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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??! (Read 13874 times)
Uberdecker
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #40 - 04/25/06 at 14:47:29
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Dear Craig,

  After 2. ...Ktc6 ; 3. Ktc3 (what else do you suggest?) Ktf6 ; 4. Ktf4?! , Black indeed answers 4. ...e6 with the option of a further ...d5, but the drawbacks of Kth3-f4 will be more clearly outlined if he just completes his development in analogy with the Closed Sicilian (...g6/...Bg7/...0-0/...Rb8/...b5). Then White's Kingside counterplay will be completely blocked until he retreats the Knight to -e2 or -h3, thus losing 2 full tempi.

4. g3 d5 ; 5. ed Ktxd5 ; 6. Bg2 Ktxc3 ; 7. bc g6 ; 8. 0-0 Bg7 ; 9. Ktf4 does however look reasonnable for White. At least there's no risk of him being at a great disadvantage.

                                                            Regards,
                                                               Hubert
  
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Armchair Grandmaster(Guest)
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #39 - 04/24/06 at 21:10:58
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[quote author=Uberdeker link=1124180248/30#37 date=1145871354]By the way, 1. ...c5 [b]is[/b] a developping move. It opens up 3 squares for the Queen.[/quote]

Well, typically we think in terms of proper development as pertaining to the minor pieces in the very early stages. Of course there are exceptions.

Your suggestions for black's play seem good, and no one appears to be contending that 2. Nh3 does not have drawbacks that are not too hard to point out. Remember, however, that the knight is not commited to spend the rest of its life on the "poor" h3 sqaure; indeed, it may seek glory avenging itself against those that scoff at its humble beginnings. Also, I am not convinced your lines consistently give best play for white, or that you have demonstrated a theoretical advantage for black.




  
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CraigEvans
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #38 - 04/24/06 at 12:08:07
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Hubert, after 2.Nh3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6, why is white playing 4.g3? I see (or rather, since this is blindfolded, can think of) nothing wrong with 4.Nf4, eyeing the d5 square (discouraging black from ...e5), (temporarily) preventing black's thematic ...d5, and in some lines if black castles kingside without a fianchetto, eyeing the h5 square. Since ...c5 does not allow either of the bishops to be developed, whereas 1.e4 allows the Bf1 to go to c4 or b5, it is clear that despite the tempo spent in Ng1-h3-f4, white still has a lead in development. It's not clear to me that 3.Nc3 is the most accurate move order (since now it would cost tempi to evict black's knight from d4 should it settle there), but white's position looks fine to me. I assume 4...e6 is the logical follow-up (preventing a knight sortie to d5 while preparing the pawn break himself), but I see no worries for white here.

Also, it is not clear that there is anything wrong with white's position after 4.g3 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 - I wouldn't fear doubled c-pawns, with the rook coming to b1, and the nice open diagonal for the bishop on h1-a8.

Well, I did say 3.Ng5 was crazy. Still, 3...e5 4.d3 might be a way to play in hypermodern style, albeit badly. And how many people would be able to resist the temptation to win a pawn and kick white's knight around with 3...h6?
  

"Give a man a pawn, and he'll smell a rat. Give a man a piece, and he'll smell a patzer." - Me.

"If others have seen further than me, it is because giants have been standing on my shoulders."
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Uberdecker
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #37 - 04/24/06 at 09:35:54
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By the way, 1. ...c5 [b]is[/b] a developping move. It opens up 3 squares for the Queen.
  
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Uberdecker
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #36 - 04/24/06 at 09:00:16
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2. Kth3 is [b]not[/b] a non-commital waiting move. It commits the Knight to a poor square. The problem is not so much lack of control over -d4 (as previously discussed), but over -e5, as witness the lines 2. ... Ktc6 ; 3. Ktc3 Ktf6 ; 4. g3 d5 and 3. g3 d5
It would be nice if "Brick" enthusiasts did not ignore Black's suggestions...

2. ...d5 ; 3. Ktg5 e5 is simply bad for White.
  
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CraigEvans
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #35 - 04/24/06 at 08:41:04
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The more I look at 2.Nh3, the better an idea I think it is. If white can play Nf4 and black is forced to respond with ...e5, then d5 is a hole and a half. Also, in many sicilian lines (especially dragonesque ones), black plays Nd4, with a view to forcing concessions such as a clamping pawn on d4 after Nf3xd4, which also forces white's c3 knight to move, or exchanging off white's f3 knight. Here, neither option is available (or, rather, the latter is unavailable while the former is less attractive, with the option of c3).

I'm not usually a fan of flexible play, and usually commit myself to moves like f4 early, but I feel that 2.Nh3 might actually be, if not a try for advantage, an option which gives white equality in a unique position in which he has prospects. This is discounting the reversed Albin, which seems like a way of giving black a pleasant edge out of the opening.

I'm just wondering about something crazy... 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3 d5 3.Ng5!? h6 4.Nf3 dxe4 5.Ne5 is a reversed Fajarowicz with ...h6 thrown in - maybe this gives white the option of something like Qh5, where ...g6 can be met by Nxg6 due to the weakening of this square with his little ear on h6. If black has to play 5...a6 (I believe 4.a3 is considered strongest against the Fajarowicz variation, although I must confess that I haven't played it myself), then white may have 6.Qh5 immediately, or perhaps will choose to just play 6.f3 and open the f-file. If black refrains from the second little ear, then maybe 6.Bb5+ is the move, playing in usual Fajarowicz fashion?

Of course, 3.exd5 could well just be fine for white, too - I imagine 3...Nf6 would be the move, where in analogy with 1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5, white hasn't "weakened" his position with f4, and white may even have the possibility of Nf4 to hold the pawn (or, more likely, to exchange for the knight on d5 after ...Nxd5), to then gain a tempo on the queen with Nc3. Of course, these are all just general ideas, which may prove to not work in analysis, but it certainly merits attention.

We have the first textbook on 1.e4 c5 2.a3 - maybe someone could write the first monograph on The Brick?
  

"Give a man a pawn, and he'll smell a rat. Give a man a piece, and he'll smell a patzer." - Me.

"If others have seen further than me, it is because giants have been standing on my shoulders."
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bckm
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #34 - 04/24/06 at 03:02:14
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All very true, but I did not say White was giving up control of d4, just that he wouldnt fight for it.  Yes, c3 is available, but c3 and Nf3 control d4 better than c3 alone.  I also affim that the knight is better on f3 because it fights for or controls two central squares (d4 and e5), whereas on f4 it fights for or controls only one (d5).  Neither square is bad, of course, nor is more time on the clock, and you're absolutely right about the psychological effects of playing such a move as Nh3 - having played it on more than one occasion myself (albeit on the first move), I should know.  I got more rolled eyes, arched eyebrows and even a couple of audible scoffs when I played stuff like 1.a3 and 1.Nh3, and it was worth every second I gained on the clock seeing how they reacted...  Grin  

Although I was 2-2 with 1.Nh3 (the two losses were to the only other person in the world who I had ever seen playing 1.Nh3 in tournament - he was a good friend and I was paying him homage by playing it against him), I was 7-2 with 1.a3, but after a while I just lost interest in it...

The fact that we can play stuff like 1.e4 and 2.Nh3, or even 1.Nh3, and we can't just simply sit back and pompously spew dogma like "Nh3 is bad because..." (unless it really IS bad, which I doubt), and this kind of "friendly debate", are only two of the reasons I love chess and think it is the great game it is...
  
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #33 - 04/24/06 at 00:13:48
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Well, again 1...c5 is not a developing move in reality. The knight will be more active on f4 by virtue of the fact that it controls more squares in black territory than on f3. Again, Nh3 may not be the most pressing try, but it is technically a developing move!

2. Nh3 certainly does not announce a lack of interest in d4, the move c3 is still an option. In the event that black decides on ...e5 before or if white commits to a kingside fiancetto the a2-g8 diagonal may become attractive. The point is not to follow up with any one idea per se, but to remain flexable. Flexability can sometimes actually be an upside to "losing" a tempo.

I reaffirm that the main idea of this "Brick" is that many aggressive minded (especially non professional) Sicilian players may assume that it is worse than it actually is and incur some incorrect positional judgement or evaluation. Of course, more time on the clock is always welcome as well!



  
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bckm
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #32 - 04/23/06 at 19:52:59
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In my humble opinion the main point of 2.Nh3 is to gain a few minutes on the clock in the opening.  I don't see how the knight is more active on f4 than it is on f3.  If I was Black, I would drool over the d4 square that White said he didn't want to fight for when he played 2.Nh3, and play 2.Nc6, and ...e5 would be one of my other candidate followup moves.  This is a familiar theme in the Closed Sicilian, and in many other openings as well (i.e. the Botvinnik System, where Black could follow up with ...Nge7, fianchettoing the KB, ...a6 and ...b5, and maybe even ...f5).  This is the opening, and not a closed opening, so "squandering" a tempo is, or very easily can be, significant.  Even if the point of Nh3 is to follow up with f4, White had that option anyway, and has shown his hand (i.e. to play f4) before Black has committed to a specific structure.  Thus, Black could play a system where f4 is irrelevant (the ...e6 systems come to mind).  The simple fact is that White is not trying to control the center, either through occupation by pawns or control by pieces, so this gives Black a much freer hand.

Of course, White can get away with more than Black can in the opening, so I doubt 2.Nh3 can be "refuted", but it seems contrary to the quick development and central control that White most often needs in the e4 openings.


This is from someone who has played stuff like 1.a3 and 1.Nh3, so go figure...  Wink
  
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #31 - 04/21/06 at 00:46:24
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Well, a lot of theortically "inadequate" moves have good practical results, especially among non professionals. I doubt anyone is insinuating that 2.Nh3 is the most pressing try, just that if black gets overconfident he may get rolled.

Gambit lines are always risky, and many are theoretically questionable, but they still rack up a lot of points in club play. Also, no one is afraid of ...Bxh3, I assure you.
  
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Uberdecker
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #30 - 04/20/06 at 13:37:31
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1. e4 c5 ; 2. Kth3 Ktc6 ; 3. g3 d5 is problematic for White.

The line 2. ...d5 ; 3. d4 de ; 4. d5 is perhaps even worse for White than the Albin is for Black since, as Craig points out, the Knight is misplaced on -h3. And of course ...Bxh3 on the 3rd move or later must be seriously considered.
Add to this the fact that Black has other valid 2nd move alternatives and 2. Kth3 may be considered inadequate.
  
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CraigEvans
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #29 - 04/20/06 at 13:07:08
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I'm not sure that black is playing for more than equality - there are several fianchetto systems where white develops the knight at h3, and if white follows up with 3.g3 I can't see that there's any huge problems with him doing so here (although, of course, I cannot claim this to be an attempt at getting an advantage with the white pieces. And the concept of Ng1-h3-f4-d5 to target the weakened d5 square is seen in other positions, not least against the Budapest Gambit, so it seems like a little more than a cheap trick to me.

However, the idea of a reversed Albin looks weaker, since there is no line of the Albin to my knowledge where ...Nh6 is played, white has immediately lost the possibility of f3 followed by Nxf3, and any attempt to hold a pawn on d5 by Nf4 will meet ...g5!? Of course, there's the small idea of 2...d5 3.d4 Bxh3 4.gf de where black can look to get something settled on the tasty f3 square which has been weakened. I would be more interested in playing gambit-style with 3.g3/g4, possibly intending something like 3.g4 dxe4 4.Ng5 Nf6 5.h3, where black cannot hold the pawn on e4, and play could be similar to the Reti Anti-French in some lines.

Perhaps 2.Nh3 is junk, but it's certainly worth trotting out against booked-up opponents. 2...e6 looks like a sensible reply to me since the Nh3-f4 manoeuvre carries less point then.
  

"Give a man a pawn, and he'll smell a rat. Give a man a piece, and he'll smell a patzer." - Me.

"If others have seen further than me, it is because giants have been standing on my shoulders."
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #28 - 04/20/06 at 12:15:02
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Black is playing for more than equality after the decentralising 2. Kth3
Not because it is off the beaten track, but because it carries no point apart from a few cheap tricks after 2. ...d6 ; 3. g4
In my opinion 2. ...Ktc6 and 2. ...d5 offer excellent prospects to Black.
  
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #27 - 04/20/06 at 03:56:25
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This idea should not be taken lightly just because its off the beaten track. There is some positional justification and black will still have to fight carefully for equality. For one thing, as dynamic as the Sicilian can be, 1...c5 is technically not a developing move, so white has even more of an edge here. So sqandering a tempo to manoevre the knight to f4, where it is more active than f3, is not ridiculous. Now, with the pawn on c5, black's natural mechanism to dislodge such a piece, ...e5, involves a loosening of the light squares.

Still, the move is decentralizing, I suspect the path to equality involves an early ...d5, but I don't doubt there are a lot of ways to get busted if one is unprepared.
  
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Re: The "Brick" 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3??!
Reply #26 - 04/01/06 at 16:23:31
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I have tried the albin line with 1.e4 c5 2.Nh3 d5 3. d4 Bxh3 4.gxh3 and other than keeping the game off balance, there is nothing for white.

Does anyone have any concrete winning lines for white or does white have to imagine it over the board.

-KB
  
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