Another Crazy Hack at the Owen’s Defense

Final Round Thursdays

RollingPawns last game against the Owens looks positively sane compared to my “Romantic chess” try against it.  How we try so hard to refute these non-main line systems!

My opponent was down to 3 minutes, and I down to 2 when I gladly accepted his draw offer (of course, I am just losing the ending).

9.c4?  When I played this move, I didn’t consider that the diagonal leading to my king was so weak or I wouldn’t have played 11.d5 just to avoid the …cxd4 possibility.  I did consider playing 11.f4 (my original consideration), and even that would have seemed far more sane.

13.Nf4?  This didn’t work out, so 13.Bf4 would have been better.

15.Nxe7+?  Major mistake according to Stockfish, but I hadn’t seen that I had no tactics that worked here.

I realized that my opponent had 18…Nd3, winning easily, and spent a lot of time on this move, so when he played 18…Ng6, I figured he must have worked everything out and quickly played 19.Qf2?, then immediately saw that I could have simply played 19.Qxc4, but this is where I began moving quickly, and what ultimately convinced my opponent to offer a draw a pawn up, because I was playing so quickly.

Because this game was so short, the main interest should be in the opening where 5.c4! could have been played instead of 5.Ne2, and transpose into a good King’s Indian Defense for White.

Instead of 9.c4?, 9.BxBa6 looks good because it misplaces the knight (Black will have to play …Nc7 where it seems to have little future).  It’s better to just play 9.f4 because the trade of bishops on d3 is adding a tempo to White’s attack and development, and the queen posts well there.  It’s funny that this would have been my blitz move, but all that time on my clock really let me overthink it, for sure.




4 thoughts on “Another Crazy Hack at the Owen’s Defense

  1. Frankly, your attitude towards Owen defense seems not quite right to me.
    It is an opening with a reputable 43% score for Black (compare with 43.5% for Ruy Lopez).
    So, by trying to refute it you only can get yourself into trouble.
    Regarding 9. c4 I can only agree with you.
    Computer recommends 9. f4 and you get typical French position.
    Instead of 15. Nxe7 you could play 15. Qa4 a6 16. f4 b5 17. Nxe7+ Qxe7 18. Nxb5 or 16… Ng6 17. Rfd1 . Then you kind of pulled yourself out of it, almost… 🙂

    I posted my Monday’s game.

  2. It’s not really a French because light bishops are off, but White has space/attack on kingside after f4, and queenside can be opened up, too.

  3. I felt that this attack would have work had White gotten an extra tempo; e.g., 8…Be7 (instead of …Ba6), 9.Be3 Ba6, now that tempo lost with his bishop (since I don’t have to play d5 in this line), gives white a small advantage after 10.c4 Bxc4? 11.BxB cxb, and a much bigger advantage, virtually winning, if you follow it up with aggressive moves for White.

    One of the big problems I found OTB is that Black doesn’t have to play this pawn grab line right away, can play 10…cxd4 first, and even in this line will be close +1 up over White, if I continue to play it as a pawn sac for White, and is otherwise close to half a pawn up for Black.

    OTB, I realized that c4 could be played later, after the bishop trade on d3, but I couldn’t have been realized that after 9.f4 BxBd3, 10.QxBd3 g6 (seemingly the only move that holds!), 11.c4 is Stockfish’s top choice for the best move, which makes sense since many of Black’s pawns are on light squares, and there is no light-squared bishop, so a break has to be made against a light-squared pawn. It is a critical idea in this line, c4 is, just wasn’t played at an appropriate time in the game.

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