The Chigorin: 3. cxd5

Feb 9, 2014, 2:59 AM |
In Gary Lane's Ideas behind modern chess openings: Black, he recommends the Chigorin defence against Queen's pawn openings (1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6). Here are some games and variations he analyses which I use to practice my opening repertoire. They aim to at least give black an equal middle game with attacking chances. The correct moves are not necessarily the only moves possible, simply the ones Lane suggests in his book. This article helps me practice the 3. cxd5 variation.
4. Nf3 e5  5. dxe5

This move by white is considered weak. It allows black to trade Queens (whilst denying white's castling rights) and after targetting the now weak f2 pawn, black can gain the initiative and dictate the pace of the game. The following games show precicely how black can accomplish this.
4. Nf3 e5  5. Nc3
This is one of the main lines in the 3. cxd5 variation. White attacks the vulnerable Queen while developing a piece. Black will proceed by pinning both knights to the white King and Queen and trade both Bishops early. The Soman-Sasikiran game and variations are instructive in demonstrating the technique.
4. e3 e5  5. Nc3

This is the other main line in the 3. cxd5 variation. The general idea is again to pin the c3 Knight to the King, and then trade Bishop for Knight when white defends with Bd2. After these moves there are two common continuations. White can either recapture the black Bishop with his own Bishop, or with the b2 pawn. We first look at the recapture with Bishop.

5. ... Bb4  6. Bd2 Bxc3  7. Bxc3

The Banink-Fercec game shows the general approach. After 7. ... exd4, white tends to recapture the black Pawn in two moves with his Knight - This is a nice way of regaining the material whilst maintaining good pawn structure. Black sacrifices queenside pawns in order to generate a kingside attack facilitated by his quicker development. Also shown are some variations punishing white when he gets too greedy (Peredy-Valaker), or how to proceed if white plays more cautiously (Parada-Pons).
5. ... Bb4  6. Bd2 Bxc3  7. bxc3

Now we consider the case where white recaptures with the Pawn to strenghten his centre. In this case we refrain from exchanging Pawns in the centre, prefering to develop our pieces. We see below a few examples.