Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Neo-Gruenfeld vs John Shepherd

John Shepherd of Montreal started with a 1.c4 English Opening. White transposed to the Gruenfeld Defence by move six. The strategy of the 3.g3 Neo-Gruenfeld is that both sides have tactical possibilities along the long diagonal. Some players will choose complete symmetry with 7.cxd5 cxd5. Of course, in that case White has the very slight edge of the next move. Those games may end in draws after significant exchanges.

The main weakness for White is that with the bishop moved to g2, the protection for the c4 pawn is left to other White pieces. As Black I grabbed the pawn on c4 and tried to hold on. White could have played 8.e4! Instead he boldly planted an outpost with 8.Ne5 and protected it with 9.f4. Black counter attacked with 9…c5 to undermine the center. As it turned out, this also helped open the g1-a7 diagonal. That proved to be dangerous for White when he overlooked a tactic.

Shepherd (2000) - Sawyer (2000), corr APCT 1979 begins 1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 g6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.d4 0-0 7.Nc3 [7.cxd5 cxd5 8.Nc3=] 7...dxc4! 8.Ne5 [8.e4!=] 8...Ng4 9.f4 [9.Nf3 e5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5=] 9...c5 10.e3 cxd4 11.exd4 Nxe5 12.dxe5 Nc6 13.Qa4 Bf5 [13...Qb6+ 14.Rf2 Be6=/+] 14.Be3 Na5? [14...Bd3=] 15.Rfd1 Bd3 16.Ne4 [16.b3+/-] 16...Qc7 17.Nc5 Rad8 18.b4 Nc6 19.Nxb7 Qxb7 20.Bxc6 Bc2 [20...Qc8 21.b5+/=] 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.Qxc2 [22.Qa5+/-] 22...Qxc6 23.Bxa7 e6 24.Bc5 Qd5 25.Be3 Bf8 26.a3 Kg7 27.Rc1 Qd3?! [27...Qf3!=] 28.Bc5? [Big blunder. Black would have a difficult ending after 28.Qxd3! Rxd3 29.Bc5 Rxa3 30.Rxc4 Bxc5+ 31.bxc5+/-] 28...Bxc5+ [There is no defense to 29...Qe3-+] 0-1


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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