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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) How to combat the Lasker Variation? (Read 10491 times)
Daniel
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #26 - 10/27/11 at 19:11:47
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I meant in the Lasker/Orthodox positions where black takes on c4 and exchanges the dark-squared bishops and his f6 knight for white's c3 one.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #25 - 10/27/11 at 18:19:42
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Daniel wrote on 10/27/11 at 16:07:45:
If black goes for b6 without h6, white will just get Qc2 with tempo and make black miserable. Black should go for e5 as in Capablanca's line if he doesn't want to play h6.
Basically with b6, h6 can only help you! With e5 plans, it can only hurt you!


That's true for the Tartakower, but not for the old-fashioned Fianchetto with ...e6xd5. Black can block the attack against pawn h7 with ...Nf6-e4, a move (s)he often wants to play anyway.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Nf3 b6 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.O-O Nbd7 10.Rc1 c5 11.Bb1 Rc8 12.Qc2 Ne4 is an example.
In fact in lines like this the pawn on h6 weakens square f5.
  

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Daniel
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #24 - 10/27/11 at 16:07:45
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Just play as in the main lines if black refuses to play h6.

If black goes for b6 without h6, white will just get Qc2 with tempo and make black miserable. Black should go for e5 as in Capablanca's line if he doesn't want to play h6.

Basically with b6, h6 can only help you! With e5 plans, it can only hurt you!
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #23 - 10/17/11 at 13:42:46
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BabySnake wrote on 10/17/11 at 12:42:39:
That's a very interesting approach from Aronian! I think I saw this game annotated on chessbase, can't find it right now though.

A related question, how should white handle the "Lasker without h6"?

ie

6...Ne4

Is it possible to punish black for not playing h6 before Ne4? Possibly by setting up some kind of Qc2+Bd3 battery and gain a tempo later on?




Hasn't this been an eternal debate, ...h6 or not in the QGD? As I understood it, yes, Black might get hit by the battery, which gives White time to later on prevent e.g. c5, or do something else that is more useful than for Black to skip ...h6. The downside is that the move is a slight weakening of the kingside and this can encourage e.g. the pawn storm as played by Aronian.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #22 - 10/17/11 at 13:40:27
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MartinC wrote on 10/17/11 at 13:16:49:
Why shouldn't white be solid enough to 'get away' with it? The center is pretty stable and every white piece is fairly well placed for it. In fact it effectively develops some of them Smiley

I'd be rather surprised if black doesn't work out some route to survival, but its certainly entirely logical to try this. Presumably far from just aiming at mate, but also kingside space etc as per multiple fairly similar lines.


I guess you are right, the more I look at it, the more logical it seems. On the other hand, Black's play seems a bit slow, there must be improvements.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #21 - 10/17/11 at 13:16:49
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Why shouldn't white be solid enough to 'get away' with it? The center is pretty stable and every white piece is fairly well placed for it. In fact it effectively develops some of them Smiley

I'd be rather surprised if black doesn't work out some route to survival, but its certainly entirely logical to try this. Presumably far from just aiming at mate, but also kingside space etc as per multiple fairly similar lines.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #20 - 10/17/11 at 12:42:39
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That's a very interesting approach from Aronian! I think I saw this game annotated on chessbase, can't find it right now though.

A related question, how should white handle the "Lasker without h6"?

ie

6...Ne4

Is it possible to punish black for not playing h6 before Ne4? Possibly by setting up some kind of Qc2+Bd3 battery and gain a tempo later on?


  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #19 - 10/17/11 at 12:05:48
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punter wrote on 07/26/11 at 01:46:48:
You may go for king side attack with 10.h4 and 11.g4 !
Like this:



Any help for Black against the kingside pawn storm? I can't believe White is solid enough to get away with this.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #18 - 08/17/11 at 15:18:41
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The "Capablanca freeing move", e5, is not a panacea in this position. GMs definitely prefer to play white since there are really only two possible results and White has excellent chances to prove that his advantage is more than just symbolic. There are several GM games from the last decade which have shown how difficult it is for Black to survive after ...e5.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #17 - 08/17/11 at 15:01:08
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I think e5 is risky (but probably playable) specifically because of the extra move h6, which weakens the black kingside.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #16 - 08/14/11 at 19:52:42
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Smyslov_Fan wrote on 07/25/11 at 22:55:22:
I figured this could use a bump since the variation is being discussed in the General Chess section.


If my old memory is good , it's the same position than the orthodox (Capablanca- Alhekine ) with the usefull extra move h6. Instead of playing b6 black can play e5 no
  

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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #15 - 07/26/11 at 11:37:29
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Smyslov_Fan wrote on 01/08/11 at 17:36:15:
Thanks all, for your initial comments.

From a practical perspective, I don't mind facing it in an OTB game, but I haven't found a way to play for the win in correspondence.

Matemax, which correspondence database are you using, chessbase's?


There is an old anti-tartakower line which is to my knowledge not so well covered by theory and may be interesting for correspondence chess as there is lot of space for improvements.
6....h6 7.Bxf6 Bxf6 and now Qd2!?
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #14 - 07/26/11 at 01:46:48
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You may go for king side attack with 10.h4 and 11.g4 !
Like this:

  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #13 - 07/25/11 at 22:55:22
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I figured this could use a bump since the variation is being discussed in the General Chess section.

  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #12 - 01/11/11 at 16:26:51
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BPaulsen wrote on 01/11/11 at 13:35:49:
Matemax wrote on 01/11/11 at 12:10:33:
I am not sure about the value of ...a5. Lot's of games ended up White playing a4 at some point and practically playing with a pawn up


That's pretty much the point of the main line for white. Trying to win that.

Of course, doing it requires some very special skill. If you're not Karpov, you're probably not winning it.

The problem is that black's task is easier than white's.


Black's task to hold a draw - if I only ever would get position with 2 possible results  Roll Eyes
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #11 - 01/11/11 at 13:35:49
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Matemax wrote on 01/11/11 at 12:10:33:
I am not sure about the value of ...a5. Lot's of games ended up White playing a4 at some point and practically playing with a pawn up


That's pretty much the point of the main line for white. Trying to win that.

Of course, doing it requires some very special skill. If you're not Karpov, you're probably not winning it.

The problem is that black's task is easier than white's.
  

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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #10 - 01/11/11 at 12:10:33
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I agree that the Lasker is a very tough nut to crack. The following position - Black's last move was 16...Nf6 - is a topical example.

Perhaps someone here has an idea?

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Quote:
MNB: The line Topalov chose looks very equal indeed: 16.Qa4 a5.

I am not sure about the value of ...a5. Lot's of games ended up White playing a4 at some point and practically playing with a pawn up
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #9 - 01/11/11 at 11:44:24
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Smyslov_Fan wrote on 01/08/11 at 17:36:15:
Matemax, which correspondence database are you using, chessbase's?

Opening Master version January 2011 with about 950.000 corr. games
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #8 - 01/08/11 at 17:36:15
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Thanks all, for your initial comments.

From a practical perspective, I don't mind facing it in an OTB game, but I haven't found a way to play for the win in correspondence.

Matemax, which correspondence database are you using, chessbase's?
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #7 - 01/07/11 at 16:44:55
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Indeed the Lasker Variation looks very drawish - but as I consulted my corr. Database which has 491 games with it I was surprised to see the following statistics:

White wins: 140
Draw: 240
Black wins: 101


and there are a lot of recent games which where NOT drawn - if think of computer use that's even more surprising

But it just tells us, that this variation is playable for both sides like so many others and no "dead by draw" in sight...
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #6 - 01/06/11 at 17:00:48
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Ametanoitos wrote on 01/06/11 at 12:24:50:
The same positions some years back were evaluated as favourable for White. Today we say that Black equalises. It is something in between i think.

Also Epishin's plan with Be2-Rxc4-Bf3 is logical. Black can play ...e5 and again "equalise" but White has also a comfortable position with chances for an advantage.

Bryan, we stopped our discussion of the Bf4 variation with the conclusion that Black is OK (after a new idea i found on the early a3 variation after Nbd7). Have you found something more convincing for White?


Convincing may not be the right word, but something that seems to be just as good a try for white as allowing the Lasker/Tartakower complexes? Sure.

6. e3 Nbd7 7. a3 c5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. dxc5 Nxc5 11. Be2. The line tends to result in +=/= endgames, some being B versus N after a liquidation of white's b-pawn for black's d-pawn.

It's nothing huge, but I'd take that position over the Lasker's equality. A draw is probably the right result anyway, but black is going to have to work harder for it, while white risks nothing.

I don't think white has anything real in the QGD/Catalan complexes if black is thoroughly prepared, so white pretty much needs to just be able to use everything.
  

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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #5 - 01/06/11 at 12:24:50
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The same positions some years back were evaluated as favourable for White. Today we say that Black equalises. It is something in between i think.

Also Epishin's plan with Be2-Rxc4-Bf3 is logical. Black can play ...e5 and again "equalise" but White has also a comfortable position with chances for an advantage.

Bryan, we stopped our discussion of the Bf4 variation with the conclusion that Black is OK (after a new idea i found on the early a3 variation after Nbd7). Have you found something more convincing for White?
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #4 - 01/06/11 at 03:13:55
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As a practical try just go straight down the main line given by Khalifman in his old book, or the one used by Karpov. Black will have to know all of the theory to equalize, and it's not completely trivial.

From a theoretical perspective I'm a much bigger fan of 5. Bf4, so I just avoid it outright.
  

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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #3 - 01/06/11 at 00:23:20
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Come on! The fashion changes, i can understand this but chess understanding is not. In the past it was considered that almost every line in the Lasker is slightly better for White. Now most are considered equal.

In reality Black is ALMOST equal but not quite so in the main line with Qc2+Qxc3 or Qc2+bxc3 or Rc1+Rxc3. Especialy in the last case White has the normal advantage. This kind of slightly worse positions are not a problem for modern GMs, so the fashion changes again in favour of the Lasker but the truth is that there is no reason of "fear" for any average club player. In you fear the Lasker what you are going to do against the KID? Or even worse against the Grunfeld that is considered nowdays very reliable?

Just pick a main line an enjoy a sound position with great winning chances. In theory? White is better, but Black is OK, so everyone is happy.
  
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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #2 - 01/05/11 at 23:26:56
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The line Topalov chose looks very equal indeed: 16.Qa4 a5.

You might take a look at 5.e3 0-0 6.Rc1 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.cxd5 Nxc3 10.bxc3 exd5 11.Bd3 eventually developing the Knight to e2. Black can avoid this with 5.e3 h6 6.Bh4 Ne4. I am not sure about White's extra options here: 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.Nge2 is quite original. So 5.Rc1 is also to be considered.
All this probably won't work against Anand either, but how often are you going to meet him?
  

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Re: How to combat the Lasker Variation?
Reply #1 - 01/05/11 at 20:08:04
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avoid it with the exchange!?!?
zatara
  
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How to combat the Lasker Variation?
01/05/11 at 18:35:42
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Hi,

I hate admitting this, but the Lasker Variation (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 h6 6.Bh4 Ne4) is giving me a terrible headache.

I read the commentary to the Topalov-Anand world championship game and it seems that the Lasker really does equalise on the spot.

How can white play for an advantage against this nefarious beast?
  
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