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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!? (Read 7675 times)
Vass
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #10 - 12/05/11 at 09:44:09
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Well, it's a good try, Kazzy...with this 9.f5!?(N)  Wink
As I said before this 8.f4!? is a very good practical weapon.. You prove it in your game, too.. That's for sure!.. But my point is...is it really sound?  Roll Eyes Even in this game of yours you give some good alternatives for black. I have to admit that I'm stuck to correspondence chess and thus I always try to find the sound approach in the openings I play, not the practical one. In other words I can't rely upon the pure surprise.. It's unhealthy, you know..  Wink
Anyway, I still dig into that variation with 8.f4!?.. Even if I can't prove chances for some white advantage...it will be useful for my overall understanding of this Botvinnik setup.  Cool
  
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #9 - 12/04/11 at 13:50:34
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Hey all,

yesterday I had the opportunity to give 8. f4!? a try in an OTB game:


After 8... Be6 the standard move is 9. d3 for sure, although I think 9. f5!? (N?) is an interesting pawn sacrifice, at least in an OTB game (I dont play any corr. games anyway Wink).  9... gxf5 may be more critical although 9... Bxc4 seems also playable.
13... Rb8 is a mistake; my opponent missed 16. Qc2 after which the double threat of Qxc6 and Qc4+ gives White a big advantage. 13... Qb8 is the only move to test White's setup but White seems to have enough compensation after 14. Bg5.

Any thoughts on this?

Marin considers 8... Be6 as the most logical move after 8.d3, maybe its possible to avoid this move starting with 8.f4!?.

  
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Vass
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #8 - 11/22/11 at 07:57:05
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Katalyst wrote on 11/19/11 at 20:15:17:
It's early days yet - it will take a few moves to start making solid evaluations.  The computers do it by following the programs humans gave them, sometimes they are right, other times not so much...

Right!.. And in this particular case...I wonder if they're right...or not..  Undecided
  
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Katalyst
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #7 - 11/19/11 at 20:15:17
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I agree White isn't developed enough to start storming the kingside, Black has developed well and has no weaknesses. But the centre is a different matter, with pawns on c4/e4/f4 White already has a pretty decent stake, if not the lion's share.

It's early days yet - it will take a few moves to start making solid evaluations.  The computers do it by following the programs humans gave them, sometimes they are right, other times not so much...
  
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #6 - 11/19/11 at 16:59:46
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Vass wrote on 11/18/11 at 22:33:14:
Well, but white is not fully developped to enter into a fight for the centre.

You can bring up that argument against 1.c4 too.
  

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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #5 - 11/18/11 at 22:33:14
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Well, but white is not fully developped to enter into a fight for the centre.. I think black has some good answers.. For example, e5xf4 followed by Rf8-e8 to force d2-d3 and next try the Bc8-g4 pin.. Another try can be Nc6-d4 at once..as you already mentioned.. In fact, I never fully analyzed this position. I think it's difficult to be precise here. In some variations white has to be prepared to sac the f-pawn for an attack against the black king when not fully developped (the B is still on c1 for example and the rooks are not connected). It's too hard to put an evaluation in most of the variations. While the engines usually give black are better. How do these silicon monsters such an evaluation...only God knows!..  Embarrassed
  
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #4 - 11/18/11 at 21:50:23
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Indeed. Fwiw I would play 8.f4. The Botvinnik system is designed for it so you will end up playing it anyway, and in some lines you can play d4 straight away gaining a tempo. I guess it is somewhat sharper than 8.d3, so it's probably one of those 'matter of taste' things.
  
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #3 - 11/18/11 at 21:24:54
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Vass wrote on 11/17/11 at 12:27:06:
Is this 8.f4 a really good move?

One way to answer this question is ask: what does it do to improve White's position? Well, it reinforces White's grip on the centre and activates Rf1. In addition we have to ask: is there some tactical problem? I don't see any.
Because of this the answer must be yes.
Now if 8.f4 is better or equally good as 8.d3 is an entirely different matter.
  

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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #2 - 11/18/11 at 18:54:34
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Katalyst, that was my impression too.

Far too often in my correspondence games, my opponent makes a novelty that comes straight from an engine even though hundreds of contemporary games may exist to show how humans approach the position. My opponent almost always gets into trouble by following this approach.

By following a novelty you devised (rather than an engine), you will have the edge against the great majority of correspondence players who  rely too heavily on their silicon partners. 

Of course, you should probably run your novelty against your computer a couple of times before playing correspondence, but I expect that you have already done that in preparation for your OTB games.
  
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Re: English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
Reply #1 - 11/18/11 at 18:39:40
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I can't see any reason it shouldn't be fine for corr as well as OTB. 

I bet 9 times out of 10 (in OTB at least) you will get ...Bg4 9.h3 and Black will give up a perfectly good bishop. 8...Nd4 looks preferable to me but there is nothing that White should be scared of imo. Why not give it a try and see what happens?
  
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Vass
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English Botvinnik setup for white - 8.f4!?
11/17/11 at 12:27:06
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In the outstanding books "The Dynamic English" by our Tony and "Mastering The Chess Openings, vol.3" by John Watson this move 8.f4 was mentioned as very interesting. The first player is trying to occupate the centre before black can push f7-f5.. The f4-f5 followed by h2-h3 and g3-g4 threat is obvious too. What is more, in some variations (after e5xf4 for example) white can push d2-d4 in one try.. As a first player I happened to meet this setup with Nf6, Nc6, g6 and Bg7 several times OTB with excellent results. Most of my opponents didn't react as they were obliged to.. Anyway, my question is: Is this 8.f4 a really good move?.. Marin never mentioned it - he gives only the 8.d3-setup in his great "GM Repertoire 3, The English Opening vol.1 1...e5". Of course, the two English experts Tony Kosten and John Watson give 8.d3 too, because this is the main continuation in the spirit of this Botvinnik setup. Anyway, this 8.f4 is an exccelent try OTB, but is it good enough for the correspondence chess, for example?!  Undecided
  
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