SOS - Secrets of Opening Surprises

| 1 | 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: May 2012

Game of the Month May 2012: [see SOS-6, Chapter 2, p.16]
In SOS-6 Ian Rogers wrote an interesting 'triptych' on surprising lines after 4.Bg5 Ne4. More recently Baadur Jobava has adopted one of these lines 5.h4, with considerable success. See Game of the Month December 2011 for his victory over Hans Tikkanen. The present game is a note of warning. In the last round of Germany's biggest open (Neckar open in Deizisau) I was lost after a mere ten moves. To my mind Vadim Shishkin's set-up more or less refutes White's idea.

Here's the complete text of this game annotation:

Jeroen Bosch
Vadim Shishkin
Deizisau 2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.h4


I am now inclined to adorn this move with a '?!' mark. Ian Rogers wrote on this line in an article called 'Triple Trouble for the Grünfeld' in SOS-6. The subject being lines in which White allows Black to take his bishop, such as 5.cxd5!? Nxg5 6.h4 and 5.Qc1 and of course the aggressive text.
For 5.Nxe4 dxe4 6.Qd2 see SOS-9, Chapter 6, p.45.


In combination with what follows I now believe that this is Black's best.
5...Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4 was the main line in SOS-6, when 7.e4 (Jobava) was a very logical novelty (over 7.e3). After 7...b5 (7...Bg7 8.Bxc4 c5 and White has two extra tempi compared to the main line of the Grünfeld Exchange) 8.a4 c6 9.h5 White has ample compensation for the pawn. And, what is more, this is a fun position to play. I refer the reader to Game of the Month December 2011 for an analysis of the game Jobava-Tikkanen, Porto Carras 2011.
Another sound reply is 5...c5 6.cxd5 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qxd5 8.Nf3 (8.e3 is also possible) 8...Nc6 9.e3 Bg7 and now 10.Qb3 is slightly better for White according to Rogers. Rogers condemned 10.Be2 in SOS-6. A verdict that was more or less confirmed by the crazy course in the following game: 10...cxd4 11.cxd4 0–0 (11...e5 12.dxe5 Qa5+ 13.Qd2 Qxd2+ 14.Kxd2 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 was just equal in Teplyi-Smith, Odense 2011) 12.h5 h6. Black is doing well. White now decided to burn all his bridges behind him with 13.Rc1 hxg5 14.Rc5 Qd6 15.Nxg5 b6 16.hxg6 bxc5 17.gxf7+ Rxf7 18.Bc4 e6 19.Nxf7 Kxf7 20.Qh5+ Ke7 21.Qh7 Kd7 (21...Kf8! and White has insufficient for his two sacrificed pieces - Black wins) 22.Qxg7+ Ne7 23.0–0 Bb7 24.dxc5 Qxc5 25.Rd1+ Bd5 26.Bxd5 exd5 27.Qg4+ Kc7, and drawn agreed in Handke-Ris, Bundesliga 2011/12. Black will find it difficult to make any progress with his unsafe king.

6.cxd5 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qxd5 8.e3



Instead, White will obtain a slight edge in the endgames arising after 8...h6 9.Bf4 e5 10.Bxe5 Bxe5 11.dxe5 Qxe5 12.Qd4, when Black has to suffer a little: 12...Nc6 (12...Nd7 13.Nf3 Qf6 14.Bb5 (14.Be2) 14...c6 15.Bc4 c5?! 16.Qxf6 Nxf6 17.Ne5, and White is slightly better, Goganov-Klimov, St Petersburg 2011) 13.Bb5 Bd7 14.Nf3 Qxd4 15.cxd4 (with a slight advantage) and White won in Jobava-Safarli, Aix-les-Bains 2011.
8...Nd7 9.Nf3 Qa5 looks similar to the game, but Shishkin's move order is more accurate: 10.Bd3 h6 (10...Qxc3+ 11.Kf1 c6 was a more materialistic approach) 11.Bf4 e5 (11...Qxc3+!?) 12.Bg3 exd4 13.exd4 0–0 14.0–0 Nf6 15.Qc2, with a slight edge for White but Black won in Nguyen-Svidler, Khanty-Mansiysk 2011.

9.Qd2 Nd7!


A very clever idea. It is not too common to place the knight on d7 in the Grünfeld when the more typical ...c5 and ...Nc6 is available. Black plays for ...Nf6-e4, and for ...h6 and ...e5, and he has one other surprising manoeuvre in mind...
9...c5?! 10.Nf3 Nc6 11.Rb1! a6 12.Rc1 Bg4 13.Be2 cxd4 14.cxd4 Qxd2+ 15.Nxd2 Bxe2 16.Kxe2 (White is better in the ending) 16...h6 17.Bf4 0–0 18.Rc5! Rad8 19.Rb1 Rd7 20.Nc4 Bxd4?! 21.Nb6! Rc7 22.Rcc1 e5 23.Nd5 exf4 24.Nxc7 fxe3 25.fxe3 Bf6 26.Rxb7 1–0, Sedlak-Schneider, Amsterdam 2011.


This is a blunder.
I first started calculating 10.Nf3 but decided I did not like 10...h6 11.Bf4 and now 11...e5! 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.dxe5 Bd7! (14...Qxe5 15.Qd4; 14...0–0 15.f4).
10...e5 (instead of 10...h6) 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.dxe5 Bg4!? 13.f3 Bxe5! 14.0–0–0 f6 15.fxg4 fxg5 is presumably equal after 16.Qd7+ (16.Ba6 and now 16...0–0! favours Black, while 16...bxa6 17.Qd7+ Kf8 18.Rdf1+ Bf4 19.Qd4 Qa3+ 20.Kd1 Ke7 21.Qe4+ Kd7 22.exf4 leads to a perpetual) 16...Kf8 17.Rd3.
10...Nc5 is not bad either. Play is approximately equal.

10.Rb1!? was probably the best move. It foregoes any problems along the long diagonal, and White adopts a waiting policy before deciding how to develop his kingside pieces.
My remedy for avoiding 10. Nf3 was worse though, as Black has:




Preferring to sacrifice the exchange to something unappealing as 11.Qe3 h6 12.Bf4 Ne6 when White will be just a pawn down in a bad position.

11...Nb3 12.axb3 Qxa1+ 13.Ke2 Be6 14.Bc2 Qb2

14...c5!-+ would have been stronger.

15.b4 Bb3 16.Bd3




17.Bxd2 a5 18.bxa5 Rxa5 19.Nf3 Be6 20.Bf4

20.Rb1 was more tenacious.

20...c6 21.Ng5


21...Bc8 22.Bc4 0–0


23.h5?! gxh5!

Black is now completely winning. There followed:

24.f3 h6 25.Nh3 c5! 26.Bd2 b5 27.Bb3 Ra3 28.Rb1 b4! 29.cxb4 Ba6+ 30.Kd1 Bd3 31.Bc2 Bxc2+ 32.Kxc2 cxd4 33.Nf4 Rc8+ 34.Kd1 Ra2 35.b5 Rcc2 36.Bc1 Be5 37.Nd3 Rxg2 38.Bb2 Bf4 39.Nxf4 Rgxb2

White resigned.

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