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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Main Line Cambridge Springs (Read 17921 times)
Smyslov_Fan
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #40 - 09/23/05 at 00:11:35
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Inn2,

I can see your point about playing the Exchange variation earlier, but we're also talking about possible transpositions from Slav lines, so the actual move order may vary.

About 7.Nd2 in the main line Cambridge Springs looking "artificial":  when I first saw it I thought the same thing.  Then I started looking at concrete variations and fell in love with it.  Ok, so it's not a beauty, but it's here for the long haul.  (I'm not married to it, I just play it!  8) )
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #39 - 09/22/05 at 23:42:38
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apologies to smyslov_fan,  7. Nd2 is too artificial for my taste and if I wanted 6. cd5 (with Nf3 already in) I would have played it earlier! Smiley

@lost highway, what would you say is Black's best plan after 6. e3 Qa5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qd2 ?
  
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lost highway
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #38 - 09/21/05 at 11:06:55
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Well, it is far too big a subject to get into really, but plenty of experience over the years suggests that there is no real problem in the Exchange Variation if (and I repeat) Black knows what he is doing.  White has a slight initiative but Black has counterplay and if he knows the key ideas (Sadler's Queen's Gambit Declined scores very highly here) he can usually stymie White's minority attack.

Granted, Black isn't going to win too many games against strong opposition, but that's the price you pay for solidity most of the time.


Alumbrado -

I partly agree with your assessment...no real problem, but black needs to know what he is doing.  However, in the specific line I have been discussing with Smyslov_Fan, white has no "minority attack" left because I've taken his b and c pawns.  Also, the early middlegame positions that result look equal or better for black, so he should win just as many games (if not more) from those positions than white.

- Lost Highway
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #37 - 09/21/05 at 10:31:50
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Alumbrado,

I too like Sadler's book!  I disagree with you about how worried Black should be in this particular Exchange line, but that's what makes chess so much fun!  I love to fight out these disagreements over the board.  It's a shame that we probably will never meet otb, since when I go to England it's to visit relatives and see new/old sights and I'm sure you'd be vacationing if you ever came to Colorado. Smiley

(BTW, the posting you quoted was indeed by lost highway, but those were my words.  I think Lost would agree with you on your evaluation.)
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #36 - 09/21/05 at 08:23:35
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Alumbrado, that's exactly the point I've been trying to argue against!  White is doing just fine in this version of the QGD Exchange despite its reputation for being harmless!  The games I've shown are just a snippet of the real trouble Black has in the QGD Exchange with Nf3.
I believe this makes the discussion of the move order that much more critical. 
Posted by: lost highway Posted on: 20.09.2005 at 19:10:28


Well, it is far too big a subject to get into really, but plenty of experience over the years suggests that there is no real problem in the Exchange Variation if (and I repeat) Black knows what he is doing.  White has a slight initiative but Black has counterplay and if he knows the key ideas (Sadler's Queen's Gambit Declined scores very highly here) he can usually stymie White's minority attack.

Granted, Black isn't going to win too many games against strong opposition, but that's the price you pay for solidity most of the time.
  

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lost highway
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #35 - 09/21/05 at 06:20:41
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Smyslov_Fan –

I’m glad you enjoyed your food and drink.  Good food and drink is good for the mind, and helps you think better.  But too much would have the opposite effect. Wink

Your advice is certainly correct.  Always be careful (and suspicious) when thinking about grabbing a loose pawn offered or overlooked by your opponent.  In this particular case that we have been discussing, I have been careful.  The resulting positions generally become very open and both sides need to watch their steps. With careful play, black gets a safe and very playable game.  It may look risky at first, but if black knows what he is doing (like I think I do), the tide begins to turn and white may become nervous when he realizes that he really can’t blow black away.  Then, when black’s pieces start to deploy in threatening locations (Qc7 for example), white may regret the fact that he is a pawn down.

In the line we have in front of us now, after 14…Qb4, I would anticipate 15.d5 (there are other moves that are inferior) and then I would play 15…c5.  I’m happy with this.  Perhaps this may occur:  16.Qc2 O-O 17.Rb1 Qa5 and I would still be happy.  I don’t know if white would be as happy.

- Lost Highway
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #34 - 09/21/05 at 00:45:06
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Please, give my Fritz a break and believe that taking the c-pawn is hazardous for your health!!!


Sure. But white has to still look over his shoulders for Ragozin and Semi slav among others before he gets that position. That's lot of hard work. For lazi bums like me, that cure for all maladies, Nbd2, is still fun. Wink
  

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #33 - 09/20/05 at 21:32:22
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Lost,

My poor computer may have a cold right now Cry, but my brain is still ok. (At the moment, it's rather happy, having had a delicious Spaghetti Bolognese dinner served with a nice Pinot Noir.  Normally I prefer a Super Tuscan, but this Pinot from Turning Leaf was very satisfying. 8)  This is one of my household's favorite "comfort" meals!)

I still believe that White has clearly shown his advantage, and I'm not even pretending that the game I gave you is a perfect model.  As I stated earlier, it's a rather extreme example of how an unrated player can dominate even an expert when the expert gets greedy.  So, have some compassion for my poor, sick silicon friend, and look at the awful position I've asked it to defend. 

Please, give my Fritz a break and believe that taking the c-pawn is hazardous for your health!!!
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #32 - 09/20/05 at 20:06:10
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Lost,

It's amazing, but you're right:  when white wins in under 20 moves, Black has probably made a pretty big mistake.  Shocked

You correctly point out that 12...Be7 was not exactly the best move, but you neglect to point out that even after the best move, Black is, shall we say, "struggling".  In fact, I would again use this example to show my students what happens when you rely on a computer to analyse a game.  It's clear that White has plenty of compensation for the pawn, and I didn't show you a more complex game between stronger opponents because even an unrated player can find ways to attack in this position!

Ok, you may be saying right about now, "Show me."  Here's one idea that I tried against the silicon monster from the previous game position:



Kuemin,S - Berchtold,G (2070) [D52]
Pizol op Pizol, 1997

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 Qa5 8.Bd3 Ne4 9.0-0 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Qxc3 11.e4 h6 12.Bh4 Be7 [12...dxe4 13.Bxe4 Bd6 14.Rc1 Qb2 15.Bc2 0-0 16.Qd3 g6 17.Bg3 Bxg3 18.fxg3 Nb6 19.Bb3 (19.Ne5 Bf5) 19...Bf5 20.Qe3 Kg7 21.Ne5 Rad8 22.g4 Be6 23.Bxe6 fxe6 24.Qe4 (24.g5 Qxd4 25.Qxd4 Rxd4 26.gxh6+) ] 13.Bxe7 Kxe7 14.exd5 cxd5 15.Re1+ Kd8 16.Qe2 Qb4 17.Ne5 Qf8 18.Rac1 Nb8 19.Qc2 1-0

Amazingly, Fritz (playing in fast mode) lost in 24 moves.  It's a tremendous improvement!   Cheesy

Yes, I know that play can be improved, but why bother when all the GMs seem to know, "Don't try to win that c-pawn!!!"


SF -

Too bad, but even your silicon monster seems to have a glitch if it tells you to play 14...Qb2?   Grin  Time to send it back to the repair shop.  You can help the poor little thing by giving it a hint (14...Qb4)

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #31 - 09/20/05 at 18:53:08
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Lost,

It's amazing, but you're right:  when white wins in under 20 moves, Black has probably made a pretty big mistake.  Shocked

You correctly point out that 12...Be7 was not exactly the best move, but you neglect to point out that even after the best move, Black is, shall we say, "struggling".  In fact, I would again use this example to show my students what happens when you rely on a computer to analyse a game.  It's clear that White has plenty of compensation for the pawn, and I didn't show you a more complex game between stronger opponents because even an unrated player can find ways to attack in this position!

Ok, you may be saying right about now, "Show me."  Here's one idea that I tried against the silicon monster from the previous game position:



Kuemin,S - Berchtold,G (2070) [D52]
Pizol op Pizol, 1997

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 Qa5 8.Bd3 Ne4 9.0-0 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Qxc3 11.e4 h6 12.Bh4 Be7 [12...dxe4 13.Bxe4 Bd6 14.Rc1 Qb2 15.Bc2 0-0 16.Qd3 g6 17.Bg3 Bxg3 18.fxg3 Nb6 19.Bb3 (19.Ne5 Bf5) 19...Bf5 20.Qe3 Kg7 21.Ne5 Rad8 22.g4 Be6 23.Bxe6 fxe6 24.Qe4 (24.g5 Qxd4 25.Qxd4 Rxd4 26.gxh6+) ] 13.Bxe7 Kxe7 14.exd5 cxd5 15.Re1+ Kd8 16.Qe2 Qb4 17.Ne5 Qf8 18.Rac1 Nb8 19.Qc2 1-0

Amazingly, Fritz (playing in fast mode) lost in 24 moves.  It's a tremendous improvement!   Cheesy

Yes, I know that play can be improved, but why bother when all the GMs seem to know, "Don't try to win that c-pawn!!!"
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #30 - 09/20/05 at 18:10:28
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Hey, let's not worry about who we bore, as long as it isn't ourselves!

If they get bored, they can always read another thread.  There are hundreds out there.

The most important test of an offer of material is whether taking it is sound.  In this case, it's been offered numerous times, and I've only found two cases where Black played ...Nxc3.  In both cases, he got trounced.  Here's the most convincing one:



Kuemin,S - Berchtold,G (2070) [D52]
Pizol op Pizol, 1997

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 Qa5 8.Bd3 Ne4 9.0-0 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Qxc3 11.e4 h6 12.Bh4 Be7 13.Bxe7 Kxe7 14.exd5 cxd5 15.Re1+ Kd8 16.Qe2 Qb4 17.Ne5 Qf8 18.Rac1 Nb8 19.Qc2 1-0

OUCH!

You could transpose into this line by playing 10....h6 11.Bh4 12.Qc3 as Fritz suggests, but you're still gonna get blown away.  I'm glad you asked about this, because I now have another game to show my students about how to attack the uncastled King!

(How can games like this actually be boring?)


Smyslov_Fan –

It looks like you need to take your database to the repair shop.  All it seems to do is spit out bad games, bad moves, and bad statistics.  The latest example is that absurd Kuemin-Berchtold game it fed to you.  Poor Berchtold must have accidentally touched his bishop and had to move it to e7.  What else could account for 12…Be7? when the obvious (and much better) 12…de4 was right there in front of his face?  How does this stuff get in your database?  I’d turn the thing off for a while and give it a rest, or send it back for repairs.  Even one of your students would see 12…de4.  Wink

- Lost Highway


  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #29 - 09/20/05 at 09:30:22
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...[I]t makes sense just to leave it at home and play normal Exchange QGD lines, which are fine for Black if he knows what he is doing.




Alumbrado, that's exactly the point I've been trying to argue against!  White is doing just fine in this version of the QGD Exchange despite its reputation for being harmless!  The games I've shown are just a snippet of the real trouble Black has in the QGD Exchange with Nf3.
I believe this makes the discussion of the move order that much more critical.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #28 - 09/20/05 at 09:25:56
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GM Smagin has shown that cd5 after Black has played Qa5 allows for Nxd5 which is indeed considered to be good for Black according to Burgess & Pedersen in The Queen's Gambit for the Attacking Player.  I haven't done any extra research recently, but I do remember that Smagin crushed a few strong GMs as Black using that very weapon and I haven't seen that move order very much since.  (But I haven't been looking.)
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #27 - 09/20/05 at 09:18:40
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I don't get it.  Obviously if White plays cxd5 before Black has played ...Qa5 then Black has to take back with the pawn as ...Nxd5 drops the queen.  And in that case, after he has played ...exd5, the queen would be somewhat misplaced on a5 so it makes sense just to leave it at home and play normal Exchange QGD lines, which are fine for Black if he knows what he is doing.

The interesting question is, whether the lines with ...Nxd5 are any good for Black.
  

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #26 - 09/20/05 at 09:12:29
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@John,

The move order that we're using makes Nxd5 poor.  That's why we've been focusing on other ideas than traditional Cambridge Springs moves.  We've also been trying to get a reasonable Cambridge Springs despite the move order.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #25 - 09/20/05 at 04:28:58
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Hello,

I am probably confused at what is being discussed here, but don't see the theoretical relevance of the Short v Andersson game. (Autually in this particular game the Bf8-d6-e7, and Qd8-a5-d8 oscillating look like something a weak club player would come up with.)
          I thought that to make sense of Qa5, black should play n*d5, instead of e6*d5. Then in a gambit book, that I browsed they suggest that after 8Qd2 the old fashioned 8...Nd-b6 is better than the more common 8...Bb4 (Indeed this is what Kasparov played in a game against Karpov, and in match with Smyslov with white was very sucessful in 8..Bb4 line).
                    In the other main-line of the Cambridge Springs with 7.Nd2 they suggest 7..p*p is better than the more common 7..bb4.In 7...Bb4 they think white can get a edge in all lines

Bye John S
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #24 - 09/19/05 at 22:17:49
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Hey, let's not worry about who we bore, as long as it isn't ourselves!

If they get bored, they can always read another thread.  There are hundreds out there.

The most important test of an offer of material is whether taking it is sound.  In this case, it's been offered numerous times, and I've only found two cases where Black played ...Nxc3.  In both cases, he got trounced.  Here's the most convincing one:



Kuemin,S - Berchtold,G (2070) [D52]
Pizol op Pizol, 1997

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 Qa5 8.Bd3 Ne4 9.0-0 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Qxc3 11.e4 h6 12.Bh4 Be7 13.Bxe7 Kxe7 14.exd5 cxd5 15.Re1+ Kd8 16.Qe2 Qb4 17.Ne5 Qf8 18.Rac1 Nb8 19.Qc2 1-0

OUCH!

You could transpose into this line by playing 10....h6 11.Bh4 12.Qc3 as Fritz suggests, but you're still gonna get blown away.  I'm glad you asked about this, because I now have another game to show my students about how to attack the uncastled King!

(How can games like this actually be boring?)

  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #23 - 09/19/05 at 19:53:02
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Well, that's nice, but I don't play 9...Nxg5.  I play 9...Nxc3 here.  Maybe you'll find something for that.   Wink

On second thought, you don't have to bother checking your voluminous database if you prefer not to.  My guess is that this discussion is probably boring most people.   Grin

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #22 - 09/19/05 at 19:21:52
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@Lost Highway:

Guess what, Fritz agrees with you that 8...Ne4 is equal.

There's just one small problem, which is that GMs don't.

Here's one of the few games between highly rated opponents that I could find in which Black tried your 8...Ne4



Ulko,J (2459) - Burmakin,V (2567) [D52]
Petroff mem op St Petersburg (3), 09.02.2000

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Qa5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bd3 Ne4 9.0-0 Nxg5 10.Nxg5 Nf6 11.f4 h6 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.h3 Bxf3 14.Qxf3 Bd6 15.a3 Qc7 16.Rae1 0-0 17.g4 g6 18.Qg2 Rae8 19.g5 hxg5 20.Qxg5 Qe7 21.f5 Nh7 22.Qxe7 Rxe7 23.e4 Bg3 24.Re2 dxe4 25.Nxe4 Bh4 26.Rf4 g5 27.Rxh4 gxh4 28.Nf6+ Nxf6 29.Rxe7 Rd8 30.Bc4 Rxd4 31.Bxf7+ Kg7 32.Rxb7 Kh6 33.b4 Kg5 34.Be6 Kf4 35.Rxa7 Rd1+ 36.Kg2 Ne4 37.Rd7 Rc1 38.Rd3 Rc2+ 39.Kf1 Ng3+ 40.Ke1 Rh2 41.Bd7 Rh1+ 42.Kd2 Rxh3 43.Bxc6 Rh2+ 44.Kc3 Nxf5 45.b5 Re2 46.a4 Ke5 47.b6 Nd6 48.b7 1-0

I know, I know.  It's not fair posting a game in which the players are rated more 100 rating points apart to show that one side is better than the other. 

Oh wait, White was the lower rated player, and Black played the rare (probably prepared) line! Tongue
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #21 - 09/19/05 at 17:44:17
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Smyslov_Fan -

I'm not impressed with the Short - Andersson game you quoted.  Instead of Andersson's move, black equalizes with 8...Ne4.  Quote something for that.  Wink

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #20 - 09/18/05 at 21:37:26
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Let me add a bit more information regarding 6.cd5 ed5:

White has a 60% success rate which is still fantastic, but Black most often goes into the old Classical QGD with 7.e3 Be7.  Nearly 1/4 games are drawn within the first 25 moves, so White's success rate is based on longer games in which White really puts in the effort to win. 

White scores more than twice the number of wins that Black does.  Black's chances of winning seem to be based entirely on outclassing his opponent from an inferior but murky middlegame or endgame.  I can see why Fernando would fear the exchange after Black has committed Nbd7! 

There is a positive side for Black though; you would be in good company if you used this opening and lost.  Even Kasparov lost a game to Kramnik in their Blitz Match!  Mikhail Gurevich (one of my favorite players) seems to score the best with it as Black, but he usually outrates his opponents by 100-200 points when he tries it.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #19 - 09/18/05 at 20:54:06
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Let's just go with your first one, 7.e3 Qa5.

The main reason the pawn exchange on d5 is considered weak for White in the Cambridge Springs is that Nxd5 leads to variations which Simagin and others have proven to be very dangerous.  In the line that we're analysing, Black doesn't have that option.  In fact, playing ...Nbd7 is pretty rare in the last decade.

In the position after White plays 6.cd5 cd5 (since 1993 and in games where both players were rated over 2300), White has scored an astounding 65%-35%.  I will present just one game here, which is rather famous. 

I no longer think that White has a small edge.  Rather, White has an excellent position where he has very little chance of losing.  If Black isn't careful (or even if he is), he can get stuck in a very uncomfortable situation playing a miserable position for thirty or more moves just to scrape a draw.  Here's the game:



Short,N (2660) - Andersson,U (2635) [D52]
Keres mem Tallinn/ Parnu (9), 29.06.1998

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Qa5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.Qc2 0-0 10.0-0 Re8 11.a3 h6 12.Bh4 Qd8 13.Rae1 Be7 14.Bg3 Nf8 15.h3 Be6 16.Ne5 N6d7 17.f4 Nb6 18.f5 Bd7 19.e4 dxe4 20.Rxe4 Bf6 21.Nxf7 Kxf7 22.Qb3+ Ne6 23.Rfe1 Nd5 24.Nxd5 cxd5 25.Qxd5 Bc6 26.fxe6+ Kg8 27.Qf5 Bxe4 28.Bxe4 Qxd4+ 29.Bf2 Qd6 30.Qh7+ Kf8 31.Bg6 Ke7 32.Bxe8 Rxe8 33.Qe4 Rc8 34.Qxb7+ Rc7 35.Qe4 Bxb2 36.Bh4+ g5 37.Qh7+ Kd8 38.Qg8+ Ke7 39.Bf2 Bc3 40.Qf7+ Kd8 41.Qg8+ Ke7 42.Re4 Bd2 43.g3 1-0

  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #18 - 09/18/05 at 18:50:01
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I wouldn't go so far as to say it's equal after 6.cd5 ed5.  After all, White does continue to score with this line, even with the N on f3.  I do think that White's advantage is minimal.  The problem for the Cambridge-Springs player is that in order to prove that, he may have to give up the Cambridge Springs in this move-order.  I don't have a problem with requiring a player to be flexible, but for people short on time, the Cambridge Springs Defense becomes even less appealing if you can't use it all the time.


Ok then, pick one (try the last two if you want to live dangerously)

7.e3 Qa5  =
7.Nd2 Bb4  =
7.Qc2 Qa5  =
7.a3 Bd6  =
7.Ne5 h6  better than =
7.e4 de4  better than =

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #17 - 09/18/05 at 17:08:31
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I wouldn't go so far as to say it's equal after 6.cd5 ed5.  After all, White does continue to score with this line, even with the N on f3.  I do think that White's advantage is minimal.  The problem for the Cambridge-Springs player is that in order to prove that, he may have to give up the Cambridge Springs in this move-order.  I don't have a problem with requiring a player to be flexible, but for people short on time, the Cambridge Springs Defense becomes even less appealing if you can't use it all the time.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #16 - 09/18/05 at 16:46:29
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I don't want to say a lot more than I usually arrive at the Cambridge-Springs (or I could) via a Slav (or Semislav) move order.

Say 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6. cd5

would be what bothers me. It seems you have reached a very good version of the Exchange for white...


6...ed5 is equal

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #15 - 09/18/05 at 15:59:22
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I don't want to say a lot more than I usually arrive at the Cambridge-Springs (or I could) via a Slav (or Semislav) move order.

Say 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6. cd5

would be what bothers me. It seems you have reached a very good version of the Exchange for white...
  

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #14 - 09/18/05 at 15:43:48
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Fernando,

Hmmm, I'm gonna have to take a look at that.  It seems that the game transposes into an Exchange QGD, which wouldn't be covered in many Cambridge-Springs books.  But the question remains, can Black transpose back into the Cambridge Springs line. 

So instead of...
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. Nf3 c6 6. e3 Qa5

White plays 6.cd5 ed5 (presumably) 7.e3 Qa5.  What's the difference in real terms?
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #13 - 09/18/05 at 08:26:45
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My problem would be cd5 before Qa5 is played... as mentioned before, all that study for nothing... and I cannot see any book(s) and /or authors actually catering for that!
  

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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #12 - 07/08/05 at 07:09:57
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Shredder 9 refutes 8...Ke4"!" in 0.000000000000 s.  Grin
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #11 - 06/24/05 at 15:53:30
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"What's your recipe after [8 ...Ne4] 9 Nde4 de 10 Bh4 here?"

That’s a good question.  I don’t know if black has anything good after 10.Bh4.  I looked at my notes and saw that I had planned 10…h5 and then g5, trying to squeeze white’s bishop, but I apparently was too optimistic and overlooked the simple 11.h3! which stops that idea pretty effectively.  Maybe I have to give up on an early 8…Ne4 and tone it down a bit by playing the main line with 8…O-O.  Rats.  I thought I had something.  I guess there are good reasons why some lines are considered to be the main lines and others are not.  Thanks for the reality check.  My back-up opening against 1.d4 is the Benko Gambit.  That probably sounds schizophrenic when combined with the Queen’s Gambit Declined.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #10 - 06/24/05 at 08:49:31
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Interesting thoughts. What's your recipe after [8 ...Ne4] 9 Nde4 de 10 Bh4 here? Also, what do you think of 8 ...e5 9 Nb3 (9 de Ne4) Qc7 10 Be2 dc or ...Ne4?
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #9 - 06/24/05 at 07:49:06
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7.Nd2 Bb4 8.Qc2 Ne4! 

This move avoids most of the extensive theory in the 8…O-O main line.  After 8…O-O in the main line, white could play 6 or 7 reasonably good moves, and black would need to know how to handle all of them.  For example, 9.Bxf6, 9.Be2, 9.a3, 9.Nb3, 9.Bh4, 9.cd5, 9.Rc1, 9.Bf4, and even 9.h4 or 9.c5.  This is too much for me at my level and with my limited study time, so I go directly into a more focused and forcing continuation with 8…Ne4.  I don’t believe it is necessary for black to O-O yet.  I remember an old piece of advice from one of the greats (I forget who) that cautioned “castle if you must, but not just because you can” or something like that.  After 8.Qc2, black can castle, but that move doesn’t put any immediate pressure on white.  It feels passive, like black is simply responding to white’s moves, rather than making white respond to his.  One of the main line variations goes like this:  8.Qc2 O-O 9.Be2 dc4 10.Bxf6 Nxf6 11.Nxc4 Qc7 12.O-O ugh.  I’m not playing the Cambridge Springs to get a soft position like this!  Black probably has to retreat his bishop to e7 and white just gradually increases his advantage without having to worry about any counterplay from black.  Or, in another one of the main lines (perhaps the one you had in mind), black plays 9.Be2 e5 but white has 10.de5 Ne4 11.Ncxe4 de4 12.Rd1 Nxe5 13.O-O Bxd2 14.Qxd2 Qxd2 15.Rxd2 Be6 16.b3 f6 17.Bf4 Rad8 18.Rfd1 and here, in "The Cambridge Springs" by Krzysztof Panczyk and Jacek Ilczuk, the authors conclude "Thanks to his bishop-pair and domination over the d-file, White has a better ending."  I think that is an accurate evaluation.  I wouldn't want to play the black side in an OTB game.

In contrast with the passivity in the 8...O-O main lines, black can start immediate tactics with 8…Ne4!  Here is one likely possibility of how white’s play becomes limited and black seems to be forcing things:  9.Ncxe4 dxe4 10.Bf4 e5! (good now) 11.Bg3 O-O (this is needed now because the center is getting blasted open) 12.a3 exd4 13.exd4 Re8 14.O-O-O Bxd2+ 15.Qxd2 Qa6 16.Qb4 Nf6.  There is a lot of action that can be directed at white’s king position from this point.  A white player who would have felt comfortable playing against the normal safe main lines after 8…O-O would probably feel rattled here, thinking he had lost control of the game. 

Anyway, 8...Ne4 involves a lot less study time, I can easily remember the lines during an OTB game, and it puts pressure on white right away.  It may be that some of the 8...O-O main lines are just as good, but white has too many options along the way for me to contend with.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #8 - 06/24/05 at 00:23:45
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In re: What line should Black play ...e5:

1d4 d5 c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.Nf3 c6 6.e3 Qa5! 7.Nd2 Bb4 8.Qc2 0-0 9.Be2 e5!

This seems to me to be the main line of the Cambridge Springs.  John Nunn, in his one-volume opening book considers 8...e5 and 9..e5 to lead to unclear positions but doesn't give any games, just his analysis.  When I did a database check a few months ago, White was doing "ok" but not great with this line.  (This was about 56% which is average for White.  I usually limit my searches to games with players over 2300 FIDE and since 1993.  Both numbers are arbitrary, but generally give a good feeling for how top players handle the opening today.  I don't remember the parameters of the specific search in Chessbase.)

So, to make a short answer long, then get to the point again...

I still believe ...e5 to be the critical line for Black in the Cambridge Springs.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #7 - 06/23/05 at 22:47:01
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7.Nd2 Bb4 =   

In what line do you advocate that black play e5 as soon as possible?  e5 is generally not good for black.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #6 - 06/23/05 at 22:19:57
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Judging from the terrible time lag between posts on this opening, it just isn't very popular.  I've been working on a few positions with students, and Black seems to be fine after 7.cd5.  Granted, I have never played that against a very strong player, but as White, 7.Nd2 seems sensible.  I don't get great positions with it, but the better side seems to be able to win most of the time.  I know that seems to be an endorsement for the Cambridge Springs for Black.  However, if I spent hours on an offbeat opening I would hope to have a practical advantage over someone who hasn't studied it.  The Cambridge Springs seems too narrow-minded for today's game.  

Specifically, I believe that Black's best play against Nd2 is to castle first, then play ...e5 at the earliest possible moment.  The only problem is that White can figure that much out without any special study and figure out what to do over the board.  Hmmm, maybe Black needs to go look at other openings like the Hennig-Schara or the Chigorin for an offbeat opening with winning chances.
« Last Edit: 09/18/05 at 15:48:47 by Smyslov_Fan »  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #5 - 06/18/05 at 11:01:52
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7.Nd2 is just as good as any of the 4 or 5 main variations (7.Bxf6; 7.cd5; 7.Qc2; 7.Qb3; 7.Rc1).  I play the Cambridge Springs, and don't mind seeing 7.Qb3.  I just play 7...Ne4 and black is fine.  Same response works against 7.Qc2.  A lot of these line transpose or have basic similarities.  The exchange variation is no problem.  7...ed5 is fine and almost always transposes into one of the main variations.  But, black should not  play cd5, which gives white too much freedom on the queenside and doesn't help black's c8 bishop.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #4 - 06/18/05 at 10:21:19
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Quote:
Can anybody give me any guidance about which is the best/most annoying line for Black in the Cambridge Springs after
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. Nf3 c6 6. e3 Qa5 7. Nd2 (best) Bb4 8. Qc2.
Should I castle, play e5 immediately, or something else ???



Is 7. Nd2 now regarded as best? Tarrasch called it an ugly move, and much preferred Qb3. The advantage of the latter is one suspects most players of the Cambridge Springs would prefer not to see Qb3. What's happened to Qb3 since Tarrasch? I would also like to play the Cambridge Springs, but am never allowed to get there by those who much prefer the exchange variation. Hence my interest in the Tarrasch lines, since the exchange variation is not comfortable for Black (at least not when I'm Black). It's frustrating trying to get familiar with a line that you seldom get to employ.
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #3 - 06/17/05 at 19:40:37
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After 7.Nd2 Bb4 8.Qc2 Ne4 is already slightly better for black, and white has many mistakes to avoid, perhaps too many for most players under 2000.   Here's one example: 7. Nd2 Bb4 8. Qc2 Ne4 9. Bf4 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Bxc3 11. Rc1 Bb4 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Bd3 Nf6 14. Rd1 Ne4

  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #2 - 11/22/03 at 07:50:39
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Hello!

The Cambridge Springs is a solid opening and there are a lot of interesting and quite playable lines for Black. After 7. Nd2 you may be satisfied with a passive position with a pair of bishop by playing d5xc4 (I played it myself many times) or try to make things more complicated by playing e6-e5 or c6-c5 after some preparations. Actually, the attempt 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qd2 is supposed to be more ambitious and recently it is more popular, at least on GM-level. Besides, you should be ready to play the Exchange variation after 6. cxd5 exd5 7. e3 but at least White already cannot play the lines with Ng1-e2 since he has already developed his knight to f3.

The theory of Cambridge Springs is well developed but, compare to the more sharp opening lines, such as, for example, Botvinnik or Meran, it is not so deep and precise and so there are a lot of ideas to be discovered. I tried to cover all the lines as far as possible so you may try to rummage for ideas on the site, then we would go into details.  Smiley

All the best,
Ruslan
  
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Re: Main Line Cambridge Springs
Reply #1 - 11/01/03 at 19:38:11
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I play the cambrigesprings.

Provided white doesn't chicken out and flee to the exchange var I play 8...dxc

Play could follow 9. BxN NxB 10. Bxc4 Nd5 11. Rc1 0-0 etc....

Over the board the Cambrige springs is a great opening.  It's actually sound unlike some of the off beat suspect openings club players play for shock value.

The problem is.......... white usually sees where your headed and will usually bail out with the exchange var.

All that knowledge/study time gone!

  Todays most d4 players are prepared for the accepted, the declined,  or the slave etc...but the Cambrige springs is off the beaten track far enouph where most don't want to go there and try to avoid it.

Hence, I don't get to play it as much as I wish..... 

Personnaly I might change to the Lasker's var.  It seems like it might be good because you can get into it fairly quick before white knows what your doing.   It's passive....solid but passive.......sometimes the better prepared has the advantage i.e. over the board.  I'd take a passive position that I really know over a position that's full of fire and unclear....(IMO)



  
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Main Line Cambridge Springs
09/10/03 at 09:43:48
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Can anybody give me any guidance about which is the best/most annoying line for Black in the Cambridge Springs after
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. Nf3 c6 6. e3 Qa5 7. Nd2 (best) Bb4 8. Qc2.
Should I castle, play e5 immediately, or something else ???
  

"When I am White, I am because I am White. When I am Black, I win because I am Bogolyubov" (?!) - Efim Bogolyubov, noted chess player and optimist.
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