Popular openings have interesting sidelines. One of the most logical variations in the King Pawn Ruy Lopez is 3…Nge7. If White chops off the knight on c6, Black replaces it with the other knight. I faced this line at the Williamsport chess club in 1994. Against Richard Zdun I chose simple development with 4.0-0 and opened the center with 5.d4.
When David Lau met my Ruy Lopez with 3…Nge7, I was in more of a hurry to challenge him in the center. I played 4.d4. I should have punished his passive 4…f6?! with 5.d5! This would take the c6 square away from both knights. I reverted to 5.0-0. Later I used my f-pawn to attack. This safe approach took longer and gave Black chances for a good game. However, in the end, the differences in our rating played out on the board.
Sawyer (2011) - Lau (1414), Williamsport, PA 1994 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.d4 [4.0-0 g6 5.d4 Bg7 6.dxe5 Nxe5 7.Nxe5 Bxe5 8.f4 Bg7 9.f5 c5? 10.f6 1-0 Sawyer - Zdun, Williamsport PA 1994] 4...f6?! [4...Nxd4 5.Nxd4 exd4 6.Qxd4=] 5.0-0 [5.d5!+/-] 5...a6 6.Bxc6 Nxc6 7.d5 Ne7 8.Nh4 g6 9.f4 d6 10.f5 [10.fxe5!+/= opening the f-file makes more sense.] 10...Bd7 [10...c6=] 11.fxg6 hxg6 12.Qf3 Bg7 13.g3?! [13.Qf2=] 13...g5 14.Nf5 Nxf5 15.exf5 Qe7 16.Nd2 0-0-0 17.c4 Rh3 18.a4 Rdh8 19.Rf2 Qf8 20.Ne4 Qe8 21.b3 Qg8 22.Be3 Qh7 23.Raa2 Kd8 [23...g4 24.Qxg4=] 24.Rac2 Ke7? [24...Qh5 25.Qxh5+/-] 25.c5 Be8 [25...Qh5 26.Qxh5+-] 26.cxd6+ cxd6 27.Nxg5 fxg5 28.f6+ Kd8 29.Bb6+ Kd7 30.Qg4+ 1-0
You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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