Jobava Attack as the Main Weapon
Happy New Year Everybody!
I thought I'd kick it off with a post on an opening which I'm sure we'll see a lot this year, the Jobava (or Jobava-Prie) Attack (d4+Bf4+Nc3). It's related to both the London (d4+Bf4+e3&c3) and the Veresov (d4+Nc3+Bg5) and amounts to an interesting alternative to them.
There are two move orders to reach the basic attacking formation. You can play 1. d4, 2. Bf4 and now instead of the London move 3. e3, play 3. Nc3. Alternatively, you can play 1. d4, 2. Nc3 and now instead of the Veresov move 3. Bg5, play 3. Bf4. No matter which move order you choose, your 3rd move is likely to be quite a surprise to your opponent:
1. Black's 1st Option: 3...e6
Black can play solidly with 3...e6. In response, White will play 4. e3 and upon the typical 4...c5, play the topical Nb5 & c3, and then tie up Black's queenside with a4. Here's a game by Antoaneta Stefanova featuring this plan:
2. Black's 2nd Option: 3...Bf5
Black can choose to develop his paradigmatic problem piece outside the central pawn-chain with 3...Bf5. In response, White can take an idea from Classical Caro-Kann and use this to advance aggressively on the kingside with f3, g4, h4-h5, finally exchanging bishops with Bd3. Here's a beautiful game by Jobava where you can see this idea in action:
3. Black's Final Option: 3...c5
Black's best option seems to be to strike back immediately at the White centre with 3...c5. This is also recommended by Boris Avrukh in Beating 1.d4 Sidelines with the idea of exd4, a6, Nc6, and Bg4. In response, White will simply have to play some chess and see what happens on the way: