Toucan Teaches Chess- Openings #1: Möller Defence
As many of you probably know, I have posted two instalments in my series Trek of the Toucan, in which I report on my endeavours to reach some form of success with chess on a fortnightly basis. However, I have found myself itching to post when I don't have a Trek of the Toucan scheduled. Therefore, I decided to start this series. We will begin with the openings that I enjoy playing but if you have some suggestions I may consider them!
Today I will provide a short introduction to an opening my coach has recommended to me- the Möller Defence. If I were to sum it up, I would describe it as a lively defence that can combat the Ruy Lopez and give Black a perfectly good game. It has been employed many times by top players such as Veselin Topalov, Alexander Onischuk, and even the great champion Alexander Alekhine. Surely this is an opening that is worth some consideration when deciding on your opening repertoire. Let's jump in!
The Möller Defence is characterised by the following moves:
There are a few themes in this opening that Black can use again and again to combat almost anything that White throws at him:
From the 5th move Black actively places his Bishop on the c5 square, from which it controls the a7-g1 diagonal with d4 and f2 being the most notable of these. Of course d4 is a handy square to control because almost all opening theory revolves around the centre. f2 is also crucial, though. It is well known that this is the most tender pawn in the initial stages of the game as it is only defended by the King, which means that a battery that eyes this square could be deadly.
A Bishop on c5 usually has one main target- f2!
I have also found that this placement of the Bishop favours Black because of the X-Ray against the Castled King. Many tactical ideas in the middlegame revolve around this theme.
Also taking the form of Nc6-e5-g6, this maneuvre appears in many of the theoretical lines of the Möller. It improves the c6 Knight, which often finds its purpose lost after the e5 pawn has been sufficiently defended, by swinging it over to the Kingside to participate in an attack agaisnt the White monarch. When this attack occurs, the Knight is usually stationed on the f4 square.
However, this maneuvre also has some defensive value, as the Knight can defend its own King with the aid of the f6 Knight if it is ever needed.
-Fianchettoed Light-Squared Bishop
Black's Light-Squared Bishop often finds itself placed on b7, where it also eyes the White King, once the centre has been cracked open. Aren't Black's Bishops just great?
Let's take a look at some of the mainlines in this defence, which I will annotate, along with some comments from my coach:
Next, Sandor Takacs takes on one of the greatest World Champions of all, Alexander Alekhine: