The Meran for Club Players

Thu, 2014-10-02 10:58 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2014.10.02"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Meran Semi-Slav"]
[Black "Starting Moves"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D46"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "11"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]

{This week's blog post is on the Meran Semi-Slav, which arises after the moves
} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 {. The basic idea
of White's setup is to play e4, exchanging the Black d5-pawn and giving White
a clear spatial advantage. Let's see how that plays out in the next game.} * [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "World Championship 02nd"]
[Site "Havana"]
[Date "1889.02.04"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Steinitz, William"]
[Black "Chigorin, Mikhail"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D46"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "1889.01.20"]
[EventRounds "17"]
[EventCountry "CUB"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Bd6 6. Bd3 Nbd7 7. O-O (7. e4 dxe4
8. Nxe4 Nxe4 9. Bxe4 {gives Black the extra option of checking on b4, but that
is hardly a great idea.}) 7... O-O 8. e4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Nxe4 10. Bxe4 {Black
would like to challenge White's centre with ...c5 or ...e5, but there are
problems with both continuations.} h6 {Black avoids Bg5/Ng5 ideas with this
move; in particular, after ...Nf6 a Bg5 pin could later be annoying.} (10... c5
11. Bc2 Qc7 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. Qd3 {is slightly better for White as Black
either has to weaken his kingside pawn structure or settle for the passive} Nf6
14. Bg5 Rd8 15. Qc3 Be7 {, after which White will put a rook on d1 and play
Ne5 with typical pressure.}) (10... e5 $2 {is a blunder because of} 11. dxe5
Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Bxe5 13. Bxh7+ Kxh7 14. Qh5+ Kg8 15. Qxe5 {and the
opposite-coloured bishops don't have an overly drawish tendency while the
major pieces are on the board.}) 11. Bc2 $1 {A very precise move to prepare
the standard Qd3 battery.} Re8 {Chigorin tries defending passively, but that
won't work when White has significant positional trumps such as more space and
better bishops.} 12. Re1 Qf6 $2 {Misplacing the queen.} (12... b6 13. Qd3 Nf8 {
is more passive and gives White a number of ways to stamp his control over the
position; I would go for} 14. Ne5 {and think about Bf4 or even entertain Qh3/
Bxh6 ideas.}) 13. Bd2 Nf8 {Black fails to address the problem of his passive
c8-bishop (which can only be liberated with ...c5 or ...e5) and it costs him.}
14. Bc3 Bd7 $2 {Missing White's next sequence which gives him a decisive
passed d-pawn, but Black would still be clearly worse after the superior} (
14... Qe7 {; it's worth noting that here} 15. Ne5 Bd7 16. c5 $5 {is a typical
way to increase White's advantage as Black's pieces are too passive to get to
the d5 square.}) 15. c5 Bb8 16. d5 Qd8 17. d6 {The rest doesn't require any
comment. Black is effectively a bishop down.} b6 18. b4 f6 19. Qd3 a5 20. a3 e5
21. Nh4 bxc5 22. bxc5 Ba7 23. Rad1 Bxc5 24. Qc4+ Ne6 25. Qe4 Nf8 26. Qc4+ Ne6
27. Bg6 Qb6 28. Re2 Reb8 29. Rb2 Qa7 30. Bf5 Kf7 31. Re2 Qa6 32. Qg4 Nf4 33.
Rxe5 fxe5 34. Bxe5 g5 35. Bg6+ Kf8 36. Qxd7 Qa7 37. Qf5+ Kg8 38. d7 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "New York"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1910.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Capablanca, Jose Raul"]
[Black "Jaffe, Charles"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D30"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "39"]
[EventDate "1910.??.??"]
[EventRounds "1"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{I won't annotate this miniature as it really speaks for itself in showing
White's typical attacking methods on the kingside if Black isn't alert.} 1. d4
d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 c6 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. e4 dxe4 9.
Nxe4 Nxe4 10. Bxe4 Nf6 11. Bc2 h6 12. b3 b6 13. Bb2 Bb7 14. Qd3 g6 15. Rae1 Nh5
16. Bc1 Kg7 17. Rxe6 Nf6 18. Ne5 c5 19. Bxh6+ Kxh6 20. Nxf7+ 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Sort op 4th"]
[Site "Sort"]
[Date "2008.06.28"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Delchev, Aleksander"]
[Black "Mirzoev, Azer"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D46"]
[WhiteElo "2639"]
[BlackElo "2543"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "115"]
[EventDate "2008.06.24"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2008.09.01"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. e4 {This move
order gives Black the option of throwing in a check on move 9, but that
doesn't really change anything.} dxe4 8. Nxe4 Nxe4 9. Bxe4 O-O 10. O-O h6 11.
Bc2 e5 {Probably Black's best line after 6...Bd6 as at least White can't win a
pawn with the Bxh7 tactic, but the better developed side (White) benefits more
from the opening of the position.} 12. Re1 exd4 (12... Bb4 13. Re2 exd4 14. a3
Ba5 15. b4 Bc7 16. Bb2 Nf6 17. Nxd4 {keeps Black's pieces bottled up.}) 13.
Qxd4 Nf6 (13... Bc5 14. Qc3 {is more common, but still clearly better for
White as Black has serious problems completing development.} a5 15. a3 Re8 (
15... Nf6 16. Bxh6 $1 {is very good for White if you check it with your
engines.}) 16. Bf4 Rxe1+ 17. Rxe1 Nf8 18. Be5 f6 19. Bd4 Bxd4 20. Nxd4 c5 21.
Nf5 Bxf5 22. Bxf5 {saw White turn his initiative into a dominant minor piece
position, and soon victory in Komarov-Flear, Montauban 2000.}) 14. Bxh6 $1 {
This is only a temporary piece sacrifice.} gxh6 15. Rad1 Bxh2+ (15... Bc7 16.
Qh4 Bd7 17. Qxh6 {would obviously be inadvisable; Black is getting mated.}) (
15... Ne8 16. c5 {also regains the piece.}) 16. Nxh2 Qxd4 17. Rxd4 {We can
stop here as the position has settled down and it's obvious that White is
better as he has superior development and the better pawn structure. The king
safety can also be a factor, even without the presence of queens.} Be6 18. Rf4
Kg7 19. Re3 Ng8 20. Nf3 Rad8 21. Ne5 Ne7 22. Rg3+ Kh8 23. Bd3 Rde8 24. Rh4 Ng8
25. f4 Bc8 26. Kf2 Re7 27. Re3 Rd8 28. Ke2 Kg7 29. Kd2 Bf5 30. Rg3+ Kh7 31. Kc3
Bxd3 32. Rxd3 Rxd3+ 33. Kxd3 Nf6 34. Rh3 c5 35. a3 a5 36. Kc2 Nd7 37. Nxd7 Rxd7
38. Rh5 Rd4 39. Rxc5 Rxf4 40. Kb3 Rg4 41. Rxa5 Rg3+ 42. Ka4 Rxg2 43. Rb5 Kg6
44. Rxb7 h5 45. Rb8 Kg7 46. c5 h4 47. c6 Rd2 48. Rb4 Rc2 49. Rxh4 Rxb2 50. Rh3
Rc2 51. Kb5 f5 52. Kb6 Rb2+ 53. Ka7 Rc2 54. Kb7 Rb2+ 55. Kc8 Kf6 56. c7 f4 57.
Rd3 Ke7 58. Rf3 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Brussels"]
[Site "Brussels"]
[Date "1987.04.11"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Black "Van der Wiel, John"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D46"]
[WhiteElo "2735"]
[BlackElo "2590"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "1987.04.10"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "BEL"]
[EventCategory "14"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1988.02.01"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Bb4 {This old line
aims to stop e4 but isn't particularly good as the bishop will soon be
misplaced on b4.} 7. a3 (7. O-O O-O 8. a3 Bd6 9. e4 dxe4 10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Bxe4
e5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Bxe5 14. Bxh7+ Kxh7 15. Qh5+ Kg8 16. Qxe5 Qd3 {is an
attempt for Black to hold a draw as White's extra move a3 kills the
flexibility of his queenside structure, but there's no need for the club
player to fear such a minimalist strategy, especially as White isn't forced to
enter it.}) 7... Ba5 8. O-O O-O 9. Qc2 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Bc7 {See, there was no
need to kick the bishop with b4 as it retreated voluntarily!} 11. Ba2 {This
move is useful whether Black goes for the ...e5 or the ...c5 break.} e5 12. h3
(12. dxe5 Nxe5 {significantly frees Black's pieces; we usually want to keep
the tension and make Black trade on d4.}) 12... h6 13. e4 $1 (13. Rd1 Qe7 14.
Bd2 {was the more restrained option, when if Black keeps the tension he risks
running into Nh4!, but Garry plays the most aggressive line as expected.})
13... Re8 (13... exd4 14. Nxd4 Nc5 {is probably better - generally speaking
when White plays e4 Black wants to take and use e5 or c5 for the knight, but
here} 15. Be3 Qe7 16. f3 {makes it very hard to chip at White's central
edifice as} Nh5 {is met by} 17. f4 {.}) 14. Be3 Nh5 15. Rad1 exd4 16. Bxd4 Qe7
{If Black gets some time he might play ...Nf4 and ...Nf8-g6 to coordinate some
counterplay, so Kasparov's next is very important to keep his dominance of the
position.} 17. e5 $1 Nf8 $2 {After this error the game is decided by a nice
tactic with severe positional consequences.} (17... Nf4 {was still bad, but
not immediately losing.}) 18. Nb5 $1 Ne6 (18... cxb5 19. Bc5) 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20.
Nxc7 Qxc7 21. Qg6 Qf7 22. Qxf7+ Kxf7 23. Be3 Rf8 24. Rd4 Kg8 25. Rfd1 b6 26.
Rh4 Rf5 27. Nd4 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2014.10.02"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Meran Main Line"]
[Black "Why 8.Bd3?"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D47"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "15"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]

{Of course, the main line of the Meran is} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3
e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 {, but I examined the other moves in some
depth because at the club level you will face them regularly. The idea behind
this advance isn't primarily to gain queenside space, but rather support the ..
.c5 break, and that only works when Black has exchanged his d5-pawn first. Now
a typical question is: why should White play} 8. Bd3 {here? There are two main
reasons: 1) Black has two ways to prepare the ...c5 break - with ...a6 to
defend the b5-pawn, or ...b4. Against the latter, we'd like to respond with
Ne4 to keep our pieces centralised. 2) Perhaps more importantly, the bishop
helps support the e4 break, without which we can't put pressure on the
opponent's position.} (8. Bb3 b4 9. Ne2 Bb7 10. O-O Bd6 {illustrates this
concept quite clearly; the knight is insipid on e2 and normally White moves it
to f4 or g3 here. Still, the position is at least equal for Black; he might
even delay ...c5 for a few moves just to get his pieces on better squares
first as it is hard for White to considerably improve his position.}) (8. Be2 {
is slightly more respectable, but all of Black's main tries against 8.Bd3 work
better here as after say} Bb7 {White's e4 isn't so hot after ...b4 now, and
otherwise} 9. O-O Be7 10. e4 b4 11. e5 bxc3 12. exf6 Bxf6 13. bxc3 c5 {leaves
Black with comfortable piece play and a little pressure on the ruins of
White's centre.}) * [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Merano"]
[Site "Merano"]
[Date "1924.??.??"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Gruenfeld, Ernst"]
[Black "Rubinstein, Akiba"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D48"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "1924.??.??"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "ITA"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1998.11.10"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3
a6 {This is the sharpest line since White's attempts to avoid e4, while quite
common at club level, are considerably less critical.} 9. O-O ({It is very
important to meet} 9. e4 {with} c5 {; if you waste a tempo with} (9... Bb7 $2 {
,} 10. e5 $1 Nd5 11. Nxd5 cxd5 12. O-O {is a very passive version of the
French for Black. White will follow with} Be7 13. Qd2 $1 {(a new move, but
funnily enough the first one I thought of)} O-O 14. Qf4 {followed by Qg4 and
Bh6 with a stock kingside attack.})) 9... c5 10. a4 b4 11. Ne4 Bb7 12. Ned2 {
This is the most frequent move, but I find it too passive and would prefer} (
12. Nxf6+ Nxf6 13. dxc5 Bxc5 14. Qe2 {which at least gives a clear plan of e4,
and meanwhile Black has a few weak squares on the queenside to work with.
Still, the position should be balanced after} Ne4 $5 {(not mentioned by Kornev
in his recent repertoire book advocating the Meran)} 15. Rd1 Qe7 16. Nd2 Nxd2
17. Bxd2 O-O {.}) 12... Be7 {Again, you shouldn't rush to release the tension
- we're happy to see White take on c5 and activate our knight with tempo.} 13.
Qe2 (13. a5 O-O 14. Nc4 Qc7 15. Qe2 Ng4 $1 {is a useful device to remember;
White has to retreat with the ugly} 16. Ncd2 {after which only Black can be
better.}) 13... O-O 14. Rd1 a5 15. Nc4 Qc7 {Although the computers call it
equal, I find Black's position quite harmonious and the extra space on the
queenside can be useful too. It's as though Black's pieces are on the outside
looking in and White's are on the inside looking out.} 16. Bd2 (16. b3 {and
Bb2 is the other way to develop the bishop, but I guess White was worried
about the weakness of the c3-square.}) 16... Rfd8 17. Rac1 Qc6 (17... Rac8 {
getting the final piece out also merited attention.}) 18. b3 Qd5 19. Be1 cxd4
20. exd4 {White hasn't done anything stupid but Black has come out of this
with a good IQP position and he went on to win. By the way, Rubinstein is
quite a good guide in general for understanding the development of 1.d4 theory
through its nascent stage. His games give a good indication of how players at
the club level are most likely to meet modern opening concepts.} Rdc8 21. Bd2
Ne4 22. Re1 Nd6 23. Qf1 Nxc4 24. bxc4 Qh5 25. Ne5 $6 {White fails to adjust to
Black's sudden attack.} (25. Be2 {was more solid.}) 25... Nxe5 26. Rxe5 Qh4 27.
f4 $2 {An unnecessary blunder; White had to find} (27. d5 Bd6 28. Bg5 {, after
which he can hold thanks to} Qh5 29. Be2 Qg6 30. Bd3 {with a repetition.})
27... Bf6 28. g3 Bxe5 29. dxe5 Qe7 30. Be3 Qd7 31. Be2 Qxa4 32. g4 b3 33. Kf2
Be4 34. Bd4 Rd8 35. Ke3 Bc2 36. Ra1 Qb4 0-1 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Linares 22nd"]
[Site "Linares"]
[Date "2005.03.04"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Kasimdzhanov, Rustam"]
[Black "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D48"]
[WhiteElo "2678"]
[BlackElo "2804"]
[Annotator "Illingworth, Max"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2005.02.23"]
[EventRounds "14"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[EventCategory "20"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2005.06.06"]

{Next we'll look at the Reynolds Variation, which can actually arise from both
8...a6 and 8...Bb7!} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3
dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 (8... a6 9. e4 c5 10. d5 c4 11. dxe6 ({After} 11.
Bc2 Qc7 12. O-O Bb7 {White's alternatives to taking aren't that hot.}) 11...
fxe6 12. Bc2 Qc7 13. O-O Bb7 {transposes to the game. So you could base a
White repertoire in the Meran around this d5 system. It should be added that
Black has a few independent options without ...Bb7.}) 9. O-O a6 10. e4 c5 11.
d5 {If White doesn't play this sacrifice, he's already worse as Black has ...
cxd4 and ...Bc5/...Nc5 coming to take the initiative.} ({For instance,} 11. Bg5
{was recently played by one of my students, but it runs into} cxd4 12. Nxd4 h6
13. Bh4 Bd6 {followed by ...Qc7 and ...0-0, and Black has the advantage.})
11... Qc7 ({Actually, White's last isn't a real sacrifice as} 11... exd5 12.
exd5 Nxd5 (12... Be7 13. d6 $1 Bxd6 14. Re1+ Be7 15. Qe2 Bxf3 16. gxf3 $5 {
makes it difficult for Black to complete development.}) 13. Nxd5 Bxd5 14. Bxb5
axb5 15. Qxd5 Be7 16. Bf4 {gives White a strong lead in development.}) 12. dxe6
fxe6 13. Bc2 c4 {Black isn't forced to advance, but it is a very good
positional move to prepare ...Nc5 and in many cases ...Nd3. White is generally
relying on tactical ideas in these lines as if Black can complete his
development he is statically better.} 14. Nd4 (14. Ng5 Nc5 15. e5 Qxe5 16. Re1
Qd6 17. Qxd6 Bxd6 18. Be3 O-O 19. Rad1 Be7 20. Bxc5 Bxc5 21. Nxe6 Rfc8 {is a
long theoretical line leading to a balanced endgame. Fortunately there aren't
any good deviations after 15.e5 for White that you need to memorise.}) (14. Qe2
{is considered in the next game.}) 14... Nc5 15. Be3 e5 16. Nf3 Be7 17. Ng5 {
This used to be one of White's main hopes, but Kasparov's exchange sacrifice
crushed them.} O-O $1 18. Bxc5 Bxc5 19. Ne6 Qb6 20. Nxf8 Rxf8 {For the
exchange Black completed his development, has domination of the dark squares,
a far better majority, a strong initiative, and White's pieces are really tied
up. Black is better notwithstanding White's next erroneous move.} 21. Nd5 $6
Bxd5 $1 22. exd5 Bxf2+ 23. Kh1 e4 24. Qe2 e3 25. Rfd1 Qd6 26. a4 g6 $1 27. axb5
axb5 28. g3 Nh5 $1 29. Qg4 Bxg3 $1 30. hxg3 Nxg3+ 31. Kg2 Rf2+ 32. Kh3 Nf5 $1
33. Rh1 h5 34. Qxg6+ Qxg6 35. Rhg1 Qxg1 36. Rxg1+ Kf7 {This win was awarded
the 'Best Game' prize for the tournament.} 0-1 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "WC22/final"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2007.12.31"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Drake Díez de Rivera, Pedro (ESP)"]
[Black "Oosterom, Joop J. van (NED)"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2574"]
[BlackElo "2771"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "42"]
[EventDate "2007.??.??"]
[Source "Chess Mail Ltd"]
[SourceDate "2010.05.01"]

{Usually I don't include correspondence games in my posts but this one shows a
strong but rarely played line. It's not unusual for correspondence play to be
well ahead of over-the-board theory in these sharp lines.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3.
Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O a6 10. e4
c5 11. d5 Qc7 12. dxe6 fxe6 13. Bc2 c4 14. Qe2 Bd6 15. Nd4 (15. Ng5 Nc5 16. f4
{has also been seen a lot, but as long as you remember to play} h6 {and follow
up with a quick ...Nd3!, you will be fine.} 17. Nf3 Nd3 $1 18. Bxd3 cxd3 19.
Qxd3 Rd8 20. Qe2 O-O $5 {(taking on f4 is also OK)} 21. e5 Bc5+ 22. Kh1 Nd5 {
is a powerful illustration of Black's compensation; White is well behind in
development and can't oppose Black on the light squares.}) 15... Bxh2+ $5 {
This pawn grab looks risky but seems quite effective to me.} 16. Kh1 Nc5 17. f4
e5 $1 {The key tactical point. Admittedly to play the Meran you do need to
know some sharp lines, but there aren't as many you have to memorise as some
may assume.} 18. Ndxb5 (18. Nf5 {is well met by} g6 19. Kxh2 gxf5 20. fxe5
Qxe5+ 21. Bf4 Qe7 {. It looks messy but Black's the one with all the
initiative here.}) 18... axb5 19. Kxh2 O-O 20. Nxb5 Qe7 21. Nc3 Kh8 {Black was
better, although the game ended in a draw relatively soon.} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Buenos Aires CA"]
[Site "Buenos Aires"]
[Date "1955.??.??"]
[Round "17"]
[White "Gligoric, Svetozar"]
[Black "Sanguineti, Raul"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D47"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "1955.??.??"]
[EventRounds "17"]
[EventCountry "ARG"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3
Bb7 9. a3 $5 {This is an interesting alternative to the main lines with} (9. e4
b4 10. Na4 c5 11. e5 Nd5 {, which I'll return to in the next game.}) 9... a6 {
This is now considered a little passive as it lets White clamp down on the
queenside and stop ...c5.} (9... b4 10. Ne4 Nxe4 11. Bxe4 bxa3 {is correct,
when White usually plays} 12. O-O $5 {, but accepting the gambit with} (12.
bxa3 Bd6 {will be equal once Black gets in ...c5, which is a lot easier to
achieve than it looks at first sight.}) 12... axb2 13. Bxb2 Nf6 14. Bd3 a5 {
leaves White with nothing special; even if White regains the pawn, Black
should be able to break with ...c5 and gradually equalise. There are more
enterprising alternatives on move 12 if you want a more active position.}) 10.
b4 $1 Bd6 (10... a5 {should be played ASAP, and} 11. Rb1 axb4 12. axb4 Bd6 (
12... Nd5 {is playable but I'm not a fan after} 13. Nxd5 exd5 14. Qc2 {
followed by e4 ASAP.}) 13. O-O Qe7 14. Bd2 O-O 15. Qb3 e5 {gives Black enough
counterplay in the centre as White is too tied down to b4 to undertake a
particularly active plan.}) 11. O-O O-O 12. Ne4 (12. Bd2 {first is more
precise, with the idea of} a5 13. bxa5 $1 {, as it is still hard for Black to
break with ...c5 when the b5-pawn is hanging and can't easily move to b4.})
12... Nxe4 13. Bxe4 a5 14. Rb1 Qe7 15. Bd2 Rfd8 {From here the game isn't so
instructive, but it's well worth remembering how to meet this b4 plan (or
avoid it with ...b4 earlier).} (15... axb4 16. axb4 Nb6 {and ...Nc4 gives
Black quite reasonable pressure on the queenside. His b7-bishop might be ugly
but White's pieces also aren't so purposeful.}) 16. Qc2 h6 17. Rfc1 Nf6 18. Bd3
axb4 19. axb4 Ra4 20. Qb3 Nd5 21. e4 Nxb4 22. e5 Bc5 23. Bf1 Bxd4 24. Bxb4 c5
25. Ba3 Bd5 26. Qxa4 bxa4 27. Nxd4 Qg5 28. Rxc5 Qd2 29. Nb5 Be4 30. Rbc1 Bd3
31. Nd6 Bxf1 32. Rxf1 Qd3 33. Bc1 Rb8 34. Ra5 Rb4 35. h3 f6 36. Ra8+ Kh7 37.
exf6 gxf6 38. Ra7+ Kg6 39. Ne8 Rb8 40. Rg7+ Kf5 41. g4+ 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Candidates qf1"]
[Site "Las Palmas"]
[Date "1971.??.??"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Uhlmann, Wolfgang"]
[Black "Larsen, Bent"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D47"]
[WhiteElo "2580"]
[BlackElo "2660"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "1971.??.??"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{In this game I'll highlight a typical mistake at club level (and even a bit
above that) which you're likely to exploit if you go for 8...Bb7 (which was
Dreev's recommendation in his Meran book)} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. d4
c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. e4 b4 {This is the key
point - now White doesn't have the e4 square for the knight and has to
misplace it.} 10. Na4 c5 11. e5 Nd5 {Black is doing very well positionally as
he has an outpost knight on d5 and White's e5-pawn will often become weak
after the trade of the c5-pawn and d4-pawn. The catch is that Black is a
little behind in getting castled.} 12. Nxc5 {The most natural move, but it
only helps Black activate his pieces.} ({The main line} 12. O-O cxd4 {can get
sharp quite quickly. You should really take the time to study the theory
(especially after 13.Nxd4) but I'll briefly suggest that after} 13. Re1 {you
play} (13. Nxd4 Nxe5 14. Bb5+ Nd7 15. Re1 Rc8 16. Qh5 g6 {gets outrageously
sharp with White generally sacking with Nxe6 before Black can castle, but if
Black has a good memory then there's nothing to fear. You aren't forced to
play 13...Nxe5 but objectively you accept a slight disadvantage by shirking it.
}) 13... g6 {, intending ...Bg7 and ...0-0 which at least keeps your king safe,
though White can press a bit with} 14. Bg5 Qa5 15. Nxd4 a6 16. a3 {.}) 12...
Nxc5 13. dxc5 Bxc5 14. Bb5+ $6 {It will be hard for someone to resist the
temptation to play this unless they already know it is bad.} (14. O-O {is more
common but after} h6 $1 {, Black is threatening to castle (doing it a move
earlier ran into Bxh7) and he is very comfortable with good squares for all of
his pieces.}) 14... Ke7 {The king is actually very safe here as the centre is
stable, and in the game Black soon brought it back to the kingside 'by hand'
in any case.} 15. O-O Qb6 16. Bd3 h6 {An important move to defend against Bg5.}
17. Qe2 Rhd8 18. Bd2 Kf8 19. Rac1 Rac8 20. Rc2 a5 {Black has finished his
mobilisation and has a clear advantage with much better placed pieces, space
on the queenside and a weak e5-pawn to target. Larsen went on to convert quite
convincingly.} 21. Rfc1 (21. Be3) 21... Kg8 22. h3 Ne7 23. Ne1 Bd4 24. Rxc8
Rxc8 25. Rxc8+ Nxc8 26. b3 Ne7 27. Nf3 Bc5 28. Be1 Nf5 29. Kf1 Qc6 30. Bb5 Qc7
31. Bd3 Nd4 32. Nxd4 Bxd4 33. f4 Qc1 34. Qd2 Qa1 35. Qc2 Bc3 36. Qb1 Ba6 0-1 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "World Championship"]
[Site "Bonn"]
[Date "2008.10.17"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D49"]
[WhiteElo "2772"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "2008.10.14"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "GER"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2008.11.13"]

{To finish, I'll show the craziest possible line if both sides are willing -
there are so many options and complications that it would be impossible to
analyse it in one game. So I will show a typical example at the World
Championship level and let you make your own research if this sort of mess
appeals to you. It certainly worked for Anand who scored 2/2 from the position
after 15.Bxb5 in the match.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7
6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 a6 {I didn't get to cover} (8... b4 {or}) (8...
Bd6 {in this blog, but I can assure you that they are both good surprise
weapons and better for White if he's precise.}) 9. e4 c5 10. e5 cxd4 11. Nxb5
axb5 (11... Nxe5 12. Nxe5 axb5 13. Bxb5+ Bd7 14. Nxd7 Qa5+ 15. Bd2 Qxb5 16.
Nxf8 Kxf8 {is the main alternative, which is less complicated but in my view
makes White's life too easy.}) 12. exf6 gxf6 13. O-O {At club level you'll
probably get} (13. Nxd4 {a fair bit, but it's totally harmless after} Qb6 $1 {.
}) 13... Qb6 14. Qe2 (14. Be4 Bb7 15. Bxb7 Qxb7 16. Nxd4 Rg8 {is the other
option you need to study as Black.}) 14... Bb7 (14... b4 {is more
materialistic and common. Anand elects to fight for the initiative at all
costs instead, which in general suits his style.}) 15. Bxb5 Bd6 (15... Rg8 {
was played by Anand in game 5, which you can look up for themselves. Again,
very dense theoretical knowledge is required.}) 16. Rd1 Rg8 17. g3 Rg4 18. Bf4
Bxf4 19. Nxd4 h5 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. Rxd7 Kf8 22. Qd3 Rg7 23. Rxg7 Kxg7 24. gxf4
Rd8 25. Qe2 Kh6 26. Kf1 Rg8 27. a4 Bg2+ 28. Ke1 Bh3 29. Ra3 Rg1+ 30. Kd2 Qd4+
31. Kc2 Bg4 32. f3 Bf5+ 33. Bd3 Bh3 34. a5 Rg2 35. a6 Rxe2+ 36. Bxe2 Bf5+ 37.
Kb3 Qe3+ 38. Ka2 Qxe2 39. a7 Qc4+ 40. Ka1 Qf1+ 41. Ka2 Bb1+ 0-1 [/pgn]