Unexpected move in the QGD.

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:44 pm

With nothing dynamic happening elsewhere this is indeed a pure case of good N v bad B.

I guess as kids we all feasted on books by Reinfeld and Chernev which demonstrated games where , eg, a N on d5 dominated a Black squared Bishop in the Sicilian Pelikan. I think it was a game by Anand, in which his B on d8 sort of outwitted the N 'stuck' on d5, which first taught me to keep my eyes open about these positions though. The point was that the Bishop could eye up squares way out of the Knight's reach!

Philip Adams
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Philip Adams » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:27 am

The first game I can recall seeing with White deliberately exchanging the light-squared bishops in the Carlsbad, while pursuing the plan of the minority attack, was this one:

Reshevsky,Samuel Herman - Myagmarsuren,Lhamsuren [D36]
Sousse Interzonal Sousse (1), 1967
1.d4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 0-0 7.Bd3 c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Nf3 Re8 10.0-0 Nf8 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.b4 Bg4 13.Nd2 Rc8 14.Bf5 Bxf5 15.Qxf5 g6 16.Qd3 Qd6 17.Rfb1 Bg7 18.a4 Nd7 19.Ra2 Re6 20.Rc2 Rce8 21.Nb3 Nf6 22.h3 b6 23.Nc1 Bh6 24.N1e2 Nh5 25.b5 Qd7 26.bxc6 Rxc6 27.Qb5 Rec8 28.Rbc1 R8c7 29.g4 a6 30.Qxa6 Nf6 31.Nxd5 Nxd5 32.Rxc6 Rxc6 33.Qa8+ 1-0

For younger readers, "Sammy" Reshevsky was one of the strongest players in the world in the middle decades of the 20th century and he played the QGD Exchange variation many times.

I find it interesting that Stockfish 9 disapproves of 14 Bf5.

A quick search in Megabase throws up a much earlier game of Reshevsky's, vs Horowitz (1941), in which as White he also deliberately sought the exchange of light-squared bishops:

Reshevsky,Samuel Herman - Horowitz,Israel Albert [D36]
USA-ch Match Reshevsky-Horowitz, New York (9), 1941
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Qc2 Be7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.Nf3 Re8 10.0-0 Nf8 11.Ne5 Ng4 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Nxg4 Bxg4 14.Ne2 Rad8 15.Ng3 Qh4 16.b4 Rd6 17.Bf5 Rf6 18.Bxg4 Qxg4 19.Rab1 a6 20.a4 b5 21.axb5 axb5 22.Ra1 Ng6 23.Ra6 Rc8 24.Rfa1 h5 25.h3 Qd7 26.Nxh5 Re6 27.Qc5 Qe8 28.Qc3 Kh7 29.Ra7 Re7 30.R7a6 Re6 31.Ng3 Nh4 32.Qc2+ Rg6 33.Ra7 f5 34.Qd1 Rh6 35.R1a3 Rd8 36.Kh2 Rd7 37.Qa1 Rxa7 38.Rxa7 Qe6 39.Qc3 Rg6 40.Qc2 Qf6 41.Kh1 Qe6 42.Qb1 Kg8 43.Ra8+ Kh7 44.Rf8 Rf6 45.Rb8 g6 46.Rb7+ Rf7 47.Rxf7+ Qxf7 48.Ne2 g5 49.Ng1 Kh6 50.g3 Ng6 51.Kg2 Qe6 52.Nf3 Ne7 53.Nd2 f4 54.exf4 gxf4 55.Nf3 Qe4 56.Qc1 Ng6 57.Qxc6 fxg3 58.Kxg3 Kg7 59.Qd7+ Qe7 60.Ne5 Qxd7 61.Nxd7 Ne7 62.Nb6 Kf6 63.h4 Ke6 64.h5 Kf5 65.f4 Nc6 66.Nxd5 Nxd4 67.Ne3+ Kf6 68.Kg4 Nc6 69.Nd5+ Kf7 70.Kf5 Kg7 71.Kg5 Nd4 72.h6+ Kh7 73.f5 Nf3+ 74.Kh5 Ne5 75.Nc7 Nf7 76.Nxb5 Nxh6 77.Nd6 Ng8 78.Ne8 Nh6 79.Kg5 Nf7+ 80.Kf6 Kg8 81.Ke7 Ng5 82.b5 1-0

From the earlier discussion here I conclude that the answer to "cui bono?" is one that shouldn't surprise us: it all depends on the details of the position.
But perhaps we can draw out the main factors that might enable us humans to make better practical decisions about exchanging the light-squared bishops in such positions, e.g.
- who has the initiative?
- how fast and effective is White's minority attack, for instance in tying Black down to defence?
- can Black retain enough fire power to press on the kingside?
- can Black retain a knight, to exploit the light squares, especially c4 and e4?
- can Black safely arrange to barricade the c-file with ...b5 followed by ..Nc4?

No doubt players better qualified than me can amend or add to this list.

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Jon Tait
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Jon Tait » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:43 am

Keith Arkell wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:03 pm
You ain't, Jon! I feel both enlightened, and, inadvertently, chastised! ( the latter because my 'and they threw it back' was meant to expose the absurdity of the new language, but instead I'm learning that it is fine).
okay, no worries then :)
blog inspired by Bronstein's book, but using my own games: http://200opengames.blogspot.co.uk/

Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:59 pm

Javier Gil wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:47 am
By the way, here's one of Keith's rare victories (if we are to judge from Mega Database 2018, the only one!) in the D36 variation. It seems that he too is now (2017) wasting time getting rid of his "good" bishop!

This is a very interesting line, and is pivotal in defining the various dynamics of the whole structure. If Black can both exchange his light squared Bishop AND ( a very important 'and') prevent White from initiating the minority attack, then he has a very comfortable position - essentially because White will be left with no plan. White should only be looking to exchange those Bishops if he can be sure that his minority attack will get well under way. In view of this, Black has an important choice to make on move 10: either castle, allowing 11 Bxf6! followed by 12 b4! or play 10...Nbd7! ( to meet 11 Bxf6?! with 11...Nxf6, when the B remains on e7 and prevents 12 b4). Most strong players prefer 10...Nbd7, putting up with the reply 11 Bh6 . In fact I believe that the position is equal after 10...Nbd7! 11 Bh6 and either 11...Ng4 12 Bf4 ( 12 Bg7 Rg8 13 Be5 Ne5 is nothing for White and was soon agreed drawn in a game of mine v GM Kaidanov somewhere or other, many moons ago) 0-0, or even 11...Bf8 which the new Indian GM Pragga played against me in Crete earlier in the year, in an accurately played out draw. https://youtu.be/zQckuD9t9rU

In my opinion, after the weaker 10...0-0, white obtains a slight edge with 11 Bxf6! Bxf6 12 b4! I think N+N v N +Black squared Bishop is White's ideal set of minor pieces in a typical minority attack position. Even if Black gets his N to the ideal square of d6, it gets in the way of his B, which would also like to be on that square. With White having already played b4, a4, b5, axb5 and b5x6 v ..a6, axb5 and b7 xc6, a Black N on d6 and B on e7 is well met by White N's on d3 and d2, to clear the way for heavy piece pressure down the c-file.

At the recently concluded London Chess Classic Open, I managed to trick my young, and talented, Swiss opponent into the less favourable version by playing Bxf6 before e3. I think his mistake was to anyway blindly follow up with ...Bf5. He should retain the two Bishops, and prevent me from playing b4, instead.( Incidentally, if he had played ...a5 after swapping off the light squared Bishops, then I may have tried to exploit my lead in development by going 0-0-0 followed by h4, g4, etc.) : https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-fi ... her_Daniel
Last edited by Keith Arkell on Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:32 am, edited 4 times in total.

Javier Gil
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Javier Gil » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:35 pm

Just returned from my Crhistmas holidays and saw the new replies to this thread.
Hi Ian! :wink:
Although I did defend my ideas vehemently, at no point was I desrespectful towards anyone. There's a huge difference between "attacking" an idea and being desrespectful towards someone. Keith is a respected GM and coach, and so is Sadler (whom, by the way, I regard as one of the nicest and kindest English players I have ever played against).
Responding to this thread was incredibly tiresome and frustrating because when I presented a new piece of evidence, no attempt was made to refute it. I was genuinely interested in the topic. But not ONE of the replies addressed my points.
I've worked on the D36 variation for 3 decades, I know a lot about it, it's one of my areas of expertise and I can honestly say -with little hesitation- that in general terms, the idea of voluntarilly keeping Black's light squared Bishop in this variation is, in my opinion... complete nonsense. If I said the opposite, I´d be lying. (if you think about it, what is chess but a battle of ideas and opinions about a given position? )
Does having a different opinion about this topic make you worse? not at all. But I think I've been very honest about my ideas on this line and have presented arguments backed up by GM games with my own comments.
Of course there are exceptions and of course one needs to be open minded about ideas and concepts, but there are limits! :D

If we are to get British chess out of its current (and long lasting) decadence, spreading incredibly dubious ideas like this one is definitely not going to help...

As I mentioned earlier, Mathew Sadler is an amazing player, and Keith is perhaps right when he says that he's a much better player than me. I'm currently 51, earned my IM title at 23, became a full time coach and then quit competitive chess at around 29. I believe I have learned a lot since then, but before I quit, I´d like to think that I played "a couple" of good games. Here's one of them against... Sadler himself. ;)



David Norwood, who was taking part in this event, was kind enough to congratulate me on this victory, but so was the humblest English player who has ever lived, Mathew Sadler himself...

Happy holidays!

Nick Ivell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Nick Ivell » Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:15 pm

As we've seen in the game against Timman, the greatest player of all time (ok, that's a different discussion) voluntarily chose to preserve his light-squared, 'bad' bishop. So, there must be something to what Keith is saying...

Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:01 am

Javier Gil wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:35 pm
Just returned from my Crhistmas ( sic) holidays and saw the new replies to this thread.
Hi Ian! :wink:
Although I did defend my ideas vehemently, at no point was I desrespectful towards anyone. There's a huge difference between "attacking" an idea and being desrespectful (sic) towards someone.

I can honestly say -with little hesitation- that in general terms, the idea of voluntarilly (sic) keeping Black's light squared Bishop in this variation is, in my opinion... complete nonsense.

Of course there are exceptions and of course one needs to be open minded about ideas and concepts, but there are limits! :D
If we are to get British chess out of its current (and long lasting) decadence, spreading incredibly dubious ideas like this one is definitely not going to help...
Wow! Okay, so, my ideas are 'nonsense', and spread dubious ideas which keep British chess in it's ..err.. 'long lasting decadence'. Nothing 'disrespectful' there, dude. Happy Holidays :D

Javier Gil
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Javier Gil » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:25 am

What?? "your" idea? do you claim you invented it? I thought you simply subscribed it.
A human being has around 10.000 (some sources claim that it could be more than 50.000) thoughts a day. I don't tag people just because one of their opinions about a given topic is the complete opposite of mine.
A chess player will often like hundreds of different variations, I don't tag players just because one of those is x or y. (I've played 1.a3?! several times! and haven't we all called Miles' 1...a6 "complete nonsense" without being desrespectful?).
My opinions are not about you, my opinions are about this variation.
As for spreading ideas, I haven't got a clue what you teach, so I don't know what makes you think that I'm talking about you? if you read this full thread, several people have supported this "nonsense" (to each their own), so we all are spreading it...

There are many different ways to categorise people. One of them says that there are 3 types of people in the world:
a) those who like to talk about people.
b) those who like to talk about events and happenings.
c) those who like to talk about ideas.

I guess I belong to the "c" category...

Nick Ivell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Nick Ivell » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:19 am

I think we all like to talk about ideas. This forum is at its best when we do just that. Apart from its digressions, I've found this thread a fascinating read.

At the risk of digressing myself - as I've admitted, I know nothing about the subtlelties of the Carlsbad - I'm interested in the general ideas about swapping pieces. There are very few books about this (I have one, by Shaun Taulbut if my memory serves, but I may be wrong). For example - not the Carlsbad, but the same theme applies - an old game of mine against James Howell went:

1. e4 c5 2. c3 e6 3. d4 d5 4. ed ed 5. Be3 c4 6 b3 cb 7. ab Bf5.

I quote from memory. It may well be that ...Bd6 and Nf3 were thrown in as well. In this position or similar, I was surprised by the future GM playing Bd3. It went against all my principles!

It may well be that James understood more about the position than I did...

Javier Gil
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Javier Gil » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:31 am

Hi Nick,
Since this thread is about that QGD move, I think we should focus on that, but I'll be more than happy to give you my opinion on the general ideas about swapping pieces and that Hames Howell game if you start a new thread on that topic.

Nick Ivell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Nick Ivell » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:43 am

Good idea. New thread started.

In the Howell game, I'm now pretty sure that I played Bd6 before Bf5. I would have been guided by the principle that I know d6 is the best square for one of my clerics; it's less clear where the other belongs.

The game ended in a draw. It was the last round of the British, and the game had little meaning. Probably James just wanted to make his escape.

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