to a stronger player. Imagine the weaker player having to do that 30 times without losing. The best players often play with such positional designs, not just against “patzers,” but against their strongest opponents. This is true even when the opening is played along classical lines. The system used in this game also has appeal for players who open the game with Nf3 or c4. In this particular game, the decisive factor was penetration on the long diagonal into the king position. In one of the reference games in the notes, the same factor was decisive for the opposite side.

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