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Normal Topic Russian Defence (Read 4771 times)
NeverGiveUp
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #8 - 09/30/11 at 13:27:28
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Thanks for this Vass - I agree.

In this line black has to sack a pawn for reasonable compensation (bishop's pair in an open position; some initiative) which is most probably not entirely sufficient.

Your views are much appreciated and very relevant: because this is the most critical line of this whole system.

Some good news - taking on c6 is played relatively seldom.
  
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #7 - 09/30/11 at 07:34:31
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I think that when dealing with Geller lines one has to be very careful. I respect him as one of the best opening experts of our time. Studying many of his lines some twenty years ago (when there were no engines) and looking at them now I'm amazed how right he was back then. Anyway, I don't trust 10...Nc5 - it's against the common principles that the defence has to exchange pieces and not moving more than once or twice with the same piece. 11. Nb3!? seems as a good answer to this knight tango. While 10...Nxd2 seems good. The only problem in this line is that the second player has to be ready to sac a pawn (thus receiving the bishops' pair in an open game). Look at this game: K.Leenhouts 2393 - L.Winants 2504 (Belgium, 2007)

I think 14...Qb6 is better, but the equality is evident. For example: 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Qd2 d5 = So if black has to win it's not the setup that suits the task.  Wink
The only problem may be when white answers 13. dxc7 Qxc7 14. Nd4 Be4 15. Re1 Rfe8 16. Be3 Rad8 17. h3.. This is a typical Geller's venom. Black has some compensation for the pawn...but the better player will win..  Cool
  
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #6 - 09/29/11 at 13:08:57
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Thanks Vass - again you are hitting the hammer right on the nail here - this is a critical line of this variation. It has been played by Michael Tal, a great expert on the Modern Steinitz. 

It is discussed in Taylor's (quite good) book on the MS ("Slay the Spanish") who recommends 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. Re1 Bd7 7. Bxc6!? Bxc6 8. d4 Be7 9. Nc3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Bd7 followed by 0-0, Re8, Qc8, b5 and Qb7 when he says black is OK. Black is very solid here. I think Taylor may have a point - although most players would say += due to white having more space, with careful defence by black he should be fine.

Another related line which is also very critical (maybe even more than yours!) and is due to Geller is 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c3 Bd7 7. d4 g6 8. Bc6:!? Bc6: 9. de5: Ne4: 10. Nbd2. Now white is slightly better after 10. ... Be7?! but Taylor gives 10. ... Nd2: or 10. ... Nc5 (with the idea Ne6) as possible improvements.   

Rather than the Russian variation, Taylor recommends the move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.0-0 Bd7 6.d4! Nf6! which transposes to the variations above. I was hoping that with 5. ... Nf6 at least one of the two critical lines above could be avoided, but now it seems to me it doesn't make a difference.

If white doesn't go for the critical variations above but goes for the main line which is 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c3 Bd7 7.d4 g6 8. Re1 b5 9. Bb3 Bg7, then I think we've arrived at a very complex position where black is perfectly all right. It's like a closed Ruy Lopez main line variation but with the bishop on g7 rather than e7, which I think is advantageous for black. I've done some computer analyses of this position and (according to teh silicon beast) contrary to normal middle game lore in quite a lot of variations black is doing well by playing ed4: cd4: so allowing white the "ideal" center, but then pressurising it.
 
PS: I've send you a personal message.
  
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #5 - 09/29/11 at 11:15:53
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NeverGiveUp wrote on 09/29/11 at 10:36:39:
This stuff is interesting but quite risky for black - but he has a sound alternative in 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 Bd7, with the idea 7.c3 g6 8.d4 b5 9.Bb3 Bg7, a line Keres used to play. 

Agree. Another interesting setup for white is:

...And now 12. Nd5!? The resulting position after 12...Bf6 (though considered as =, because black doesn't have weaknesses) can have some poison for the second player.. For example: 12. Rb1 (the idea of 12. a4... 13. Ra3... and next Rg3 seems very good too, but black has some defence as per my home analysis) 12... Re8 13. f3 with future expanding on the queenside after b2-b4 and so on... The space white gained in this position can be useful for the first player if he knows what to do in an OTB game..  Wink
  
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #4 - 09/29/11 at 10:36:39
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This stuff is interesting but quite risky for black - but he has a sound alternative in 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 Bd7, with the idea 7.c3 g6 8.d4 b5 9.Bb3 Bg7, a line Keres used to play.
  
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #3 - 09/29/11 at 10:09:42
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White doesn't have to face these sharp lines - 9.Bg5 and 10.Bxh4 are of no use if the first player wants his +=.
It seems black has to prepare a line for 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 Na5 8. d4 Bb7 9. Nc3!?, too..
Then, after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 Na5 8. d4 Bb7 9. dxe5 Nxb3 10. axb3 Nxe4 11. Nc3!? d5 12. Nd4 Qd7 following F.Yates - D.Janowski (New York, 1924) the second player has to be prepared for 13. Bf4!? (and not 13. e6 played by Yates which is premature)..
And even after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 Na5 8. d4 Bb7 9. dxe5 Nxb3 10. axb3 Nxe4 11. Qe2 d5 (11... Be7 12. exd6 Qxd6 13. c4) the usual Spanish torture can be applied by, say 12. Rd1 Bb4 13. Be3 0-0 14. c3 Bc5 15. Nd4 Bxd4 16. cxd4 Qe7 17. f3 Ng5 18. f4 Ne4 19. f5 +=  Wink
Edit: I don't state here that my analysis of 11. Qe2 is definitive...or the best. My overall impression is that black has to face different setups where he struggles for his =, while white can choose between the forced draw as in the Alekhine game (with Rxe8) mentioned above...and more complicated continuations.
  
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #2 - 09/29/11 at 08:54:07
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Thanks for this Vass and welcome to this post!

I wouldn't rate this variation as very passive. In particular the line you're discussing: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 b5!? 7.Bb3 Na5, is quite agressive - black goes after the bishop's pair and unbalances the position. In fact these lines are razor-sharp which doesn't count as passive for me - it's just the question if black is OK y/n, which is admittetly debatable. 

If white would have a long variation at his disposal which ultimately results in a draw is not a major worry for me either.

I would have to look at your interesting suggestions in detail to give a proper judgement. I wonder though if after 11.Qe2!? black can't go 11. ... d5!? to get a kind of Open Ruy on the board.   

Another razor-sharp variation and quite fun is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 b5!? 7.Bb3 Na5 8.d4 Bb7 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bh4!? Nb3: 11.ab3: g5 12.Bg3 Ne4: and now white should sac a piece with 13.Ne5:! (Spielmann) de5: 14.Be5: f6 15.Qh5+ Kd7! with an equal position.

The subtle point of 8. ... Bb7! over the old main line Nb3: 9.ab3: Bb7 is that in the latter line, black gets in trouble after 10.Bg5! h6 11.Bf6: Qf6: 12.Qd3 Be7 13.Nc3 c6 14.d5! and black can't play c5 due to 15.Nb5: ab5: 16.Qb5:+ and Qb7:. If black delays swapping the Bb3, this line doesn't work because the Bb7 is protected by the Na5.   
  
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Re: Russian Defence
Reply #1 - 09/29/11 at 07:59:54
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Nothing's wrong with this setup, of course. The problem is that is quite passive. White has some good choices to make. If the first player wants a draw he can achieve it as per A.Aurbach - A.Alekhine, Paris 1922 which is in fact one of your given lines:

And here 20. Rxe8 is definitely better than 20. Re5 (played by Aurbach), although my analysis shows that black can achieve a draw if playing carefully. Not to mention that 18. Qd3!? can torture black for a long time and black has to struggle for a draw in the resulting endgame, too..
I think black struggles even after 11. Qe2!?.. (Don't know if it's played before.) For example:

The resulting endgame is a pleasure to play as a first player imho..
  
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Russian Defence
09/28/11 at 09:36:23
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The Russian Defence (C79) is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6!?. It is currently quite out of fashion, but is it bad? I don't think so. It leads to interesting and complicated positions. Some variations:

A]6.d4?! is not good after 6. ... b5 7.Bb3 Nd4: 8.Nd4: ed4: and after 9.Qd4:?? we have Noah's ark trap 9. ... c5 winning a piece because c4 is to follow.

B]After 6.Bc6:+ bc6: 7.d4 black is quite OK with 7. ... ed4: 8.Nd4: c5 9.Nf3(!) [after 9.Ne2?! Bb7 10.Ng3 g6! black is slightly better] Be7 followed by 0-0, Bb7 as in Spassky-Keres 1973.

C]After 6.Re1 black can go solid with 6. ... Bd7 or agressive with the interesting 6. ... b5!? 7.Bb3 Na5 8.d4 Bb7! with the idea 9.de5: Nb3: 10.ab3: Ne4: 11.ed6: Bd6: 12.Qd4 Qe7 and in this sharp position black is fine (13.Qg7:?! 0-0-0 or 13.Nc3 f5).

D]6.c3 is probably best but after 6. ... Bd7 7.d4 g6 8.Re1 b5 9.Bb3 Bg7 a complex position arises where I think black is quite OK.

All this makes me wonder - what's wrong with this variation and why is it out of fashion? What do you guys think?   
  
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