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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten (Read 4802 times)
Hiruma666
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #52 - 05/20/20 at 07:59:59
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First of all, thanks a lot for the reply.

I had in my files the position after 31...Be6, but it looked risky to me after 32.h3! like 32...f4 33.Qc7 or 33.a5 and I had some doubts about black position so I looked for something else.
But 32...Rd7! looks like a great fix as far as I can tell, thanks !!

I am also very interested by the debate about the Anti-Meran, since my line against the semi-slav with white is this 16.a4 where black's path to equalize is'nt trivial. There is also 16.f4 19.Be2!?.
But your 9...a6! is very annoying, it seems to be very tough to find something for white after the critical 12.Bg5
So I hate you Cheesy !
I am quite busy at the moment, with the Marshall Beta-Testing for JH, but I will analyse this whole 9.Bd3/Be2 9...a6 stuff when I'll have some time off and try to find something for white.

Cheers !
  
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Syzygy
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #51 - 05/19/20 at 19:39:39
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Jack Hughes wrote on 05/19/20 at 10:15:30:
Syzygy wrote on 05/18/20 at 21:04:14:
If you're talking about the line with 7...O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. e4 e5 12. h3,  then after:

12...exd4 13. Nxd4 Nc5 14. Rd1 Qc7 15. Bg5 Bh2+ 16. Kh1 Be5 17. Nf3 h6 18. Bh4 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Nh5 20. Nd4 Rfe8 21. f3 Ng3+ 22. Kg1 Qf4 23. Bxg3 Qxg3,

a possible improvement is 24. Bf1!? with what appears to be a slight edge for White. This is a long line I generated by just following correspondence play, but I don't know whether this line is what you had in mind.

Also, what is your reason for preferring 12...exd4 over the main line with 12...Re8? Do you have an alternate line in mind after the immediate 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Bxe5 14. h3 (to avoid unwanted transpositions)?

Yeah, that's the line I'm talking about. The long line you gave is pretty much the mainline in my file, except that I focused more on 24. Qf2 than 24. Bf1. After the latter, my mainline is 24... Qe5 25. Nf5 Na4 26. Nd6 Re7 27. Rac1 Rd8 28. Nf5 Red7 29. Rxd7 Rxd7 30. c4 Kh7 31. cxb5 cxb5 with full equality.

Against the 12. dxe5 move order black's independent option is 14... b4, in which I am even more confident than 12. h3 exd4. One important line I got was 15. Na4 Bd4 16. Re1 c5 17. Be3 Rc8 18. Bxd4 cxd4 19. Qd2 Re8 20. f3 Nh5 21. a3 b3 =.

My main reason for disliking the mainline 12... Re8 is mostly subjective: I feel like giving up the dark-squared bishop is a big positional concession, and in general, I find it easier to understand why black gets away with it in these 12... exd4 and 14... b4 lines. Especially as an author who wants to be able to justify his choices rather than just list them this is important to me.

Besides that subjective preference, there were a few lines that bothered me at least a little in the mainline. Theoretically speaking, the only line where I struggled to convince Leela that black is okay after 16. a4 Qe7 17. Ne2 Bd6 18. Nd4 g6 19. Nf3 Nd7 20. Rfd1 Rad8 21. Bg5 f6 22. Be3 Bc5 23. Bf4 (I suppose this was the line I had in mind when contrasting Stockfish and Leela evaluations). For what it's worth, if I am to recommend the mainline in the course I might be inclined to go for 19... Nxe4!? which leads after 20. Rfe1 Bb4 21. Bg5 Nxg5 22. Rxe7 Nxf3+ 23. gxf3 Rxe7 to an endgame where certain versions of Leela are quite happy with black, even though Stockfish pretty much hates it.


I didn't think that 24. Qf2 Qc7 gave White any advantage, so I focused on 24. Bf1. However, after 25...Na4 it does appear that Black equalizes, though 26. Rd4 might be a tad more challenging than 26. Nd6.

In the line with 14...b4, 21. b3 bothered me more than 21. a3. However, I took a second look, and I think Black has equality there as well. Overall, I think these two lines together can indeed be a solid alternative to the main line (especially since Black isn't having a fun time after 16. a4 or 16. f4).

On the other hand, if 16. a4 and 17. Ne2 is the only line that actually bothers you, then I would suggest looking into 19...Bb4!?, where I think Black has good chances to equalize. I'm not fond of 19...Nd7 - a dangerous line you didn't mention is 21. Bf1 Nf8 22. e5!?, which led to a win for White in a correspondence game.

Hiruma666 wrote on 05/19/20 at 11:39:15:
Hey guys !
I am a bit embarassed since I am the one who brought the quality of 12...Rd8 (in the 9.Ba5 Marshall), but while checking the files, I found something very irritating for black.
I think black can equalize, but I did'nt like the path to do so or even the upcomming positions.
12...Rd8 13.Nd2 Qg6 14.Qa3 Bc8 15.0-0 Ne7
And here, I analysed mostly the rook moves 16.Rae/d1, but what about 16.Bf3 c5 17.Qa4+ Kf7 and now the independant 18.Ne4! (who need rooks on open files anyway !, 18.Rad1 is transposing in lines I have analysed before), and black has several options (...Nf5, ...Rhd8 or even ...Qh6) but none of them gave me complete satisfaction.

What do you think ?


My main line here runs 18. Ne4 Rhf8 19. Rfd1 Nf5 20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Rd1 Nd4 22. Bxd4 cxd4 23. b4 f5 24. Nd2 e5 25. Bd5+ Kf8 26. b5 Nc7 27. Qxa7 Nxd5 28. cxd5 Qd6 29. Nc4 Qxd5 30. Qxb6 e4 31. a4 Be6,

reaching a sharp and double-edged position. I think Black should hold here, for instance:

32. h4 h6 33. f4 Kg8! =
32. h3 Rd7 33. Rc1 d3 34. Nd2 Kf7 35.Qe3 Qa2 36. f3 Qxa4 37. fxe4 Qxb5 38. exf5 Bd5 39. Re1 Rb7 =

But you know what they say - long analysis, wrong analysis, etc. Hiruma, what were your thoughts on this line?
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #50 - 05/19/20 at 11:39:15
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Hey guys !
I am a bit embarassed since I am the one who brought the quality of 12...Rd8 (in the 9.Ba5 Marshall), but while checking the files, I found something very irritating for black.
I think black can equalize, but I did'nt like the path to do so or even the upcomming positions.
12...Rd8 13.Nd2 Qg6 14.Qa3 Bc8 15.0-0 Ne7
And here, I analysed mostly the rook moves 16.Rae/d1, but what about 16.Bf3 c5 17.Qa4+ Kf7 and now the independant 18.Ne4! (who need rooks on open files anyway !, 18.Rad1 is transposing in lines I have analysed before), and black has several options (...Nf5, ...Rhd8 or even ...Qh6) but none of them gave me complete satisfaction.

What do you think ?
  
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Jack Hughes
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #49 - 05/19/20 at 10:15:30
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Syzygy wrote on 05/18/20 at 21:04:14:
If you're talking about the line with 7...O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. e4 e5 12. h3,  then after:

12...exd4 13. Nxd4 Nc5 14. Rd1 Qc7 15. Bg5 Bh2+ 16. Kh1 Be5 17. Nf3 h6 18. Bh4 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Nh5 20. Nd4 Rfe8 21. f3 Ng3+ 22. Kg1 Qf4 23. Bxg3 Qxg3,

a possible improvement is 24. Bf1!? with what appears to be a slight edge for White. This is a long line I generated by just following correspondence play, but I don't know whether this line is what you had in mind.

Also, what is your reason for preferring 12...exd4 over the main line with 12...Re8? Do you have an alternate line in mind after the immediate 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Bxe5 14. h3 (to avoid unwanted transpositions)?

Yeah, that's the line I'm talking about. The long line you gave is pretty much the mainline in my file, except that I focused more on 24. Qf2 than 24. Bf1. After the latter, my mainline is 24... Qe5 25. Nf5 Na4 26. Nd6 Re7 27. Rac1 Rd8 28. Nf5 Red7 29. Rxd7 Rxd7 30. c4 Kh7 31. cxb5 cxb5 with full equality.

Against the 12. dxe5 move order black's independent option is 14... b4, in which I am even more confident than 12. h3 exd4. One important line I got was 15. Na4 Bd4 16. Re1 c5 17. Be3 Rc8 18. Bxd4 cxd4 19. Qd2 Re8 20. f3 Nh5 21. a3 b3 =.

My main reason for disliking the mainline 12... Re8 is mostly subjective: I feel like giving up the dark-squared bishop is a big positional concession, and in general, I find it easier to understand why black gets away with it in these 12... exd4 and 14... b4 lines. Especially as an author who wants to be able to justify his choices rather than just list them this is important to me.

Besides that subjective preference, there were a few lines that bothered me at least a little in the mainline. Theoretically speaking, the only line where I struggled to convince Leela that black is okay after 16. a4 Qe7 17. Ne2 Bd6 18. Nd4 g6 19. Nf3 Nd7 20. Rfd1 Rad8 21. Bg5 f6 22. Be3 Bc5 23. Bf4 (I suppose this was the line I had in mind when contrasting Stockfish and Leela evaluations). For what it's worth, if I am to recommend the mainline in the course I might be inclined to go for 19... Nxe4!? which leads after 20. Rfe1 Bb4 21. Bg5 Nxg5 22. Rxe7 Nxf3+ 23. gxf3 Rxe7 to an endgame where certain versions of Leela are quite happy with black, even though Stockfish pretty much hates it.
Syzygy wrote on 05/18/20 at 21:04:14:
What I've noticed is that links to specific posts (i.e. https://www.chessable.com/discussion/thread/204062/variations-for-analysis-botvi....) seem to be available to the public. I would be happy to take a look at relevant posts, but maybe using this method would be easier for you?

Now that is extremely curious. I'll PM you some links.
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #48 - 05/18/20 at 21:04:14
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Jack Hughes wrote on 05/17/20 at 11:34:48:
As far as I can tell, black's objectively strongest reply to this 11. e4 e5 12. h3 line is probably 12... exd4. Neither Stockfish nor Leela is too thrilled at first but I found that by clicking through the correspondence lines they more or less came around. Leela still had some minor worries (~0.20-~0.30 range), but only minor ones. What your thoughts on this line?


If you're talking about the line with 7...O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. e4 e5 12. h3,  then after:

12...exd4 13. Nxd4 Nc5 14. Rd1 Qc7 15. Bg5 Bh2+ 16. Kh1 Be5 17. Nf3 h6 18. Bh4 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Nh5 20. Nd4 Rfe8 21. f3 Ng3+ 22. Kg1 Qf4 23. Bxg3 Qxg3,

a possible improvement is 24. Bf1!? with what appears to be a slight edge for White. This is a long line I generated by just following correspondence play, but I don't know whether this line is what you had in mind.

Also, what is your reason for preferring 12...exd4 over the main line with 12...Re8? Do you have an alternate line in mind after the immediate 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Bxe5 14. h3 (to avoid unwanted transpositions)?

Jack Hughes wrote on 05/17/20 at 11:34:48:
That's rather annoying about the links to the forums. A few days ago I linked them to beta-testers before sharing the course and they were able to access them just fine. If you'd like, Syzygy, I'd be more than happy to send copy-pastes of relevant posts to you through PM (or perhaps email - some of my posts are too long for ChessPub messaging).


What I've noticed is that links to specific posts (i.e. https://www.chessable.com/discussion/thread/204062/variations-for-analysis-botvi...) seem to be available to the public. I would be happy to take a look at relevant posts, but maybe using this method would be easier for you?
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #47 - 05/17/20 at 11:34:48
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Hi everyone, sorry for the delayed reply. I've been so inundated with work on the course that it's been difficult for me to keep up. I'll break my post down into several points.

- I'm really not scared of the 'Marshall endgame' after 11... Qxd1 (as far as I'm concerned whenever a move like 16. h4 becomes an option - immobilising the kingside majority and fixing another pawn on the dark-squares - the time to play for a win is over) but I think I like Syzygy suggestion even more, especially considering my goals when designing this repertoire. Nice catch!

- I double-checked my files and it turned I was sort of misremembering them in regards to 16. a4. Certainly, there were a lot of lines where Leela was evaluating the position in white's favour and giving ideas that Stockfish was missing, but at least early on in the lines, Stockfish was claiming a modest white edge. I agree with Syzygy about the positional risk black is running when ...c6-c5 is difficult to get in and the dark-squared bishops liable to quickly disappear.

- I have spent some time checking this 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. 0-0 a6!? and so far I agree that it looks very decent for black. I still can't make up my mind what the most critical line is but nothing seems too scary. I still haven't checked 12... Ne8, but given that it has been the unanimous choice in recent correspondence I would expect that what you say is true.

- As far as I can tell, black's objectively strongest reply to this 11. e4 e5 12. h3 line is probably 12... exd4. Neither Stockfish nor Leela is too thrilled at first but I found that by clicking through the correspondence lines they more or less came around. Leela still had some minor worries (~0.20-~0.30 range), but only minor ones. What your thoughts on this line?

- I've taken a look at 12... Rd8 and I agree that this is a very good line for black. I will change my recommendation in the course accordingly. The reason I had concentrated on 18... Nf5 was that the correspondence games had all featured that move, but if I had gone to the trouble of actually using my brain it would have occurred to me how similar the position is to move 19 of the 12... Nh6 mainline. Once you start analysing the two positions in tandem the reply 18... Rhf8 sticks out like a sore thumb. I probably shouldn't be too hard on myself, because I suspect that this is a sin most of us fall into from time to time, but it's rather embarrassing all the same.

- That's rather annoying about the links to the forums. A few days ago I linked them to beta-testers before sharing the course and they were able to access them just fine. If you'd like, Szygy, I'd be more than happy to send copy-pastes of relevant posts to you through PM (or perhaps email - some of my posts are too long for ChessPub messaging.
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #46 - 05/14/20 at 03:54:56
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Jack Hughes wrote on 05/14/20 at 00:26:43:
For what it's worth I'm inclined to agree. Almost all of the lines Hiruma mentioned were already in my files with over 100 nodes of analysis and supporting that conclusion. Amusingly enough the only one I'd missed was the 11. Nf3 endgame, but after looking at it I don't think that it's anything to fear. Hiruma gave 12.Rxd1 Rb5 13.Rd4 Be6 14.Re4 but I feel that instead 13... Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Rxe5 15. Rxc4 h5 should be fine for black. Black has the bishop-pair and white's dark-squared bishop is 'bad' from a classical point of view and with the pawn on h5 black is already well placed to deal with white's kingside pawn majority. It reminds me a bit of endgames you'll get in the Marshall Attack.


I'm not totally convinced by the endgame after 15...h5. After 16. e4 or 16. h4 Black still has a little bit of work to do to equalize.

In my opinion, even better is the natural 11...Qd5! After 12. h3 Nh6 13. Kg2 Be7!, it appears that White's best is to enter the endgame after 14. Qxd5 cxd5 15. Rd1 Bb7 16. b3 O-O, when I think Black is completely fine due to the strong light-squared bishop and White's weakened kingside. Certainly this approach is more interesting than the direct endgame after 11...Qxd1 12. Rxd1 due to its intuitive and aggressive nature.

Jack Hughes wrote on 05/14/20 at 00:26:43:
By the way, does your assessment of 16. a4 in the Bd3 Anti-Meran indicate that you have started using Leela for analysis? As mentioned in the Chessable thread that's a line where I've found Stockfish spitting out zero after zero but Leela much more pessimistic.


Unfortunately, I still haven't used Leela for any of my analysis so far. I just noticed that Stockfish thinks 16. a4 is among White's most challenging lines, and the fact that many correspondence players have opted for this approach made me take the line very seriously. I think Black has to be quite careful and precise to not end up positionally worse. Hence my preference for the fresh 9...a6!? - the fact that Carlsen played the position after 10. O-O Bb7 only makes me more confident that the line is sound.

Ding Liren has indeed tried 11...Be7, but I think 12...Ne8! is a clear improvement over 12...h6.

Jack Hughes wrote on 05/14/20 at 00:26:43:
Finally, if you want to get a better idea of the approach I'm taking to the course, along with a few of the lines that I think are critical, then please feel more than free to check out the course forums (https://www.chessable.com/discussion/course/the-sharpest-semi-slav/26289/)! Make sure to check out Section 4 ('What You Can Do To Help: Engine Analysis') of the 'Welcome Beta-Testers!' thread before checking out any of the 'Variations for Analysis' threads for an explanation of why the latter are so sparse. I thought that these forums would be inaccessible for an as-yet-unpublished course but it turns out that anyone with the link can see them.

Thank you so much for all your help Syzygy. You might not be an official beta-tester but to me you have served as an honorary one, and a truly outstanding one at that!


Thank you for your kind words. I'm very interested in these opening lines and would like to help out more by checking out the link, but unfortunately it seems I don't actually have access (i.e. I'm logged in but don't have permission to view the page).
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #45 - 05/14/20 at 00:26:43
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Syzygy wrote on 05/13/20 at 19:49:44:
I would like this too. I think Black can achieve equality everywhere after 7...Rb8 and 12...Bb4 and would be happy to discuss my analysis in a dedicated thread.

For what it's worth I'm inclined to agree. Almost all of the lines Hiruma mentioned were already in my files with over 100 nodes of analysis and supporting that conclusion. Amusingly enough the only one I'd missed was the 11. Nf3 endgame, but after looking at it I don't think that it's anything to fear. Hiruma gave 12.Rxd1 Rb5 13.Rd4 Be6 14.Re4 but I feel that instead 13... Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Rxe5 15. Rxc4 h5 should be fine for black. Black has the bishop-pair and white's dark-squared bishop is 'bad' from a classical point of view and with the pawn on h5 black is already well placed to deal with white's kingside pawn majority. It reminds me a bit of endgames you'll get in the Marshall Attack.

On this topic, I've actually asked about this line for the next season of Jan's Opening Clinic, so when he gets to it he might offer some interesting thoughts. One thing I note in my question is that there has been a marked trend away from 8. Nfd2 in recent high-level OTB games, which seems like a promising sign for black.

I do, however, share Hiruma's worry about the sharper lines being a lot of work for black, so as part of my beta-testing I'm planning to organise some practice games starting after 12... Bb4 where I advise people to prepare as much as they want to before the game. I'm very interested to see how these games pan out. (And, to make myself sound like a broken record, want as many volunteers for this as possible - join the Lichess team!)
Syzygy wrote on 05/13/20 at 19:49:44:
Also, I read through your discussion with Hiruma on the Semi-Slav Anti-Meran lines on Chessable. If you look at the thread "What the heck to play against the Semi-Slav?" here on Chesspub you will see that I agree with your sentiments on the most challenging lines after 10. Be2 and 10. Bd3.

However, recently I think I've come up with an approach that can hugely cut down on Black's work in these Anti-Meran lines. We begin by trying to delay castling with the immediate 7...dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5. Then:

9. Bd3 a6!? is a rare move order that seems to work well, accelerating the c5 break. One critical line I looked at is 10. O-O Bb7 11. e4 e5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 c5 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 15. d5 c4 16. Be2 Be7! 17. a4 Qb6, following a recent correspondence game, where Black is equal.

9. Be2 a6!? is also possible, but after 10. O-O we have to transpose back into one of the main lines with 10...O-O. Here, however, I think Black is also equal. The only critical try is 11. Ng5, but here the rare 11...Be7! 12. e4 Ne8! 13. Nf3 c5!, played in two recent correspondence games, is a nice equalizer.

What are your thoughts?

This part of your post is very interesting to me. I had noticed that Carlsen played 9. Bd3 a6!? against Giri and at the time thought that it looked fairly interesting but unnecessary, and I didn't analyse it very deeply. I was confident that black is completely fine after 9... 0-0 10. 0-0 Bb7 11. a3 a5 (and still am) and thought that if black is fine after having weakened the queenside like that then 11. e4 should be even less threatening. At the time I had done some minimal analysis with Leela and Stockfish, which concurred with this assessment, so I thought nothing of it.

Only in recent weeks have I gone deeper and found just how challenging this 11. e4 is. The reasoning that black avoids weakening the queenside misses the point that ...a7-a5 prepares ...Ba6, when the positionally favourable exchange of light-squared bishops is on the cards. I guess by the time I realised this it had just been too long since I'd seen the Giri-Carlsen game and I didn't really think to go all the way back to 9... a6 as a potential improvement. I will look into it more deeply and get back to you.

Your suggestion against 9. Be2 is even newer to me. I had noticed that Ding Liren played 10... a6 11. Ng5 Be7 and could have sworn that I had analysed his continuation of 12. e4 h6!? to a slight but manageable white advantage, but checking my files I can't actually find any analysis of it! I will take a closer look.

One point I would like to note is that, even if your recommendations are easier equalisers from a theoretical perspective (obviously I'm not deep enough yet to say), Lichess statistics suggest that the traditional mainlines with 9... 0-0 and 10... Bb7 will probably give black players a better practical score at club level - assuming, that is, that black players do their homework. Obviously, I haven't checked your recommendations deeply enough to know en if your recommendations are easier equalisers from a theoretical point of view. There are a lot of really popular ways for white to pretty much just lose straight out of the opening! In such scenarios, my general approach is going to be to switch my main recommendation at the fourth or fifth level of depth of coverage in the course. As an example, this is how I currently intend to approach this thread's topic of 9. Ba5 in the Marshall Gambit -- the super-exciting sacrifices of 10... e5 in the third level, the rock-solid equaliser of 10... f6 in the fourth and fifth.

By the way, does your assessment of 16. a4 in the Bd3 Anti-Meran indicate that you have started using Leela for analysis? As mentioned in the Chessable thread that's a line where I've found Stockfish spitting out zero after zero but Leela much more pessimistic.

Finally, if you want to get a better idea of the approach I'm taking to the course, along with a few of the lines that I think are critical, then please feel more than free to check out the course forums (https://www.chessable.com/discussion/course/the-sharpest-semi-slav/26289/)! Make sure to check out Section 4 ('What You Can Do To Help: Engine Analysis') of the 'Welcome Beta-Testers!' thread before checking out any of the 'Variations for Analysis' threads for an explanation of why the latter are so sparse. I thought that these forums would be inaccessible for an as-yet-unpublished course but it turns out that anyone with the link can see them.

Thank you so much for all your help Szygy. You might not be an official beta-tester but to me you have served as an honorary one, and a truly outstanding one at that!
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #44 - 05/13/20 at 19:49:44
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Jack Hughes wrote on 05/12/20 at 22:15:39:
Hiruma666 and I have had a great discussion on Chessable about the 12... Bb4 Catalan line that has been discussed so productively in this thread, and I suspect that there is much of value that he can contribute to this discussion. However, this is the Semi-Slav board, and I believe that all this wonderful discussion has been rather misplaced in this thread. I am wondering if it would be possible for a forum moderator to create a new thread in the Catalan subforum (titled something like 'Open Variation with 5... a6 6. 0-0 Nc6 7. e3 Rb8!? - What is the state of play?') and move all relevant posts to that thread.


I would like this too. I think Black can achieve equality everywhere after 7...Rb8 and 12...Bb4 and would be happy to discuss my analysis in a dedicated thread.

Also, I read through your discussion with Hiruma on the Semi-Slav Anti-Meran lines on Chessable. If you look at the thread "What the heck to play against the Semi-Slav?" here on Chesspub you will see that I agree with your sentiments on the most challenging lines after 10. Be2 and 10. Bd3.

However, recently I think I've come up with an approach that can hugely cut down on Black's work in these Anti-Meran lines. We begin by trying to delay castling with the immediate 7...dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5. Then:

9. Bd3 a6!? is a rare move order that seems to work well, accelerating the c5 break. One critical line I looked at is 10. O-O Bb7 11. e4 e5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 c5 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 15. d5 c4 16. Be2 Be7! 17. a4 Qb6, following a recent correspondence game, where Black is equal.

9. Be2 a6!? is also possible, but after 10. O-O we have to transpose back into one of the main lines with 10...O-O. Here, however, I think Black is also equal. The only critical try is 11. Ng5, but here the rare 11...Be7! 12. e4 Ne8! 13. Nf3 c5!, played in two recent correspondence games, is a nice equalizer.

What are your thoughts?
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #43 - 05/12/20 at 22:15:39
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Great to have you hear Hiruma, I think that we can all agree your first post makes for an excellent debut in our little community! In regards to your lines.

- I am very pleased to see that you have assessed 23. a3 as white's most critical try, because this was my conclusion in my own research as well. Though I am generally reluctant to draw this conclusion, my assessment of these lines was that Stockfish understands them better than Leela, with the latter often claiming a serious white advantage in positions that on subsequent analysis turned out to be equal or even better for black. As an example, the absolute mainline of my files in terms of nodes devoted to it was 24...Rd3 25.Rxd3 Rxd3 26.Qc2! (stronger than the cutest Be5!?) 26...Qxc4 27.Nd2 Qd5 28.Be2 Bb7 29.f3 Rd4! (this was a move Leela didn't like, but came around to after being force-fed the Stockfish lines)30. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 31. Kh1 Nc7 32. Ne4?! (this was Leela's first choice, but this was the point at which Stockfish switched from its trademark 0.00 to claiming a black advantage - Leela tried no less than seven other moves for white here but in all cases was either already happy with black or easily convinced after a few more moves) Nd5 33. Bb5 f5 34. Nc3 Nf4 35. Rd1 Qe3 36. Qd2 Qxd2 37. Rxd2 Nd5 38. Bc4 Nd6 when suddenly Leela starts agreeing that black is better.

- I spent a few hours looking at 12... Rd8, but wasn't able to make it work for black. Unfortunately, after 16. Rfe1 c5 17. Qa4 Kf7 18. Rad1 I concentrated my analysis on 18... Nf5. I haven't had the chance to properly check 18... Rhf8 yet but given how happy Hiruma666 and Syzgy are then I am inclined to suspect that it is a real improvement after which black is doing very well. I will report back after I have taken a proper look. Incidentally, let me emphasise that I am not wedded to any particular reply. When I can be convinced that one line is a clear improvement over my intended recommendation then I will change my intended recommendation. I want the course to be as good as I can possibly make it and to knowingly recommend inferior lines would be in clear violation of that desire.

As an aside, I have finalised my team of beta-testers and am going to start sharing the course with the successful applicants. I am really excited about the team that I have assembled and think that together we will be able to produce a really great course! Unfortunately, I have had some unanticipated technical difficulties in sharing the course with more than five people and am going to wait until I can get that sorted before I share it with individual team members.

Additionally, if there is anyone reading this who is interested in the course and wishes to help out in some capacity but who is not part of the beta-testing team, I would like to announce the creation of 'The Sharpest Semi-Slav' team on Lichess. I am planning to use this team to organise practice games between beta-testers and other interested parties from pre-selected starting positions that may appear in the course. It is my hope that these practice games will enable me to get a better understanding of the human, practical assessment of the lines that I am recommending or considering to recommend. To that end, contributions from anyone - beta-tester or otherwise - will be highly invaluable. Anyone interested can find the link to the team https://lichess.org/team/the-sharpest-semi-slav-on-chessable-official-group.

Finally, Hiruma666 and I have had a great discussion on Chessable about the 12... Bb4 Catalan line that has been discussed so productively in this thread, and I suspect that there is much of value that he can contribute to this discussion. However, this is the Semi-Slav board, and I believe that all this wonderful discussion has been rather misplaced in this thread. I am wondering if it would be possible for a forum moderator to create a new thread in the Catalan subforum (titled something like 'Open Variation with 5... a6 6. 0-0 Nc6 7. e3 Rb8!? - What is the state of play?') and move all relevant posts to that thread.
  
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Syzygy
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #42 - 05/12/20 at 19:28:39
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When I brought up 12...Nh6 and 17...c5 a few posts back, I didn't mention the thematic 20. a3, mostly because all correspondence games I could find from the position continued with 20. Qc2.

After 20. a3 Kf8 21. b4, I agree that 21...Re7 22. Ne4 with the idea of Nxf6 is quite dangerous. Nice catch!

My suggested improvement would be 21...cxb4 22. axb4 Bb7, preventing this Ne4 idea. As far as I can see (with Stockfish) all of the lines peter out to draws, i.e.

23. Re3 Qg5 24. Bf3 b5! 25. Qa1 Bxf3 26. Rxf3 Nc7 27. Rg3 Qh4 28. Rh3 Qg4 29. Rg3 Qh4 =

23. h3 Rd3 24. Nf1 Rxd1 25. Rxd1 Qxc4 26. Qd7 Re7 27. Qc8+ Re8 28. Qd7 Re7 =

I still think 19...Rhe8 is more reliable than 19...Ng5, though BeeCaves' 23...Bb7 does seem like an improvement in the latter variation that allows Black to hold with best play.

Finally, I took a fresh look at 12...Rd8, and I have to agree with Hiruma. Black can achieve full equality there, and the position types are similar to those that arise after 12...Nh6. In addition, Black has to memorize less critical moves to get to the key position, so this could be a useful option to have in a repertoire.

  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #41 - 05/12/20 at 19:03:20
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23...Bb7 24. h3 Nb8 25.Qxa7 Bxf3 26.Bxf3 Nc6 27.Bxc6 Rxc6 28.Qa4 Rcc8  29 Qb5 Rb8 30.b4 Kg8 might just be a draw by repetition if White grabs on c5?

  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #40 - 05/12/20 at 18:36:58
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Thanks for the feedback !
After 23...Bb7 24. h3! Nb8 25.Qxa7 Bxf3 26.Bxf3 Nc6 27.Bxc6 Rxc6, I like 28.Qa4! intending Qb5 and b4 or a4-a5, for instance 28...Rcc8 29.Qb5 e5 (29...Rb8 30.b4) 30.a4! Rb8 31.a5 and black is far from equality. But it needs deeper analysis.

27...Nxd8 is very interesting. Simply a bad miss by me. Both engine neglect this move at first and since it seemed less logical (giving the e5 square etc.) I just did'n pay much attention, but even if Leela prefers slightly white at first, It is not much.
I don't have the time today to look at it more seriously, but I'll do it. But I have mixed feeling considering it being that critical, since it doesn't change the essence of black position.
But thanks a lot for pointing it out, very relevant !
  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #39 - 05/12/20 at 15:41:57
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Interesting lines Hiruma666 ... thanks for sharing.

I don't know if you want weak Stockfish analysis, you are probably better at using chess computers for me and your points make sense but some (half baked) ideas:

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6 9.Ba5 b6 10. Qd6 Bd7 11.Bc3 f6 12.Nf3 Nh6 13.Rd1 Rd8 14.Qa3 Bc8 15.Nd2 Qf4 16.Bh5+ Nf7 17.0-0 c5 18.Qa4+ Ke7 19.Rfe1 Ng5 20.Re3 Rd6 21.Rde1 Rhd8 22.Nf3 Kf8 23.a3
maybe 23... Bb7 instead Black is eventually getting the Na6 back in play?
24. Nxg5 Qxg5 25 Bf3 Bxf3 26 Rxf3 Nb8 and White can try 27 h4 but Stockfish seems to think it peters out.
Maybe better is 24. h3 Nb8 25 Qxa7 Bxf3 26 Bxf3 Nc6 27 Bxc6 Rxc6 and Black is eventually getting e5, Ne6, etc.

23... Nf7 24. h3 g6 25 Re4 Qh6 26 Bxf6 gxh5 27 Bxd8 Nxd8 also looks interesting?



  
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Re: Marshall Gambit Mainline - Novelty on Move Ten
Reply #38 - 05/12/20 at 14:21:17
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Hey Jack, Hey all !
I am new on the website, and I wished to continue the discussion I started with Jack on Chessable.
I did'nt check the 10...e5 line but I wanted to share my view on the absolute main line.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6 9.Ba5 b6 10. Qd6 Bd7 11.Bc3 f6 12.Nf3
You spoke a lot about the main move 12...Nh6 but I think it is not ne best choice for black, especially according to Leela.

12...Nh6 13.Rd1 Rd8 14.Qa3 Bc8 15.Nd2 Df4 16.Fh5+ Cf7 17.0-0 c5 18.Da4+ Re7 19.Tfe1 and here black has two big tries :

1) 19...The8 proposed by grewgaw, but he did'nt seem to mention white best try 20.a3 ! Playing b4 and then putting pression on the Na6-a7 pawn duo is one of white key idea.
So 20.a3 Kf8 21.b4 Re7 22.Ne4 Rxd1 (22...Bb7 23.Nxf6! is similar) 23.Qxd1 Bb7 24.g3 Qc7 25.Nxf6! (white main idea in this particular position) 25...gxf6 26.Bxf6 Qc6 27.Bxe7+ Rxe7 28.f3 cxb4 29.Bxf7 Kxf7 30.Qd3! (the move Stockfish missed at low depth, Leela did'nt) 30...bxa3 31.Qxh7+ Ke8 32.Rd1 Qc8 33.Qg8+ and white is very clearly playing for two results.

2) 19...Ng5!? is the move chose by Jack it seems. The sequence 20.Re3 Rd6 21.Rde1 Rhd8 22.Nf3 Kf8 23.a3 Nf7 seems to be well known (1000+ visits in Let's Check) 24.h3! The move of Leela
Then some possiblities for black
a) 24...Nh6 to go to f5 but 25.g3! Qf5 26.g4! show one of the idea of 24.h3. Black is in huge trouble after 26...Qf4 27.Ne5!
b) 24...Rd3 25.Rxd3 Rxd3 26.Qc2! (stronger than the cutest Be5!?) 26...Qxc4 27.Nd2 Qd5 28.Be2 Bb7 29.f3 Rxc3 30.Qcx3. The position is not that bad for black but white is slightly better, some of the black pieces still have problems
c)24...g6 let's say it is the main move, 25.Re4! Qh6 26.Bxf6 gxh5 (if 26...Qxh5 27.Rf4 R8d7 28.Be5! white is better)
Back to 26...gxh5 27.Bxd8 Rxd8 28.b4 cxb4 29.axb4 Qf6 30.Qa3 Kg8 31.Ne5! Nxe5 (31...Rf8 32.Nd3! Leela) 32.Rxe5 Rf8 33.R1e2 h4 34.R5e4 Bb7 (34...Kf8 35.f3! and black pieces are passive) 35.Rxe6 Qg7 36.f3! Bxf3 37.Rf2 Nc7 38.Re3 Bb7 39.Qa2 Rxf2 40.Qxf2.
We achieve a quite typical position of these lines, black has two pieces for a rook, but h4 is weak and more important, the black is so weak that I think the position is very difficult to play. The rook is very strong in such case.

So one story short about this 12...Nh6, maybe I missed one or two better try for black at some point, but Leela seems to dislike these kind of position for black. And we can't blame her, the Na6 is stuck because of a7 hanging in a lot of case, the Nf7 is not great either (protecting duty but nothing more), and the Bc8 is blocked by the e6 pawn, and on b7, he can be refrained by f3. Long story short, I don't like black since to me white has a long lasting initiative and dynamic play in most of the line.

Instead, I want to point out that 12...Rd8! is for me the best equalizer weapon at black disposal. As you will see, black knight will be on f5 (instead of f7) allowing black to have counterplay in time against the white king by Nh4 and Bb7. Also ...Kf7 followed by ...Rf8 and ...Kg8 can come quickly. It is much more fun to play, and I believe as sound as 12...Nh6 !

12...Rd8 13.Nd2 Qg6 14.Qa3 is the only real try for white.
14...Bc8 15.0-0 Ne7 and we achieve a crossroad where white have some different plans.
a) 16.Rfe1 c5! thematic move here 17.Qa4+ Kf7 18.a3!? the usual white idea (18.Rad1 transpose in b) (18.Ne4 Rhf8 19.Rad1 Nf5 is fine for black) 18...Nf5 19.b4 Rd7! defending a7 and preparing Rhd8 is solving black problems.
b) 16.Rad1 is the main try, 16...c5! 17.Qa4+ Kf7 18.Bf3
(18.a3 Rhf8 19.b4 e5! is ok for black)
(18.Rfe1 Rhf8 19.Ne4 Nf5 20.Ng3 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Kg8 is completely ok for black)
So back to 18.Bf3 Nf5 19.Be4
(19.Bc6 intending Bb5 is a prefect example of how things work tacticly for black 19...Rhf8 20.Bb5 Nh4! and the counter play is in time 21.g3 Kg8 22.Bxa6 Rxd2! work for black)
So 19.Be4 Rhf8 20.Nf3 intending Nh5 20...Qg4! is fine for black, for example 21.Bc6 intending Bb5 once again 21...Qf4 22.Bb5 Bb7! 23.Bd2 Qg4 24.h3 Qh5 25.Bc6 Bxc6 26.Qxc6 Nb8! and once again black has solved his problems.

I think the move are easier to fin in this 12...Rd8 stuff :
...Raf8, ...Nf8, ...Kf7-g8 etc. And black has also more chance against white king.
And also in pratical games, black did very much ok
  
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