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Normal Topic Closed Catalan - 6. 0-0 Nc6!? (Read 561 times)
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Closed Catalan - 6. 0-0 Nc6!?
02/23/15 at 19:42:09
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I have for fun just played a few games against Shredder on my phone. It keeps playing the line 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 0-0 6. 0-0 Nc6!? This has actually been played by quite a few players (some that also play the Catalan as White), e.g. I. Sokolov, Radulski, Graf, Miladinovic, Gleizerov and Ehlvest.

Even though they are quite strong players, I could not find anything about this move (nothing about 6... Na6 either, even though Ponomariov has used it) in four different books: Bologan, Hilton and Ippolito, Avrukh or Davies and nothing from the games here at Chesspub. The moves considered are invariably either Open Catalan with ...dxc4 or Closed variations with either ...Nbd7 and ...c6 or similar.

I started looking at the line and found that Davies after all gives one game after transposition, and that is Gleizerov-Tsesarsky, Kursk 1987. We would reach this game after 7. Qc2 Nb4 and then 8. Qd1. If this is played, Black can choose 8 ...Nc6 if a draw is ok. Since I am interested in playing for more, I had a look at the lines with 8. Qb3 instead, the move I liked the bes. There are quite a few games in the variation, but nothing that leads to much of an edge for White. After 8...dxc4 9. Qxc4 Black can choose from two different continuations: 9...b5!? (Kengis-Hertneck, Germany 2000) or 9...b6.

Before posting this, I realized I have a fifth book, Raetsky and Chetverik. They consider these lines the first is given as an edge for White. Ribli considers this equal and I couldn't see anything particular for White either.
The second get the comment looks solid but is not too exciting for Black. I thought it seemed to be ok for Black, and not much for White. The game Rausis-Kualots, Sweden 2000, is mentioned, but also with an improvement.

If this is not enough, Black might also try e.g. 8...a5, which was played in Topalov-Kasimdzhanov, Leon rapid 2007. Finally, there are also many variations with ...Ne4, which may or may not be fully adequate for Black.

White may choose 7. b3 or 7. Nc3, which seem to score well according to Mega Database 2012, but when looking at the lines I can't find anything special for White there either.

Bottom line, it would have been nice to have some coverage of the move 6...Nc6!? in the other books. Or did I miss something? I might even give this a spin as Black. Any suggestions or comments?
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