SOS - Secrets of Opening Surprises - July 2012

SOS - Secrets of Opening Surprises - July 2012

| 7 | Opening Theory

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... 

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: July 2012

See also SOS-13, Chapter 5, p.48
For SOS Volume 13 Konstantin Landa wrote an inspirational article on the Scotch with 4...Bc5 5.Nb3 Bb6 6. Nc3 followed by 7.Qe2 and queenside castling. A crude idea? Well perhaps, although castling on opposite sides has a sound positional basis here. White can slowly advance his kingside pawns, while for Black this seems slightly more difficult (remember the bishop is on b6 obstructing the advance of the b7-pawn). Landa based his discussion on two high-level games Carlsen-Bacrot and Radjabov-Tomashevsky. Interestingly, this SOS idea has stayed in the limelight and it is high time to give an update. Our main game is a recent win by Anish Giri over David Navara in the French team competition.

Here's the complete text of this game analysis:

Scotch C45
Anish Giri
David Navara
Belfort FRA-tt 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nb3 Bb6 6.Nc3



Black prepares a set-up with ...Nge7, ...0-0 and ...f5. This is logical: White is given no targets on the kingside, and with ...f5 Black counterbalances White's space advantage in the centre.
With 6...Qf6 Black uses a crude threat to develop his queen before placing the knight on e7. The question of course is whether the queen is active here or vulnerable: 7.Qe2 Nge7 8.Be3 (also interesting is 8.h4!? h6 9.Be3 d6 10.0-0-0 Bd7 11.Kb1 0-0-0 12.Bxb6 axb6 13.f3, and White's position is more pleasant to play, Andreikin-Mertanen, Rogaska Slatina 2011) 8...0-0 9.0-0-0 d6 (White obtained a superior position after 9...Bxe3+ 10.Qxe3 a6 11.f4 d6 12.Be2 Qh4 13.g3 Qh3 14.f5 f6 15.Qf2 Ne5 16.Rhg1 Qh6+ 17.Kb1 b5 18.g4 b4 19.Nd5 Nxd5 20.exd5 in Hamdouchi-Cristofari, Ajaccio 2012) 10.Kb1 Be6 11.f4!? Bg4 (Black seeks relieve in this exchange of bishops, but loses a tempo) 12.Qxg4 Bxe3 13.g3 (the opposite-coloured bishops certainly do not guarantee Black equality here. White has a pleasant space advantage, and the black queen still looks awkward) 13...Rad8 (13...Rfe8 14.Bc4 a6 15.Rhf1 b5? 16.Nd5! Qg6 17.Qxg6 Nxg6 18.Be2 Bb6 19.Nxb6 cxb6 20.Rxd6, with a winning position, was Yu Yangyi-Pourkashiyan, Jakarta 2011) 14.Bd3 Rfe8 15.Rhf1 Bb6 16.Qh3 h6 17.e5 Qe6 (17...dxe5 18.Ne4 Qf5 (18...Qe6 19.f5 Qc8 20.Qh5, winning) 19.g4 Qc8 20.f5 Nd5 21.g5! gives White a dangerous attack) 18.f5 Qc8 19.e6 Ne5 (after 19...f6 White is better) 20.f6 N7g6 21.exf7+ Kxf7 22.Bf5 left White completely winning in Amonatov-Kovalev, Moscow 2011.

The natural 6...Nf6 is also played: 7.Qe2 and now:
- 7...0-0 was Bacrot's choice against Carlsen in 2010 - after 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 a5 10.a4 Nd4 11.Qd3 Nxb3 12.cxb3 Re8 13.0-0-0 d6 14.Qc2

analysis diagram

14...c6 was given as an improvement in SOS-8 by Landa, although he still preferred White somewhat. Instead 14...Bd7 15.Bc4 Be6 16.Rhe1 Qe7 17.e5 dxe5 18.Rxe5 Qf8 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Re2 Qg7 21.Bxe6 Rxe6 22.Rxe6 fxe6 23.Rd3 was excellent for White in Carlsen-Bacrot, Nanjing 2010. Note the safety of White's king in comparison with that of his opponent) 

- 7...d6 8.Be3 Be6 9.g3 (Black equalized after 9.0-0-0 Qe7 10.f3 0-0-0 11.Bxb6 axb6 12.Nd4 Kb8 13.Qe3 d5! 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Nxd5 Rxd5 16.Nxc6+ bxc6 17.Bc4, Yu Yangyi-Malakhov, Chaongqing 2011) 9...d5 (this leads to unclear complications - 9...0-0 10.0-0-0 Re8 11.Bg2 Bg4 12.Bf3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Bxe3+ 14.Qxe3 Nxe4!? 15.Nxe4 f5 16.Nbd2 fxe4 17.Nxe4 Qe7 18.Qb3+ Qe6 19.Nc3 Qxb3 20.axb3 Ne5 21.Nd5 gave White a slight edge, which never turned into something tangible, in Solodovnichenko-Vl.Georgiev, Fagernes 2012) 10.0-0-0 d4 11.Bg5 (11.Bg2!? Bxb3 12.axb3 Nd7 13.Bh3 0-0 14.Bf4) 11...0-0 12.e5 Re8?! 13.exf6 h6 14.Qh5 hxg5 15.Ne4 Bf5, and now Negi has prepared a fantastic combination:

analysis diagram

16.h4!! Bxe4 17.hxg5 Bxh1 18.Bd3 and White is completely winning. The game ended after 18...gxf6 19.Rxh1 Kf8 20.Qh6+ Ke7 21.Qxf6+ Kd7 22.Bf5+ Re6 23.Qxf7+ Qe7 24.Bxe6+ Kd6 25.Qf4+ Ne5 26.Rh6 Rf8 27.Bf5+ Kd5 28.Qe4+ Kc4 29.Be6+ Kb4 30.Qxe5 1-0, Negi-Adhiban, Bad Wiessee 2011.

7.Qe2 Nge7 8.Be3 0-0 9.0-0-0



This has been Black's medicine of late. And it is stronger than 9...Be6 10.f4 Kh8 (now 10...f5 is met by 11.e5 d5 12.Qf2, with better chances for White - Landa) 11.Kb1 Qe8 12.Bxb6 axb6 13.g4 f6 14.h4 Qf7 15.f5 Bxb3 16.cxb3!, and White was better due to his safer king in Radjabov-Tomashevsky, Plovdiv 2010. See Landa's notes to the game in SOS-13 for how Radjabov could have converted his advantage.


Much more common is 10.g3 fxe4 11.Nxe4, a position that twice occurred in Tomashevsky's practice: 11...Bxe3+ (White obtained a slight edge after 11...Nf5 12.Bxb6 axb6 13.Kb1 Kh8 14.Nc3 Re8 15.Qd2 Ne5 16.f4 Ng4 17.Bh3 (17.Bd3) 17...Nfe3 18.Bxg4 Nxg4 19.h3 Nf6 20.g4 in Areshchenko-Tomashevsky, Olginka 2011) 12.Qxe3 a5 13.a3 Bg4 14.Be2 Nf5 15.Qd2 Bxe2 16.Qxe2 a4 17.Qc4+ Kh8 18.Nbc5 draw, Rublevsky-Tomashevsky, Olginka 2011.

In the Tal Memorial in Moscow Radjabov beat Tomashevsky with 10.exf5!? Bxf5 (stronger is perhaps 10...Nxf5 11.Bxb6 axb6) 11.h3 Bd7 12.Qd2 Bxe3 13.Qxe3 Kh8 14.Bd3 Qe8 15.f4 Qf7 16.Rhf1 Rae8 17.Qd2 (it is odd how slow White can play this position. Black has everything fully developed and no weaknesses, yet it is slightly more easy for White to play this position. His positional plan is just to advance his kingside pawns) 17...Nb4 18.Be4 Bc6 19.Rde1 Bxe4 20.Nxe4 Qc4 21.a3 Nbc6 22.Qc3 (22.Nc3) 22...Qd5 23.Nbd2 (White slightly better) 23...Nf5?! 24.g4 Nfd4 25.Qd3 b5 (after 25...Qa2 White has both 26.Nb3 and 26.Nc3, when in both cases he preserves an edge) 26.Kb1 b4 27.a4 h6?! 28.Nb3 Re7?? 29.Ned2+- Rxe1+ (29...Rfe8 30.Rxe7 Rxe7 31.Nf3 Re4 32.Rd1+-) 30.Rxe1 g5 31.f5 1-0, Radjabov-Tomashevsky, Moscow 2012.




11.Nxe4 Bg4!? 12.Qxg4 Bxe3+ 13.Kb1 Bxf4 14.Nec5 Ne5 15.Qe6+ Kh8 16.g3 Be3 17.Nxb7 Qe8 was nothing for White in Tseshkovsky-Butnorius, Thessaloniki 2010.


A model game from White's point of view was 11...Nf5 12.Bxb6 axb6 13.Kb1 e3 14.Bg2 Kh8 15.Be4 Qe7 16.Rhe1 (White slightly better)

analysis diagram

16...Nb4?! 17.a3 Na6 18.g4 Nh6 19.Bf3 c6 20.Rd3! Qh4 21.f5 d5 22.Rxe3 Bd7 23.Na4 Qd8 24.Re7 Re8 25.Rxe8+ Bxe8 26.Qe7 b5 27.Nac5 Nxc5 28.Nxc5 b6 29.Qxd8 Rxd8 30.Nb7 Rb8 31.Nd6 Bf7 32.Re7, winning, Negi-Maiorov, Cappelle la Grande 2012.
If 11...d5 then the pin still allows 12.Nxe4.




Seeking relief in exchanges, but stronger was the more complicated 12...Nf5 13.Qxe4 Re8. Still, Black faces the same problem as always. How will he find counterplay in the face of White's slow advance on the kingside?

13.Be2 Nf5 14.Qxe4 Bxe2 15.Qxe2

Black has traded pieces and won some time, but yet he hasn't succeeded in equalizing.


White is also better after 15...Re8 16.Qd2 Qe7 17.g4.

16.Qc4+ Qf7



Annoying Black a little.

17...Rab8 18.Rhe1 a6 19.Qd3 Rbe8 20.a3



This active move weakens the queenside. It was stronger to wait with 20...h6 or 20...Nd8.

21.Nd5 Rc8

21...Rxe1 22.Rxe1 h6 (22...Nfd4 23.Nxc7 transposes to the next line) 23.Kb1, and Black has not solved his problems.
The tactical 21...Nfd4 fails to 22.Nxc7 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Nxc2! 24.Kxc2 Qxc7 25.Qd5+ Kh8 26.Kb1, and Black is in trouble.


Giri goes hunting for pawns.

22...Nce7 23.Nxe7+ Nxe7 24.Qa5!



24...Nf5 25.Qxa6 c6 26.Qb6, and White is a safe pawn up.

25.Qxa6 Qc4 26.Nd2

This is much more human than the computer line 26.Qb7 Ra8 27.Qxc7 Rfc8 28.Qxd6 Na5 29.Nd4 Nb3+ 30.Kb1 Nxd4 31.Qxd4 Qxc2+ 32.Ka1, when the engines insist that White's king is still safe.

26...Qd5 27.c4

Forcing an ending with a pawn up.

27...bxc4 28.Qxc4 Rf5 29.b4! Kf8 30.Kb2 Na7 31.Qxd5 Rxd5 32.Nb3 Rb5 33.Re4 d5?



And Black resigned. The ending after 34.Re5 c6 35.Nc5 Re8 36.Rxe8+ Kxe8 37.Re1+ is hopeless.

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