Friday, April 27, 2007

Beating 1.e4 d5 2.e5?!

1.e4 d5 is the Scandinavian Defense. 2.exd5 is typical, but sometimes White plays 2.e5?! to transpose into a French Defense.

If you were Black, how would you reply?

2...e6 3.d4 is a mistake, because Black's d5 and e6 pawns lock in Black's light-squared bishop. It will sit out most of the game. It's a playable (and relatively equal) position, but Black can do better.

2...Bf5! 3.d4 is therefore an improvement. Now that the light-squared bishop is out, Black can safely play 3...e6. His plan is to prove that White's pawn center is weak and too far forward.

Play might continue: 3...e6 4.Nf3 c5 5.Bb5+ Nc6 6.Nc3 Qb6 7.O-O Black's attacking d4 and White's defending it. The attackers and defenders are balancing out. Can you guess Black's next move?

7...Bg4! Black will trade off the White knight to undermine White's defense of the central pawns. But, this proves 2...Bf5!? was premature, since g4 is sometimes the bishop's ideal square. With this knowledge, we can choose a better second move for Black.

2...c5! Black has a strong position and delays developing the light-squared bishop until he knows whether f5 or g4 is the right square. Of course, he will still need to commit the bishop before playing e6 so it doesn't get locked in.

[Date "1986"]
[White "Dyrda"]
[Black "Wojtow"]
[Result "0-1"]
[PlyCount "18"]

1. e4 d5 2. e5 c5 3. f4 Nc6 4. c3 Bf5 5. Nf3 e6 6. d4 Bg4 7. Be2 Qb6 8. O-O
Bxf3 9. Rxf3 cxd4 *

The above PGN snippet is a great example of Black clobbering White in the opening due to a superior knowledge of this position.

[Event "Computer chess game"]
[Site "VER"]
[Date "2007.04.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Rybka v1.0 Beta.w32"]
[Black "likesforests"]
[Result "1-0"]
[BlackElo "2350"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2007.??.??"]

1. e4 d5 2. e5 c5 3. Bb5+ Nc6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. O-O e6 6. Bxc6+ bxc6 7. d3 Ne7 8.
Nbd2 Ng6 9. h3 Bxf3 10. Nxf3 Be7 11. Rb1 O-O 12. Bd2 f6 13. exf6 Bxf6 14. b4
cxb4 15. Bxb4 Re8 16. Qd2 Ne5 17. Nxe5 Bxe5 18. Qe2 Bf6 19. Qg4 a5 20. Bd2 Rb8
21. Rxb8 Qxb8 22. Re1 e5 23. Qd7 Qc8 24. Qxc8 Rxc8 25. Rb1 a4 26. Rb4 a3 27.
Kf1 Kf7 28. Ra4 Be7 29. Bc1 Rb8 30. Bxa3 Bxa3 31. Rxa3 d4? 32. Ra7+ Kf6 33. Ke2
Rb2 34. Kd2 h6? 35. Kc1 Rb6 36. a4 g5? 37. a5 Rb4 38. a6 1-0

And the above PGN proves that even a patzer like me can hold his own against a strong chess engine, given this starting position. I eventually lost because I know little about rook endgames. Once I finish studying Minev, that will change.

Enjoy your weekend; I'll write again next Friday!


likesforests said...

I forgot to mention my progress in Minev. I studied a dozen positions, mostly dealing with rook activity. I also reviewed all the rook tactics.

Heather Swan said...

What? 2. e6 is *no* mistake, 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 is the advanced variation of the french, which is a variation that I enjoy as a french player.

Check out:

and you can see that the advance french is decent!

likesforests said...

The French Defense, advance variation is a fine defense. But it's a mistake to let White have an equal position after 1.e4 d5 2.e5?!.

Chessbase stats show 2...e6 3.d4 scores 49%, 2...Bf5 scores 63%, and 2...c5 scores 65% for Black. But I like to understand what I play, so I turned to "The Scandinavian, 2nd".

Emms explains, "e5?! This grants Black a very comfortable game after 2...Bf5 or 2...c5. ... Black has an excellent version of the French Advance, where the bishop is outside the pawn chain."

Emms doesn't explain why 2...c5 is better, or what Black's strategy should be--important questions if you play this line! So I studied a bunch of games to learn those answers.   :)

Heather Swan said...

Ahh.. It's just... Them's fighting words, giving a ? after a move that transposes to a French!

More correct (or rather, a way to prevent the French players from getting all livid), is to say that 2 ... Bf5! or 2 ... c5!, not 2 ... e6? See? It's all how you label the moves!

I'd probably do the same, and develop my bishop out. Actually I'm sure I have, since I've played some odd games that transposed funny.

transformation said...

more latter, here...

you just commented at my forteen hundred bullet post, and i just added part two to it, my biggest post in months. i hope that you see it soon!

i did a lot of quanitative comparative analysis.

thx, dk

likesforests said...

Hehe! Ok, I removed the ? after e6. Thanks for the comments. :)

transformation said...

comment as promised: i respectfully submit, that studying openings while comforting to players <1600 or even `1700 in providing tangable group upon which to extert ones own energies, has the least among of ROE, return on energy, comparable to roe in investment or return on equity, the acid test of wall street effectiveness of deployment of capital, the major task of all allocators of capital, and, as such, time, energy, risk, and human capital.

tactics, tactics, tactics!
endings, endings, endings!

those first, openings should, just like Capablanca said, if not come last, surely not first! that is to say, not for focus or emphasis however slight.

be a tactical-endgame monster first!

it is, as you suggest, nice to have a reporatore, but past a few basic set ups, let it ride for now!

and let us all ask, if this is so good an activity, then why are used bookshops mostly filled with opening books on chess????????? why???? a scam.

warmly, dk

likesforests said...

If I invested all the hours I spent on frivolous pursuits into tactical and endgame studies, no doubt I would be a stronger chess player. I suppose I have a streak of Spassky in me (who kept sneaking off to play tennis), which results in me playing the occasional Kramnik (who recently missed a mate-in-one). And no, I'm not implying my games have much in common, except the first move or two!

In all seriousness, I know my endgames need the most work. Thanks for reminding me to eat my spinach! I'll read your latest post as soon as I get back from the Monterey Bay Aquarium (another frivolous pursuits, but my daughter loves watching the fishies). :)

Loomis said...

In my opinion there's nothing wrong with studying openings at any level -- so long as you don't become over obsessed by it. All the tactical training in the world will leave you desperate if you don't learn to develop your pieces in the opening. In fact, I rather like what you've done in this post in terms of understanding a puzzling move by your opponents. And it's not like it's 12 moves deep, it's move two!

Incidentally, I've looked at some similar stuff resulting from the Grand Prix against the Sicilian. 1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5. Black is trying to gambit a pawn, but sometimes white will play 3. e5?! What to do here? Play a French with your light squared bishop on g4! Having played the French many years ago, this is quite comfortable.

Nice post, really like your blog.

likesforests said...

I believe when you study an opening sequence by playing through games and trying to grasp the plans behind the moves, the benefits extend beyond learning one variation, and it helps your overall strategic thought process.

"1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5. Black is trying to gambit a pawn, but sometimes white will play 3. e5?!"

THAT looks familiar! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. My post this coming Friday happens to be related to your blog.

Anonymous said...

People who play the center counter should be crucified for obscenity! having said that after 2...c5 which seems to be black's best scoring continuation have you tried 3.b4!?? shock, gasp, a wing gambit? Oh the horror; meeting an obscenity with an obscenity. Why not?

NightNurse said...

I like meeting 1.e4,d5 2.e5, with ...Nc6 transposing into Nimzo's Other.

Anonymous said...

Giving !, ?! to the few first moves which will transpose to French or Caro-Kann is something I would avoid..:) Cause it might suggest you gain advantage from start which is not true...

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