6... d5 in the Giuoco Pianissimo

Pepega500

In Karsten Müller's book, Winning with the Slow (but Venomous) Italian the author suggests three different options ( 8.Re1, 8.a4 and 6.Nbd2) to meet this d5 move. 

Which of these three options do you think is practically more challenging for black?

llama44

I looked at a number of lines in the database (a good one, not one full of amateur games).

Of course there are some transposition possibilities, but it seems a main mechanism for black to equalize is getting in 2 things.

1) Nb6
2) Supporting the e5 pawn via Bd6, Bg4, and/or f6.

Both 8.Re1 and 8.Nbd2 give black plenty of time to do this. For example

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8.
Nbd2 Nb6 9. Bb5 Bd6 10. Re1 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 12. Ne4 Re8 13. Bg5 f6 14. Be3

 

But white can also win the e pawn. For example Re1 without transposing you can get.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8.
Re1 Bg4 9. h3 Bh5 10. b4 Bb6 11. b5 Na5 12. Rxe5

Which the engine gives close to 0.00 so black has compensation, but maybe something like this appeals to you.

---

But my suggestion is 8...a4 because it fights against black comfortably getting the two things I mentioned.

---

 

Of course the Italian isn't just better for white haha. So in response to 8.a4 I think black needs to do this

 

The line doesn't end there. There are a number of choices and lot of things about to happen, but in general I like the idea of entering an endgame when I have pawns I can target. Plus we forced black to come up with Bf5 and b5.

However, maybe you would prefer the equality I showed in the first line with 8.Nbd2. It's really up to you.

llama44

In any case, after you get your rough repertoire hammered out, it's time to look at a lot of GM games to get familiar with the ideas.

Any opening you study to understand the main middlegames ideas will make it a dangerous weapon you can use to win games. You don't have to worry about subtle stuff until you're playing against semi pros and pros.

ThrillerFan

To avoid the 6...d5 line (or to at least make it bad for Black), I suggest switching around your move order.

 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 (or 3...Nf6 4.d3) 4.d3 Nf6 5.O-O and now:

 

If 5...d6, then 6.c3

If 5...O-O, then 6.Bg5!

llama44

Yeah, it's true 4.c3 tips your hand pretty early. Black doesn't know if you're going to play Nc3 or c3, and 4...Nf6 is played against everything, so might as well wait.

I don't know the pros and cons of it though.

llama44

I guess the pro of 4.c3 is... you're trying to bait black into your extensive d5 prep

But then if black plays d6 and you just transpose into something normal I guess in the end it was just more work for you.

Pepega500
llama44 wrote:

I looked at a number of lines in the database (a good one, not one full of amateur games).

Of course there are some transposition possibilities, but it seems a main mechanism for black to equalize is getting in 2 things.

1) Nb6
2) Supporting the e5 pawn via Bd6, Bg4, and/or f6.

Both 8.Re1 and 8.Nbd2 give black plenty of time to do this. For example

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8.
Nbd2 Nb6 9. Bb5 Bd6 10. Re1 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 12. Ne4 Re8 13. Bg5 f6 14. Be3

 

But white can also win the e pawn. For example Re1 without transposing you can get.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8.
Re1 Bg4 9. h3 Bh5 10. b4 Bb6 11. b5 Na5 12. Rxe5

Which the engine gives close to 0.00 so black has compensation, but maybe something like this appeals to you.

---

But my suggestion is 8...a4 because it fights against black comfortably getting the two things I mentioned.

---

 

Of course the Italian isn't just better for white haha. So in response to 8.a4 I think black needs to do this

 

The line doesn't end there. There are a number of choices and lot of things about to happen, but in general I like the idea of entering an endgame when I have pawns I can target. Plus we forced black to come up with Bf5 and b5.

However, maybe you would prefer the equality I showed in the first line with 8.Nbd2. It's really up to you.

Thanks for the input. 8. a4 seems pretty interesting, especially against unsuspecting players who are used to their common setups against the italian with Bg4 or some other aggresive move. I'll definitely check it out

Pepega500
llama44 wrote:

In any case, after you get your rough repertoire hammered out, it's time to look at a lot of GM games to get familiar with the ideas.

Any opening you study to understand the main middlegames ideas will make it a dangerous weapon you can use to win games. You don't have to worry about subtle stuff until you're playing against semi pros and pros.

The book i mentioned has half its pages devoted to the resulting middlegame and endgame positions. Definitely a good book to check out for anyone who's interested in the italian game. GM Huschenbeth has also done a review of it on yt. 

Pepega500
ThrillerFan wrote:

To avoid the 6...d5 line (or to at least make it bad for Black), I suggest switching around your move order.

 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 (or 3...Nf6 4.d3) 4.d3 Nf6 5.O-O and now:

 

If 5...d6, then 6.c3

If 5...O-O, then 6.Bg5!

Thanks but i prefer 4.c3 since then i also have occasional options of 5. d4 and 5. b4 open. But it's something worth noting down in case I ever want to switch.

Pepega500
llama44 wrote:

Yeah, it's true 4.c3 tips your hand pretty early. Black doesn't know if you're going to play Nc3 or c3, and 4...Nf6 is played against everything, so might as well wait.

I don't know the pros and cons of it though.

And 4. d3 tells your opponent you won't be pushing your d or b-pawn any time soon. tongue.png

ThrillerFan
Pepega500 wrote:
ThrillerFan wrote:

To avoid the 6...d5 line (or to at least make it bad for Black), I suggest switching around your move order.

 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 (or 3...Nf6 4.d3) 4.d3 Nf6 5.O-O and now:

 

If 5...d6, then 6.c3

If 5...O-O, then 6.Bg5!

Thanks but i prefer 4.c3 since then i also have occasional options of 5. d4 and 5. b4 open. But it's something worth noting down in case I ever want to switch.

 

I was just mentioning what is in "Bc4 vs the Open Games".  A book that I think came out in 2016, give or take a year.

llama44

c3 is more a major fork though. At least in the Italian I expect d3, my main question during the first ~5 moves is whether they're going to put a knight or pawn on c3.

punter99

 

 

8. a4 was trendy for some years but according to the database since 2019 most Super GMs went back to 8. Re1 and go into this line.

llama44

Yeah, but you'd need to be a GM to hope to win that position. I'd avoid it like the plague, personally.

Maybe it's one of those "I'm white and need a draw" GM lines.

punter99

Well, at least White got rid of his backward d3 pawn, but I agree it doesnt look that great.