This is a game where I chose to revert back to my old C3 sicilian of yore. I played it for years before going to f4 closed Sicilian, and then lately to the open Sicilian. I seem to win from losing positions as White in the Sicilian, and I really want to stress endgames more in tournament play, anyhow, so I switch to C3 here.

The other reason is that my opponent is pretty good when I play poorly. I’ve played him before, and respect his strength against me. He passes up a usual line of ..Nf6, e5 Nd5 d4 cxd Bc4 Nb6 Bb5, and lets me go French on him. Bwahaha.

Some notes are that he could have exchanged his bishop on c3, and I would play bxc, probably have to do some defense Q-side, like Rb1 before focusing K-side. He does lose a tempo with his queen by playing Qa5, when he could have played it earlier. Incidentally, my Na4 was a blunder, since I meant to exchange pawns first, and only if he recaptures with bishop would I have needed to play Na4; I was relieved when he played Bf6 anyway. I’ve always wanted to reach this position, but have personally never been able to because my opponents are virtually always to keen on mixing things up more.

The main thing to note from this position is not that Black simply blunders, but how sort of busted his position is from a static perspective. If you are new to the French, you may get these positions where all you can do is temporize as Black, better not to disturb it. Years ago I would get these positions and lose on time, nowdays, I virtually never get them.

There was a Russian master or Grandmaster teacher who once said (it was in Chess Life many years back) that the deeper part of chess strategy is to get the opponent into a position where he really doesn’t have any good moves left – anyhow, that was the goal of my play.

I could aim to trade on e5, then look to play Be2g4 to attack the backward pawn. But in this position, he blunders the pawn, and game really, with Nf5.

Okay, so I’m noticing that Crafty liked Black with a slight edge, and it’s true that Black had a Qb4 move in there that would have probably forced me to castle o-o-o, which looks decent for White.

Well, with the help of Crafty, White to play one big long WTF and win! 🙂


15 thoughts on “Transposition

  1. Some pennythoughts:
    5…cxd4 is inaccurate. 7.Nc3 looks like the way to take advantage (no pawn on c3 anymore!): 7…Qb6 8.Na4 or 7…Nf5 8.Bd3 Qb6? 9.Bxf5 exf5 10.Nxd5.
    7.Bg5 and 8.Bxe7 is probably not the best idea: I’d play 9…f6! and the white centre teeters on the brink of extinction. Black has a lead in development – it must be used! In the game 11.exf6 Bxf6 12.Na4 is interesting, but how do you intend to meet 12…Qb4? In the game, 11…Qb4 also looked very strong.
    The queen trade on a5 is a lot less favourable for Black since he has no threat of …Nc2+ afterward. Nevertheless I’d venture 17…Nc6 as an improvement, with the idea of 18.Rfd1 Bd7 and …Be8-h5, or 18.Ne2 g5!. With correct play the weaknesses on d4 and e6 ought to cancel out.
    By the time you get to the diagram position I agree White is better. Maybe Black should start with 20…Nc4 to keep e5 under control. 21.b3 Na5 followed by 22…Nc6 and d4 is under pressure. Black also has the idea of …g7-g5-g4 – again he must seek counterplay against d4. I don’t think he’s busted yet!

  2. I just finished a game, had a similar position with White as you (from French, Tarrash), only the pawn was on c6, not e6. Pressured, doubled the rooks on “e”, put knight on “c5′, nothing, exchanged queens, refused draw, went into endgame with N+N vs. B+N (bad light-squared one), still couldn’t win, drew. So it’s nicer, yet you have to prove it.

  3. Rolling Pawns, I’ve played that formation as White that you mention. I agree, it looks great from a diagram but is usually quite the drawish position in practice.

    Aziridine, I agree with you that the Bg5 var. here is not really book. Nc3, Be3 is the once theory line. Bg5 is a lot more effective if the Knight were on f6, and Be7, then pushing e5 and trading dark bishops is when a trade on e7 works quite well. My line was risky.

    There is another game, if you look at the comments to that game, where I played it out with Crafty.

    If he had played Nc6, and then went ahead with g5 or Be8, I like Bb5, then exchange bishop for night and possibly for bishop. I sort of want to see some flailing around with g5, as that may prove to be one more point for Black to defend.

    Against Qb4, I’d trade then play o-o-o, which looks unclear at worst from the face of it.

  4. Ah, I hadn’t noticed the comment there. 21.Nd1 is a very interesting regrouping, but since White has just moved his knight from the queenside I would reply 21…b5 and if 22.Ne3 b4. Then given time, I’d try to push the a-pawn to a3 to win the c3-square.
    11…Qb4 12.Qxb4 Nxb4 13.0-0-0 drops a pawn to 13…Nxa2+.

  5. Na4 was just bad then. Bd3, fxe, dxe then. It’s not that White is losing here objectively, it just means that I never get the diagrammed position, which is a position that I have once again never been able to reach in a game. I’ve seen GM Michael Adams reach it, so I guess I felt it must exist, but Bg5 also lost me that tempo.

    Nd1 was Crafty’s nifty idea. If Black plays b4, I can still play Ne3. Now, since the night is not on c6 hitting d4, I can play Ne3-g4, hitting the bishop on f6 and getting both knights to control e5 – if Black decides not to exchange knights.

  6. I’m not sure about 11.Bd3 either – 11…fxe5 12.dxe5 Bd7 is good for Black, the point being that 13.0-0 Rxf3! 14.gxf3 Nxe5 is an excellent exchange sac. (I’ll be impressed if Crafty finds that one!) Personally I’d opt for 11.Be2.
    After 21…b5 22.Ne3 b4 23.Ng4 I’d probably stick with 23…a5. 24.Nxf6+ gxf6 or 24.Nge5 Be8. White’s knight looks great on e5 but it actually just gets in the way of the rooks.
    The more I look at it, the less of an edge I see for White in the diagram position – White’s rooks would be more effective on the c-file. So I think you missed your chance earlier. 18.Ba6! wins the c-file – if 18…Rc7 just 19.Ne2. I wouldn’t want to defend the resulting position for Black.

  7. I like to play with an “edge” vs. getting ground down, so when I decided on Bd3, I knew the exchange sac on f3 was there, was thinking Qe2. Black can take the exchange sac if he really wants to with RxN, QxN, Nxe, but it doesn’t seem to be all that great for Black.

    After a 24.Nge5 Be8, I was thinking last night that I would be looking to grab control of the c-file after that.

    I thought of 18.Ba6 during the game, but what if …Rb8, threatening b5? I believe that is what scared me off from playing it.

  8. If 11.Bd3 fxe5 12.dxe5 Bd7 13.Qe2, 13…Be8 intending …Bh5 looks unpleasant for White.
    I’m not sure how you’ll try to take over the c-file. 25.Rc1 or 25.Rc2 can be met by 25…Bb5, I think. In fact I should’ve suggested it on the previous move – instead of 24…Be8, just 24…Bb5 looks fine.
    18.Ba6 Rb8 19.Nb5 threatens Rc7 and 19…Bxb5 20.Bxb5 doesn’t help since the e-pawn is hanging.

  9. As far as the 25…Bb5 move, it seems I would double the rooks on the c-file and threaten b3!

    Good point about BxN on b5.

    13 …Be8 14. h3 Bh5 15.g4 Be8 16.0-0-0, I dunno how that will all work out.

    Of course, it’s easier to pick at things here vs. OTB; this is like postal chess. hehe. 😉

  10. Right, so Black should play 24…Bb5 instead. That way 25.Rc1 or 25.Rc2 can be met by 25…Nxe5 right away. I haven’t really seen anything that makes me think Black is worse actually, so White might not actually have an advantage in the first diagram.
    After 14.h3 I’d wait till White castles kingside before I play …Bh5. The moves Qe2 and h3 make it clear that Black holds the initiative. But I just realized there’s no need for all this: instead of 12…Bd7 just 12…d4 13.Na4 Qc7 when 14…Bb4 and 14…Nxe5 are the threats; 14.Qe2 Qa5+ wins. So it looks like White has to let the e-pawn drop, and Black is much better.
    I’m working all this out in my head so it’s not that easy for me, but it’s good practice 🙂

  11. I guess if 24…Bb5, I would look to play Kf1, then b3, in order to try and exchange light bishops or win the pawn on e6 after Nd7.

    In the game, I gave Black the initiative when I played BxN on e7.

    If 12…d4 13. Na4 Qc7 perhaps 0-0-0, when Nxe leads to Nxd. hehe. I’m just visualizing the moves as well. Or safer for White, Nxe NxN QxN Qxd.

  12. After 24…Bb5 25.Kf1 I have a nice choice between simplifying with 25…Nxe5 or sticking to my old plan with 25…a4 followed by …a3. In either case Black looks equal.
    Actually 12…d4 13.Na4 Qc7 14.0-0 doesn’t lose a pawn since d4 also hangs. (You can’t play 14.0-0-0 because 14…Nxe5 is check.) I’d go back to my old line with 12…Bd7 and just play 14…Rc8 after 14.h3. White can’t castle queenside (again because of 15…d4 and 16…Nxe5+) but 15.0-0 Bh5 is also awful.
    I’ll stop now. Interesting game to analyze!

  13. For years i played f4 keres attack i think it is called.
    I had exciting games but mixed results.
    I play less attacking in this openning now,still have mixed results but they are slightly better.

  14. Well, I just avoided Korch’s entire latest conversation by playing c3.

    I played f4, grand prix attack, I guess it’s called, funny I just played it. I would exchange Bb5xN when I could. Black simply has too much initiative. There is another closed f4 variation that doesn’t seem to have teeth either. I won a lot of games or got good positions mainly because opponents were not as used to it as I was, even though the lines are quite standard.

    I saw that g4 is the Keres Attack. So you played Grand Prix, Chessx? It’s very attacking hellbent for leather on the kingside, if Black castles there.

    C3 variation can get White to some endgames, if played close enough to theory. One nice thing about a pet variation is that there is nothing as earth-shattering going on as in open-sicilian.

    I’ve played the ‘poisoned pawn’ var. of the Najdorf before in tournaments as Black, even in blitz games. Just makes me want to gag now. I like theory, but not *that* much. I’d rather play some slightly inferior lesser known line. I’ve played that poisoned pawn drawing line. May as well be a marionette. Black is following the known draw in that variation, and it’s up to White to step out.

    ChessX, I have to agree with you, f4 was more exciting than c3 or d4 ever were. Only those of who have played would know. 🙂 I played it for a couple years as well. I’ve played c3, f4, and d4 for at least a few years each.

  15. Chess is a peaseful game but with some openings you have to nerves of steel, this is what non chess players cant understand about the frill of chess.

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