In January Ray Haines won first place in a chess tournament held in Houlton, Maine where I-95 meets New Brunswick, Canada. In the first round vs Lance Beloungie the two played a French Defence 3.Bd3. This continuation is a "rare" choice for most, but not for Ray Haines. His long time friend Lance Beloungie has doubtless faced it many times in their multiple French Defence games. I often play 3.Be3, but I like 3.Bd3 too. To debate theory in lines Black knows well, we play 3.Nc3, 3.Nd2, 3.e5 or 3.exd5.
Below Ray Haines avoids 4.e5 which gives White a solid positional advantage but also gives Black the familiar territory of a common French pawn structure. Ray gets frisky with his knights and mixes things up which made the game more tactical. The danger was that these tactics would favor Black, who could and did dominate the center. Black was clearly winning by move 18. Unfortunately for Lance, his 25th move did not turn out well. White opened the center, turned the tables and won quickly.
Haines - Beloungie, Houlton, Maine (1), 24.01.2015 begins 1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Bd3 Nf6 [3...dxe4 4.Bxe4 Nf6 5.Bd3= or 5.Bf3=] 4.Nc3!? [4.e5+/=] 4...Bb4 [4...c5!=] 5.e5! Nfd7 6.Nge2?! [A risky approach that allows Black a lot of control in the center. 6.Qg4!+/-] 6...c5 7.dxc5 Nc6 [7...Bxc5!=/+] 8.0-0 Ndxe5 [8...Bxc5] 9.a3 [9.Na4=] 9...Bxc5 10.b4 Nxd3!? [10...Bd6-/+] 11.Qxd3 Bd6 12.Bb2 a6 13.Rad1 0-0 14.f4 Qc7 15.Na4 f6 16.Rc1 [16.c4 b5=/+] 16...Bd7 17.Qb3 b5 18.Nc5 Qb6 [18...Bxc5+! 19.bxc5 Na5 20.Qd3 Nc4 21.Bd4 e5-+] 19.Qc3 e5 20.fxe5 fxe5 21.Kh1 Bxc5 22.bxc5 Qa7 23.Rcd1 d4 [Black has a promising continuation that could leave him up two extra center pawns: 23...Bg4 24.Rfe1 d4-+] 24.Qb3+ Kh8 25.Qd5 Ne7? [This hangs the e-pawn. Better is 25...Qc7-/+] 26.Qxe5 Nc6 27.Qd6 Rfe8 28.Nxd4 [Another good idea is 28.Rf7+-] 28...Nxd4 29.Qxd4!? Bc6 30.Qd6 Qb7 31.Rfe1 Bxg2+ 32.Kg1 Bc6 33.Re6 Rxe6 34.Qxe6 Bh1 35.Qg4 Bf3 [35...Bc6! 36.Rd6+/=] 36.Qd7 Qxd7 37.Rxd7 1-0
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