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 25 Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6 (Read 17092 times)
Markovich
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #58 - 01/25/12 at 12:27:17
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I would be great if somebody besides me would examine Kam's analysis. I'm not strong enough to pretend to give the last word on it.
  

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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #57 - 01/24/12 at 17:41:53
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Kam, I guess it depends on what you consider playable.  As Black I would never set out to defend such a difficult ending.  It seems to me that White has good chances to win, while the best that Black can hope for is a draw.  You may be right that Black's draw is there; I myself am not so sure.  Still, your analysis has the merit of showing that Black can swap off White's dangerous rooks.

The line leading to the initial diagram is already rather deep; your analysis takes us even deeper into territory where White is by no means forced to play any of the suggested moves.  At some point in studying any given opening continuation, further analysis becomes much less useful than a judgment of the advantages and disadvantages faced by each side; I already gave mine.  In fact I think it's a serious difficulty with a lot of machine-assisted analysis that we see these days (and I freely admit that I myself analyze with the assistance of a machine) is that it chases specificity down too many long paths, instead of stepping back and trying to apply some common sense to the position.  All may be specificity in chess, but not all can be specificity when it comes to understanding chess.

One very small point is that 25.Be3 may be a stronger move than 25.Bc3, e.g. 25...Nc6 26.Rxb8 Rxb8 27.Rc7 Nd8 28.Nd4 Rb7 29.Rxb7 (29.Rxb7 after 25.Bc3 also may be worth considering) 29...Nxb7 30.c6 Nd6 31.Kc3 and White's threat to cross over the dark diagonal compels 31...Nc8, after which 32.Nb5 and Black is pretty well tied up (though White has no clear win). But this point is very minor because the position arising at move 25 isn't necessarily critical for the line.
  

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GMTonyKosten
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #56 - 01/24/12 at 12:13:48
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I have never seen so many diagrams! Is it really necessary? Angry
  
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Kam
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #55 - 01/24/12 at 06:39:46
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A PLAYABLE CONTINUATION.

A playable continuation has been found against Markovich's claim,
that white can achieve a strong advantage in this variation of the
Alekhine's defence Haakert Variation after 16 Qe2.

  1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg4
7.Be3 e6 8.exd6 cxd6 9.Qb3 Be7 10.c5 Nd5 11.Nxd5 exd5
12.Qxb7 Bd7 13.Bb5 Rb8 14.Qa6 Nb4 15.Bxd7+ Qxd7
16.Qe2 dxc5
   [16...0–0 17.0–0 Nc6 18.Qd2 dxc5 19.dxc5 Rfd8
White has a extra pawn.]   17.dxc5 Qb5 18.Rd1 

Diagram 1.

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(I had previously investigated the line  18.b3, which I still believe
is slightly stronger than 18.Rd1)    18...Nxa2 19.Qxb5+ Rxb5 20.Ra1!?  

Diagram 2.

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* * * * * * * *
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  20...Rxb2 21.Bd4 Rb8 22.Kd2 Nb4 23.Rhb1 f6!?  

Diagram 3:

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Black is forced to cede the pawn advantage, but the black king is safe
and the rooks will be connected. White does have the initiative, but
black’s position is defendable.   24.Rxa7 Kf7   

Diagram 4.

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  25.Bc3   [25.Rc7 Rhe8 26.h4 Na6 27.Rxb8 Nxc7 28.Rxe8 Kxe8
29.c6 Bb4+ 30.Kd3 Ke7 31.Bb6 Kd6 32.Nd4 Na6 33.Bd8 Bc5
34.Nf5+ Kxc6 35.Nxg7 Bxf2 36.Bxf6 Nc5+ 37.Ke2 Ne4 38.Nf5=] 

Diagram 5:

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  25...Nc6 26.Rxb8 Rxb8 27.Rc7 Nd8 28.Nd4 Rb7!?  
Diagram 6. 

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Black must face the reality that the black rook can never
be as dominating as the white counterpart and thus the forced
exchange of heavy pieces is the best strategy.  A possible continuation is
  29.Rc8 Ne6  30.c6 Rc7! 31.Rxc7 Nxc7  32.Kd3 Ne8   33.Ba5 Bd6 
34.Bb6 Ke7  35.h3 g5 ±/= 
   etc

Diagram 7.

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* * * * * * * *




  
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Markovich
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #54 - 07/08/11 at 17:20:21
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Kam, I salute your enthusiasm for this line and your willingness to look deeply into these interesting positions. But I couldn't help thinking, in light of so much talk in "Chess Chat" about the expression, "flogging a dead horse," that that's what you're doing here.   

There's an old saying that long analysis is wrong analysis, and I think that burrowing ever deeper into the position after 16.Qe2, already quite deep, while interesting, isn't likely to prove very much.  1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6 8.exd6 cxd6 9.Qb3 Be7 10.c5 Nd5 11.Nxd5 exd5 12.Qxb7 Bd7 13.Bb5 Rb8 14.Qa6 Nb4 15.Bxd7+ Qxd7 16.Qe2.

Here you suggest 16...dxc5 17.dxc5 Qb5 and now it seems to me that the silicon-recommended 18.Rd1 is indeed strong.  After your 18...Nxa2 White plays not 19.Rxd5 but instead 19.Qxb5 Rxb5 20.Ra1and Black faces many difficulties, e.g. 20...Rxb2 21.Bd4 Rb8 22.Kd2 Nb4 23.Rhb1 and Black must cede his extra pawn, after which the ending looks very favorable to White, who will enjoy the outside passed pawn and more active rooks and king.   This seems to be a feature of the endings that come up in many of your other variations as well.  Or 20...Nb4 21.Rxa7 Nc2+ 22.Kd2 Nxe3 23.fxe3 Rxb2+ 24.Kd3 and not only does White still have his dangerous c-pawn, but his pieces are vastly more active than Black's.  Black even has trouble with his king.

Where we differ seems to be in your saying that White is slightly better in the endings that eventually result from 16.Qe2, while I'm saying that White is much better.
« Last Edit: 07/08/11 at 19:29:01 by Markovich »  

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Kam
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #53 - 07/06/11 at 13:13:28
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Continuation of the Previous Game :  Part 5:

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6
8.exd6 cxd6 9.Qb3 Be7 10.c5 Nd5 11.Nxd5 exd5 12.Qxb7 Bd7
13.Bb5 Rb8 14.Qa6 Nb4 15.Bxd7+ Qxd7 16.Qe2 dxc5  17.dxc5 Qb5
18.b3!
     [18.Qxb5+ Rxb5 19.Kd2 Na6 20.b4 Rxb4 21.Rhb1 Kd7
22.Rxb4 Nxb4 23.Rb1 Nc6±/=]

Diagram 7;
* * * * * * * *
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* * * * * * * *
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* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


18.Rd1 Nxa2 (18...Qxe2+ 19.Kxe2 Nxa2 20.Rxd5 Rxb2+ 21.Rd2+-)
19.Rxd5 Qxb2 20.Qxb2 Rxb2 21.Rd2 Rb1+ 22.Rd1 Rxd1+
(22...Rb2 23.0–0±) 23.Kxd1 Nb4!?
Diagram 8.
* * * * * * * *
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* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


(23...Kd7 May also be okay. 24.Kc2 (24.Ne5+ Ke6 25.Nc6 a5 (25...Bf6
26.Nxa7 Nc3+ 27.Kc2 Nd5 28.Rb1 Be5 29.h3 Nxe3+ 30.fxe3 Kd5
31.c6 Rb8 32.Rd1+ Ke6 33.Rd7 Rb2+ 34.Kd1 Rb1+ 35.Ke2 Rc1 36.Rd8 f5
37.g4 fxg4 38.hxg4 Rc5 39.Kf3 h6 40.Rc8 Ra5 41.Re8+ Kd6 42.Rd8+ Ke6
43.Rd7 Rd5 44.Rb7 Rc5 45.Rb6 Bc7 46.Rb4 Be5 White cannot make any
headway.) 26.Ke2 (26.Nxe7 Kxe7 27.Re1 Kd7 28.Ke2 Nb4 29.Ra1 Ra8
30.Rd1+ Kc6 31.Rd6+ Kb5 32.Rd7 a4 33.Rxf7 a3 34.Rxg7 a2 35.Bd4 Re8+
36.Kf3 h6 37.Ra7 Nc6 38.Rxa2 Nxd4+ 39.Kg4 Re5=) 26...Bxc5
27.Bxc5 Kd5 28.Bd4 Kxc6 29.Ra1 Nb4 30.Rxa5 f6 0.34 drawish R+B v R+N
White can certainly play on and black can easily make a mistake, but black
should be able to hold on.) 24...Rb8 25.Rd1+ Kc8 White seems to get that
slight nagging edge. (25...Ke6?) 26.Ne5 Nb4+ 27.Kc3 f6 28.Nc4 Na2+
29.Kd2 Rb7±/=) 24.Kd2 (24.Ke2 0–0 25.Ra1 Re8 26.Ra5 f5 27.Kd2 Nc6±/=
Black's position looks okay.) 24...Kd7 (24...0–0 25.Ra1 Rd8+ 26.Ke2 Re8
27.Rc1) 25.Kc3 Nd5+ 26.Kc4 Nxe3+ 27.fxe3 Rc8 28.Rd1+ Ke8 29.Rd5 a5
30.Nd4 a4  Black may be able to draw, but black will have to walk a fine line.




Diagram 9.
* * * * * * * *
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31.Nb5 f6 32.Kb4 Kf8 33.e4 (33.g3 Kf7 34.e4 Ke6 35.Nd4+ Kf7 36.Nc2 Bf8
37.Kb5 Be7 38.Na3 g6 39.g4 Ke6 40.Nc4 Bf8 41.h3 Be7 42.c6 a3 43.Nb6 Rf8
44.c7 a2 45.Rd1 Bd6 46.Kc6 Bxc7 47.Kxc7 Rf7+ 48.Kc6 f5 49.exf5+ gxf5
50.Nd7 fxg4 51.hxg4 Rf2) 33...Kf7 The black "a" pawn is weak, but the white
"c" pawn is under heavy attack.] 18...0–0  [18...Nd3+ 19.Kd1 0–0
20.Nd4 Qa6 21.Kd2 Nxc5 22.Qxa6 Nxa6 23.Nc6 Rb7 24.Nxe7+ Rxe7±]
19.Qxb5 Rxb5 20.Kd2 Bxc5
  [20...Rc8 21.Rhc1 Bf6 22.Bd4±] 21.Bxc5
Rxc5 22.Rhc1 Rxc1
  [22...Rfc8 23.Rxc5 Rxc5 24.a3 Nc6 25.b4 Rc4
26.Re1 Kf8± 27.Kd3 Ne7 28.g3 Rc6 29.Ne5 Ra6 30.Ra1 Ke8 31.Kd4 Re6
(31...f6 32.Nd3 Rd6 33.Rc1 Nf5+ 34.Kc5 Rd8 35.a4 (35.Re1+ Kf7) 35...Ke7
36.h3±) 32.Re1 f6 33.Nd3 Ra6 34.Ra1 Re6 35.Rc1 Re4+ 36.Kc5 Kd7
37.h4 Nf5 38.h5 Rd4 39.Rc3 Ke6 40.Nf4+±] 23.Rxc1 Nxa2  The game
now ventures in the ethereal world of R+N v R+N end games. 24.Ra1
Nb4 25.Rxa7
  The control of the seventh rank is very strong, but not
decisive. 25...Rb8  The black king is not able to effectively contribute to
the blockade of the passed "b" pawn. Black needs to at least temporarily
maintain the strong point at b4 and prevent the immediate advance of the
outside passed queenside pawn. Knowledge of the nuances of the R+N v R+N
end games would be extremely valuable at this stage of the game. 26.Kc3 h5 

Diagram 10
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* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


The aim of the king side pawn advance is to control space on the king
side, remove the threat of the back rank mate and restrict the mobility of
the white king side pawns. Black has good chances of saving the game
and winning can also be a serious possibility! (26...h6 27.Nd4 Rb6
28.Ra5 (28.Nf5 Nc6 29.Rd7 Rb5) 28...Kf8 29.Nf5 Rb8) 27.g3
Nc6
  (27...Rb5 28.Nd4 Rb6 29.Nf5 Nc6 30.Rd7 Rb5 31.f4 Rc5+ 32.Kd2
h4 33.Nxh4 Rb5 34.Rc7 Nd4 35.Kc3 Nxb3 36.Nf5 d4+ 37.Nxd4 Nxd4
38.Kxd4 g6 39.h4 Black may be able to save this position?) 28.Rc7
d4+
  Black needs to somehow exchange off his weak centre
pawn. 29.Kb2 Nb4 30.Nxd4 Nd3+ 31.Kc3 Nxf2

Diagram 11.
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* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


Black has restored the material balance, but white's passed pawn is very dangerous.
  
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Kam
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #52 - 06/30/11 at 09:26:28
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Alekhine’s Defence, Haakert-Variation,  Pt 4

Reply to the Markovich Comments.

The rook exchange sacrifice 14...Rxb5 is unsound, as shown by Markovich.
The alternative 14....Nb4 is sufficient, despite that Markovich considers this move
to be also bad. The material balance can be restored, but white is able extract
a slight space advantage and black may need to play accurately against
persistant positional grinding play. A crucial move is the 42... Nxb5 knight sacrifice,
and white must fight to save the game. Improvements are likely to be found, but
the general atmosphere of the game is instructive to how the development of
the variation could procede.


1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6
[7...g6 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Bg7 (9...dxe5 10.dxe5 e6 11.c5 Nd7 12.0–0–0 Bg7
13.Bb5 0–0 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.Qe4 Bxe5 16.Rxd7 Qxd7
17.Rd1 Qe7 N+B v R+p 18.Qxe5+- ) 10.c5 Nd7 11.cxd6 exd6 12.Ba6
Rb8 13.Bxb7 Rxb7 14.Qxc6 Rxb2 15.exd6 cxd6 16.Qxd6 Qb6 17.Qd5]
8.exd6 cxd6 9.Qb3 Be7 10.c5 Nd5 11.Nxd5 exd5 12.Qxb7 Bd7
13.Bb5 Rb8 14.Qa6 Nb4
 

Diagram 1
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


[14...Rxb5 Markovich's claim of the unsound rook exchange sacrifice is
correct. 15.Qxb5 Nxd4 16.Qd3 Nxf3+ (16...Qa5+ 17.Bd2 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxc5
19.0–0 +- The black pawns are too weak.) 17.gxf3 dxc5 (17...Qa5+ 18.Bd2
Qxc5 19.Rc1 Qb6 20.Bc3 0–0 21.Qd4 Qxd4 22.Bxd4 Bd8 23.Bxa7 Ba5+
24.Kd1 Ra8 25.Bd4 Bd8 26.a3 Ra4; 17...0–0 18.Qxd5 Be6 19.Qb7 dxc5
20.Rd1 Qa5+ 21.Rd2 Bf6 22.0–0 c4 23.Rfd1 Qh5 24.Bf4 h6 25.Re2 c3
26.bxc3 Bxc3) 18.Qxd5 Qc7 19.Rg1 0–0 (19...Bc6 20.Qc4+-) 20.0–0–0
Be6 (20...Bc6 21.Qd2) 21.Qe4 Qb6 1.2 but white does have a bad pawn
structure! (21...g6 22.f4 Rb8 23.Qe5 Rb7 24.Qxc7 Rxc7 25.a3 Rb7

Diagram 2.
* * * * * * * *
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* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *

26.Rge1 Bg4 27.Rd5 Be6 28.Rd2 a5) 22.Bf4 g6 23.Be5 Bxa2
24.Rd7 Qe6 25.Rxa7 Bb3 26.Bf4 Bf6 27.Qxe6 fxe6 (27...Bxe6 28.Re1 Bd4
29.Be3 Bg7 30.Rd1 Rc8 31.Rb7 h5± If the queenside pawns are swapped off,
black may be able to save the game?)
28.Bd6 Re8 29.f4+-)

15.Bxd7+ Qxd7 16.Qe2 

Diagram 3.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


Markovich claims that white is a solid pawn up. My assessment is that black is
able to regain the pawn and, but White is able to steer the game into a
slightly favorable end game.  16...dxc5  The best continuation?
[16...Qb5 An interesting continuation, but white seems to get the advantage in
all variations. 17.Qxb5+ Rxb5 18.Kd2 dxc5 (18...Nc6 19.Rab1 Kd7
(19...dxc5 20.dxc5 Kd7 21.Rhc1 Re8 22.b3 h6 23.a4 (23.g3 Bf6 24.h4 Re4
25.Ne1 g5 26.f3) 23...Rb4 24.Rd1 d4 25.Bxd4 Nxd4 26.Kc3 Bxc5 27.Nxd4
Rxd4 28.Rxd4+ Bxd4+ 29.Kxd4 Re2±) 20.Rhc1 Re8 21.b3 h6 22.Rc2 dxc5
23.dxc5 Nb4 24.a4 Nxc2 25.axb5 Nxe3 26.c6+ Kc7 27.fxe3 Bc5 28.Nd4)
The white queenside pawn mass looks too menacing.

Diagram 4.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


19.a4 Rb8 (19...Ra5 20.dxc5 Bxc5 (20...Nc6 21.Rhe1 0–0 22.Nd4 Nxd4
23.Bxd4 Bxc5 24.Bxc5 Rxc5 25.Rac1 Ra5 26.b3 g6 27.Rc7 d4 28.Rb7 Rc8
29.Re4 Rf5 30.f3 a5 31.Rxd4 Rfc5±) 21.Rhc1 Bxe3+ 22.fxe3 0–0 (22...Kd7
23.Nd4 Ra6 24.Nb5 Nc6 25.Rc5 Rb6 26.Rf1 Ke7 27.Rfc1 Rc8 28.b4 a6
29.Nc3 Ke6 30.b5+-) 23.Rc7 Ra6 24.Nd4 White has a better position.)
20.dxc5 Na6 21.Rhc1! Bf6 (21...Rxb2+ 22.Kd1 0–0 (22...Kd7 23.c6+ Kc7
24.Nd4 Bb4 25.Nb5+ Kd8+-; 22...Bf6 23.Rab1 Ke7 24.Rxb2 Bxb2
25.Rb1 Rb8 26.c6 Rb4 27.Bxa7 Kd6 28.Ng5 f6 29.Nxh7 d4 30.Kc2 Bc3
31.c7 Kxc7 32.Rxb4 Nxb4+ 33.Kb3 Nd3 34.Nf8 Kd6±) 23.c6 Rc8
24.Bxa7 Bf6 25.Rab1 Rxb1 26.Rxb1 Rxc6 27.Rb5 h6 28.a5 Nc7
29.Rb6 Re6 White's outside passed pawn is too strong.

Diagram 5.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


22.Rab1 Bxb2 23.Rc2 Bc3+ 24.Kc1 Rxb1+ 25.Kxb1 Bf6 26.c6 Kd8
27.Bxa7 Re8 28.Bb6+ Kc8 29.Bd4 Bxd4 30.Nxd4 Re4 31.Rd2±; 16...0–0
17.0–0 Nc6 18.Qd2 dxc5 19.dxc5 Rfd8 White has a extra pawn.] 17.dxc5 Qb5  [17...0–0? 18.0–0 Nc6 19.b3 Bf6+-] 18.b3!  
The most challenging continuation.

Diagram 6.
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* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *


Both sides have the same amount of material, but white has dangerous passed queen side pawns, which can be assisted by the white king. The black king will have limited influence on the queen side and it seems that the black king must be prepared for opportunities on the opposing flank. White can now apply the grinding method, which almost works.
  
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #51 - 03/22/11 at 17:21:04
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I did know 4...dxe5 and 4...Nc6 exist, but I did not know something like a favourite Bananarama song was logically possible.
  

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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #50 - 03/22/11 at 12:22:58
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Bibs wrote on 03/22/11 at 11:55:04:
Arcticmonkey wrote on 03/22/11 at 05:53:09:
why not just play 4...dxe5!?


Why not play table tennis smeared in marmalade while singing your favourite Bananarama song?


If I admit that I like "Cruel Summer", despite it being a bit before my time, is that better or worse than having played table tennis smeared in marmalade? And does Nutella count?
  
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #49 - 03/22/11 at 11:55:04
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Arcticmonkey wrote on 03/22/11 at 05:53:09:
why not just play 4...dxe5!?


Why not play table tennis smeared in marmalade while singing your favourite Bananarama song?
Irrelevant indeed.
The discussion is about 4...Nc6. Not about something else.
  
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #48 - 03/22/11 at 05:53:09
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why not just play 4...dxe5!?
  
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #47 - 03/21/11 at 19:35:14
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ElGrande wrote on 03/19/11 at 10:38:45:
After 7...g6 above, is not 8.exd6 cxd6 9.d5 also critical ? Following 9...Bxf3 10.gxf3 Ne5 11.f4 Ned7 12.Bd4 Rg8 13.b3 white's position seems better !?


It looks like you're right.  Thanks for that.  I looked at 9...Ne5 but it doesn't really improve.  So much for my idea, and it appears that 5.Nc3 remains a strong rejoinder to 4...Nc6.
  

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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #46 - 03/19/11 at 10:38:45
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After 7...g6 above, is not 8.exd6 cxd6 9.d5 also critical ? Following 9...Bxf3 10.gxf3 Ne5 11.f4 Ned7 12.Bd4 Rg8 13.b3 white's position seems better !?
  
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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #45 - 12/21/10 at 20:18:53
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I finally got around to examining Kam's analysis, just above.  My reaction is that after 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6 8.exd6 cxd6 9.Qb3 Be7!? 10.c5 Nd5 11.Nxd5 exd5 12.Qxb7 Bd7 13.Bb5 Rb8 14.Qa6, Kam's interesting exchange sac 14...Rxb5 14.Qxb5 Nxd4 15.Qd3 leaves Black with too much to prove.  For example 15...Nxf3 16.gxf3 Qa5+ 17.Bd2 Qxc5 18.Rc1 Qb6 and now, instead of Kam's 19.Qxd5, White can play more solidly with 19.Bc3, preserving a safe material advantage.  Instead of 14...Rxb5, better perhaps is 14...Nb4 15.Bxd7+ Qxd7 16.Qe2, but it leaves White a solid pawn up.  That's my opinion; others may judge for themselves.

I've also looked at another pawn sacrifice, Black playing 10...dxc5 11.dxc5 Nd7 12.Qxb7 Rc8.  But Black doesn't get nearly enough for his pawn if White plays well.

The fundamental problem is that the early appearance of Black's QN on c6 is not good with this Old Main Line-type structure, and with 9.Qb3! White puts his finger on this.

Just lately though, I've been looking at 7...g6!? (instead of 7...e6), as played in Kalisky - Slacky, Solvakia 2008 (the players were rated 2200+ each).  It seems to me that this fits in much better with the early ...Nc6. 

Now interestingly, 8.exd6 cxd6 produces a position that normally arises from an Exchange Variation, and which has scored well for Black in 43 games in my database.

If instead 8.h3, then after 8...Bxf3 9.Qxf3 dxe5 10.dxe5 e6! and White has trouble defending his e-pawn.  For example 11.c5 (or 11.Rd1 Nd7 or 11...Qe7) 11...Nd7 12.O-O-O a6! 13.Ne4 (or 13.h4 Qe7 or 13.Qg3 Ncxe5!) 13...Ncxe5 14.Qg3 Bg7.  These ideas are very preliminary, and 8.h3 should be further investigated.

The game, which arose not from an Alekhine's but from 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.c4 Nb6 5.d4 d6 6.Nc3 Bg4 7.Be3 g6, continued 8.Be2 Bg7.  This brought up a position that had also arisen in Muuss - Pavlovski, Ratzeburg 2002 (via 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 Nc6 6.c4 Nb6 7.Be3 g6 8.Nc3 Bg7) and Lorelli - Spada, Buenos Aires 1992 (via 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 Bg4 8.Be2 Nc6); neither was a very high-level game, though Lorelli among the four players was rated 2300+.

Kalisky - Slacky and Muuss - Pawlowsky both saw 9.exd6 cxd6, which again transposes into a version of the Exchange Variation that is perfectly acceptable for Black.  Lorelli played more aggressively: 9.e6!? fxe6 10.Ng5 Bxe7 11.Qxe2.  Here Black played 11...Nxd4? 12.Bxd4 Bxd4 and lost after 13.Nb5.  Instead he has to play 11...Qd7, after which White has the burden of proof, which won't be aided by the absence of his light-square bishop.  It requires further investigation, but my intuition is that Black is good.

So 7...g6!? and either 8.h3 produces an advantage for White by some means that I don't yet see, or Black is entirely fine after 4...Nc6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg4 7.Be3 g6!

« Last Edit: 12/22/10 at 17:19:15 by Markovich »  

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Re: Main Line Alekhine with 4...Nc6
Reply #44 - 09/16/10 at 06:54:30
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Alekhine Defence Haakert Variation.
Comments Based on the Game Safarli-Chighladze, Baku Open 2010, Part 3.
Pawn Sacrifice Against a Subtle Move Order.

I had previously concluded that after 6.Nc3 Bg4  7.Be3 e6  8.exd6 cxd6 9.Qb3 Bxf3 10.gxf3,  the reply 10…. Rc8?! was insufficient for black due to the devastating 11.d5! (Linksspringer).  My recommendation is to avoid the seemingly thematic  9….Bxf3 and instead calmly play the unperturbed  9…. Be7!?

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg4 (6….dxe5 7.d5 Nb4 8.a3 Na6 was previously considered  a viable alternative, but it may be considered too much of an eclectic jump from the previously analysed 6…. Bg4 line) 7.Be3 e6 8.exd6 cxd6 9.Qb3 Be7!?  Diagram 1.

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Black has correctly decided not to accepted the opportunity to wreck the white king side pawn structure. Instead, black offers white a pawn! The black light square bishop may be required to return to d7 to protect a knight at c6 and block some checks along the e8-a4 diagonal in some critical variations.
In the actual Safarli-Chighladze game, black played 9….Qd7 and white seized the advantage with 10.d5 +-. 10.c5 [10.d5 Bxf3 White did not play the critical 10.c5 and thus it is safe to punish white by capturing the knight at f3 and wrecking the white king side pawn structure. 11.gxf3 exd5 12.cxd5 Ne5 13.Qb5+ Ned7 14.0–0–0 0–0±/=] 10...Nd5 11.Qxb7 [11.Nxd5 exd5 12.Qxb7 Bd7  Diagram 2.

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The game saving bishop retreat shows the main reason for why the immediate 9....Bxg4 would be an error. 13.Bb5 Rb8 14.Qa6 Rxb5 15.Qxb5 Nxd4 16.Qd3 Nxf3+ 17.gxf3 Qa5+ 18.Bd2 Qxc5 19.Rc1 Qb6 20.Qxd5 Qxb2 21.Qa8+ Bd8 22.Qe4+ Be6 ±/=;  Diagram 3.

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White has only a slight advantage despite a R v B+p material advantage, due to white’s scattered pawn formation and black’s possession of the bishop pair.11.Be2 Nxe3 12.fxe3 Rb8 13.cxd6 Qxd6 14.0–0 0–0 15.Rac1 Rfc8 Black has no serious problems.; 11.Bb5] 11...Ncb4 12.Nxd5 [12.Bb5+ Kf8 13.0–0 (13.0–0–0 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Rb8 15.Qxa7 Rxb5 16.cxb4 Rxb4=/Ŧ; 13.Rc1 Rb8 14.Qxa7 Ra8 15.Qd7 Qxd7 16.Bxd7 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Nd3+ 18.Kd2 Nxc1 19.c6 Nxa2 20.Nxa2 Bf6 21.Nc3 Ke7 22.b4 Rhb8 23.c7 Kxd7 24.cxb8Q Rxb8
25.b5 Ra8 26.Rc1 Bh5 27.Kc2 Bg6+ 28.Kb3
Bd8 29.e4 f6=/Ŧ) 13...Bxf3 14.gxf3 dxc5 15.dxc5 Rb8 16.Qxa7 Ra8 17.Qb7 Rb8=]
Diagram 4.

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Draw due to move repetition.
12...Nxd5 13.Bb5+ [13.0–0–0 0–0 14.Bc4 a5 ±/=] 13...Kf8 The king is forced to move, but the white queen may have some escape problems. 14.Bc6 [14.cxd6 Bxd6 15.Ne5 Bxe5 16.dxe5 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Qa5+ 18.Kf1 Rd8 19.h3 Bh5 20.Kg1 g5 21.g4 Bg6 22.Rh2 Kg7 23.Qf3 Rhf8 24.Qf6+ Kg8 25.a4 Rd5 26.Rc1 Rd2 27.Rf1 Rxh2 28.Kxh2 Qd2+ 29.Qf2 Qd5 30.Qf6 Qd2+ 31.Qf2 Qd5= Another case of a draw due to move repetition] 14...Rb8 15.Qxa7 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Nb4 [16...Nxe3 17.fxe3 Rxb2 18.0–0 Qb8 19.Qxb8+ Rxb8 20.Rab1 Rxb1 21.Rxb1 g5 22.Rb8+ Kg7 23.Rb7 Kf6 24.e4 e5 25.Bd5±] 17.Be4 d5 18.Bb1 Bf6 19.Qa4 Qc7 20.a3 Nc6 21.0–0 e5 22.b4 exd4
Diagram 5.

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The black central doubled pawns are weak, but they temporally act as an important physical wedge in the un-coordinating of the white forces. The white dark square bishop is forced to retreat to a less active square. The march of the queen side pawns has to be postponed. The difference in the functionality between the two sets of doubled pawns is quite remarkable.
A possible continuation is 23.Bd2 Ne5 24.Qd1 Qd7 25.Bf4 Qh3 26.Ba2 Rd8 27.Bg3 h5 28.Re1 Rh6 Black has found an alternative route to liberate the king rook. The weakness of the f3, f2 pawns and the lines of attack along the semi-open “g” and closed “h” file now becomes self evident. 29.Rxe5 h4 30.Qf1 hxg3 31.Qxh3 Rxh3 32.Rxd5 gxh2+ 33.Kg2 Rxd5 34.Bxd5 Rh5! =  35.c6 Be5  36.Rd1 Rg5+  37.Kh1 d3
Diagram 6.

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How often in a serious game that you can see five passed pawns?! Black certainly has a good share of the action.
Conclusions:
Many of the lines have been analysed. So far I cannot see how white can take advantage of 9….Be7!?



  
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