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Normal Topic Botvinnik Triangle Against Bc4/Bc5 - Good or Bad? (Read 226 times)
SouthofGrey
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Re: Botvinnik Triangle Against Bc4/Bc5 - Good or Bad?
Reply #3 - 07/31/20 at 23:31:33
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Ok wow! I guess I should look at these positions some more. Thanks.
  
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kylemeister
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Re: Botvinnik Triangle Against Bc4/Bc5 - Good or Bad?
Reply #2 - 07/31/20 at 06:10:31
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Incidentally 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nge2 e5 4. g3/4. Nd5 was brought up by the OP a while back.
https://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1487015444/11

I see that 4. g3 in Korchnoi-Huebner led to a normal Closed Sicilian line (one that aways reminds me of a game Benko-Botvinnik, with reversed colors, which appeared in Raymond Keene's book Flank Openings).
  
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Re: Botvinnik Triangle Against Bc4/Bc5 - Good or Bad?
Reply #1 - 07/31/20 at 05:31:16
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Sometimes ...c7-c5 + ...e7-e5 (or c2-c4 + e2-e4) looks bad but isn't; other times it looks bad and and actually is.

Nimzowitsch used to play this way, e.g. 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 c6 4.e4, and other similar examples in My System, but it didn't catch on back then. Many decades of experience with Chigorin's defense in the Spanish, the Lasker/Pelikan/Chelyabinsk/Sveshnikov Sicilian, and even the Kalashnikov Sicilian, all showed that black can survive the hole on d5. By now, (a) it's well known how black can defend; (b) Nimzowitsch's English with 4.e4 has become a thing; and (c) Sveshnikov (2014) Sveshnikov versus the Anti-Sicilians is even a whole book devoted to different variations with 1...c5 then ...e7-e5 as quickly as possible.

But 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 c5 really is bad. Black could cope with the hole on d5 by itself, and could even cope with the unmotivated loss of tempo if the position remained closed. The catch is, the position doesn't stay closed. With 3.f4! white is going to be at least += and if black doesn't play perfectly it could be a rout. 3.Bc4 is also nice as long as white plays f2-f4 soon, but the bishop might want to go to b5 which is an argument for delaying Bc4 for a bit. 1.e4 e5 2.c4 is also bad for the same reason. Of course white can get away with more than black, but 2...Bc5! is instantly equal at least, which is not something you can say after more reasonable white second moves. These Vienna / Bishop's / King's Gambit positions (or reversed with 2.c4) are not the simplest things, but if you know enough about them it becomes clear which variations are harmed by the early c-pawn commitment. For example 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 is a reliable equalizer for black; after 1.e4 e5 2.c4 Bc5 3.Nf3 d6 white doesn't have this option. Another whole set of black defenses begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 when there are three good moves for black, 4...Na5, 4...Bb4, and 4...Bc5; well after 1.e4 e5 2.c4 Bc5 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 Nc6 two of those moves are impossible and 5.Na4 is far less attractive with the white c-pawn already on c4.

By comparison, in the Sicilian variation 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 e5 white finds it harder to play f2-f4. In a traditional line with Nf3-g5 and f2-f4, e.g. 4.Bc4 e6 5.d3 Be7 6.O-O Nf6 7.Ng5 O-O 8.f4, the extra knight move allows black enough time to defend. Your plan with Nf3-d2-f1-e3 is dandy (e.g. 6.Nd2 etc.), but the position remains closed. By now, how to defend the hole on d5 is worked out. Even in the "optically" superior line 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 e5, where white can smoothly occupy d5, e.g. 4.Nd5 Nf6 5.Nec3, black is catching up in development and the one weakness on d5 is just not enough. It's interesting that Korchnoi gave 4.g3 an "!" and even played it himself when he had this position as white. Note white's pieces are awkwardly misplaced for any quick opening of the position, say by 4.f4?!.

So it's not just the hole on d5 that matters. It all comes down to details of development and in particular whether f2-f4 (or ...f7-f5) applies pressure or not.
  
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SouthofGrey
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Botvinnik Triangle Against Bc4/Bc5 - Good or Bad?
07/31/20 at 03:26:32
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I always thought that this position was something that you should never play into because the opponent can control the "weak" square d4/d5. But I'm seeing games in which players choose to go into this position anyway. A typical position arises after 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 e5 4.Bc4 d6:

Here I thought that White would be better in such positions because of the weakness of the d5 square with a plan like d3, Nd2, Nf1, Ne3 and moving something to d5. But in the databases I'm looking at, players have gone into these positions with Black anyway with plans of putting the dark-squared bishop on e7 and on g7 with good results.

So why is it ok for Black to play this way? Honestly I thought that ideas like 1.e4 e5 2.c4 or 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 c5 were bad because of this but now I wonder if these are positions that can be considered playable.
  
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