Monday, September 5, 2016

Ruy Lopez Arkhangelsk 5...b5

Arkhangelsk Variation of the King Pawn Ruy Lopez begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bb7. This variation is named after a city in Russia near the White Sea that is about 1200 kilometers north of Moscow and east of Finland.

The strategy in this line is for White to develop his kingside first. He only starts on the queenside later. In contrast, Black develops the queenside. Black delays castling until White shows his plan. The variation had been played in a few notable games in chess history, but White usually won. Schlechter beat Chigorin in 1897. Capablanca beat Dale in 1919. Kotov beat Keres in 1950.

In the 1960s the line finally became popular. Malich, Vasiukov, and Bagirov all played the Arkhangelsk several times as Black. One of those early proponents was the energetic attacker Rashid Nezhmetdinov. He played the line against many famous players in the early 1960s, defeating opening theoretician Alexey Suetin.

I played Tom Elliott in a Ruy Lopez. He always seemed to have my number. White started well enough, but the idea of playing the bishop to Bg3 instead of Be3 did not work well. The losing move was the lemon 21.f3? You might want to call that a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit delayed way too long. I was outplayed. Tom Elliott deserved the victory that he earned.

Sawyer (1969) - Elliott (2144), corr APCT EMN-A-1, 05.12.1995 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.Re1 [This is the most popular move. Also good are 7.d3 and 7.c3] 7...Bc5 8.c3 d6 9.d4 Bb6 10.Bg5 [Best seems to be 10.Be3 0-0 11.d5=] 10...h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 0-0 13.Qd3!? [13.a4 exd4 14.cxd4 Re8=] 13...Nh5 14.Bd5 Nxg3 15.hxg3 Qf6 16.Nbd2 [16.g4!?=] 16...Rae8 17.Nb3 exd4 18.Bxc6 Bxc6 19.cxd4 Re7 20.Nfd2 Rfe8 21.f3? [21.Rac1 Bb7-/+] 21...d5 [21...a5!-+ makes d4 hard to defend.] 22.Kh2 [22.Rad1 dxe4 23.Nxe4 Qg6-/+] 22...Qg6 23.g4 [23.Nc5 dxe4 24.fxe4 Bxc5 25.dxc5 Rd7-+] 23...dxe4 24.fxe4 Bxe4 25.Nxe4 Rxe4 26.Rxe4 Rxe4 27.Qd1 [27.Rf1 Rxg4 28.Qxg6+ fxg6-+] 27...Qd6+ 28.Kh1 Bxd4 [Or 28...h5-+] 29.Nxd4 Qxd4 30.Qxd4 Rxd4 31.Rc1 Rc4 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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