Lost and Found
by Gary Lane
The latest twist in the Vienna.
On the Internet chess sites, gambits are all the rage to put people off when playing blitz. Martin Smith, England e-mailed to comment “I faced the Vienna and my opponent played a frail move in the opening 5 d3 but when I pounced it was a disaster. What should I do in the next game?”
I think the Vienna (1 e4 e5 2 Nc3) is one of those openings in need of a revival. It has been played by so many elite players such as Michael Adams, Nigel Short, and Boris Spassky. If you look on Youtube there is even a video clip of Magnus Carlsen playing a fun blitz game against his manager Espen Agdestein with the Vienna so I suspect the opening might have been lost to the top players but it has been found again. Anyway, it is best to demonstrate the tricky line and see how Black can go wrong by being greedy.
Percy Fransson-Hakan Lyngsjo
Deltalift Open Halmstad 2013
1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.d3!?This is the mystery move but it has a fine pedigree and the position is rather deceptive because Black’s queen check is not a knockout blow.
5…Qh4+ 6.g3 Nxg3?!
Black accepts the challenge and grabs the pawn which is consistent with the attempt to refute the opening. It is worth pointing out that 6…Nxc3 is the escape clause when 7.bxc3 Qa4 is level.
7.Nf3 Qh5 8.Nxd5!This is the crucial move that tips the position in White’s favour. The rook on h1 is abandoned thanks to the counter threat of Nxc7+.
Or 8…Nxf1? 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 Bh3 11.Rxf1 Bxf1 12.Kxf1 Nc6 13.Bf4 with a clear advantage, G.Pogosian-V.Semyonov, Voronezh 2011.
9.Bg2 Nxh1 10.Nxc7+ Kd7
After 10…Kd8 the game P.Sammut Briffa-L.Jouault, Monaco 2013, continued: 11.Nxa8 Nc6 12.d4 Be7 13.Be3 Bh4+ 14.Kf1 Nf2? (14…Kc8 edging towards the white knight is a better idea although after 15.Bxh1 Kb8 16.Bg2 I prefer White) 15.Bxf2 Bxf2 16.Kxf2 Kd7 17.d5 Nb4 18.Qd4 and Black is busted. 18…Nxc2 19.Qa4+ Ke7 20.d6+ 1-0.
11.Nxa8 Nc6 12.Be3
One of the reasons why this line became popular in the 1970s is because it was pioneered by top Hungarian grandmaster Gyula Sax, in the following game he takes on Pal Petran in Budapest 1973 where he tried 12.d4 when play continued: 12…Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Qxf3 14.Bxf3 Nxd4 15.Be4 (15.Bg4+ Kc6 16.Bd1 is the more accurate continuation giving White an edge) 15…Bc5 16.Be3 Rxa8? (instead 16…Nxc2+! 17.Bxc2 Bxe3 is roughly equal) 17.Bxd4 Bxd4 18.Rd1 Ke6 19.Rxd4 Kxe5 20.c3 1-0.
12…Be7 13.Bxh1 Rxa8 14.d4 Nb4 15.Kd2!?
I think 15.c3 is the best try when 15…Nd5 16.Qe2 anticipating castling queenside gives White a good position.
It is better to maintain the tension with 15…Rc8 ensuring roughly equal opportunities.
16.Qxf3 Qxh2+This might win a pawn but now White can trap the black queen with Bg2 followed by Rh1.
The first time I saw 5 d3 being played at a high level I was astonished that some masters played rapidly an amazing game where White walks the king up the board but the game ends in a draw. The second time I saw the surprising king walk it ended in a similar draw, the third time I was less impressed and the fourth I predicted every move. Here is the typical game:
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov-Penteala Harikrishna
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.d3 Bb4!?Black declares that he is happy to draw and hurtles down a chaotic looking variation.
White is obliged to accept the piece sacrifice because any attempt to avoid it is doomed to failure. For instance: a) 6.a3? Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Qh4+ 8.g3 Nxg3 9.Nf3 Qh5 10.Rg1 Nxf1 11.Kxf1 Bg4 12 Kf2 and White is better. b) 6.Nge2?! d4! 7.dxe4 Qh4+ 8.g3 Qxe4 9.Qxd4 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 Qxh1 winning.
7.g3 Qxe4+ 8.Qe2 Qxh1; 7.Kd2 is met by 7…d4 regaining a piece with the bonus of a strong initiative.
7…Bxc3 8.bxc3 Bg4+ 9.Nf3 dxe4 10.Qd4!It is necessary to be precise in this line as a memory lapse can make a big difference. In the game T Nowacki-M,Nurkiewicz, Ostrow Wlkp 1996, White tried 10.Ke3 but simply 10…exf3 11.gxf3 Be6 gives Black all the chances thanks to the sorry state of white’s king.
The standard way to follow the route to a draw by threatening Qxe4. White has gone stray at this critical point in the past but the main alternative is 11.Kd2 when play might continue: 11…Qg4! 12.h3 Qf4+ 13.Ke1 (13.Qe3 Qxe3+ 14.Kxe3 exf3 15.gxf3 is roughly equal) 13…Qg3+ 14.Qf2 Qxf2+ 15.Kxf2 exf3 16.gxf3 Nd7 17.Bf4 (perhaps 17.Bd3 ) 17…0-0-0 18.Bc4 led to equal chances, S. Struchkova-C.Kuzmina, Moscow 1981. b) 11…Bxf3? 12.gxf3 Nc6 13.Qxe4 Qf2+ (or 13…0-0-0+ 14.Bd3 and White is on top) 14.Kd1 0-0-0+ 15.Bd3 Nxe5 16.Rb1 with the advantage, P. Babrikowski -G.Walter, Groeditz 1976.
11…Bxf3 12.gxf3 Qe1+ 13.Kf413…Qh4+
It is too late for Back to contemplate a win and despite 13…g5+ being tested it is White who is top after 14.Kf5 Nc6 15.Qxe4 when it should be a routine win.
14.Ke3 Qe1+ 15.Kf4 ½-½
I am sure the appeal of a spectacular draw will appeal to some but if Black wants to try for a win another course of action is required:
Kristyna Novosadova-Olga Zimina
Mitropa Cup Ruzomberok 2014
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.d3 Nxc3
This is regarded as the sensible alternative. Black intends to try and target the e5 pawn by stopping White playing d3-d4.
6.bxc3 d4Black is quick to act before White can play d3-d4 to support the e5 pawn.
Black wishes to exert extra control over the d4 square. In older sources 7…dxc3 and 7…c5 were the main alternatives but the text move with the queen’s knight has emerged as the favourite reply.
A natural reply is 8.cxd4 and has been played numerous times. However, 8…Bb4+! seems to be a good way to extract an advantage from the position. For instance: 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 Nxd4 11.c3 Nxf3+ 12.gxf3 0-0! the key to the success of the line for Black is that his king is safe while for White the safety of his monarch is a cause for long-term concern 13.d4 c5 14.Bc4 Be6 15.Bb3 cxd4 16.cxd4 Bxb3 17.axb3 f6 a model example of how to conduct the position by Black because now he chips away at the white pawn structure while activating his king’s rook 18.Qe3 fxe5 19.dxe5 Qh4+ 20.Kf1 Rf5 21.Ra4 Qh3+ 22.Kf2 Raf8 23.f4 Qg4 24.Rg1 Rxf4+ 25.Ke1 Qh4+ 26.Qg3 Rxa4 27.bxa4 Qe4+ 28.Kd2 Rd8+ 29.Kc3 Rc8+ 0-1 P.Siedlinski-V.Malaniuk, Rewal 2012.
8…Bc5 9.0-0 dxc3+ 10.Kh1 0-0 11.Qe111…Nd4
There are plenty of top names who have tested this move. However, the computer rather likes 11…Bd4 and even though my first instinct is to moan that protecting the c-pawn is rather a crude attempt to stay ahead on material it is surprising effective. For instance: 12.Qg3 a) 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Bf3 Nxe5 14.Be4 f5 15.Be3 Qd8 16.Qxc3 gives White some counter chances despite the pawn deficit. b) 12 Qg3 Bf5 (12…f5 is also worth considering) 13.Bg5 (or 13.Rb1 Rb8 14.Bd1Bb6 is fine for Black) 13…Qd7 looks fine for Black. Perhaps others will take up the challenge and try out 11…Bd4.
Other moves: a) 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Qg3 (maybe 13.Bh5!? ) 13…Re8 14.Bf3 Rb8 (14…c6 to blunt the influence of the light-squared bishop looks good) 15.Bg5 Be6 16.Bf6 Bf8 when Black still has the benefit of the extra pawn although the game was eventually drawn, O.Ganbold-D.Bojkov, Golden Sands 2000. b) 12.Qxc3 b6 13.Qd2 f6 (13…Bb7 is worth considering) 14.c3?! (14.Bb2 is equal) 14…Nxe2 15.Qxe2 fxe5 16.Nxe5 Rxf1+ 17.Qxf1 Qd5 18.d4 Bb7 is good news for Black.
In the past 12…a5 has been tested although there is nothing wrong with 13.Qxc3 with equality; I quite like 12…Nxf3 13.Bxf3 Bd4 as a straightforward way of protecting the c3 pawn. For example: 14.Qg3 Qe7 (14…Qe8!? might be more accurate when 15.Bg5?! runs into 15…Bxe5 and White is struggling) 15.Bf4 (15.Bg5! Qxe5 16.Bf4 Qe6 17.Bxc7 gives White decent compensation because it is not easy to develop the queenside pieces without conceding a pawn) 15…c6 with a slight edge.; 12…Re8 13.Qxc3 Nxf3 14.Qxc5 (not 14.Bxf3? in view of 14…Bd4 winning) 14…Nxe5 15.Bf4 with a small initiative in return for the pawn, A. Westermeier-B.Bayer, Austria Team Championship 2011.
White carries on in the accepted manner and is obviously determined to deliver a kingside attack. I think she should try something a bit slower but solid such as 13.Be3 or 13.Rb1. 13…Nf5 14.Qf4
A consistent approach to be positive but White needs reinforcements to make an impression upon Black’s stout defence. Instead 14.Qe1 may be a better practical choice but is an admission that the previous move was a mistake and after 14…Ba5 Black has the superior chances.
Black cannot really go wrong by developing another piece. Perhaps 14…Qd5 might be even better.
It is obviously a good idea for Zimina to offer to trade queens when a pawn up.
16.Ne4 Ne7 17.Ba3?!
Or 17.Qg3 Ng6 18.a4 a5 (18…Qxe5 19.Qxe5 Nxe5 20.Nxc3 and I still prefer Black) 19.Bh5 Bd5 when Black is on top.
17…Ng6 18.Qg5 Rfe8
Zimina has neatly eliminated any pressure and can now focus on the e5 pawn.
This leads to a superior ending but a calmer approach might have factored in the useful 19…Bd5 threatening to take on e5 with the rook ensuring a clear advantage.
20.Bxg6 Qxg5 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Nxg5+ Kg8 23.Ne4 a5
After 23…Ba5 White would still have some work to do in order to justify the pawn deficit. 24.Nxc3
Novosadova should be congratulated on restoring the material level but it is not a great advert for this line in the Vienna if White is only close to equality.
Black is relying on the pair of bishops to control the game and the position is tipped in her favour. The best move is 25…Ra6! which provokes a crisis for White. For example: 26.h3 (26.Na4 Ba7 intending …b7-b5 is very good for Black) 26…Rc6 27.Nd1 Bxb2 28.Nxb2 Rxc2 winning easily.
26.Rab1 Bc6 27.Rfe1 b6 28.Re2?
A casual move that is flawed because it allows Black to install a rook on the second rank and dominate the position.
28…Bxc3 29.Rxe8+ Rxe8 30.Bxc3 Re2
White is lost.
31.Rg1 f6 32.h4 Rxc2 33.Be1 Bd5 34.a3 Kf7 35.Kh2 Ke6 36.Kh3 Kd7 37.g4 Ra2 38.g5 Be6+ 39.Kg3 fxg5 40.hxg5 Rxa3 41.Kf4 Rxd3 42.g6 Rd1 43.Bf2 Rd6 44.Be1 Bb3 45.Rg2 Rc6 46.Rg3 Bc2 47.Bc3 Bxg6 48.Bxg7 a4 49.Be5 Rc4+ 50.Kg5 Rc5 51.Kf6 Rc6+ 52.Kg7 Be4 53.Kf8 Rc5 54.Rg7+ Kc8 55.Re7 Bd3 0-1
Will anyone dare play 5 d3?
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