Friday, April 22, 2016

Who Is Right in Queens Knight?

Which master is right? Jarod Bryan plays boldly in a Queens Knight Defence. I am glad Ray Haines shared this game from his 2016 Maine State Championship. It made me reconsider my own opening repertoire. Why would a master play this way?

I understand why he might play 1.d4 Nc6 as Black. I have played it hundreds of times myself. Black gets great attacking chances, and White rarely knows the line.

My issue is move three after 2.d5 Ne5 3.e4. Author James Schuyler wrote: "Black has scored well with 3...Ng6?!...but his position is highly suspect after 4.h4!" Schuyler recommends 3...e6 4.dxe6 fxe6 which gives the game the feel of a Dutch Defence.

If I compare titles, both Jarod Bryan and James Schuyler are FIDE masters. I looked closer at the words and stats. Schuyler wrote, "Black has scored well..." Isn't that what we want, to score well? I usually play 3...e6, but I have scored better with 3...Ng6.

Chess engines prefer 3...e6, but it is only slightly over 3...Ng6. Another factor is White rarely plays the sharp reply 4.h4! My database has 6000 games with 1.d4 Nc6. Only six times did they reach 4.h4 (never in my games), and Black won four of those!

My friend Ray chose the natural 4.Nc3. Haines held off Black for another ten moves. After that he was outplayed by the master. So, which master is right? They both are.

Haines - Bryan (2238), Maine Championship (2), 09.04.2016 begins 1.d4 Nc6 2.d5 Ne5 3.e4 Ng6!? [3...e6 is the normal move.] 4.Nc3 [4.h4!+/=] 4...e5 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nge2 Nf6 7.0-0 a6 8.Ng3 0-0 9.Nce2 [9.Nf5!?] 9...d6 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bd2 Ba7 12.c4 Nh4 13.Qc2?! [13.Nc3=] 13...Re8 [13...Qd7-/+] 14.b4?! [14.Nc3=] 14...Qd7 15.Qc1? Nxg2! [This is a thematic move in 1...Nc6 defenses, and a great move here!] 16.Nf5 Nh4! 17.Bxh6 Nxf5 18.exf5 Ng4 19.Be3 e4 20.Bc2 Qxf5 21.Ng3 [21.Bxa7 Qh5-+] 21...Qh7 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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