on 02/02/11 at 12:02:50:
In fact black does not have an easy life after 5.0-0(!) (Fisher, Timman) and must know very well what he's doing.
This applies to just about any opening variation. If you aren't familiar with a variation then naturally you will not play as well when it appears on the board, compared to a variation you are familiar with. Fortunately, Black has more than one good answer to the Exchange. Quote:
I've been playing the exchange RL for years with black now and have a solid system against it that has been played by Spassky and Kortschnoi. It's 5. ... f6 6.d4 ed4: 7.Nd4: c5 8.Nb3 Qd1: 9.Rd1: Bg4 10.f3 Be6, with the neat point 11.Bf4 c4! 12.Nd4 0-0-0 and white can't take on e6 because the knight is pinned. After 13.Nc3 the bishop goes to f7 and black is doing fine. Another point is 12.Na5 Bc5+ (hence Bg4 first to provoke f3) 13.Kf1 Bb6 with equality.
This is the most popular reply to 5.0-0 so it isn't surprising that Black equalises in this variation. Personally I quite like 5...Bg4 and 5...Be7. The latter was recommended in 'Dangerous Weapons' and White has been struggling to show anything for some time. Quote:
Fashionable nowadays is the retreat 8.Ne2!? where black is OK if he knows what to do and should play 8. ... Bd7 9.Nbc3 0-0-0, and go for the setup Re8, Bc6, b6 followed by Ng8-e7-g6-e5 and Bd6. Spasski played this against Fisher in their Yugoslavia match.
I guess you meant to include the moves 8...Qd1 9.Rd1. Here's the Fischer-Spassky game:
[Event "St Stefan/Belgrade m"]
[White "Fischer, Robert James"]
[Black "Spassky, Boris V"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O f6 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 c5 8.
Ne2 Qxd1 9. Rxd1 Bd7 10. Nbc3 Ne7 11. Bf4 O-O-O 12. Rd2 Ng6 13. Bg3 Ne5 14.
Bxe5 fxe5 15. Rad1 c4 16. Kf1 Bc5 17. Ng1 Bg4 18. Rxd8+ Rxd8 19. Rxd8+ Kxd8 20.
Nce2 Ke7 21. Ke1 b5 22. c3 Kf6 23. h3 Bh5 24. Ng3 Bf7 25. Nf3 g6 26. Nf1 g5 27.
Ke2 Bg6 28. N3d2 h5 29. Ne3 c6 30. Kf3 Bf7 31. Ndf1 a5 32. Ke2 Be6 33. Ng3 Kg6
34. a3 Bf7 35. Ngf5 Be6 36. Kf3 Bd7 37. Kg3 Be6 38. h4 Bd7 39. hxg5 Kxg5 40.
Nh4 Bg4 41. Nxg4 hxg4 42. Nf5 a4 43. f3 gxf3 44. Kxf3 Bf8 45. Ne3 Kh5 46. Nf5
The game is annotated in Mega Database by Ftacnik. Quote:
The exchange variation is quite drawish I'm afraid. However if you're a good endgame player you might outplay your opponent, for instance by getting rid of the doubled pawns while retaining the bishop's pair. It is very important to stick to the bishops' pair in most variations, because otherwise white has the better pawn structure (kings side majority) and black has nothing to offset this. Sometimes black can let go of the bishop's pair if he has resolved his doubled pawns or has other compensation for his slightly weakened pawn structure like the more active pieces.
I disagree. It's easier to win from an equal position than from a clearly inferior one, and the stronger player will almost always win. If your opponent draws in an equal endgame, then there's no reason to think that you would have undoubtedly beaten them in a sharper, more unbalanced position.
Additionally, if Black can create counterplay in the Exchange then his position tends to get better and better due to the increasing strength of the bishop pair as the position opens up. Lasker-Steinitz, Montreal 1894, Bragin-Frolov, Orel 1997 and Timman-Korchnoi, Leuwaarden 1976, are all good examples of this.
Of course, Black has several good options if he wishes to avoid an endgame directly out of the opening, including 5...Ne7, 5...Be7 and 5...Bd6 to name a few.