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Normal Topic 12.a4 in the Keres Variation (Read 3058 times)
an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: 12.a4 in the Keres Variation
Reply #5 - 01/28/18 at 02:09:33
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When I suggested 14...c4, I had completely overlooked 17.Nxb5.
  
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Syzygy
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Re: 12.a4 in the Keres Variation
Reply #4 - 01/27/18 at 21:22:40
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@gillbod: Yes, I meant to write 17. bxc5. Thanks for catching the typo.

I saw 14...Bb7, and after 15. Nf1 exd4 16. Nxd4 g6 17. Ne3 Rc8 18. b3 Re8 Black does seem to be fine. I didn't consider it at first because 15. d5 seemed strong, but after 15...Nc5 16. Nf1 Bc8 17. Be3 Qb6 18. b3 Ng3 19. Rfc8 Black has untangled his pieces nicely.

@an ordinary chessplayer: In the variation with 14. Nfd2, 14...c4 leads to problems with the b-pawn after 15. Na3. I don't believe Black has enough compensation after something like 15...f5, defending with 15...Qb6 leads to 16. axb5 axb5 17. Nxb5!, and 15...bxa4 16. Bxa4 Nb6 17. Bc2 f5 18.Nab1! Qc5 19. exf5 Nxd5 20. Ne4 seems solidly better for white.

I dismissed 12...Rb8 as too risky since it gave up the a-file. However, after 13. axb5 axb5 14.b3 Bf6 15. d5 Qc7, Black threatens to simply close the position with 16...b4, and after 17. Bd2 g6, White lacks constructive ideas. Of course White has other tries, such as delaying the pawn exchange, playing 14. dxc5, or playing 14. Nbd2, but this is an interesting variation for sure.

After 12... b4 and 15...Nc5 in ECO, 16. N2b3 Naxb3 17. Bxb3 Nxb3 18. Qxb3 Qb6 19. Be3 Qb7 20. Nf5! does not look too pleasant for Black.

  
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Re: 12.a4 in the Keres Variation
Reply #3 - 01/27/18 at 19:05:30
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The only mentions I found of 12.a4:
  • Wade, Blackstock, Booth (1970) The Closed Ruy Lopez, page 52
  • Matanovic (1981) ECO C96, note 48

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Nd7 12. a4
  • 12... Bb7 13. Nbd2 cxd4 14. cxd4 Nc6 15. axb5 {ECO stops here += Schmid - Yanofsky, Lugano ol 1968 - Informant 6/384. The Closed Ruy Lopez continues that game to move 21, and another game Schmid - Kolvig, Tel Aviv 1964 to move 20. In neither game was black equal}))
  • 12... b4 {"is an idea, e.g."} 13. cxb4 cxb4 14. Nbd2 exd4 15. Nxd4 (15. Nb3 d3! = {ditto ECO} ) 15... Nc5 {"with active piece play" - The Closed Ruy Lopez. ECO gives =.}

The 12...b4 idea looks like it originates with Wade, Blackstock, and/or Booth. And ECO had nothing to add.

I do think 12...Bb7 looks like a misstep after 13.d5. Nice find! In other Chigorin variations black answers d4-d5 with ...Bb7-c8-d7, here black is awkwardly placed for that. So either 12...b4 or 12...Rb8. I don't think 12...Rb8 is great, frankly it looks suspicious on account of the c6 square, but if you prepare this as white you should look at it.
  
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Re: 12.a4 in the Keres Variation
Reply #2 - 01/27/18 at 11:55:22
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Welcome to ChessPub, and an interesting first post!

I've played the Keres for a few years, and have never faced 12.a4. It looks like a good try for white, for sure.

First thought, are you dismissing 12...b4 too quickly? There have been some rather strong correspondence players who have held the position after 12...b4 13. cxb4 cxb4 14. Nbd2 and now 14...Bb7 instead of your 14...exd4.

For your problem variation with 12...Bb7 and 14.Nfd2, I think you have a typo and you meant to write 17.bxc5? I'd have to look into this line a little deeper.
  
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Re: 12.a4 in the Keres Variation
Reply #1 - 01/27/18 at 06:33:31
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I don't play this opening with either color, but after 12.a4 Bb7 13.d5 Qc7 14.Nfd2, 14...c4 looks reasonable to me. Also, you neglected to analyze 12...Rb8, which is always one of the replies to a2-a4.
  
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12.a4 in the Keres Variation
01/27/18 at 01:18:54
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Hi everyone, this is my first post here on the ChessPub forum.

The Keres Variation, and especially the Graf variation, have become popular recently as a sound way of fighting the Ruy Lopez. However, I have discovered what appears to be a problem line for Black:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 0-0 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Nd7 12. a4!?

Now Black has two tries:

12...b4?! 13. cxb4 cxb4 14. Nbd2 exd4 15. Nxd4 Bf6 16. N2b3 is simply better for White.

12...Bb7 13. d5 transposes to a sideline of the "Saratov Variation." Then 13...Qc7 is best, intending a positional sacrifice after 14. b3 c4! 15. b4 Nb3!

However, White has the idea 14. Nfd2! f5 15. b4! Nc4 16. Nxc4 bxc4 17. dxc5, when I was unable to find equality for Black, ie. 17...Qxc5 18. Nd2 Qc7 19. a5! or 17...Nxc5 18. exf5 Rab8 19. Be3 Qa5 20. Bxc5 Qxc5 21. Be4, when Black appears to have insufficient compensation.

Thoughts on this variation?
  
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