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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Black against the Scotch (Read 1916 times)
Jonathan Tait
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #14 - yesterday at 08:18:09
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MNb wrote on 11/14/19 at 15:13:46:
Yeah, that might be worth a try, though probably not in corr. games. Black can play it in two ways: play ...Kd8, grab pawn e4 and hope to survive White's quick development or allow the fork Nxc7+ and try to prove sufficient compensation. I remember (if my memory doesn't fail me) GM Paul Motwani discussing a game like that in Schaaknieuws. I can't find it though. It made me buy GM Lev Gutman's book on 4...Qh4 many years ago. Unfortunately exactly in the spectacular lines his analysis contains quite a few flaws. After 5.Nb5

a)5...Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bc5 doesn't make much sense to me, while Qxe4+ 7.Be2 is not exactly my cup of tea


I think you have to take the e4-pawn – otherwise what's the point of ...Qh4 at all? Thus 5 Nb5 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Qxe4+ 7 Be2 Kd8 8 0-0 Bxd2 9 Nxd2 Qf4 and so on. But yes, you have to want to play like this Wink
  

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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #13 - yesterday at 02:05:41
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I never liked playing against the Scotch either. Theory says its equal but to me White has the better long term chances if he can survive the opening, I say survive the opening because in many lines in the Scotch white often lags behind Black in development but he does have the much better pawn structure. Personally I would rather have the better pawn structure but I also don't like to lag behind in development in Open Games. Tongue

I realise the above comments may not have been much help in offering a solution to your Scotch dilemma, but at least the issues have been clearly defined. Perhaps you could investigate the following line favored a lot by Kamsky, which I also think is reasonable for Black: 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 [The following is considered strongest by many 4...Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 but I find this line unintuitive and difficult to play with Black without extensive theoretical knowledge and command of the various subtleties. Then there is also that pawn structure issue I mentioned.] 5.Nb3! [The trendy and most promising move to my mind] Bb6 6.Nc3 Nge7!? 7.Qe2 [7.Bg5 f6 8.Bh4 0-0 9.Qd2 a5] 7...0-0 8.Be3 f5 with decent chances.

Hope that helps at least a bit.

  

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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #12 - yesterday at 00:56:19
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I believe that 4...Ab4+ is covered in a book by Kuljasevic. I forgot the title, but I remember that it was published by Thinkers Publishing.
  
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #11 - 11/14/19 at 23:06:11
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The last couple of years there has been a surge of interest in 4...Bc5 5.Nxc6 bxc6!? (instead of what everyone used to recommend; throwing in 5...Qf6). You could look into that. Among other recent sources I think I saw some videos by GM Pepe Cuenca (connected to Chess24, but these specific videos may have been free).

Of course, you would also need to prepare for all of White's other 5th moves beside 5.Nxc6.
  

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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #10 - 11/14/19 at 19:45:54
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HgMan wrote on 01/19/19 at 19:23:41:
I don't like facing the Scotch. I'd happily face just about any other open game line, but I don't like facing the Scotch. It's not that it gives White an unquestioned advantage, but I can never find any way to unlock the position. If I can reach equality, I can't turn the tide. I find it's very difficult to register the full point against it—even against weaker opposition. In recent correspondence tournaments, I've opted for the Caro-Kann if my opponent had any record of playing the Scotch as White.

What to do? Is there a particular line that maybe invites a little more creativity? Or a way to dodge it? Or frustrate the White player? I've been looking at the ...g6 options in Dangerous Weapons, but can anybody recommend a plan?

What have you considered and ruled out?  I have always preferred 4...Nf6 and then retreating the knight to b6 rather than going Ba6 after White's stab with c4.  Nb6 seems to lead to fairly rational or intuitive positions, unlike Ba6.  Also, Nb6 invites the common error by White of playing b2-b3 too early allowing an immediate minority attack of sorts via a7-a5-a4 then axb3.  Black gets this somewhat frequently; if so, Black might be already clearly better due to White's huge dark-square holes on the queenside (b4, c5, even a3).
  

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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #9 - 11/14/19 at 19:40:45
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I don't think 4...Bb4+ is best, but it's respectable and leads to different sorts of positions than 4...Nf6 or 4...Bc5, so HgMan should give it a look if he hasn't already.  Engines also seem higher on the move than theory does, and poking around with engines can lead to some interesting ideas that I don't know have been covered elsewhere.  Caveat that I'm not aware of a great source for 4...Bb4+ coverage.
  
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #8 - 11/14/19 at 19:06:50
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Both the direct ..Nb6 and the ..Ba6 lines in the normal 4..Nf6 mainline seem to be doing well, both objectively and practically. Not sure why one would avoid them - I play the Scotch now and then, and those definitely are by far the least comfortable lines to face.

4..Bb4+ on the other hand I am very comfortable in as White; it mostly banks on a certain unfamiliarity factor, but at this point it's another mainline, so investing some time into it is definitely worth it, and then I never felt like c2-c3 is so bad a move that Black wasting an entire tempo on provoking it can ever be good.
  
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #7 - 11/14/19 at 16:23:59
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I like 4...Bb4+, as played by Tony Miles (mentioned above).  I don't claim that Black completely equalizes, but the positions are much different than the normal Scotch main lines, and I'm more comfortable as Black here than in the main lines.
  
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #6 - 11/14/19 at 15:13:46
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Jonathan Tait wrote on 01/24/19 at 00:11:17:
try 4...Qh4 Smiley

Yeah, that might be worth a try, though probably not in corr. games. Black can play it in two ways: play ...Kd8, grab pawn e4 and hope to survive White's quick development or allow the fork Nxc7+ and try to prove sufficient compensation. I remember (if my memory doesn't fail me) GM Paul Motwani discussing a game like that in Schaaknieuws. I can't find it though. It made me buy GM Lev Gutman's book on 4...Qh4 many years ago. Unfortunately exactly in the spectacular lines his analysis contains quite a few flaws. After 5.Nb5

a)5...Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bc5 doesn't make much sense to me, while Qxe4+ 7.Be2 is not exactly my cup of tea;
b)5...Bc5 6.Qe2 Nf6 7.Be3! Bxe3 8.Qxe3 looks promising for White;
c) To avoid this 5...Nf6 always has interested me. Some lines:
1) 6.Nxc7+ Kd8 7.Nxa8 Bc5 8.Qf3 (8.Qe2 Nxe4! with interesting complications) Re8 (Nd4 is better, but doesn't seem to equalize either to me) 9.Nc3 Nd4 10.Qd3 Nxe4 11.Nxe4 Rxe4+ 12.Kd1 d5 and we have a rare case of a GM producing three bad moves in a row: 13.Be3 (13.Qg3) b6 (Bg4+) 14.g3 (14.b4) Qh5+.
2) 6.N1c3 Bb4 is an improved version of line a).
3) 6.Be3 Bb4+ is normally reached via 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Nb5 Bb4+.
4) 6.Nd2 looks reasonable too.
  

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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #5 - 04/08/19 at 21:17:08
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GMTonyKosten wrote on 01/22/19 at 09:59:15:
bragesjo wrote on 01/22/19 at 08:52:32:
what do you play against Scotch Four Knights?

I noticed from Victor's column over the last year or so that there seem to be quite a few good lines for Black nowadays, even that Wei Yi - Vidit, S game from April 2018 is worth a look.


When you say "even that Wei Yi - Vidit, S game" are you suggesting that there's somehow something suspicious about that line? (8...O-O 9.O-O Bg4). I've started playing it recently but now you've got me worried
  
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #4 - 01/24/19 at 00:11:17
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try 4...Qh4 Smiley
  

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GMTonyKosten
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #3 - 01/22/19 at 09:59:15
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bragesjo wrote on 01/22/19 at 08:52:32:
what do you play against Scotch Four Knights?

I noticed from Victor's column (https://www.chesspublishing.com/content/1) over the last year or so that there seem to be quite a few good lines for Black nowadays, even that Wei Yi - Vidit, S game from April 2018 is worth a look.
  
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bragesjo
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #2 - 01/22/19 at 08:52:32
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While I am no expert on open games, what do you play against Scotch Four Knights?
  
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Re: Black against the Scotch
Reply #1 - 01/19/19 at 22:42:42
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HgMan wrote on 01/19/19 at 19:23:41:
Is there a particular line that maybe invites a little more creativity?


The late Tony Miles rather liked the idea which goes 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bb4+ 5. c3. The Bishop then retreats to c5 or e7. While it might seem as if this loses a tempo, the ideas are to weaken the d3 square and block the c3 square from a Knight.

It's a line that's been around for 25 years, so regular players of the Scotch are likely to be familiar with it.

If you like attempting to grab material, there's the variation 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qh4
  
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HgMan
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Black against the Scotch
01/19/19 at 19:23:41
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I don't like facing the Scotch. I'd happily face just about any other open game line, but I don't like facing the Scotch. It's not that it gives White an unquestioned advantage, but I can never find any way to unlock the position. If I can reach equality, I can't turn the tide. I find it's very difficult to register the full point against it—even against weaker opposition. In recent correspondence tournaments, I've opted for the Caro-Kann if my opponent had any record of playing the Scotch as White.

What to do? Is there a particular line that maybe invites a little more creativity? Or a way to dodge it? Or frustrate the White player? I've been looking at the ...g6 options in Dangerous Weapons, but can anybody recommend a plan?
  

"Luck favours the prepared mind."  --Louis Pasteur
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