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Normal Topic Question about Moscow bishop exchange (Read 2933 times)
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Re: Question about Moscow bishop exchange
Reply #2 - 09/14/18 at 20:57:01
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A couple of bits:

Re 4. c4, some opening-theory website last year had a game in which Rozentalis "gave an excellent demonstration of White's chances in the typical position arising after 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 g6 8.f3 Nxd4 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.Qxd4."

Re 4. a4, I was reminded of something that appeared in Larry Evans' column in the 1970s ...

Q:  In the Sicilian I was faced with 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ to which I replied 3...Bd7, expecting 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7, etc.  White played 4. a4 instead and 4...Bxb5 didn't look attractive after 5. ab leaving White an open "a" file and an easily defended advanced pawn -- clogging up my Queenside.  I played 4...a6 and after 5. Bxd7+ Qxd7 6. a5 White obtained a bind on any Queenside expansion by Black.  What would you recommend?

A:  Ignore White's antics and pursue strict development with 4...Nc6.  If White ever plays Bxc6, Black can recapture with the Bishop and avoid doubling his "c" pawns.  4...Nf6 is also playable.
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Re: Question about Moscow bishop exchange
Reply #1 - 09/14/18 at 20:27:38
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I'm not an e4 player, and I don't play the Sicilian, so maybe my advice isn't the best here.

But I don't see anything blatantly wrong with either move. My preference would be for 4.a4, though. With the following reasoning:

With 4.c4. After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.c4 Bxb5 5.cxb5, your c-pawn is no longer covering the centre, so black can take aim against the weakened central dark squares (d4 can no longer be guarded with a pawn) with 5...Nf6 6.Nc3 g6. I think playing slowly as white here is potentially dangerous; if black is allowed some time, the weakness of the d4 square might hurt white. Thus, I think for white to push, active play must be called for, d4 should be played, either immediately, or very soon, and white should gun for black's king. The thing is, with the pawn on b5, black has a clear hook to open up files on the queenside so it seems white's king should go with short castling. This makes it harder to throw white's kingside pawns forward, which makes me feel that this would be weaker for white than a Yugoslav attack against a Sicilian Dragon. It's a sharp fight nonetheless, so there's certainly scope for claiming that white can do well practically if they take the time to study this.

Of course that analysis is very verbose, incredibly speculative, and spoken by a non-expert. But hopefully it provides some food for thought.

With 4.a4, there is no such weakening of the centre squares with 4...Bxb5. Consequently, I think it might be possible to play slowly as white and just play chess. You might well throw away your claims to trying for an advantage in your efforts to reach an original position, but it seems that this is a completely legitimate strategy nowadays.

Personally, I like the idea and would go for it. Not for the purpose of theoretical strength, but for the reason that exploring original positions for yourself is a part of the true romance of chess, and also a sure way to improve your game.
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Question about Moscow bishop exchange
09/14/18 at 16:02:31
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Why do all the sources I have seen recommend
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+

What about 4. a4 or 4. c4 , they seem to score fine? I am thinking of playing this way (1700 level) because I don't like exchanging the bishop for nothing. Let my opponent think for a while, too.

Do you see anything wrong with either pawn move or both? Which would you hate to see OTB? Or are you more annoyed of the bishop exchange?
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