Sutovsky's Anti-Rubinstein Line
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.O-O!

by Michael Goeller

When Akiba Rubinstein introduced the variation that bears his name (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3,Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4) at San Sebastian 1912, he signaled the decline of the Spanish Four Knights (C48), which had been until then among White's most popular openings. Once the initial period of analysis and debate had passed, the Rubinstein Variation was widely seen as giving Black easy equality and the formerly fearsome Four Knights gained a drawish reputation. Of course, in situations where the second player was required to win (giving White "draw odds"), the Four Knights proved its value as a solid choice or a strategic weapon. Players willing to suffer some safe draws as White (especially in match or long tournament situations) still employed it from time to time, knowing that the second player would often side-step the Rubinstein Variation precisely because some lines allowed the first player practically to draw at will (e.g.: 5.Nxd4 exd4 6.e5 dxc3 7.exf6 Qxf6 8.dxc3 etc.)

However, Emil Sutovsky demonstrated that White can create uncomfortable situations for the second player with the simple developing move 5.O-O! In this line, White is willing to surrender the two Bishops in exchange for rapid mobilization, an advantage in space, and some initiative. Black typically reverts to a Philidor set-up with ...c6, ...d6, and ...Qc7, and is often forced into a passive defensive role. Sutovsky's success with the line encouraged others, especially English GMs John Nunn and Joe Gallagher (who now lives in Switzerland). In the games below, you will also often find the names of Russian GM Yuri Shabanov and Super-GM Alexi Shirov (the latter of whom often reaches these positions via 5.Ba4 c6!? 6.O-O).

Game One: Sutovsky's Main Line
(5.O-O Nxb5 6.Nxb5 c6 7.Nc3 d6 8.d4 Qc7 9.Bg5!)

As John Emms writes, "The stage is set for a tense struggle. The pawn-structure closely resembles that of the main line Philidor Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.Re1 c6). The Philidor is considered slightly better for White. The difference here, however, is that Black possesses the latent power of the bishop-pair, and this fact should give him a reasonable game." Though Emms is right that the Bishop pair offer Black a potential advantage, that advantage usually will not manifest itself until the endgame. Meanwhile, as Tarrasch said, "before the endgame the gods have placed the middlegame," and in the ensuing middlegame White will enjoy an advantage in both space and time that can make Black's position rather uncomfortable to play. What's more, the least slip on Black's part can be rapidly punished.

In our main line, White typically exchanges both Bishops for Knights, then closes the center with d5 so that he can demonstrate the advantage of the Knights for closed maneuvering. Played most aggressively (not spending any excess tempi on restraining moves such as h3 and a4), the line often leads to powerful attacking play for White, as our main game shows. For a demonstration of a more restrained development, see Game Two.

Helmut Hirscheider - Uwe Weidemann [C48]

DESC T0135 Wiener Partie/Germany email correspondence 2004


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O Nxb5 6. Nxb5 c6 7. Nc3 d6 8. d4 Qc7 9. Bg5 Be7 10. Qd3

I prefer direct development whenever possible. Sutovsky typically inserts restraining moves such as h3 and a4, which seems to me more akin to the Gallagher method of handling the system (see also Game Two):

10. h3 Bd7

(a) 10... O-O 11. Qd2 b5

(11... Be6 12. a4 Rfd8 13. a5 h6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. d5 Bd7 16. a6 c5 17. axb7 Qxb7 18. Ra5 Rdc8 19. Rfa1 a6 20. Nd1 Bd8 21. R5a2 f5 22. Qe2 c4 23. Nd2 Bb5 24. Nc3 f4 25. Nxb5 axb5 26. Qg4 Be7 27. Nf3 b4 28. Kh2 Rxa2 29. Rxa2 Ra8 30. Rxa8+ Qxa8 31. Qd7 Kf8 32. Nd2 Qa6 33. Qc7 c3 34. bxc3 Qe2 35. Nc4 Qxf2 36. Qc8+ Kf7 37. Qe6+ (37. Nxd6+! Bxd6 38. Qe6+ Kf8 39. Qxd6+) 37... Kf8 38. Qc8+ Kf7 39. Nxd6+ Bxd6 40. Qe6+ Kf8 41. Qxd6+ Kg8 42. Qg6 bxc3 43. d6 Qxc2 44. Qe6+ Kh7 45. Qf5+ Kh8 46. Qf8+ Kh7 1/2-1/2 Sutovsky,E-Nunn,J/Oxford 1998 (46))

12. a3 a6 13. Rfd1 Re8 14. Qe3 exd4 15. Nxd4 c5 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Nd5 cxd4 18. Nxc7 dxe3 19. Nxe8 Bxb2 20. Rab1 exf2+ 21. Kxf2 Bxa3 22. Nxd6 Be6 23. Kf3 h6 24. Rd3 Bc5 25. Rbd1 Kh7 26. Rc3 Bxd6 27. Rxd6 Bc4 28. Ra3 a5 29. c3 a4 30. g4 Rc8 31. Ke3 Bb3 32. Kd3 Bc4+ 33. Ke3 Bb3 34. Kd3 Rc5 35. Kd4 Rc4+ 36. Kd3 Rc5 37. Kd4 Rc4+ 38. Kd3 Rc5 1/2-1/2 Sutovsky,E-Zhang Zhong/Elista 1998 (38))

 

(b) 10... h6 11. Bh4 Nh5

(11... g5 12. dxe5 gxh4 13. exf6 Bxf6 14. Re1 Rg8 15. Kh1 Rg6 16. e5 Be7 17. Nxh4! Re6 18. exd6 Rxe1+ 19. Qxe1 Qxd6 20. Qe4 Qf6 21. Re1 Be6 22. Nf3 O-O-O 23. Qe3 Bb4 24. Ne5 Qg5 25. f4 Qh4 26. Rf1 Bxc3 27. bxc3 Kb8 28. f5 Bxa2 29. c4 Qd4 30. Qg3 Kc8 31. c3 Qe4 32. Ra1 Qxf5 33. Kh2 Rd2 34. Nf3 Rb2 35. Rd1? (35. Re1 Qd7 36. Ne5) 35... Qg6 36. Rd6 Qxg3+ 37. Kxg3 Bxc4 38. Rxh6 a5 39. Rh8+ Kc7 40. h4 Bf1 41. h5 Rxg2+ 42. Kf4 Be2 43. Nd4 a4 44. h6 Bd3 45. Nf3 a3 46. Ra8 a2 47. Ne1 Ba6 48. Nxg2 a1=Q 49. h7 Qf1+ 50. Ke5 Qe2+ 51. Kf4 Qf2+ 52. Ke5 Qg3+ 0-1 Sutovsky,E-Piket,J/Elista 1998 (52))

12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Nxe5 dxe5 14. Qxh5 exd4 15. Ne2 O-O 16. Nxd4 Qxe4 17. Rad1 Re8 18. Rfe1 Qxe1+ 19. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 20. Kh2 Bd7 21. Qc5 Rd1 22. c3 b6 23. Qe7 c5 24. Qxd7 cxd4 25. cxd4 Rd2 26. b4 Rxf2 27. a4 Rb2 28. b5 Rb4 29. Qb7 Rd8 30. Qxa7 Rdxd4 31. Qxb6 Rxa4 32. Qb8+ Kh7 33. b6 Rab4 34. Qe5 Rdc4 35. Qd5 Rf4 36. Qd2 g5 37. Qc2+ Kg7 38. Qc3+ Kh7 39. Qc7 Rf6 40. b7 Rfb6 41. Qxf7+ Kh8 42. Qf8+ Kh7 43. Qf7+ 1/2-1/2 Sutovsky,E-Illescas Cordoba,M/Pamplona 1998 (43))

11. a4 h6 12. Be3 O-O 13. Qd3 Rad8 14. a5 c5 15. d5 Nh5 16. Qc4 Qc8 17. Qe2 Nf4 18. Bxf4 exf4 19. e5?! (19. Qd2) 19... Bf5 20. Rfe1 dxe5 21. Nxe5 Bf6 22. Qd2 Rfe8 23. Qxf4 Bxc2 24. Nc4 Rxe1+ 25. Rxe1 Bd3 26. Ne4 Bg5 27. Nxg5 hxg5 28. Qc1 Rxd5 29. Ne5 Qf5 30. Ng4 Qf4 31. Qd1 c4 32. Re8+ Kh7 33. Qe1? (33. Ne3 Rd6 34. g3 Qd4 35. Qh5+) 33... Qc7 34. Qe3 Rxa5 35. Ne5 f6 36. Qf3 Bg6 37. Nd3 Ra1+ 38. Ne1 0-1 Sutovsky,E-Mikhalevski,V/Israel 1999 (38)

 

10... O-O 11. h3

Even more direct is 11. Rfd1 Rd8 (11... Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. Ne2) 12. Bxf6!? White usually surrenders the two Bishops in this line, but he usually waits to be provoked by ...h6. 12... Bxf6 13. d5 c5?! Black probably should not so quickly consent to closing the position, which tends to favor the Knights.(13... Bg4!?) 14. Nd2 Bd7 15. a4 a6 16. a5 Rf8 17. Nc4 Rad8 18. Nb6 g6 19. Ne2 (19. Nxd7 Qxd7 20. Rdb1 Bg5 21. b4) 19... Bg7 20. Ra3 f5 21. Nxd7 Rxd7 22. c4 Rdf7 23. Rf1 Qd8 24. Nc3 Bh6 25. f3 Qh4 26. g3 Qh3 White has been a little slow to pursue his queenside play and thus gives Black good counterplay on the kingside. 27. Rf2 Bg5 28. Ne2 f4?! (28... fxe4 29. Qxe4 Qh5) 29. g4! Bh4 30. Rg2 Be1 31. Ra1 Bb4 32. Nc1 Qh4 33. Qd1 Qd8 34. Qa4 Be1 35. Nd3 Bh4 36. b4 cxb4 37. Qxb4 Rc7 38. Rc1 Be7 39. Qb6 Qd7 40. Rgc2 Rfc8 41. c5 Bd8 42. Kh1! Rxc5!? (42... Kg7 43. Qb2) 43. Nxc5! Rxc5 44. Qa7! Rxc2 45. Rxc2 Qb5 46. Kg2! Kg7 47. Qb8 Qb3 48. Qc8 Bxa5 49. Qd7+ Kh6 50. Rf2 Qb6 51. h4 g5 52. Qf7 Qd8 53. hxg5+ Qxg5 54. Kf1 Qh4 55. Rh2 1-0 Bondarevsky,I-Zagoriansky,E/Moscow 1945 (55)

 

11... h6 12. Bxf6! Bxf6 13. d5

White's moves are very natural: he waits to be provoked and then exchanges the Bishop for the Knight. Then he closes the position with d5. And he works to restrain Black on the light squares, typically pursuing action on the queenside to create weaknesses there. Then he repositions the Knight at f3 to c4 via d2. In the present game, White goes one better to create play on the kingside as well with a timely f4 push.

 

13... Be7 14. Rad1 Rd8 15. Nd2 a6 16. a4 c5 17. Nc4 b6 18. f4! exf4 19. Rxf4 Bd7

 

 

20. e5!

Deeply calculated!

 

White can also create an attack with 20. Rdf1 Rf8? (better 20... b5!) 21. e5 dxe5 22. d6 Bxd6 23. Nd5! Qb8 24. Nf6+!! gxf6 25. Qg3+ Kh7 26. Rxf6 Be6 27. Qh4 etc. -- forcing mate!

 

20... dxe5 21. Rxf7!! Kxf7

Black might decline the Rook, but he is then worse: 21... Be8 22. Rff1 b5 23. d6!

 

22. Qh7!

There is no escape for the Black King!

 

22... Bf6 23. Rf1 Rh8 24. Rxf6+!

Black resigned, perhaps a bit prematurely (though in correspondence play this is not uncommon). White wins the Black Queen after 24...Kxf6 25.Ne4+ Kf7 26.Ncd6+ and retains excellent attacking chances due to the power of Queen and Knight and the exposure of Black's king.

1-0

Game Two: Gallagher's Slow Restraint

(5.O-O Nxb5 6.Nxb5 c6 7.Nc3 d6 8.d4 Qc7 9.h3 b5!)

If Sutovsky first demonstrated the space and time advantage that White has after 5.O-O Nxb5 6.Nxb5, Gallagher most perfected the "Four Knights Torture" that can be inflicted on opponents through a slow restraint of Black's game. However, if Black reacts vigorously before White gains a light-square clamp by d5, a4, and h3, he can often develop counterplay against this slow system, usually with an early ...Bg4 or ...b5! (as Euwe recommended long ago). The following balanced struggle suggests the plans for both sides.

Joseph G. Gallagher - Michal Krasenkow [C48]

Bundesliga 0304/Germany (5) 2003


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O Nxb5 6. Nxb5 c6 7. Nc3 d6 8. d4

Gallagher's play from this position is all about restraining his opponent, and that plan works well against passive defense. A tricky transposition seems to be:

8. h3!? Be7?!

(It is hard to believe, but this may well be an error, since it allows White to achieve his restraining moves before Black has counterplay)

9. d4 Qc7 10. a4! O-O 11. Qd3 a5 12. Re1 Nd7

(12... b6 13. Bg5 Ba6 14. Qd2 Rfd8 15. d5 c5 16. Nb5 Qd7 17. c4 and, having closed the queenside and center, White is free to begin building up a kingside attack.)

13. b3

White's plan is to pressure Black's potentially weak dark squares, so he creates more possibilities for his Bishop, including Ba3.

13... Bf6 14. d5 Rd8

(14... Nc5 15. Qc4 followed by Ba3.)

15. Be3

(15. Ba3 Be7 (15... Nc5 16. Qc4 Na6 17. Rad1 Rb8 18. Re3 followed by Red3 would compel ...c5, leaving White with a powerful bind.) 16. Nd2 Rb8 17. Nc4 b5 18. axb5 cxb5 19. Nxa5 Qxa5 20. Bxd6 Qxa1 21. Rxa1 Bxd6 22. Nxb5 Nc5 23. Qc4 Ba6 24. Rxa6! Nxa6 25. Nxd6 Rxd6 26. f4 exf4 27. e5 Rdb6)

15... Nf8 16. Nd2 Ra6 17. Nc4 c5?!

Black concedes the light squares a bit too easily, though this advance is practically inevitable.

18. Nb5 Qb8 19. Bd2 b6 20. c3 Ng6 21. b4 axb4 22. cxb4 Nf4 23. Qf3 g5?!

This advance, however, surrenders all of the light squares to White and inflicts permanent damage to Black's kingside formation.(23... Bg5 24. Ra3)

24. Ra3! h5?

This simply loses a pawn. Black obviously has cracked under the pressure.

25. Bxf4 exf4 (25... g4 26. Qe3 exf4 27. Qxf4) 26. bxc5 bxc5 27. Qxh5 Rd7 28. h4! Rxa4?! 29. hxg5! Bg7 30. Rxa4 Qxb5 31. Ra8 Qb7 32. Nb6! Rd8 33. Rxc8 Rxc8 34. Nxc8 Qxc8 35. g6 Qc7 36. Rb1 c4 37. gxf7+ Kf8

(37... Qxf7 38. Rb8+ Bf8 39. Qh6 c3 40. Qxd6 c2 41. Qc5 followed by Qxc2 is an easy win for White with his connected passed pawns.)

38. e5! dxe5 39. d6 1-0 Gallagher,J-Sanchez Aller,F/Lisbon 2001 (39)

 

8... Qc7 9. h3

Gallagher's slow mode of restraint with h3 and a4 gives Black sufficient time to organize queenside counterplay.

a) 9. a4 Be7 (9... Bg4!=) 10. h3 O-O 11. b3 Re8 12. Re1 b6 13. Bg5 a6 14. d5 c5 15. Nh4 g6 16. Qd2 Nh5 17. Nf3 Bxg5 18. Qxg5 f6 19. Qe3 Bd7 20. Ra2 Rf8 21. Ne2 Ng7 22. Nd2 b5 1/2-1/2 Timman,J-Benko,P/Venice 1974 (22)

 

b) Best is 9. Bg5! as discussed in the previous game.

9... b5!

Black must find some source of active counterplay, and this queenside thrust was recommended by Euwe. If Black does not react vigorously, he risks getting squeezed to death or, at least, a very difficult struggle to gain equality:

 

9... Be7 10. a4 h6

(a) 10... O-O 11. Re1 Re8 12. Be3 Bf8 13. a5 g6 14. Qd2 Nh5 15. Bh6 Bxh6 16. Qxh6 Nf4 17. Ne2 Nxe2+ 18. Rxe2 f6 19. Qd2 Be6 20. Re3 Rad8 21. Qc3 c5 22. b4 Rc8 23. bxc5 Bf7 24. Rb1 Kg7 25. Qb2 exd4 26. cxd6 Qxd6 27. Nxd4 Re7 28. Nf3 Rc5 29. Rbe1 Rxa5 30. e5 fxe5 31. Nxe5 Qb6 32. Qc3 Rc5 33. Nc4+ 1-0 Shabanov,Y-Igudesman,K/Pardubice 1998 (33))

 

(b) 10... a5 11. Be3 O-O 12. Re1 Re8 13. Qd3 Bf8 14. Rad1 h6 15. Nd2 Be6 16. d5 Bc8 17. Nc4 Ra6 18. Rd2 (18. dxc6! Qxc6 (18... bxc6 19. Nxd6) (18... Rxc6 19. Nb5) 19. b3) 18... cxd5 19. exd5 g6 20. f3 Nh7 21. Nb5 Qd8 22. Qf1 Be7 23. f4 Bh4 24. Bf2 Bxf2+ 25. Qxf2 e4 26. Qd4 f5 27. Re3 Nf6 28. Rc3 Nh5 29. Ncxd6 e3 30. Rxc8 Qxc8 31. Nxc8 exd2 32. Qxd2 Rxc8 33. d6 Nf6 34. Qe3 Ne4 35. Qb3+ Kg7 36. Qe6 Rf8 37. Qe5+ Kg8 38. Qd5+ Kh8 39. d7 Raa8 40. Nc7 Nf6 41. Qe5 Rad8 42. Ne6 1-0 Shabanov,Y-Kirusha,A/St Petersburg 1998 (42))

11. Be3 O-O 12. Qd3 a5 13. Rfd1 Be6 14. d5 cxd5! 15. exd5 e4! 16. Nxe4 Nxd5 17. Bd2 Rfc8 18. Nd4 Qc4 19. Qxc4 Rxc4 20. c3 Nf6 21. Ng3 Bf8 22. b3 Rcc8 Emms calls this an equal position, but it does appear that White's better structure should give him more longterm chances. 23. Rac1 Nd7 24. Be3 (24. c4! would avoid White's later problems with his pawn at c3.) 24... d5 25. Nge2 Nf6 26. f3 Bd7 27. Kf2 Bc5 28. Nf4 b6 29. Nc2 g5 30. Nd3 Bxe3+ 31. Nxe3 Be6 32. Ne5 Rc5 33. Rd4 (33. Ke2!) 33... Rac8 34. Nd1 R5c7 35. Rc2= Kg7 36. Re2 Bf5 37. Ne3 Be6 38. c4 dxc4 39. N3xc4 Rb8 40. Rd6 Nd5 41. Nc6 Rbc8 42. Nd4 Nf4 43. Nxe6+ fxe6 44. Red2 Rc6 45. Rd7+ Kf6 46. Ne3 h5 47. g3 Ng6 48. Rh7 Ne5 49. f4 Kg6 50. Re7 gxf4 51. gxf4 Rf8 52. Rd4 Kh6 53. Re4 1/2-1/2 Nunn,J-Parker,J/England 1998 (53)

 

10. Qd3

10. a3 a6 (10... a5 Larry Evans) 11. Nh4

(11. Re1 Be7 12. Bg5 O-O 13. Qd3 Bb7 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. Nh4 g6 16. Rad1 Rfd8 17. Qf3 Nh5 18. Bxe7 Qxe7 19. Nf5 Qf6 20. Nh6+ Kg7 21. Qxf6+ Nxf6 22. Ng4 Nxg4 23. hxg4 Rd4 24. Ne2 Rdd8 25. f3 1/2-1/2 Vehi Bach,V-Lalic,B/Mirabal 2001 (25))

11... Be7 12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Qf3 g6 14. Bh6 Rg8 15. Rad1 Be6 16. Bg5 Nh5 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Nf5 Qg5 19. h4 Qf4 20. Qxf4 Nxf4 21. Nd6+ Ke7 22. g3 Nh5 23. Nb7 a5 24. b3 Nf6 25. Nc5 Bh3 26. Rfe1 g5 27. hxg5 Rxg5 28. Rd3 h5 29. Kh2 Be6 30. f3 Rag8 31. Nxe6 Kxe6 32. Ne2 Ke7 33. Kh3 Rc8 34. Red1 Rgg8 35. Kh4 Rc7 36. Nc3 Nh7 37. Ne2 Nf6 38. Nc3 Nd7 39. Ne2 Nc5 40. R3d2 Ne6 41. Rd3 b4 42. axb4 axb4 43. Ra1 Nc5 44. Rdd1 Nd7 45. Ra6 Rb8 46. Rda1 Nf8 47. Ra7 Ne6 48. R1a5?! Kd6 49. f4 f6 50. Rxc7 Nxc7 51. fxe5+?! fxe5 52. Nc1? (52. Kxh5) 52... Rg8! 53. Nd3 Rg4+ 54. Kxh5 Rxe4 55. g4 Nd5 56. g5 Re2 57. Ra4 Rxc2 58. Nxb4 Rh2+ 59. Kg6 Ne7+ 60. Kf7 Rf2+ 61. Ke8 Ng6 0-1 Bergstrom,R-Hebden,M/Port Erin 2000 (61)

 

10... Be7 11. Ne2 O-O 12. Ng3 Rb8 13. b3 Re8 14. Bb2 Bf8 15. Rfe1 a5!? 16. Rad1

16. a4 b4 17. Rad1 c5

 

16... c5 17. dxe5 dxe5 18. c4 bxc4 19. Qxc4 a4 20. Qc2

20. Qxa4 c4!

 

20... axb3 21. axb3 Nd7 22. Nf5 Nb6 23. Ne3 f6 24. Nd2

1/2-1/2


Game Three: Exchange Lines

(5.O-O Nxb5 6.Nxb5 d6 7.d4 exd4)

Giving up the center by ...exd4 usually presents White with a solid edge in the open games, and here is no exception. In fact, the exchange in the center often accelerates White's development and can thus lead to a speedy victory, as Gallagher demonstrates in our main game.

Joseph G. Gallagher - Andrew P. Law [C48]

BCF-chT 0304 (4NCL)/West Bromwich (7) 2003


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O Nxb5 6. Nxb5 d6 7. d4 exd4

Exchanging pawns gives White a classic edge of the e4 pawn versus the d6 pawn, though it is a position with known defensive strategies.

 

Dangerous and rarely played is 7... Nxe4!? 8. dxe5! (Not as strong is 8. Re1 a6!? (8... Bf5!?) 9. Rxe4 axb5 10. dxe5 Be6 (10... d5?! 11. Bg5) 11. Bg5?! (11. Qd3 Qd7 12. exd6 Bxd6 13. Ng5) 11... Qd7 12. exd6 (12. Nd4!?) 12... Bxd6 13. Ne5? Bxe5! 14. Qxd7+ (14. Rxe5 f6!) 14... Kxd7 15. Rxe5 f6 0-1 Shabanov,Y-Zaitsev,I/Moscow 2000 (30)) 8... d5? (8... dxe5 9. Qxd8+ (9. Nxe5!?) 9... Kxd8 10. Rd1+ Nd6 11. Nxe5 Be6 12. Nd4) 9. Qxd5 c6

 

 

10. Qxd8+ Kxd8 11. Ng5 Nxg5 12. Bxg5+ Be7 13. Rad1+ Bd7 14. Nd6 1-0 Perdomo,C-Aguado Garcia,S/Barcelona 1996 (14)

 

8. Qxd4 Be7?

Falling into an interesting "trap."

 

White also has an edge after 8... a6 9. Nc3 Be7 10. Bg5 O-O 11. Rfe1 h6 12. Bh4 Be6 13. Rad1 Re8 14. h3 c5 15. Qd2 Qb6 16. b3 Rad8 17. Nd5 Bxd5 18. exd5 Kf8 19. Qd3 Ng8 20. Bg3 Bf6 21. Nd2 Rxe1+ 22. Rxe1 Qa5 23. Qe2 Be7 24. Nc4 Qc7 25. a4 b5 26. axb5 axb5 27. Ne3 Qd7 28. Ra1 Qb7 29. Ra5 b4 30. Ra1 g6 31. Rd1 Kg7 32. Nc4 Bf8 33. Bf4 Nf6 34. Qf3 Qd7 35. Bxh6+ Kxh6 36. Qxf6 Re8 37. Qh8+ Kg5 38. f4+ Kf5 39. Qh4 1-0 Gallagher-Lekic, Switzerland 2004 (39)

 

9. e5! dxe5 10. Qxe5 O-O 11. Bg5!

a) 11. Nxc7?? Bd6

 

b) 11. Qxc7 Bd7 (11... Bg4 12. Re1) 12. Qxd8 Raxd8 13. Nbd4 Bc5 14. c3 1-0 Fedorov,B-Akimov,K/Riga 1968 (53)

11... a6?

11... Bd6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. Qxf6 gxf6 14. Nxd6 cxd6 15. Rfe1

 

12. Rad1 Bd7 13. Nxc7 Rc8 14. Rfe1 h6

14... Rxc7 15. Qxe7 Re8 16. Qxd8 Rxd8 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. c3

 

15. Bf4! Bb4 16. c3 Ne8

 

 

17. Nxe8!

Black is lost after 17...Rxe8 18.Qxe8+! Bxe8 19.Rxd8 Rxd8 20.cxb4

1-0

Game Four: Bishop Kick with 5...c6!

(5.O-O c6! 7.Bc4!?)

Current GM practice suggests that White has the most difficulty gaining an edge against the tricky "Bishop Kick" with 5...c6! Though Black thus often foregoes the advantage of the two Bishops, he does avoid losing time in development and gains more control over the center. White has three logical retreats, which we examine in turn: 6.Bc4, 6.Bd3 and 6.Ba4 (the last of which is likely best). One might note that this position often occurs from the move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5.Ba4 c6!? 6.O-O (a favorite of Shirov). That is the actual move order of most games in this line and is the way the line is covered by theory (see especially Nunn or Pinski).

Andrey Minkov - Vladimir Kramnik [C48]

Moscow exhibition m/Moscow (1) 2005


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O c6!

Probably Black's best chance for play in this position, though John Emms does not suggest it in his excellent book "Play the Open Games as Black." Of course, Emms does cover the move as emerging from the order 5.Ba4 c6! 6.O-O, so it is surprising that he does not note the possible transposition

 

6. Bc4!?

This move sets a few traps for Black but yields easy equality with best play. Likely best is 6.Ba4, as discussed in the last two games below

 

6... d6

a) 6... Nxf3+ 7. Qxf3 d6 8. h3 (8. d3 Be7 9. h3 Be6 10. Bb3 O-O 11. Qe2 Re8 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. Be3 Rf8 14. f4 exf4 15. Rxf4 e5 16. Rf5 Qd7 17. Raf1 Qe6 18. Bg5 Rf7 19. b3 Raf8= 1/2-1/2 Jenni,F-Almasi,Z/Germany 2005 (28)) 8... Be7 9. Rd1 b5 10. Bf1 (10. Bb3 Be6 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. d4 exd4 13. Rxd4 e5 14. Rd1) 10... b4 11. Ne2 d5 12. Ng3 dxe4 13. Nxe4 Qd5 (13... Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Qd5 15. Qxd5 cxd5 16. d4 e4 17. a3 bxa3 18. b3=) 14. d3 Be6 15. Bg5 Nxe4 16. Bxe7 (16. dxe4 Qc5 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. a3) 16... Kxe7? (16... Nc3!=) 17. dxe4 Qc5 18. Qg3 g6 19. a3 f6 20. axb4 Qxb4 21. Qe3 Rhd8 22. Rxa7+ Rxa7 23. Qxa7+ Ke8 (23... Rd7 24. Rxd7+ Bxd7 25. Qa3!) 24. Bd3 Qxb2? 25. Qg7 Bc4 26. Qxf6 Rd7 27. Qh8+ Ke7 28. Qxh7+ Bf7 29. Qh4+ Ke8 30. Qf6 c5 31. Qc6 g5 1-0 Collins,S-Hanley,C/Blackpool 2003 (31)

 

b) 6... b5 7. Bb3 Nxb3 (7... d5?! 8. exd5 Bg4 (8... Nxb3 9. axb3 b4 (9... e4 10. Re1) 10. Nxe5! bxc3 11. Re1) 9. Qe1! Nxb3 (9... Nxf3+ 10. gxf3 Bxf3 11. Qxe5+ Be7 12. Re1) 10. Nxe5! Nxa1 11. Nxc6+) 8. axb3 b4 9. Na4

 

c) 6... d5? 7. exd5 cxd5 8. Nxd5! Nxd5 9. Nxd4 exd4 10. Qh5 Be6 11. Re1 g6 12. Qe5

7. Nxd4 exd4 8. Ne2 Nxe4 9. d3

9. Nxd4 d5 10. d3 dxc4 11. dxe4 and White has some chances due to his superior pawn majority.

 

9... Nc5 10. Nxd4 d5 11. Bb3?!

11. Re1+! Be7 (11... Ne6 12. Bb3 Qf6) 12. Bg5 Ne6= 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Bb3=

 

11... Be7 12. Qh5 O-O 13. Re1 Bf6=

The position is equal but somehow the champ slowly improves.

 

14. Be3 Ne6 15. Nxe6 Bxe6 16. d4 Qd7 17. Qf3 Rfe8 18. c3 Bf5 19. Rac1 Re7 20. Bc2 Bxc2 21. Rxc2 Rae8 22. Rce2 Re4 23. Bf4 Qe6 24. Re3 a6 25. a4 g6 26. Rxe4 dxe4 27. Qe3 Qb3 28. f3 Qxb2 29. fxe4 Qa2 30. Bd6 Qxa4 31. e5 Qc4 32. Qg3 Be7 33. Bxe7 Rxe7 34. Re3 a5 35. Qg5 Qe6 36. Rf3 Re8 37. Qc1 a4! 38. Qa3 Qb3 39. Qxb3 axb3 40. c4 Rd8 41. Rxb3 Rxd4 42. Rxb7 Rxc4 43. Kf2 c5 44. Rc7 Rc2+ 45. Kf3 c4 46. Rc8+ Kg7 47. Rc7 Kf8 48. h3 c3 49. g3 Rc1 50. Ke2 c2 51. g4 Rh1 52. Rxc2 Rxh3 53. Rc7 h5 54. gxh5 Rxh5 55. Rc5 Kg7 56. Ke3 Kh6 57. Kd4 Rh4+ 58. Ke3 Rh5 59. Kd4 Rf5 60. Rc6 Kh5 61. Ke4 Kg4 62. Kd5 g5 63. Rc1 Rf2 64. Ke4 Rf4+ 65. Kd5 Kh3 66. Rc3+ Kh4 67. Rc8 g4 68. Rh8+ Kg3 69. Ra8 Kh3 70. Rh8+ Kg2 71. e6?! fxe6+ 72. Kxe6 g3 73. Ke5 Rf7 74. Rd8 Kh2 75. Ra8 g2

0-1


Game Five: White's Odd Retreat

(5.O-O c6! 7.Bd3!?)

Y. Shabanov - A. Raetsky [C48]

Smolensk (11) 2000


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O c6 6. Bd3!?

Though an odd looking retreat, this move does have the advantage of preserving the Bishop pair and protecting the e-pawn so that White can exchange by Nxd4 and follow with Ne2 and c3. This is an interesting line and may appeal to you if you do not like 6.Ba4 Qa5! as discussed below.

 

6... Nxf3+

Usually the simplest path to equality, but White does get a slight edge.

a) 6... Bc5?! 7. Nxe5 b5? 8. Ne2 Ne6 9. b3 Qb6 10. Bb2 d6 11. Nf3 Nh5 12. Ng3 Nhf4 13. Be2 Qc7 14. d4 1-0 Olland,A-Schelfhout,W/Scheveningen 1913 (26)

 

b) 6... d6!? 7. Nxd4 exd4 8. Ne2 d5 9. e5 (9. exd5 Qxd5 10. Re1 Be7 11. c3=) 9... Ng4 10. f4 (10. Nxd4 Nxh2 11. Re1 Bg4!) 10... Qh4 11. h3 Nh6

7. Qxf3 d6

Perhaps best is 7... Bc5 8. Be2 (8. Qg3 d6 9. Na4 (9. Be2 h5!?) 9... Nh5 10. Qf3 Nf4=) 8... d6 9. Na4 (9. h3 g5!?) 9... Bg4 10. Qd3 Bxe2 (10... h5!?) 11. Qxe2 Nd7 12. Nxc5 Nxc5 13. d3 (13. f4!?) 13... Ne6=

 

8. Be2 h6 9. Rd1 Be7

9... Bg4 10. Qe3 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 Be7 12. d4

 

10. Qg3 g5!?

10... O-O?! 11. d4 exd4 12. Rxd4

 

11. d4 Qc7 12. a4

12. d5

 

12... Be6 13. a5 exd4 14. Rxd4 Nd7 15. Rd1 O-O-O 16. Be3

16. Qe3!?

 

16... Kb8 17. Bd4 Bf6 18. Qe3 Bxd4 19. Rxd4 Ne5 20. Qd2 a6 21. Rd1 Qxa5 22. Rxd6 Kc8 23. b4

1/2-1/2

[Michael Goeller]


Game Six: White's 7.Ba4

(5.O-O c6! 7.Ba4)

Emil Sutovsky - Leonid D. Gofshtein [C48]

ISR-chT/Israel (11) 1999


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O c6 6. Ba4!

This appears to be White's best try for an edge, though Black has a number of counter-tries for equality.

 

6... Nxf3+

Playing for equality. There are a number of sharper lines, including 6...Qa5! considered in the next game.

a) 6... d6 7. Nxd4 exd4 8. Ne2 Qb6!

( Risky is 8... Nxe4?! with the Bishop at a4 rather than c4: 9. Nxd4 Nc5 (9... Be7? 10. Nxc6! Qd7 11. Nxe7! Qxa4 12. Nxc8 Rxc8 13. c3 (13. d3!) 13... Qc6 14. d3 Nc5? 15. d4 1-0 Kavalek,L-Duncan,K/Gold Coast 1996 (15) ) 10. Re1+! Be6 (10... Ne6 11. c4!? Be7 12. Nf5 Bf6 13. d4 O-O 14. d5 cxd5 15. Qxd5 Nc5 16. Bc2 Be6 17. Qf3 Bxc4 18. Bf4 Ne6 19. Bxd6 Nd4 20. Qe4 Nxc2 21. Qxc2 Be6 22. Bxf8 1-0 Campora,D-Van Riemsdijk,H/Sao Paulo 1989 (41)) 11. Nxe6 Nxe6 12. Bb3 (12. d4!? d5 13. Qh5) 12... d5 13. c4 d4 14. c5 Qf6 15. Qg4 h5 16. Qh3 Rh6 (16... Kd7!?) 17. d3 g5 18. Qg3 Rg6 19. Bd2 O-O-O 20. Bxe6+ fxe6 21. b4 Rd5 22. Re4 Qf7 23. Rae1 Bg7 24. f4 gxf4 25. Rxf4 Rf5 (25... Rxg3 26. Rxf7 Rxd3 27. Rxg7 Rxd2 28. Rxe6) 26. Qf3 Rgf6 27. Rxf5 Rxf5 28. Qe4 1/2-1/2 Schlechter,C-Marshall,F/Nuremberg 1906 (28))

9. d3 Be7 10. c3 dxc3 11. Nxc3 (11. bxc3!?) 11... O-O 12. d4 d5 13. e5 Ne4 14. Bc2 f5! 15. Ne2 Kh8

(15... Bd7 16. Be3 Rac8 17. Bb3 Kh8 18. Rc1 a5 19. Nf4 Rcd8 20. h4 Rg8 (20... Bxh4? 21. Qh5) 21. g3 Bc8 22. Kg2! a4!? 23. Bxa4 Qxb2 24. Bb3 g6?! 25. Rh1 Bf8 26. Nd3 Qa3 27. f3! c5 28. fxe4 c4 29. exd5 b5 30. Bc2?! (30. Nf4! Bb7 31. h5!? g5 32. Ng6+ Kg7 33. h6+ Kf7 34. e6+ Ke8 35. Ne5!) 30... Bb7 31. Kf2 cxd3 32. Bb3 Bxd5 33. Qxd3 Rg7? (33... Bxh1 34. Rxh1 Rg7 35. Qxb5) 34. Rhd1 Rgd7 35. Bg5 Ra8 36. Qxb5 Bxb3 37. Qxd7 Qxa2+ 38. Rd2 Qa3 39. Rc7 1-0 Georgiev,K-Conquest,S/Halkida 1997 (39))

16. h4!? A brilliant way of accelerating White's kingside attack. 16... Bxh4 17. g3 Be7 18. Kg2 c5 19. Nf4 Bg5! Surrendering the Knight at e4, which will be trapped in exchange for a set of powerful passed pawns. 20. f3 Bxf4 21. Bxf4 cxd4 22. fxe4 fxe4 23. Bb3 Be6 24. Rh1 d3 25. Rh4! d4 26. Qh5 Bf5 27. e6! e3! 28. Be5 (28. e7 Qc6+ 29. Kg1 Rf6) 28... Qc6+! 29. Kg1 e2 (29... Qe8!?) 30. Qg5 (30. e7!) 30... Bg6 31. Rxd4? (31. Qxg6! Rf1+ 32. Rxf1 exf1=Q+ 33. Kxf1 Qf3+ 34. Kg1 Qe3+ 35. Kg2 Qe2+ 36. Kh3) 31... Qf3! 32. Rf4 Qe3+ 33. Kh2 Rxf4?! (33... e1=Q!) 34. Qxf4 e1=Q 35. Rxe1 Qxe1 36. Bxg7+! Kxg7 37. Qd4+ Kh6 and White can deliver perpetual check with Qh4+ etc. 1/2-1/ 2 Shirov,A-Sokolov,I/Madrid 1994 (37)

 

b) 6... b5 7. Bb3 Nxb3 8. axb3 d6 9. d4 Qc7 10. Bg5

(10. Qd3 Be7 11. Bg5 O-O 12. b4 Be6 13. Rfc1 Bc4 14. Qd2 a5 15. bxa5 b4 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. dxe5 dxe5 18. Nd1 Rfb8 19. Ne3 Be6 20. a6 Qb6 21. Qe2 Bc8 22. Nc4 Qc7 23. a7 Rb7 24. Rd1 Be6 25. Qd3 Rbxa7 26. Rxa7 Rxa7 27. Ncxe5 Ra8 28. b3 h6 29. Nc4 Rd8 30. Qe2 Rxd1+ 31. Qxd1 Bxc4 32. bxc4 Qf4 33. e5= Nunn,J-Malaniuk,V/Pardubice 1993 (33))

10... Be7 11. b4 exd4 12. Nxd4 (12. Qxd4) 12... a6 13. f4!? (13. Nf5!?) (13. Re1) 13... h6 14. Bh4 O-O 15. Qd3 Be6 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Qh3 e5 18. Qe6+ Kh8 19. Ne2 Rae8 20. Rxa6 Nxe4 21. Bxe7 Rxe7 22. Qg6 Nf6 23. fxe5 dxe5 24. Ng3 Ref7 25. h3 Qd7 26. c3 e4 27. Raa1 e3 28. Kh2 Qd2 29. Rae1 Qxb2 30. Rxe3 Qd2 31. Nf5 Nd5?! 32. Re8! Nf4?? 33. Rxf8+ 1-0 Nunn,J-Emms,J/London 1993 (33)

 

c) 6... Bc5 7. d3 d6 8. Nxd4 Bxd4 9. h3 O-O 10. Ne2 Bb6 11. Ng3 Be6 12. c3 d5 13. Qf3 Nd7 14. Re1 Re8 15. Nf5 Nf8 16. Bc2 Ng6 17. g3 Qc7 18. h4 Ne7 19. h5 Qd7 20. Nxg7 Kxg7 21. h6+ Kf8 22. Qf6 Ng8 23. Qg7+ Ke7 24. exd5 Qxd5 25. Rxe5 Qf3 26. d4 Kd7 27. Bf4 Ne7 28. Be4 Qg4 29. Rg5 Qh3 30. Bg2 1-0 Gallagher,J-Raetsky,A/Graechen 1999 (30)

 

d) 6... Qa5! is considered in the next game.

7. Qxf3 d6 8. d3 a5

a) 8... h6 9. Qe2 (9. Bb3) 9... Be6 10. Bb3 Bxb3 11. axb3 g6 12. f4 Bg7 13. fxe5 dxe5 14. Qf3 Qe7 15. Be3 a6 16. Kh1 Nd7 17. Qh3 h5 18. Rf3 O-O 19. g4 hxg4 20. Qxg4 Nf6 21. Qh4 Qe6 22. Bc5 Rfe8 23. Rg1 Nh5 24. Ne2 Rab8 25. Ng3 Nxg3+ 26. Rgxg3 b6 27. Be3 Qd7 28. Rh3 Kf8 29. Qh7 Rb7 30. Qxg6 Re6

 

 

31. Rh8+ 1-0 Nunn,J-Barua,D/Hastings 1993 (31)

 

b) 8... Be7?! 9. Nd5! Qa5?! 10. Nxe7 Qxa4 11. Nxc8 Rxc8 12. Bg5 Nd7 13. b3 Qa5 14. Qg4 h6 15. Be3 Ke7?! 16. f4! Rhg8 17. fxe5 Nxe5 18. Qf5 f6 19. d4 Qc3 20. Rae1 Kf7 1-0 Anand,V-Ljubojevic,L/Monte Carlo 1996 (20)

9. Bb3 Be7 10. h3 O-O 11. Be3 Ne8

11... b5!?

 

12. Rad1 Bg5! 13. d4 Qe7 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. Bxg5 Qxg5

Black appears to have equalized, but Sutovsky manages to gain strong activity for his pieces with some keen maneuvering.

 

16. Na4! Nf6

16... b5! 17. Nb6 Rb8 18. Nxc8 Rxc8 19. a4

 

17. Nb6 Ra6 18. Nxc8 Rxc8 19. a4 b6 20. Bc4 Raa8 21. Qb3 Qg6 22. Rfe1 Rab8 23. Ba6!

This appears to win a pawn by force.

 

23... Rf8 24. Rd6! Qg5 25. Rxc6 Nh5 26. g3 Nf4 27. Bf1

White runs away with his booty.

 

27... Ne6 28. Qe3 Qe7

28... Qxe3 29. Rxe3 Rfc8 30. Rxc8+ Rxc8 31. c3 Nc5 32. Bb5

 

29. Rxb6 Qc7 30. Rxb8 Rxb8 31. b3 Qxc2 32. Rc1 Qb2 33. Bc4 Nd4 34. Kg2 h6 35. Bd5 Rb6

35... Nxb3 36. Bxf7+ Kh7 (36... Kxf7 37. Qa7+) 37. Rc6 looks dangerous for Black's king.

 

36. Qc3 Qe2 37. Re1 Qa6 38. Qc7 Rf6 39. Re3 Kh7 40. h4 Nc6 41. h5 1-0


Game Seven: The Bishop Chase

(5.O-O c6! 7.Ba4 Qa5!)

As Emms notes, "Only with this move can Black prevent White from developing smoothly." With the attack on the Bishop, Black indirectly prevents 7.Nxd4 (which would drop a piece after 7...exd4) while the Queen directly defends the e-pawn. Emms explains that "Another point is that when the Bishop retreats to b3 and is captured by the Knight, White will have to recapture 'away from the center' with the c2-pawn...." White's safest reply is probably 7.Bb3 (as in Spassky-Korchnoi, St. Petersburg 1999). The most contested line is the one offered by Emms with 7.Re1 d6 where 8.Nxd4!? needs further analysis. If White can show an advantage against this line, then Sutovsky's Anti-Rubinstein Line will be a powerful weapon.

D. Navara - A. Khamatgaleev [C48]

Decin/Decin (11) 1998


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O c6 6. Ba4 Qa5!

The best move in this position, as borne out by GM practice. Black's plan is to exchange off the Bishop at b3 and force White to recapture with the c-pawn due to the pin on the a-pawn, damaging his opponent's structure and gaining the two Bishops. But Black's plan costs time which White can use to gain some temporary initiative or to build up a kingside attack. However, if White's attack does not succeed, Black will have the two Bishops and the better structure for the ending. Interestingly, this line is only examined by most authorities as part of their discussion of 5.Ba4 c6!? 6.O-O.

 

7. d3

a) 7. Bb3 may be White's safest choice: 7... Nxb3 8. cxb3 d6 9. h3 (9. d4 Bg4= 1/2-1/2 Ionov,S-Khalifman,A/Seville 1993 (17)) 9... Be7 10. d4 O-O 11. a3 exd4 12. Nxd4 Qh5 13. Qxh5 Nxh5 14. Re1 Re8 15. g4 Nf6 16. Bf4 Be6 17. Rad1 d5 18. exd5 Nxd5 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. Be5 Rad8 21. Ne4 Nf6 22. Nd6 Bxd6 23. Bxd6 Kf7 24. b4 a6 25. Be5 Rd5 26. Rc1 Red8 27. Kg2 Rd3 28. Rc4 Rd1?! 29. Rxd1 Rxd1 30. Rd4 Rxd4 31. Bxd4 Nd7 32. f4 g6 33. Kf3 Ke7 34. Ke4 Kd6 35. a4 b6 36. a5 bxa5 37. bxa5 Ke7 38. b4 Ke8 39. Bf2 Kf7 40. Kd4 Ke7 41. Bh4+ Ke8 42. Bg5 Kf8 Spassky,B-Kortschnoj,V/St Petersburg 1999 (42)

 

b) 7. a3!? Be7 8. b4 Qc7 9. Bb2 Shirov seems to favor this development scheme for White, though it is not especially advantageous. 9... O-O 10. Nxd4 exd4 11. Ne2 Nxe4 12. Nxd4 d5 13. d3 Nd6 14. Nf3 Bg4 15. h3 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Rfe8 17. c4?! dxc4 18. Qg3 c3! 19. Bxc3 Bf8 20. Rfe1 Qd7 21. Qg4 1/2-1/2 Shirov,A-Piket,J/Aruba 1995 (21)

 

c) 7. Re1 d6

(7... Bb4?! appears to force the issue, but Black's Bishop will have to retreat: 8. Bb3?!

(More promising seems to be 8. Nxd4!! exd4 (8... Bxc3 9. dxc3 Qxa4 10. Nf5 O-O 11. Qd6!) 9. e5 Ng8 10. Qg4 (10. Bb3!? dxc3 11. dxc3 Bf8 12. Qf3) 10... dxc3 11. Qxg7 cxd2 12. Bxd2 Bxd2 13. Qxh8 (Emms suggests 13.Re4!?) 13...Qxa4 (the game Riemersma-Gausel, Gausdal 1993, went instead 13...Bxe1 14.Qxg8+ Ke7 15.Qg5+ and White forced perpetual check) 14. Qxg8+ Ke7 15. Re2 Qxc2 16. Qg3)

8... Nxb3 9. cxb3 Be7 10. d4 d6 11. h3 O-O 12. Bd2 Qc7 13. Rc1 Be6 14. d5 Bd7 15. dxc6 Bxc6 16. Bg5 Qd8! 17. Qd3 Nh5!= 18. Bxe7 (18. Be3 f5) 18... Qxe7 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. exd5 Nf4 21. Qf5 Rae8 22. Rcd1 g6 23. Qg5 f6 24. Qh6 Qf7 25. g3 Nh5 (25... Nxd5 26. Qd2 Ne7 27. Qxd6 Nc6) 26. Re4 Rc8 27. Rc4 b5 28. Rc6 Qd7 29. Rdc1 Qxh3?? A typical case of fatal greed. 30. Rc7! Rxc7 31. Rxc7 Rf7 32. Rxf7 Kxf7 33. Qxh7+ Kf8 34. Qxg6 Nf4 35. gxf4 Qxf3 36. Qxf6+ Kg8 37. Qg6+ Kh8 38. Qh6+ Kg8 39. Qe6+ Kh7 40. fxe5 dxe5 41. Qe7+ Kg6 42. Qxe5 Kf7 43. Qe6+ Kf8 44. d6 Qf4 45. d7 Qc1+ 46. Kg2 Qg5+ 47. Kh3 Qh5+ 48. Kg3 Qg5+ 49. Qg4 Qd8 50. Qf5+ Kg7 51. Kg4 Kh6 52. Qh5+ 1-0 Karatekin,T-Ippolito,D/Calicut 1998 (52))

8. h3

(Perhaps White should consider the very complicated 8.Nxd4!? exd4 9.Nd5 of Smagin-Malaniuk, Tilburg 1993, as mentioned by Emms. I will be examining this move more closely myself and will let you know what I discover. Otherwise, this line does not look promising.)

8... b5!

(8... Be7 9. a3!? O-O 10. b4 Qc7 11. Bb2 a5 12. Nxd4 exd4 13. Ne2 axb4 14. axb4 b5 15. Bb3 Rxa1 16. Bxa1 (16. Qxa1 c5) 16... c5 17. d3 Be6= 1/2-1/2 Shirov,A-Piket,J/Aruba 1995 (45))

9. Bb3

(9. b4?! Qxb4 10. Rb1 Nxf3+ 11. Qxf3 Qd4 12. Bxb5 cxb5 13. Nxb5 Qc4 0-1 Hernandez,G-Miles,A/Matanzas 1994 (28))

9... Nxb3 10. cxb3 b4! 11. Ne2 c5 12. d3 Be7 13. Nd2 Qc7 14. Nc4 O-O 15. f4 Bd7 16. fxe5 dxe5 17. Ng3 Rad8 18. Qf3 Bc8 19. Bd2 Be6 20. Nf5 Bxf5 21. exf5 Rd5 22. Re3 Rfd8 23. Rae1 Bd6 24. R1e2 Rd4 25. g4 e4 26. dxe4 Bf4 1/2-1/2 Shirov,A-Hansen,L/Moscow 1994 (26)

 

7... d6

a) 7... Bb4?! 8. Bb3?! ( A very promising sacrifice appears to be 8. Nxd4! exd4 9. e5 dxc3 10. exf6 Qxa4 11. fxg7! Rg8 12. Qh5) 8... Nxb3 9. cxb3 Be7 10. Bd2 Qc7 11. Rc1 O-O 12. h3 d6 13. d4 Re8= 1-0 Gallagher,J-Mitkov,N/Pula 1997 (52)

 

b) Best may be 7... b5! 8. Bb3 Nxb3 9. cxb3 d6 10. h3 b4. Emms mentions the game Vehi Bach-G. Georgadze, Ampuriabrava 1997, which went 10.Ne2 Be7 11.Ng3 O-O 12.d4 Rd8 13.h3 Qc7 14.Qc2 Be6 15.Be3 Rac8 16.Rac1 h6 17.Rfd1 c5 =.

8. h3

White can enable the a-pawn recapture by 8. Bd2!? b5 (8... Qa6 9. h3) 9. Nxd4 exd4 10. Nxb5 Qxa4 11. Nc7+ Kd8 12. b3 Qa3 13. Nxa8 Bb7 14. c3 dxc3 15. Bxc3 Bxa8 16. Bxf6+ gxf6 17. Qh5 with complex play.

 

8... b5 9. Bb3 Nxb3 10. cxb3 Be7 11. Bg5 O-O 12. Ne2!?

White embarks on a rather risky plan that takes no regard for repairing his structure somewhat with d4. However, the attack he organizes would likely succeed against weaker opposition.

 

12... c5 13. Ng3 Be6 14. Nh4 h6 15. Bd2 Qc7 16. Nhf5 Rfe8 17. f4 Rad8 18. Qc1 Nh7 19. Qe1 b4 20. Nxe7+ Qxe7 21. f5 Bc8 22. Nh5 f6 23. Rf3 Kh8 24. Rg3 Rg8 25. Rc1 Ba6! 26. Qf2 Qf7 27. Qf3 d5! 28. Be3 Bxd3 29. exd5 Qxd5 30. Qxd5 Rxd5 31. Rd1 c4 32. bxc4 Bxc4 33. Rc1 Be2 34. Nxg7 Ng5 35. Bxg5 hxg5 36. Ne6 e4 37. h4 gxh4 38. Rxg8+ Kxg8 39. Rc8+ Kh7 40. Rc7+ Kh6 41. Rf7 Rxf5 42. Nd4 Rf1+ 43. Kh2 Bg4 44. Rxa7 Rf2 0-1

 

Conclusion: White seems to maintain a slight edge in Sutovsky's Anti-Rubinstein System with 5.O-O except against Black's most aggressive counter-system with 5...c6! 6.Ba4 Qa5! gaining the advantage of the two Bishops and saddling White with doubled pawns. It is then difficult for White to demonstrate an edge, though I suggest several avenues for further investigation. I'll let you know what I turn up....

 

 

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