A Fascinating Line in the Slav

Most chess players know of Szymon Winawer, the Polish chess player whose name is attached to a popular line in the French Defence (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4).

 

However, his name is also attached to a line in the Slav, namely the Winawer Counter Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.d4 c4 3.Nc3 e5!?). The purpose of this move is to free up Black’s pieces as soon as possible, even if it means giving up a pawn.
White can proceed in a number of ways.

 

First, he can play 4.e4?, but that is ruthlessly refuted by 4..dxc4 5.dxe5+ Qxd1. H.W. Jordan-Redpath Drummond, Canadian Ch., Toronto, 1936, continued with 6.Kxd1 Be6! 7.Nf3 Bc5 8.Ke2 Nd7 9.Be3 O-O-O 10.Rd1 Bxe3 11.Kxe3 Ne7 12.Nd2 b5 13.f4 Bg4 14.Nf3 g5 15.g3 gxf4+ 16.gxf4 Ng6 17.h3 Bxf3 18.Kxf3 Nc5 19.Be2 Ne6 20.Ke3 Nexf4 21.Bg4+ Kc7 22.Rhf1 Rxd1 23.Nxd1 Rd8 24.Be2 Nxe2 25.Rxf7+ Rd7 26.Rxd7+ Kxd7 27.Kxe2 Nf4+ 28.Kf3 Nxh3 29.Kg4 Ng1 30.Kf5 Ke7 31.Ne3 Ne2 32.e6 Nd4+ 33.Ke5 Nxe6 34.Nf5+ Kd7 0-1.

 

White can also play 4.e3 But that move usually doesn’t preserve the opening advantage.

 

Alekhine-Llorens
Simul
Barcelona, 1935
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.e3 e4 5.Qb3 Nf6 6.f3 Qb6 7.Qc2 Bb4 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Bf5 10.Ne2 Nbd7 11.Ng3 Bg6 12.f4 Nh5 13.Be2 Nxg3 14.hxg3 f5 15.a4 Nf6 16.Ba3 Bf7 17.cxd5 Nxd5 18.Kf2 O-O-O 19.c4 Nxe3 20.Qc3 Nxc4 21.Bxc4 Rxd4 22.Be2 Bc4 23.a5 Rd3+ 24.axb6 Rxc3 25.Bxc4 1-0

 

A. Nosenko (2524)-P. Simacek (2474)
Lower Silesia Cup
Legnica, Poland, Nov. 27 2016
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.e3 exd4 5.exd4 Nf6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.Qb3 O-O 8.Be3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3 Na6 11.a3 b4 12.Bxa6 bxc3 13.Bxc8 cxb2 14.Qxb2 Rxc8 15.O-O Nd5 16.Qb7 Qa5 17.Ne5 Qa4 18.Rfc1 Rc7 19.Qb2 c5 20.Qc2 Qa6 21.Qd3 Qe6 22.Rc2 Bf6 23.Nf3 c4 24.Qe2 Re8 25.Re1 Qa6 26.Nd2 Bxd4 27.Nxc4 h6 28.Qd3 Bc3 29.Rd1 Qxc4 30.Qxc4 Rxc4 31.Rxd5 Rd4 32.Rxd4 Bxd4 33.Kf1 Bxe3 34.Re2 f5 35.fxe3 Re4 36.Rf2 g6 37.Rf4 Rxf4+ 38.exf4 Kf7 39.Ke2 Ke6 40.h4 Kd5 41.Kd3 h5 42.g3 a6 0-1

 

Finally, he might try 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5, which creates and maintains a dynamic mix of tactics and forceful play.

 

It is from this line we find the following, fantastic, and ultimately satisfying, variation.

 

After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 (an attempt to weaken Black’s kingside), Black plays his surprise move.

2018_07_12_A

8…Kf7! (or maybe even !!)

 

This move not only puts the Black king on a more active square, but allows his pieces to occupy more optimal squares without taking out the time to castle and then attempt to put his pieces on better squares, a tempo behind.

 

Is this a risky more? Yes. But not as much as you might believe. Access to Black’s kingside is checked (oh, I love puns!) by his pawns and the lack of activity on the that side of the board.

 

Let’s look at some White replies to 8…Kf7

 

9.Nxd5 has some hidden tactics to it. Black plays 9…Nb6! with the idea of 10.Nxb6 Qxb6 11.Ne3 Bb4+ 12.Bd2 Bxd2+ 13.Kxd2 Qxb2+ 14.Nc2 Be6 15.Qb4 Qxb4+ 16.Nxb4 Ne7! and the game retains its dynamic style. Chances are about even. This line has been pointed out by several masters.

 

That doesn’t mean that some players won’t play it.

 

Dmitry Smolin-A. Tsybulnik
300 Years
St. Petersburg, Russia, 2003
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.Ne3 Nb6 10.Qb3 Be6 11.a4 a5 (Otherwise, 12.a5 spells trouble for Black.) 12.g3 Ne7 13.h4 Nc6 14.Nc2 Bd6 15.Bh3 Bxh3 16.Rxh3 Nb4 17.Nxe4 Nxc2+ 18.Qxc2 dxe4 19.Qxe4 Bb4+ 20.Kf1 [Black wants to play …Re8 with the idea of a possible …Kg8 (if he wants to play it safe!). But he can’t yet play 20…Re8? as 21.Qxh7 is almost winning for White. So he moves to trade queens, after which White has almost no developed pieces while Black’s active pieces take over the board.] 20…Qd5 21.Qxd5+ Nxd5 22.g4 Rhe8 (Now that Black’s rook can move to e8, he is winning.) 23.Rd3 h5 24.g5 Re4 25.f3 Rxh4 26.Kg2 Bd6 27.e4 Nf4+ 28.Bxf4 Bxf4 29.Rb3 Rc8 30.Rc3 (30.Rxb7+? Kg6, and White can’t prevent …Rc2+.) 30…Rh2+ 31.Kg1 Rd8 32.Rc4 Rxb2 33.Rd1 Bxg5 34.Re1 Bf4 35.e5 fxe5 36.dxe5 Bxe5 37.Rce4 Bf6 38.R1e2 Rxe2 39.Rxe2 Rd4 40.Ra2 Rb4 0-1

 

E. Goudriaan-P. Ten Vergert
Netherlands U21 Ch.
Venlo, 2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.Nxd5 Nb6 10.Nxb6 Qxb6 11.Ne3 Bb4+ 12.Bd2 Bxd2+ 13.Kxd2 Qxb2+ 14.Nc2 Be6 15.Qb4 Qxb4+ 16.Nxb4 a5 17.Nc2 b5 18.a3 Ne7 19.e3 Rhb8 20.Rb1 Bd7 21.f3 exf3 22.gxf3 Ra7 23.Bc4+ Kf8 24.Rb2 Rc7 25.Bd3 h6 26.Rhb1 Rcb7 27.Na1 b4 28.axb4 Rxb4 29.Rxb4 Rxb4 30.Rxb4 axb4 31.Nc2 b3 32.Nb4 Ba4 33.Kc3 Ke8 34.Kb2 Nc6 35.Nxc6 Bxc6 36.e4 g5 37.Kxb3 Ke7 38.Kc3 Kd6 39.Kd2 Bd7 40.Ke3 Be8 41.f4 Ke7 42.Be2 Bf7 43.Bg4 Be8 44.Bf3 Bd7 45.Bh5 Bc8 46.Bg6 Bg4 47.Bf5 Bd1 48.h3 Kf7 49.Bg4 Ba4 50.f5 Ke7 51.e5 Bc2 52.h4 Bb1 53.hxg5 hxg5 54.Kd2 Kd7 55.Kc3 fxe5 56.dxe5 Ke7 57.Kd4 Ba2 58.Kc5 Bb3 59.f6+ Kf7 60.Kd6 Kg6 61.Ke7 1-0

 

Sasa Jovanovic-Milovan Ratkovic
Belgrade Trophy 2010
Obrenovac, 2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.Nxd5 Nb6 10.Nxb6 Qxb6 11.Ne3 Bb4+ 12.Bd2 Bxd2+ 13.Kxd2 Qxb2+ 14.Nc2= Be6 15.Qb4 Qxb4+ 16.Nxb4 Ne7 17.e3 Rac8 18.Be2 a5 19.Nc2 Rc7 20.Na3 Rhc8 21.Rhc1 Rxc1 22.Rxc1 Rxc1 23.Kxc1 Nd5 24.Kb2 Ke7 25.Nb5 Kd7 26.a3 Kc6 27.Bc4 Nf4 28.Bxe6 Nxe6 29.Nc3 Nc7 30.Nxe4 Kd5 31.Nd2 f5 32.Kb3 b5 33.Nb1 Ke4 34.Nc3+ Kd3 35.d5 Na6 36.Nxb5 Nc5+ 37.Kb2 Ke2 38.Nd4+ Kxf2 39.Nxf5 g6 40.Nh6 Kxe3 41.Kc3 Ke4 42.Kc4 Nd7 43.Nf7 Nb6+ 44.Kb5 Nxd5 45.Ng5+ Ke3 46.Nxh7 Kf2 47.h4 Kxg2 48.Nf8 Kg3 49.Nxg6 Kg4 50.Kxa5 Kh5 51.Nf4+ Nxf4 52.Kb5 Nd5 53.Kc5 Nc3 54.Kc4 Na4 55.Kb4 Nb6 56.Kb5 Nd5 1/2-1/2

 

A more common reply is 9.Ne3.

 

Carlsson- Thomas Engqvist
Sweden, 1988
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.Ne3 Nb6 10.Qb3 Be6 11.f3 f5 12.fxe4 fxe4 13.g3 Nf6 14.Ng2 Nh5 15.a4 Qd7 16.Nf4 Nxf4 17.Bxf4 Nc4 18.Bg2 Be7 19.O-O Rhf8 20.Rf2 Kg8 (I have not been able to locate the entire game. Perhaps a generous reader can help.)

 

IM Michael Wiedenkeller (2443)-FM Thomas Engqvist (2366)
Sweden Ch.
Goteborg, 1990
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.Ne3 Nb6 10.Qb3 Be6 11.a4 a5 12.g3 Ne7 13.h4 Nc6 14.Nc2 Nb4 15.Bh3 Bxh3 16.Rxh3 Qc8 17.Rh1 Nxc2+ 18.Qxc2 Bb4 19.Qb3 Qc4 20.Qxc4 Nxc4 21.Kd1 Bxc3 22.bxc3 b5 23.Rb1 bxa4 24.Rb7+ Ke6 25.Bf4 Rhd8

2018_07_12_B
26.Kc2 Rd7 27.Rxd7 Kxd7 28.Ra1 Ra7 29.Rxa4 Rb7 30.Bc1 h5 31.f3 exf3 32.exf3 Kc6 33.Kd3 Re7 34.Rxc4+ dxc4+ 35.Kxc4 Re1 36.d5+ Kd7 37.Ba3 Re3 38.Bf8 g5
0-1

 

Wolfram Von Alvensleben (2235)-Martin Maier (2225)
Oberliga Nord W 9394
Germany, 1994
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.Ne3 Nb6 10.Qb3 Be6 11.g3 f5 12.Bh3 g6 13.a4 a5 14.O-O Nf6 15.Ng2 Kg7 16.f3 Bf7 17.Bf4 Bd6 18.Bxd6 Qxd6 19.Nb5 Qe7 20.Rac1 Nc4 21.Qc3 Rhc8 22.b3 Nd6 23.Qd2 Nxb5 24.axb5 b6 25.Rc6 Rxc6 26.bxc6 Rc8 27.Rc1 Rc7 28.Ne3 Qe6 29.b4 axb4 30.Kf2 Rxc6 31.Rb1 Qc8 32.Qxb4 Qd7 33.Ra1 Be6 34.Ra8 Ne8 35.fxe4 fxe4 36.Bxe6 Rxe6 37.Rb8 Rf6+ 38.Kg2 Qf7 39.Ng4 Re6 40.Rxb6 Rxb6 41.Qxb6 Nf6 42.Ne5 Nd7 43.Qd6 Nxe5 44.Qxe5+ Kf8 45.g4 Kg8 46.Kg3 h6 47.Qf4 Kg7 48.Qxf7+ Kxf7 49.Kf4 Ke6 50.h3 g5+ 51.Ke3 Kd6 52.Kd2 1/2-1/2

 

P. Golubka-V. Stradej
Vsetin Open 2015
Czech Republic, 2015
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.Ne3 Nb6 10.Qb3 Be6 11.a4 a5 12.g3 Bb4 13.Bg2 Ne7 14.Nc2 Nc6 15.O-O Re8 16.Nxb4 Nxb4 17.Nb5 Nc4 18.Bf4 g5 19.Bc1 Kg7 20.f3 e3 21.f4 g4 22.f5= Bf7 23.Qd1 Rc8 24.Nc3 Qd7 25.Rf4 Kh8 26.Rxg4 Qxf5 27.Rf4 Qg5 28.b3 Nb6 29.Bb2 Bg6 30.Rc1 Rc6 31.Bh3 Be4 32.Nxe4 Rxe4 33.Rxe4 dxe4 34.d5 N6xd5 35.Rxc6 bxc6 36.Qf1 Kg7 37.Bf5 h5 38.Bxe4 h4 39.Qf5 Qxf5 40.Bxf5 hxg3 41.hxg3 Kh6 42.Kg2 Kg5 43.Be4 f5 44.Bf3 f4 45.Be4 fxg3 46.Kxg3 Kh5 47.Kf3 Kg5 48.Bd4 1-0

 

Finally, White can play 9.f3, hoping to open the kingside.

 

Ruslan Sherbakov (2495)-Aleksander Czerwonski (2370)
Katowice Open, 1992
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.f3 Nb6 10.Qd1 Bxg4 11.fxg4 Bd6 12.e3 Ne7 13.g3 Qd7 14.Bd2 Rhc8 15.b3 a6 16.Be2 Ba3 17.Rb1 Bb4 18.Nxe4 Bxd2+ 19.Nxd2 Qe6 20.Nf1 Rc3 21.Bd3 Rac8 22.h3 R8c7 23.Rh2 Nbc8 24.Rc2 Rxc2 25.Bxc2 Nd6 26.Bd3 Ne4 27.Rc1 Nc3 28.Qd2 Ne4 29.Bxe4 Rxc1+ 30.Qxc1 Qxe4 31.Kf2 Qd3 32.Nd2 b5 33.Nf3 h6 34.Qd2 Qb1 35.Qa5 Qc2+ 36.Qd2 Qb1 37.Ne1 Qe4 38.Qa5 Qe6 39.Nf3 Qe4 40.Ne1 Qe6 41.Qc7 Qe4 42.Qb6 Qh1 43.h4 Qe4 44.Qxa6 Qxg4 45.Qxb5 Qf5+ 46.Ke2 Qg4+ 47.Kf2 Qf5+ 48.Ke2 Qg4+ 49.Kd2 Qxg3 50.h5 Qh2+ 51.Qe2 Qb8 52.Nd3 Nf5 53.Qf3 Ne7 54.Qg2 Qb5 55.Kc2 g5 56.hxg6+ Nxg6 57.Qh3 Kg7 58.a4 Qe8 59.Nc5 h5 60.Qxh5 Qxe3 61.Qxd5 Qf2+ 62.Kc3 Qe1+ 63.Kc4 Qf1+ 64.Kb4 f5 65.Qd7+ Kf6 66.a5 Qe1+ 67.Kb5 f4 68.a6 Qe2+ 69.Kb6 1-0

 

Boris Chatalbashev (2524)-Lexy Ortega (2499)
Padova Open
Italy, 1999
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 e4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Qa4+ Nd7 8.Ng4 Kf7 9.f3 Ne7 10.Qb3 Nb6 11.Nxe4 Nc6 12.Nc3 Nxd4 13.Qd1 Nc6 14.e3 Bc5 15.Bd3 f5 16.Nf2 d4 17.exd4 Re8+ 18.Ne2 Nxd4 19.O-O Nxe2+ 20.Bxe2 Qxd1 21.Bxd1 Be6 22.b3 Rad8 23.Bg5 Rc8 24.Rc1 Nd5 25.Kh1 Be3 26.Rxc8 Rxc8 27.Ne4 Kg6 28.h4 fxe4 29.fxe4 Bxg5 30.exd5 Bxd5 31.hxg5 Kxg5 32.Kh2 Rc1 33.Kg3 h5 34.Re1 Kf6 35.Kf2 Ra1 36.Bxh5 Rxa2+ 37.Ke3 Rxg2 38.b4 g6 39.Be2 Ke5 40.Bf3 Ra2 41.Kd3+ Kd6 42.Bxd5 Kxd5 43.Re7 Ra3+ 44.Kc2 b5 45.Rc7 a6 46.Rc5+ Ke6 47.Kb2 Rd3 48.Kc2 Rd6 49.Rg5 Kf6 50.Rg1 g5 51.Rf1+ Ke5 52.Re1+Kf4 53.Rf1+ Ke3 54.Rg1 Rd2+ 55.Kc3 Rd5 56.Ra1 Rd6 57.Rg1 Rc6+ 58.Kb3 Rg6
0-1

 

Remember, this is a gambit. And the best way to learn a gambit, or any opening for that matter, is to experiment, both with a partner and by yourself.

 

Have fun with it!

 

 

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