Friday, January 16, 2015

English 1.c4 d5!? Fianchetto 4.g3

Black can play any first move vs the English Opening. My new Top 45 has a post on 1.c4 d5. It may cost Black some tempi, but it makes White think more on his own. Any aspect of the game that gains time on the clock is a bonus in blitz.

The blessing and curse of the English Opening is its flexibility. White commits to 1.c4. Moves like Nc3 and Bg2 are common, but beyond that White has a lot of decisions to make in both strategy and tactics. The set-up for White's kingside knight, dark squared bishop and central pawns can be anything, depending on what Black does.

In the 1980s I even experimented with 1.c4 f6, intending 2...e5, Nge7, d5, Nbc6, Be6, Qd7, 0-0-0 followed by ...g5 and ...h5, an ironic twist: the Sicilian English Attack vs the English Opening. You find many Dutch Defence formations in my games, but more often 1.c4 Nc6 and some type of Queens Knight Defence.

Below White continued logically and could have obtained a slight positional advantage with best play. My opponent Michi played reasonable moves, but Black was able to equalize. Last year in 2014 I played a lot of games vs lower rated players for the fun of winning often and just let my rating go wherever it went. My current ICC blitz rating is 2000. I plan to keep it there or above as much as possible this year in 2015. This will require a lot of games vs higher rated opponents which has a big upside and small downside.

Michi (1802) - Sawyer (1941), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 28.06.2014 begins 1.c4 d5 2.cxd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.g3 [4.d4 e5!? 5.dxe5 Qxd1+ 6.Nxd1 Nc6=; 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 e6 6.e4 Be7 and after six moves both sides have developed two pieces. White has more space and must play aggressively to push for an advantage. Still, it is not clear which bishop move would be best, nor whether the space advantage will dissipate over time.] 4...Nf6 [4...e5 5.Bg2 Nf6 is a standard English Opening type of position.] 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.d4 e6 9.Ne5?! [This allows Black to equalize immediately. 9.h3+/= putting the question to the bishop seems better.] 9...Nxe5 10.dxe5 Qxd1 11.Rxd1 Nd5 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.f3 Be6 [13...Bc5+!?] 14.f4 g6 15.e4 dxe4 16.Bxe4 Bc5+ 17.Kg2 Ke7!? [17...0-0!=] 18.a3 [18.b4!] 18...Rhd8 19.Rxd8?! [19.f5!=] 19...Rxd8 20.b4? Bb6 [20...Bd4!-+] 21.Kf3 h5 22.Be3 [22.f5 gxf5 23.Bg5+ Ke8-/+] 22...Bg4+ 23.Kf2 Rd2+ 24.Ke1 Bxe3 25.b5 Re2+ 26.Kf1 Bd4 27.Bd3 Bxa1 28.Bxe2 Bxe2+ 29.Kxe2 cxb5 [White resigns] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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  1. I suggest you try the Vector Gambit, 1 c4 d5 2 cxd5 c6!

    1. Yes, almost a sort of Smith-Morra reversed.