Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Silly Little Move

From time to time I add another small chapter to my Veresov manuscript. Whether it will ever become a chess book I have no idea. One deciding factor will be the analytical conclusion of some critical lines. However, occasionally I start looking at moves that really don't belong in a serious chess book. That's when I turn to this blog.

A couple of days ago I started looking at 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.a3?!. (Dia)
The reason I even noticed the possibility was Giddins' very readable 'How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire' in which he mentions the line 4.f4!? e6 5.a3!?, a speciality of British correspondence expert A.M. Steward.

4.a3 appears a silly move but after 4...c5 5.dxc5 it’s not at all clear that Black can win his pawn back. The position arising after 4...e6 5.e4 (5.f4 transposes to Steward's line) 5...dxe4 6.Nxe4 Be7 7.Nxf6+ Bxf6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 (Dia) must be worse for White than similar French lines (Burn and Rubinstein) but may still be somewhat easier to play for White:

a) 9.Qd2 c5 10.Nf3 0–0 11.0–0–0 cxd4 12.Qxd4 Qxd4 13.Rxd4 += Schinzel-Pinkas, Bydgoszcz 1976.
b) 9.Nf3 0–0 10.Qe2 (10.Be2 e5! is at least equal for Black) 10...c5 11.0–0–0 cxd4 12.Rxd4 e5 13.Rd2 Re8 14.Qe3 a6 15.Be2 Qe7 16.Bc4 h6 17.Re1 += Schweber-Quinteros, Villa Martelli 1996.

Whether you find such positions attractive or not is to some extent a matter of taste. From a practical viewpoint it must be taken into account that some black players may dislike them. Quite possibly Black must look into the untested 4...c6 or 4...h6 if he is looking for a more interesting path to equality.

Rubbish? I honestly don't know, but now I can with a clear conscience exclude these lines from my manuscript!


Anonymous said...

Sadly, this time there is no Bellin recommendation !! His book on th e Veresov doesn't mention a3 r even f4, only the usual suspects : e3, f3, Nf3 and Qd3 ( In his inimitable prose, Qd2 will tranpose, probably to a ..c6 variation :)

As you guessed, being mildly obsessive, I tracked down his other books as I was very impressed with his Dutch writings.
I have played the Veresov once, with little success. My opponent commenting after that Nc3 was a bit restrictive ! It seems to me that it is an opening that needs co-operation from Black to work, or else is used as a transpositional tool ?

My database has a third game which varies at move 7 from your examples, but peters out to a draw. There is no ELO rating for either player, whiuch may be significant.

[Event "Ch Asturias"]
[Site "Asturias (Spain)"]
[Date "1998"]
[Round ""]
[White "Jose Luis Abad"]
[Black "Jesus Rodriguez Guerra"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[Eco "D01"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.a3 e6 5.e4 dxe4 6.Nxe4 Be7 7.Nxf6+
Nxf6 8.Nf3 O-O 9.Bd3 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.O-O b6 12.Be4 Bb7 13.Re1
c6 14.Ne5 Rac8 15.c3 c5 16.dxc5 Rxc5 17.Qc2 Nf6 18.Bxb7 Qxb7
19.Rad1 Qc7 20.Nf3 Rd8 21.Re2 Rcd5 22.Red2 Rxd2 23.Rxd2 Kf8 24.Qd1
Rxd2 25.Qxd2 Ne4 26.Qd3 Nf6 27.Nd4 Qd6 28.Qf3 h6 29.Qa8+ Ne8
30.g3 e5 31.Nb5 Qd7 32.Nxa7 e4 33.Nc6 Qd1+ 34.Kg2 Qf3+ 35.Kg1
Qd1+ 1/2-1/2

Sverre Johnsen said...

I am still happy to have Bellin's Veresov book in my shelves but being only 90 pages it's more of an overview and inspiration than a major source of information.

7...Nxf6 in the game below looks insipid as it doesn't help Black play ...e5 or ...c5. That being said Black must still be quite close to equality.

It seems that 12.c4 would have given White a little something as 12...Nf4 is strongly met by 13.Be4 Rb8 14.Ne5. Maybe the immediate 11...Nf4 was better?