Opening Lanes by Gary Lane Global Chess Steve Whitmore (Great Britain) is keen to know more about a sideline in the Ruy Lopez. Apparently, he plays a few normal moves 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Bc5 4 c3 and then Black throws caution to the wind by playing 4...d5. This question caused me to think for some time as I had played the Cordel (or Classical) Defence in the past but had replied to 4 c3 with 4...Nf6. Personally, I always thought the Siesta Variation 4...f5 was a good option at club level because if White wasn't prepared he invariably lost horribly. Despite not being able to find 4...d5 even mentioned in most opening books I eventually found some games. M.Apicella-B.Lepelletier France Ch 1996 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Bc5 4 c3 d5 (See Diagram) An energetic continuation which challenges White to make a decisive decision after a handful of moves. 5 d4 A major crossroads has been reached where a number of moves are possible. The French grandmaster chooses the most logical possibility but it is not particularly convincing. It might be because Manual often plays 1 d4 as well which means he might not be wise on every little sub-variation. 5...exd4 6 cxd4 Bb4+ 7 Bd2 Bxd2+ 8 Nbxd2 Nge7 I think Black could also play 8...dxe4 9 Nxe4 ( 9 Bxc6+ bxc6 10 Nxe4 Ne7=) 9...Ne7 is fine for Black who can target the isolated d-pawn. 9 e5 0-0 10 0-0 Bd7 11 Bxc6 If 11 Re1 then black can win a pawn after 11...Nxe5! 12 Nxe5 Bxb5. 11...Bxc6 12 Re1 White has achieved nothing from the opening. He now manoeuvres his queen's knight to the kingside in order to probe for weaknesses. 12...Ng6 13 Nf1 Qd7 14 Qd2 Rae8 15 Ng3 h6 16 h3 Re6 17 Nh5 Bb5 18 Nh2 Qe7 19 g3 Rb6 Black belatedly seeks counterplay on the queenside as Apicella is poised to advance his kingside pawns for an attack. 20 Ng4 Qg5 21 Qxg5 hxg5 22 Ne3 c6 23 Rad1 Ne7 24 Kh2 Rc8 25 f4 gxf4 26 gxf4 c5 27 dxc5 Rxc5 28 Rg1 Be2 29 Nxg7 Bxd1 30 Ne6+ Kh8 31 Nxc5 Rxb2+ 32 Rg2 Rxg2+ 33 Kxg2 b6 34 Nb7 Bh5 35 Nd6 d4 36 Nec4 Nd5 37 f5 Kg7 38 Kf2 a6 39 Ne4 b5 40 Ncd2 Bd1 41 Nc5 - It is a sign of the times that a discussion about an opening can include a game played by a couple of metal monsters. Let us see an example from the World Computer Championship 1999, where 'Zugzwang', playing White, took on 'Isichess'. 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Bc5 4 c3 d5 5 Nxe5 Qg5 The human went wrong in P.Griffiths-K.Odeh, London 1994 when he snatched a pawn with 5...dxe4? which allows White to win material. The game continued: 6 Nxc6 Qf6 7 Nd4+ cuts off the mating threat and wins easily. 6 d4 Qxg2 7 Qf3 Qxf3 8 Nxf3 dxe4 (See Diagram) 9 dxc5 I suspect many people would be happy to follow the game T.Paehtz-B.Lepelletier, Glorney Cup 1995, where White simplified matters by playing 9 Nfd2. Black has equalised and a draw was soon the result after 9...Be7 10 Nxe4 Nf6 11 Nxf6+ Bxf6 12 Bf4 Kd8 13 Bc4 Re8+ 14 Kd2 Be6 15 Bxe6 Rxe6 16 Kd3 (16 d5 Re4!)16...Kd7 17 Nd2 Ne7 -. 9...exf3 10 Rg1 Bd7 10...Kf8 looks a likely alternative although in the long- term the king's rook will take some time to activate. For instance: 11 Bf4 Nf6 12 Bxc7 Bg4 intending ...Re8+ with some compensation for the pawn. 11 Rxg7 Nge7 12 Nd2 Ne5 13 Bxd7+ Kxd7 14 Rg3 Nf5 15 Rh3 Nd3+ 16 Kf1 Nxc5 17 Nxf3 At this stage the computers must have been happy as they could count the pieces and realise the chances are even. 17...Nd6 18 Be3 Ne6 19 Rd1 Rae8 20 Rh5 f6 21 Nh4 Ke7 22 Bxa7 A good sign of the calculating genius that comes with a silicon brain. Most people would be worried about the bishop being trapped but Zugswang has it all worked out. 22...b6 23 Rhd5 Nc4 24 Nf5+ Kf8 25 Nd4 Nxd4 26 cxd4 Nxb2 After 26...Ra8 White hits back with 27 Rc1! And Black has gained nothing. 27 Rd2 Na4 28 Rc2 Re7 29 Rd8+ Kg7 30 Rxh8 Kxh8 31 Rc6 Re4 32 d5 Rd4 33 Rxc7 Rd1+ 34 Kg2 Rxd5 35 Rc6 Rg5+ 36 Kf1 Kg7 37 Bxb6 Nxb6 38 Rxb6 Ra5 The ending is a technical draw. 39 Rb2 h5 40 Kg2 Ra4 41 Kg3 Kh6 42 f3 h4+ 43 Kh3 f5 44 a3 Rxa3 45 Kxh4 Rxf3 46 Rb6+ Kg7 47 Kg5 Rf2 48 Rb7+ Kg8 49 h3 f4 - Is this the refutation of the Ruy Lopez? Well, not quite, as White can always play the quiet move 4 0-0 to avoid such complications. Personally, I would try a more practical approach and follow the lead from the enterprising Yugoslav grandmaster Dragoljub Velimerovic. In a game from the Yugoslav Championship 1984, he brushed aside Basagic with a novel approach. 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 c3 d5 4 Bb5 Bc5 5 Qe2 (See Diagram) This sly queen move is quite tricky for Black as it sets up the immediate threat 6 Nxe5 which must be contained. Also worth investigating is 5 0-0. A sample line might be 5...dxe4 6 Nxe5 Nge7 7 Nxf7! Kxf7 8 Qh5+ g6 9 Qxc5 and White is better. 5...Kf8 It cannot be right to give up the right to castle after just 5 moves but the alternatives do give White tactical chances. For instance: 5...Nge7 6 Nxe5 wins a pawn or 5...f6 6 d4 dxe4 7 Qxe4 Bd6 8 dxe5 fxe5 9 Nxe5 +- and 5...dxe4 6 Qxe4 Bd7 7 d4 Nf6 8 Qe2 wins for White. 6 exd5 Qxd5 7 Bc4 Qd8 7...Qd6 looks sensible to protect the e-pawn but 8 b4 allows White to keep the initiative after 8...Bb6 9 b5 (9 d3!?) 9...Na5 and White can get away with 10 Nxe5, winning a pawn. 8 Nxe5 Nxe5 9 Qxe5 The opening has been a complete success for White who has avoided being led into defending and instead has gone on the offensive. 9...Bd6 10 Qe2 Qg5 11 0-0 Bg4 12 f3 Re8 (See Diagram) Black has some play for the pawn but the initiative is only temporary. 13 Qf2 Qf4 14 g3 Qxc4 15 fxg4 Nf6 16 d4 White is better. Basagic can win his pawn back but his complete development is impaired by the king's rook lack of mobility. 16...Nxg4 17 Qf3 h5 18 Nd2 Qe6 19 Ne4 Qg6 20 Nxd6 cxd6 21 Bf4 Kg8 22 Rae1 Kh7 (See Diagram) 23 Qxb7 Black has managed to unite his rooks but White has time to safely grab a pawn. 23...h4 24 Qg2 Qh5 25 h3 Nf6 26 g4 Qg6 27 Bxd6 Velimerovic is two pawns up and the game is effectively over as a contest. 27...Ne4 28 Be5 Ng5 29 Bf4 Ne4 30 Re3 Re7 31 Rfe1 Rhe8 32 d5 f5 33 d6 Re6 34 d7 Rd8 35 Kh2 Nc5 36 Qd5 Rxd7 37 Qxc5 Rd2+ 38 Kh1 Rf6 39 Re5 Rd3 40 Rxf5 Rxh3+ 41 Bh2 Qxg4 42 Rxf6 Rxh2+ 43 Kxh2 Qg3+ 44 Kh1 Qxe1+ 45 Qg1 Qxg1+ 46 Kxg1 gxf6 47 b4 Kg6 48 b5 Kf5 49 a4 Ke5 50 a5 Kd6 51 Kg2 1-0 Peter Mertens (Belgium) has a database with thousands of games and asks a typical question. "I have many games on the Nimzo-Indian, many from the last twenty years, but which ones are best? Are the very old games good or bad?" I have to say that a number of people ask the same thing because usually the games on a computer don't have notes. When one is confronted by hundreds of games, it is tempting fate just to follow the latest example without understanding what is going on. I know people have drawn quickly with friends, only for others to copy the moves and find out too late that the continuation loses a queen! The old masters still have a lot to offer which can be seen from the following classic. P.Johner-A.Nimzowitsch Dresden 1926 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 c5 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 0- 0 Bxc3 8 bxc3 d6 9 Nd2 b6 10 Nb3? e5! 11 f4 e4! 12 Be2 Qd7!!(See Diagram) A tremendous move which is the start of a deep plan by Nimzovitch. The immediate point is that Black has stopped White from advancing with g4. However, it merely signals the start of a stunning queen manoeuvre, which amazed the chess world then and ever since. The text is a restraining move to prevent White from developing smoothly, Basically, the long- term idea for Nimzovitch is to restrain, blockade and win 13 h3 This is a logical response to support g4. It also weakens the square g3, which will prove to be important. 13 Bd2 should be considered. 13...Ne7 14 Qe1 h5! Restraint is everything. 15 Bd2 Qf5! 16 Kh2 Qh7! (See Diagram) The queen has been a real star by reaching h7 via d7 and f5. It is now well placed to stop the freeing move g4 because hxg4 will reveal a pin on the white king. 17 a4 Nf5 18 g3 a5 Nimzovitch takes time out to stop White from becoming active on the queenside with a4-a5. 19 Rg1 Nh6 20 Bf1 Bd7 21 Bc1 Rac8 22 d5 Kh8 23 Nd2 If the white king starts to walk away from the scene of action with 23 Kg2, then Black will continue with the game plan of ...Rg8 and ...g5. 23...Rg8 24 Bg2 g5 25 Nf1 Rg7 26 Ra2 Nf5 27 Bh1 Rcg8 28 Qd1 gxf4! 29 exf4 Bc8 30 Qb3 Ba6 31 Re2 Nh4! 32 Re3 If 32 Nd2 Black can weave a clever mating net starting with 32...Bc8! 33 Nxe4 Qf5 34 Nf2 Qxh3+ 35 Nxh3 Ng4 checkmate. 32...Bc8 33 Qc2 Bxh3! 34 Bxe4 Bf5 35 Bxf5 Nxf5 36 Re2 h4 37 Rgg2 hxg3+ 38 Kg1 Qh3 39 Ne3 Nh4 40 Kf1 Re8! 0-1 The history lesson has ended. And finally, Russell Black (USA) has come up with an instructive tale. It should ring a bell with any parent who has tried to teach a child the finer, technical points about chess, only to be met with a plea to be shown Fool's Mate again and again. "I teach several chess classes out here in California, and recently one of my students brought to my attention an opening line of play that he said was popping up on the internet. The line goes: 1 h3 e5 2 a3 d5 3 e3 Nf6 4 c4 and is going by the title of the 'Global Opening'. I took one look at this and was shocked that any OTB players would seriously consider this as having any value. White wastes a tempo, neglects development and gives up his/her opening move advantage. My student sited one game, apparently from the 1999 Chicago Open where White actually achieved a draw game. He did not have player info or ratings and I can only guess at what was going on there in the windy city. Do you have any idea when and where this particular line of play got started and why would any sane player start a game with 1 h3, 2 a3 in the first place? Hypermodern is one thing, I think this needs to be considered an X - File." I think that as a teacher you must be pulling your hair out with students who defy the traditional opening rules by imitating unorthodox openings. A good idea is to ask them if the opening is so good how come Garry Kasparov has never played it? The truth is that a surprising number of strong players have occasionally dabbled with bizarre opening choices. An odd opening choice is usually designed to shock an unsuspecting opponent who will consume a large amount of the time on the clock, considering whether he should take the opening seriously or go for checkmate in sixteen moves. The idea of 1 h3 or 1 a3 is usually played to transpose to something more familiar, such as the English after a quick c4. It was difficult trying to track down the game from Chicago but I have come up with another example closely related to the 'Global Opening'. M.Basman-Dao Thien Hai (2) Amsterdam 1996 1 h3 e5 2 a3 d5 3 c4 (See Diagram) Michael Basman is the notorious English, chess eccentric who revels in unusual positions. For years he beat numerous players with his favourite 'Grob', which starts 1 g4 but in time he has tried other unusual opening moves. One commentator acidly said that "Basman wins despite his openings". 3...c6 In the final round of the same tournament M.Basman-L.Winants, Amsterdam (9) 1996, saw Black take the pawn with 3...dxc4 and then quickly develop. The game continued: 3...dxc4 4 e3 Be6 5 Qc2 Qd5 6 Nc3 Qd7 (6...Qa5!? 7 Nf3 Be7 8 d3 cxd3 9 Bxd3 Nd7 10 0-0 h6 11 b4 Qb6 12 Bb2 c6 13 Bf5 gave White some compensation for the pawn in M.Basman-R Janssen, Amsterdam (4) 1996) 7 Nf3 Nc6 8 Qa4 Bd6 9 Ng5 Bf5 10 Bxc4 Bg6 11 Nge4 Nge7 12 b4 0-0 13 Bb2 a6 14 Qb3 Rad8 15 0-0 Nf5 16 Be2 Kh8 17 Rad1 f6 when Black had a comfortable position and eventually won after 71 moves. 4 Qc2 Bd6 It seems that Basman used the Donner chess festival in 1996 as a personal theme tournament having consistently played his offbeat system. In round 8, the Spaniard Cruz Lopez Claret tried 4...Be6 and concentrated on consolidating the centre with the better game after 5 d3 Bd6 6 Nf3 f6 7 g4 Ne7 8 Bg2 Nd7 9 Nc3 dxc4 10 dxc4 Bxc4 11 Ne4 Nb6 12 Be3 Bd5 13 Nh4 Nc4 14 Rd1 Nxe3 15 fxe3 Bc7 16 Nc5 Qc8 17 0-0 Bb6. It should be noted that Basman's skill was rewarded with a victory despite the poor opening! 5 d3 Ne7 6 Nc3 0-0 7 Nf3 Nd7 8 Bd2 Kh8 9 g4 (See Diagram) One has to admire White's attacking ambitions. With the centre closed he wants to attack on the wing, except his poor development means it will be difficult to add reinforcements. 9...Nc5 10 Bg2 Ne6 11 e3 Bd7 12 h4 f6 13 h5 b5 14 Nh4 bxc4 15 dxc4 e4 16 cxd5 cxd5 17 Nxd5 Nxd5 18 Bxe4 (See Diagram) The enterprising piece sacrifice has handed White the initiative and vague attack threats. This is just the sort of unclear position, which Basman enjoys. The only thing is that in this case, his opponent is rated 100 points higher and finds an excellent defence. 18...Ne7 19 Bxh7 Ng5 20 Bd3 Rc8 21 Bc3 Bxg4 22 Ng6+ Kg8 23 f4 Qb6 Black has no worries about giving back the exchange as he has engineered significant threats against the white king, which will distract Basman from his hopeful attack. 24 Qf2 Nf3+ 25 Kf1 Nd5 26 Kg2 Nxe3+ 27 Kg3 Ng5 28 Nxf8 Rxf8 29 h6 Nf5+ 30 Bxf5 Bxf5 31 Qxb6 axb6 32 hxg7 Kxg7 Black has two pieces for a rook, which together with the problem of White's exposed king means that Dao Thien Hai is the firm favourite to win. 33 Bd4 Ne4+ 34 Kf3 Nd2+ 35 Ke3 Nb3 36 Rag1+ Kf7 37 Bxb6 Rb8 38 Rh6 Rxb6 0-1 At this point I would like to say that the English reputation for weird and whack openings is not true but I would be wrong. Basman encouraged a whole generation of players to meet 1 e4 with 1...a6 which he named the St. George after Tony Miles sensationally defeated the then World Champion, Anatoly Karpov, in 1980. In this year's British Championship a number of talented youngsters played exceptional chess using a variety of openings to impress the spectators. And then there was IM Simon Williams who in the last round created a record by playing the silliest opening ever seen in this prestigious tournament. S.Williams-M.Simons British Ch 1999 1 f3 e5 2 Kf2 (See Diagram) Any chess coach should hide this ridiculous position from the eyes of young, impressionable children. What could make a strong player behave so strangely? Some said the hot sun had affected his brain, others that he had no respect for his fellow player and someone else wanted to call a doctor. The most popular story was that it was the last round, Williams had nothing to play for, so his friends had offered him a total of 19 free drinks if he created history. 2...d5 3 e3 Nf6 4 d4 Nc6 5 Bb5 Bd6 6 Ne2 0-0 7 Re1 e4 8 Ng3 h5 9 f4 Bg4 10 Be2 g6 11 Kg1 Qe7 12 a3 b5 13 b3 Qe6 14 Bd2 Ne7 15 Bb4 a5 16 Bxd6 Qxd6 17 Bxg4 Nxg4 18 c4 bxc4 19 bxc4 c5 20 Nc3 (See Diagram) The transformation is completed, White has emerged from his pitiful opening with a reasonable game. He now outplays his lower rated opponent to steal victory. 20...h4 21 Qxg4 hxg3 22 cxd5 gxh2+ 23 Kxh2 f5 24 dxc5 Qxc5 25 Qg5 Kf7 26 Rac1 Rh8+ 27 Kg1 Rh5 28 Nxe4 Qb6 29 Rc6 Qxc6 30 dxc6 Rxg5 31 Nxg5+ Ke8 32 e4 Rc8 33 exf5 gxf5 34 Re5 Rxc6 35 Rxa5 Rc4 36 g3 Rc3 37 Kg2 Rc2+ 38 Kh3 Rc3 39 a4 Ra3 40 Ne6 1-0