The Smallest of Subtleties
My regular readers might know that I've been working on the English opening lately. Lately, I've been scoring better with black than white! The reason is that my black repertoire is very complete and I know the nuances quite well, as I've been more or less sticking to the same repertoire for some time now.
When I realized that most of my losses were coming with the white pieces (I've only lost once with black in the last 10 rated games I've played, or something like that, and it was to a GM), I decided to do something about that!
Turns out I really like the English, because a lot of it is about superior understanding of the pawn structures and transpositional/move order possibilities. Occasionally though, I run into a move order that really stumps me. So, in this blog, I'm going to show you a couple games of interest and then ask for some ideas. I'm stumped.
So after 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 (I've spent a lot of time on 4. d4 but I'm convinced black can equalize if he plays Qb6) most players play 4... d5 or 4... g6, both of which can be met by 5. d4! and I think white has chances to at least put black under a bit of pressure. However, my training partner (who has his NM title, but hasn't studied openings since the 70's) played 4... e5. I mishandled the position and ended up quite a bit worse, but was lucky enough to have a chance to create insane complications which I managed to win the game from.
After the game, my training partner insisted 4... e5 is the mainline (it's not) and that 4. g3 is wrong, with 4. d4 being better (it's not).
So now here's a little diagram explaining my thoughts:
Because black can't play d5, his dark squared bishop is going to have problems...
Normally, it would go to g7, but the knight belongs on e7...
If the knight goes to f6, the bishop can't really go to g7...
But if it just goes to e7 (sorta passively), I don't see how white gets anything!
And so my question to the masses is this: What on earth am I going to do about this passive, yet insanely solid, setup for black?!
- I think I've found something!
With the previous games and positional ideas in mind...