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Chess Openings: The Moller Attack

Chess Openings: The Moller Attack

Nov 29, 2012, 7:56 PM 5


The Moller Attack

Main line (Greco Attack), position after 7...Nxe4
In the main line (Greco Variation) White plays 4.c3 in preparation for the central advance d2--d4. Black can try to hold a strong point in the center at e5 with 4...Qe7 or he can counterattack with 4...Nf6. The center-holding line can continue 4...Qe7 5.d4 Bb6 6.0-0 d6 7.a4 a6 8.h3 Nf6 9.Re1 0-0.
The more aggressive 4...Nf6 was first analyzed by Greco in the 17th century. In the Greco Attack White uses a major piece sacrifice to create a trap. Play continues:
4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4
White can also try 6.e5, a line favoured by Evgeny Sveshnikov,[2] when play usually continues 6...d5 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb6, with approximate equality. Instead, White has a gambit alternative in 6.0-0, which Graham Burgess revived in the book 101 Chess Opening Surprises; the critical line runs 6...Nxe4 7.cxd4 d5 8.dxc5 dxc4 9.Qe2. The other alternative 6.b4 is refuted by the strong piece sacrifice 6...Bb6 7.e5 d5 8.exf6 dxc4 9.b5 0-0! according to Jeremy Silman.[3]
6... Bb4+ 7. Nc3 Nxe4 (see diagram)
Greco encouraged an attack on White's a1-rook with 8.0-0, allowing 8...Nxc3!? (9.bxc3 Bxc3? 10.Qb3. Now if Black takes the rook with 10...Bxa1, White wins the black queen with 11.Bxf7+ Kf8 12.Bg5 Ne7 13.Re1. This trap is now well-known, and Black can avoid it by playing 10...d5, or earlier, 8...Bxc3.) After 8...Nxc3 9.bxc3, best for Black is 9...d5! 10.cxb4 dxc4 11.Re1+ Ne7 12.Qa4+! Bd7 13.b5 0-0 14.Qxc4 Ng6!
In 1898 the Møller Attack revived this line; Danish player Jørgen Møller published analysis of the line in Tidsskrift for Skak (1898). In the Møller Attack White sacrifices a pawn for development and the initiative:
8. 0-0 Bxc3! 9. d5 (9.bxc3 and 9.Qc2 are both fine alternatives) Bf6
9...Ne5 is also interesting; a possible continuation is 10.bxc3 Nxc4 11.Qd4 f5 12.Qxc4 d6.
10. Re1 Ne7 11. Rxe4 d6 12. Bg5 Bxg5 13. Nxg5 h6!?
13...0-0 14.Nxh7! is considered to lead to a draw with best play, although Black has many opportunities to go wrong.
14. Bb5+
After 14.Qe2 hxg5 15.Re1 Be6! 16.dxe6 (White also can try 16.Qd2 c6! 17.dxe6 f6 18.Bd3 d5 19.Rg4 Qc7 20.h3 0-0-0 21.b4, attacking) 16...f6 17.Re3 c6 18.Rh3 Rxh3 19.gxh3 g6 it is doubtful that White has compensation for the sacrificed pawn, according to Grandmaster Larry Kaufman; 14.Qh5 0-0 15.Rae1 Ng6! also favors Black.
14... Bd7 15. Qe2 Bxb5 16. Qxb5+ Qd7 17. Qxb7
17.Qe2 Kf8 wins a second pawn.
17... 0-0
and Black is at least equal.
If White does not want to gambit material, instead of 7.Nc3 he can play 7. Bd2, which can continue 7... Bxd2+ (Kaufman recommends 7...Nxe4!? 8.Bxb4 Nxb4 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qb3+ d5!? [10...Kf8 11.Qxb4+ Qe7 12.Qxe7+ Kxe7 is safer, reaching an equal endgame] 11.Ne5+ Ke6! 12.Qxb4 c5!?) 8. Nbxd2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Qb3 Nce7 (10...Na5 is an alternative, inviting a repetition of moves after 11.Qa4+ Nc6 [threatening 12...Nb6] 12.Qb3 Na5) 11. 0-0 0-0 12. Rfe1 c6. In this position White has more freedom, but his isolated d-pawn can be a weakness. Note: 7.Nd2 is also a viable choice of move for white, although this still only offers approximate equality. It has not been a popular choice among human players, but it seems to be recommended by computer engines.


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