Sokolsky Opening

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Paul McKeown
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Sokolsky Opening

Postby Paul McKeown » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:12 pm

Can people recommend some decent lines against 1. b4?

I have had a couple of disasters against this in the past couple of seasons. :cry:

I think it probably makes sense to prepare for it before the new season gets underway. Thanks in advance!

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby IM Jack Rudd » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:30 pm

I usually play 1...e5 and then take the b-pawn if he plays 2.Bb2.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Roger de Coverly » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:36 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:Can people recommend some decent lines against 1. b4?


The old line used to be to start with 1 .. c6 and then play .. a5 and .. Qb6. So games might go 1 b4 c6 2 Bb2 a5 3 a3 axb4 4 axb4 Rxa1 5 Rxa1 Qb6 and now White needs to play the humiliating 6 c3 to avoid loss of the b pawn.

The trouble is that many players of 1 b4 now know that the reply to .. a5 is b5 and either you prepare it with 2 c4 or 2 e3 or you just play the b5 advance anyway as a sacrifice.

Matt Rose punted 1 .. d5 2 .. Qd6 against Jonathan Rogers in this year's 4NCL, so there's scope for original solutions.

One other idea is to play 1 b4 c5 2 bxc5 e5. Of course you have to know that 2 e4 is unlikely or you are comfortable with meeting it.

benedgell
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby benedgell » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:45 pm

The last time I faced 1.b4 I played a line I'd seen a friend play which looked pretty decent:

1. b4 e5 2. Bb2 f6 3. e4 c6 4. a3 d5 5. exd5 cxd5 6. Nf3 Be6
7. Be2 Bd6 8. d4 e4 9. Nfd2 f5 10. c4 Nf6 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. Nc4 O-O 13. Nbd2
Bc7 14. O-O Bxh2+ 15. Kxh2 Qh4+ 16. Kg1 Rf6 17. Nxe4 fxe4 18. Bc1 Nd7 19. f3
Nc3 20. Qe1 Qxe1 21. Rxe1 Nxe2+ 22. Rxe2 exf3 23. Rc2 f2+ 24. Kf1 Rc8 0-1

James Coleman
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby James Coleman » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:52 pm

I saw Nakamura played the unusual 1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 e4 not too long ago, albeit in a speed chess game against an untitled player.

Ian Jamieson
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Ian Jamieson » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:53 pm

After 1.b4 e5 2. Bb2 f6 White can play 3.b5 instead of 3.e4

benedgell
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby benedgell » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:56 pm

I'm quite happy playing black after 3. b5 d5

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Roger de Coverly » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:56 pm

benedgell wrote:The last time I faced 1.b4 I played a line I'd seen a friend play which looked pretty decent:

1. b4 e5 2. Bb2 f6 3. e4 c6 4. a3


Although not that precise move-order, Peter Clarke's 1960s book of 100 Soviet Miniatures has the odd game that goes totally mad. White punts f4 against f6 and leaves the b pawn to its fate in the style of the Evans Gambit.

These are the games I'm thinking of
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1557915
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1250823

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Jonathan Rogers » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:53 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Paul McKeown wrote:Can people recommend some decent lines against 1. b4?


The old line used to be to start with 1 .. c6 and then play .. a5 and .. Qb6. So games might go 1 b4 c6 2 Bb2 a5 3 a3 axb4 4 axb4 Rxa1 5 Rxa1 Qb6 and now White needs to play the humiliating 6 c3 to avoid loss of the b pawn.

The trouble is that many players of 1 b4 now know that the reply to .. a5 is b5 and either you prepare it with 2 c4 or 2 e3 or you just play the b5 advance anyway as a sacrifice.

Matt Rose punted 1 .. d5 2 .. Qd6 against Jonathan Rogers in this year's 4NCL, so there's scope for original solutions.

One other idea is to play 1 b4 c5 2 bxc5 e5. Of course you have to know that 2 e4 is unlikely or you are comfortable with meeting it.


A very interesting possibility was missed in the opening in that game.

After 1 b4 d5 2 Nf3 Qd6 3 a3 e5 4 e3 Bg4 5 Bb2 Black eventually chose 5...f6 but during his long think I realised that 5...e4 6.h3 could be met by 6...Qh6!, which would have forced an improvised exchange sac along the lines of 7 hxg4 Qxh1 8 Nd4 - f5, etc.

When I was 17, I had a game that started 1 b4 d5 2 Bb2 Qd6 and then I played a pawn sac with 3 b5 Qb4 4 Qc1 Qxb5 5 e4 Qd7 6 exd5 Qxd5 7 Nc3 etc.

I love 1 b4, but only from time to time - one plays it according to mood rather than study it too carefully.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Jon D'Souza-Eva » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:10 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Matt Rose punted 1 .. d5 2 .. Qd6 against Jonathan Rogers in this year's 4NCL, so there's scope for original solutions.
I saw that game and liked the position Matt ended up with out of the opening. The idea of Qd6 was to support 3. ... e5 as White had to defend his b4 pawn.

Paul Bielby
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Paul Bielby » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:48 am

I still like to play Pachman's (Moderne Schachtheorie, 1956} suggestion 1. b4 a5!! offering to swap a wing pawn for a centre pawn. The second ! was mine, Pachman only gives it one. But then my opening theory is probably badly out-of-date.

Nick Ivell
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Nick Ivell » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:55 pm

I played the Polish a lot in the late 80s. One obliging opponent even responded with an early ...Nc6, fulfilling all White's dreams in this opening. My worst experiences were always against 1.... e5. Although the exchange of 'b' for 'e' pawn is positionally good for White, I always struggled tactically. So I gave up on 1. b4.

I tried out the opening in a series of blitz games against Mark Hebden. He had a glint in his eye as he adopted his traditional King's Indian set up. Thank you for donating those squares on the queenside, he seemed to be saying...

Giulio Simeone
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Giulio Simeone » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:18 am

I agree with Mr. Rudd: after 1. b4 e5 2. Bb2 Bxb4 3. Bxe5 Nf6 followed by ...d6 (or also .. Nc6) white has to move the bishop for the third time. It's true, white has a majority of pawns in the centre, but after three moves he hasn't still pushed none of them: so, before white can occupy the centre, black has all the time to suitably place his pieces. Probably that's one of the main reasons why 1. b4 can't be considered as strong as 1. c4, 1. d4 or 1. e4.

Andrew Bak
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Andrew Bak » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:54 am

I have a 100% record in classical games (3/3) as black with 1.b4 b5! This always throws white off. This was always typically followed up with an early a7-a5 with the final victorious thrust of c7-c5!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Sokolsky Opening

Postby Roger de Coverly » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:19 am

Andrew Bak wrote:I have a 100% record in classical games (3/3) as black with 1.b4 b5! This always throws white off. This was always typically followed up with an early a7-a5 with the final victorious thrust of c7-c5!


It goes to show there's plenty of scope for original ideas, but just as many for black as white.


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