Weird Variation in 1...Nc6 Defense

FunnyAnimatorJimTV

Hi everyone, I've been playing the 1...Nc6 defense against 1.e4 for the past year or so and I've had very good results with it simply because pretty much no one knows how to play against it...

 

But there is one...Just one line that gives black a painful game (or so I think) and it involves Harry the H-pawn

 

This is the typical followup:
 

I think out of all the lines white can choose, I think this is the ONLY one that gives black difficulty. If white DOESN'T play h4 and plays seemingly-natural moves instead then black is perfectly fine and has a great game.

 

I'm asking if anyone has any suggestions, ideas or different lines for black? Thanks

igotvishwanothing

I play 1...Nc6 almost exclusively as black after 1.e4, and I have to agree that h4 variation is the most challenging for black, but with a precise game it is playable for black. The best move here would be ...h5, which is what I play regularly.

d0su

In the Van Geet Attack (a similar opening with the colors reversed), white has three options when black launches an attack with the h-pawn:

1. Push his own pawn to h4 to stop the advance (creates a weakness on g4);
2. Push his pawn to h3 (allows h4, but stops h3 and maintains the g4 square);
3. Ignore the threat and live with an enemy pawn on h3.

Assuming the same rules hold true for this line in the Nimzovisch, then it is ideal to push your pawn to h6, and prepare to retreat your g6 knight to e7 or f4 -- but this is only an option if you have more or less completed kingside development. If the attack comes as early as is shown in your diagram, you really have no choice but to immediately push your pawn to h5 and invite the bishop pin.

Now on the other hand, white has committed to Nf3 and Harry the h-pawn has left behind similar weaknesses in his own camp, so you can likely stick your own piece on g4 in the near future. The situation is not as bad as it seems at first glance.

What you must prevent at all costs is White forming the light-square pawn triangle h5-g4-f3-e4. This will almost completely strangle you on the kingside:

Watch out for that and you should be fine.

igotvishwanothing

Ng6 before Nf6 would be the correct move order.

igotvishwanothing
FunnyAnimatorJimTV wrote:

Hi everyone, I've been playing the 1...Nc6 defense against 1.e4 for the past year or so and I've had very good results with it simply because pretty much no one knows how to play against it...

 

But there is one...Just one line that gives black a painful game (or so I think) and it involves Harry the H-pawn

 

This is the typical followup:
 
 

I think out of all the lines white can choose, I think this is the ONLY one that gives black difficulty. If white DOESN'T play h4 and plays seemingly-natural moves instead then black is perfectly fine and has a great game.

 

I'm asking if anyone has any suggestions, ideas or different lines for black? Thanks

 

After 6. Bg5 black should play 6. ...Nf6. It's most certainly better than 6. ...Le7. Depending on your oppnent's next move you should bring your black bishop into the game with either Bc5 or Bb4 pinning the knight.

igotvishwanothing

Btw, there is a good book you could read. It's called the dark knight system. It's written by FM James Schyler. It's a very good book that covers most openings and variations after 1. ...Nc6.

FunnyAnimatorJimTV
#7 I did put Nf6. I only put Be7 in there as a sideline to show what happens when you play it (d5-d6)

I will develop the dark bishop quickly, but I just have a problem with black's awkward situation in this line.

Thanks for suggesting the book; I'll take a look at it, although I have figured out most of the repertoire and just came here to inquire about this one line.
UzayAltay

Ummm this variation is the reason of many 1...Nc6  players switch to 2... d5 instead of 2...e5.

Lyudmil_Tsvetkov

1...Nc6 does not give full equality.

On 2...e5, white can also capture fxe5 and then play f4, with definite edge.

That is why I prefer 2...d6 and only then e5.

3...Nb8 is the much better move, no matter how paradoxical this might seem.

After that, black plays d6 and Nd7, maybe c5, etc.

Ne7-g6 could not be good for black after h4 h5, this setup could hardly be solid.

 

igotvishwanothing

There is nothing wrong with that variation. Do some thorough research before coming with such one-sided judgments. Surely, black is not having the time of his life, but it is perfectly playable, and white has like 0.5 centipawns advantage according to stockfish after 5.h5, which in human terms is not a big deal.

igotvishwanothing

There is nothing wrong with that variation. Do some thorough research before coming with such one-sided judgments. Surely, black is not having the time of his life, but it is perfectly playable, and white has like 0.5 centipawns advantage according to stockfish after 5.h5, which in human terms is not a big deal.

igotvishwanothing

There is nothing wrong with that variation. Do some thorough research before coming with such one-sided judgments. Surely, black is not having the time of his life, but it is perfectly playable, and white has like 0.5 centipawns advantage according to stockfish after 5.h5, which in human terms is not a big deal.

Lyudmil_Tsvetkov

I have done my research, of each and every line.

Do yours.

50cps is a lot.

This is a WINNING score in the middlegame.

And at what depth?

Let SF run longer, and you will see the score climb.

'Don't have time now for diagrams.

Lyudmil_Tsvetkov

Even the weak SF 9 starts with 90cps and ends the line at 170cps or so.

Making couple of weak moves in a row certainly can not give you a good game.

Of course, this is what concerns PERFECT PLAY.

At 1500, you can play everything.

Lyudmil_Tsvetkov

I never post opinions that have not been thoroughly researched.

igotvishwanothing

Talking about centipawns, after Nbd2 white has 0.26 centipawns advantage at depth 22, I mean common. Unless you are alphazero it means nothing. And Why not Bc5 instead of d6 after Nbd2!? Btw, Nbd2 is definitely not a usual move in this variation. I couldn't find a single grandmaster game with that move. Are there any master games with that sideline?

d0su
Lyudmil_Tsvetkov wrote:

Even the weak SF 9 starts with 90cps and ends the line at 170cps or so.

Making couple of weak moves in a row certainly can not give you a good game.

Of course, this is what concerns PERFECT PLAY.

At 1500, you can play everything.

Moral of the story, don't play against an engine and expect to have fun.

EDIT: I would also like to see what you had in mind after 7...Bc5 instead of 7...d6. My Stockfish seems to give comparable evaluations at 32-ply (not that I give much weight to such things in the opening, but as long as we are going down this rabbit hole...).

Fly-Eagles-Fly

I play the nimzowitsch defense (1. e4 Nc6) on occasion. After 2. d4 I play 2... d5. But what do you guys play after 2. Nf3? This is the move that I never want to play against...

d0su
Fly-Eagles-Fly wrote:

I play the nimzowitsch defense (1. e4 Nc6) on occasion. After 2. d4 I play 2... d5. But what do you guys play after 2. Nf3? This is the move that I never want to play against...

I'd probably take my chances with the Colorado Gambit, 2...f5!? The resulting positions are dangerous and messy, or (at the very least) unconventional and imbalanced -- unique pawn structures, pieces hopping to unusual squares, etc.

Lyudmil_Tsvetkov
igotvishwanothing wrote:

Talking about centipawns, after Nbd2 white has 0.26 centipawns advantage at depth 22, I mean common. Unless you are alphazero it means nothing. And Why not Bc5 instead of d6 after Nbd2!? Btw, Nbd2 is definitely not a usual move in this variation. I couldn't find a single grandmaster game with that move. Are there any master games with that sideline?

Go deeper, go deeper, 22 plies is just 1-2 seconds thinking time.

Maybe you are using older SF version, SF 9 gives 70cps, as is evident from the pgn.

I am not aware of what theory recommends here(and am actually not interested, as modern theory is mostly wrong), but I can't see anything better than Nbd2.

What else?

You should understand that SF is not a GM, even not a super-GM, it is a super-super-GM.

Evaluations are usually less important than game play.

See how the game ends. If you want, you might run 10 like this, and I bet white will win at least half.