1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 e5

by Michael Goeller

We continue our exploration of The Panther with four games which often show how Black can transpose to the Czech Benoni. As with the Czech, Black will often seek an initiative on both sides of the board, using breaks at ...f5 and ...c6 or ...b5 to create play. It is also important for Black to maintain his grip on the dark squares, especially on the kingside.

Game One: Creating Kingside Play

Jindrich Trapl - Anatoly S Lutikov [E97]

Warsaw Armies-chT 6th/Warsaw (2.2) 1969


1. d4 Nc6 2. c4

The chief alternatives via this move order are:

a) 2. d5 Ne5 is called the "Bozo-Indian" by Sid Pickard and perfectly playable for Black.

 

b) 2. Nf3 d6!?

(2... d5 3. c4 Bg4 transposes to well-trodden lines of the Chigorin Defense that are generally judged quite playable for Black)

3. d5

(3. e4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bg4 is a well-known line of the Nimzovich Defense (also possible is 4... a6!? 5. Be2 g6!?) )

3... Ne5!

(3... Nb8!? 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6)

4. Nxe5 dxe5 5. e4 Nf6! Freeman

(5... e6!? 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. dxe6! is unclear as discussed in Part One)

6. Nc3 a6!

Freeman notes that this position could also arise by 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6!? etc.

7. Be2

(a) 7. f4 Qd6 8. g3 Nd7 intending ...g6 and ...Bg7 =)

(b) 7. Bg5 h6! 8. Bxf6 exf6=)

(c) 7. Bc4 b5=)

7... e6 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Be7 10. dxe6 Bxe6 11. O-O? Nxe4! 12. Bxe7 Qxd1! 13. Bxd1 Nxc3 14. Bb4 Nd5 15. Bd2 O-O-O 16. Re1 Nf4!? 0-1 J. West - S. Stoyko, Edison NJ USA 1982 (56).

 

2... Nf6

Transposing to the Black Knights Tango.

 

3. Nf3

With the idea of inhibiting Black's natural ...e5 advance. If 3. d5 Ne5 4. e4 e6 5. f4 Ng6 6. Bd3 exd5 7. cxd5 Bb4+ 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Nge2 d6=

 

3... d6

Black insists on playing ...e5 with control of the dark squares. The common alternative is 3... e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 followed often by ...d6 and ...e5.

 

4. Nc3

The most natural developing move. 4. d5 Ne5! 5. Nxe5 dxe5 6. Nc3 e6 7. e4 Bc5 8. Be2 Bd4!? = Orlov

 

4... e5 5. d5 Ne7 6. e4 Ng6

The True Panther.

a) Black can seek transposition to well-known lines of the King's Indian Defense (E99) via 6... g6 7. Be2 (7. c5!? Bg7 8. Bb5+ Bd7 is unclear) 7... Bg7 8. O-O O-O - E99 or first 6... Nd7!? xc5 7. Be2 g6 8. O-O Bg7 9. Be3 though both allow White other options as indicated.

 

b) Unnecessarily commital seems 6... h6!? 7. h3 Ng6 8. g3 Be7 9. Bg2 O-O 10. O-O c5 11. Ne1 Ne8 12. Nd3 (12. f4 exf4 13. gxf4 f5 is similar) 12... f5 13. f4 (13. Qh5!? Kh7 14. f4 Nf6 Freeman) 13... exf4 14. Bxf4 (14. Nxf4 Ne5!?) 14... Bf6 15. Qe2 Nxf4 16. Nxf4 Bxc3! 17. bxc3 fxe4 18. Bxe4 Qg5 19. Kh2 Nf6 20. Bc2 Bd7 21. Ne6 Rae8 22. Rae1 (22. Rf5 Qg6 23. Qd3 Bxe6 24. dxe6 Rxe6) 22... Bxe6 23. dxe6 Nh5 24. Qd3 Rxf1 25. Rxf1?! (25. Qh7+ Kf8 26. Rxf1+ Ke7 27. Qg6 ) 25... Nf6 26. Rf5 Qg6 27. Qxd6 Kh8 28. Rf2 Qg5 29. e7?! Rxe7! 1/2-1/2 Conover - Stoyko, North Jersey Chess League 1982

 

7. Be2

7. g3 Be7 8. h4 h6!

(a) 8... O-O!? 9. Be2 (9. h5! Nh8 10. Bh3 ) 9... c5 10. Kf1 Ne8 11. Ne1 f5 12. exf5 Bxf5= 13. Bg4 Qc8 14. Bxf5 Qxf5 15. Qe2 Nf6 16. Bg5 e4 17. Ng2 Ng4 18. Bf4 Nxf4 19. Nxf4 Bf6 20. Nxe4 Rae8 21. Nxf6+ Nxf6 22. Ne6 Nxd5 23. g4 Qxe6 24. Qxe6+ Rxe6 25. cxd5 Re4 0-1 Bilobrk,F-Mestrovic,Z/Zadar CRO 1997 (47))

 

(b) 8... Bg4 9. Bh3 Stoyko-Goeller, KCCC 2006)

9. Qc2

(9. h5 Nf8 10. Nh4 N6h7 is unclear )

9... Bd7 10. Be2 c6 11. a4 a5 12. Nh2 Qc8 13. Nf1 Bd8 14. Qb3 O-O 15. Ne3 Rb8 16. Bd2 Bc7

(with the idea ...Qd8 and ...Bb6)

17. Rc1 Re8 18. Kf1 Nf8 19. Kg2 Qd8 20. Nc2 Bg4 21. Bxg4 Nxg4 22. Ne3 Nxe3+ 23. Bxe3 Nd7 24. Rhd1 c5?

(The critical improvement would be 24... Bb6! 25. Bxb6 Nxb6 26. c5 Nd7! (also possible is 26... dxc5 27. dxc6 Qc7 28. cxb7 Qxb7 29. Qb5 Rec8 30. Qxa5 Nc4 31. Qb5 Nxb2=) 27. cxd6 Nc5 28. Qa3 Qxd6 29. dxc6 Qxc6 30. Nd5 b6=)

25. Nb5! Nf6 26. Qd3 Qd7 27. f3 Bd8 28. Rh1 h5 29. Rcg1 Be7 30. Kf1 Bf8 31. Bg5 Nh7 32. Bd2 Ra8 33. g4 1-0 Malich,B-Braun,G/Germany 1993 (64)

 

7... Be7 8. h4

a) 8. O-O O-O 9. Ne1 c5!? transposes to a Czech Benoni set-up 10. a3 (10. dxc6 bxc6 11. Nd3 d5=) 10... Ne8 11. b4 Bg5 12. Bg4 Bxc1 13. Rxc1 Bxg4 14. Qxg4 Rc8 15. Ne2 Nf6 16. Qf3 Nd7 (16... cxb4 17. axb4 a5!?) 17. Ng3 Ne7 18. Nd3 Rc7 1/2-1/2, G.Kuzmin - F.Olafsson, Reykjavik 1978

 

b) 8. h3 O-O 9. Be3 Bd7 10. Qd2 c6 (10... Nh5 11. g3) 11. O-O c5 transposes to a Czech Benoni set-up 12. Ne1 h6! 13. Nd3 Nh7 14. Bh5 Bf6 (14... Nh4! 15. Bg4 Bxg4 16. hxg4 Bg5=) 15. a3 Ng5 unclear in D.Marovic - Hort, Tallinn 1975

 

8... h6

Not 8... h5 9. Ng5

 

9. h5 Nf8 10. Ng1

Not 10. Nh4? Nxe4

 

10... N8d7 11. Bf3 c6 12. Nge2 a5 13. Ng3 cxd5 14. cxd5 Nc5 15. O-O O-O 16. Be3 Ne8 17. Bg4 Bg5 18. Bxg5 Qxg5 19. Bxc8 Rxc8 20. Nb5










20... g6!

The most promising idea in the position, vying for play on the kingside with ...f5.

 

21. Rc1!

21. hxg6?! fxg6 or 21. Qf3 f5!

 

21... b6 22. b3 Rd8

breaking the pin and overprotecting d6. 22... f5!? 23. hxg6 fxe4 24. Nxe4 Qxg6 25. Rc4! Kh7 is very double-edged.

 

23. a3 Nf6! 24. Rc4 Qh4

24... gxh5!? 25. b4 h4!

 

25. b4










25... Ncd7

Much better is 25... Ng4 26. Re1 Ne6!! 27. dxe6? fxe6

 

26. Qd2 Ng4 27. Rfc1 Ndf6 28. Qe1? 28. Nf1! 28... Nxh5 29. Nf1 Qg5 30. f3 Ngf6 31. R1c2 axb4 32. axb4 Ra8 33. Nxd6 Ra3 34. R4c3 Rxc3 35. Rxc3 Nf4 36. Rc2 N6h5 37. Nb5 Nd3 38. Qd2 Nhf4 39. Ne3?! Ra8 40. d6 40. Nf1 Ra1-> 40... Ra1+-+ 41. Nd1 Nf2 42. Kxf2 Qxg2+ 43. Ke3 Qg1+ 44. Qf2 Qxd1

0-1 [Michael Goeller]


Game Two: Fighting for e4

Glenn Gaasland - Jan Gunnar Fredriksen [E33]

NOR-ch op/Oslo (5) 2002


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 e5 5. d5 Ne7 6. e4 Ng6 7. g3

7. Be2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bd2 h6 10. Ne1 Nh7 11. Bg4 Bg5 12. Bxc8 Rxc8 13. Nd3 f5 14. f3 (14. exf5) 14... c6 15. Bxg5 Nxg5 16. Qb3 cxd5 17. cxd5 Qe7 18. Rae1 fxe4! 19. Nxe4 Nxe4 20. Rxe4 Nf4 21. Rfe1 Nxd3 22. Qxd3 Qc7 23. Qd2 Qc2! (Black's control of the c-file gives him the better chances.) 24. Qxc2 Rxc2 25. R4e2 Rfc8 26. Kf2 Kf7 27. Rxc2 Rxc2+ 28. Re2 Rc1 29. Rd2 Kf6 30. Ke3 Kf5 31. g3 g6 32. h4 h5 33. Rg2 Re1+ 34. Kd2 Ra1 35. a3 Rb1 36. Ke3 Re1+ 37. Kd2 Rb1 38. Ke3 1/2-1/2 Labuckas,A-Slapikas,V/Kaunas 2001 (38)

 

7... Be7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Ne8

More thematic may be 9... h6!? which provides the Knight with other options of retreat and redeployment: 10. Ne1

(10. h3!? Nh7 11. Be3 f5 12. exf5 Bxf5=)

10... Nh7 11. Nd3

(11. Nc2 Bg5 12. Ne3 Bd7 13. h4 Bxe3 14. Bxe3 Qc8 15. c5 Bh3 16. cxd6 cxd6 17. Bxh3 Qxh3 18. Qf3 f5 19. Qg2 Qg4 20. f3 Qh5 21. exf5 Qxf5 22. Ne4 Nf6 23. Nxd6 Qd3 24. Qd2 Qxd5 25. Qxd5+ Nxd5 26. Bd2 Rfd8 27. Ne4 Kf7 28. Rac1 Rd7 29. Kf2 Rad8 30. Ke2 Nge7 31. Nc5 Rc7 32. Nd3 Nc6 33. Be3 Nxe3 34. Kxe3 Rcd7 35. Rfd1 Kf6 36. Nf2 Nd4 37. Ke4? (37. Ne4+ Kg6 ) 37... Ne2! White cannot defend the g3 pawn 38. Ke3 Rxd1 39. Rxd1 Rxd1 40. Nxd1 Nxg3 0-1 Olarasu,G-Renette,H/Avoine 1999 (63))

11... f5

(11... Bg5 12. f4!? exf4 13. gxf4 Bf6 is unclear )

12. exf5 (12. f4!?) 12... Bxf5 13. Ne4 Qd7 14. Qe2 Nf6 15. Bd2 Rf7! 16. Bc3 Raf8 17. Nxf6+ Bxf6 18. Be4 Bg5

(a) 18... Bxe4 19. Qxe4 Ne7 20. Rae1 Qf5 21. f4 exf4 22. Qxf5 Nxf5 23. Bxf6 Rxf6 24. Nxf4 Nd4 25. Re4 )

(b) 18... Ne7! 19. f4 (19. Bxf5 Nxf5 20. Qe4 ) 19... exf4=)

19. f3 Ne7 20. Nf2 Bxe4 21. Nxe4 Qh3 22. Rae1 b6 23. b3 a6!? 24. Rf2 a5 25. Ref1 Nf5 26. Nxg5 hxg5 27. Qe4 Qh7 28. Bd2 Nd4 29. Qxh7+ Kxh7 30. Kg2 Kg6 31. g4 c5 32. dxc6 Nxc6 33. Be3 a4 34. Rd1 Rf6 35. Bxb6 axb3 36. axb3 Rb8 37. Bc7 Rxb3 38. Bxd6 Re3 39. h3 (39. c5!?) 39... Na5 40. Bc5?! (40. c5) 40... Rb3 41. Ra1 Nxc4 42. Rc2 Ne3+ 43. Bxe3 Rxe3 44. Rf2= 1/2-1/2 Sakalauskas,V-Slapikas,V/Kaunas 2001 (44)

 

10. Nd2

10. Be3!? f5 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. Nd2 Bg5?! (12... Nf6 challenging e4 would be more like the game line) 13. Bxg5 (13. Nde4! Bxe3 14. fxe3 Bxe4 15. Nxe4 ) 13... Qxg5 14. Nde4 Qh6!? 15. c5 Bh3 (15... dxc5 16. Nxc5 Nd6 17. Rc1 Rf7 ) 16. Qc1 Nf4? 17. gxf4 Qg6 18. Ng3 Bxg2 19. f5 Rxf5 20. Kxg2 Rf4 21. Qb1 Qf7 22. Qd3 Nf6 23. cxd6 cxd6 24. Rad1 Qd7 25. f3 Rf8 26. a3 h6 27. Qg6 Rf7 28. Nce4 Rh4 29. Nf5 Nh5 30. Nxh6+ Kh8 31. Nxf7+ Kg8 32. Kh1 1-0 Yermolinsky,A-Nogueira,I/New York 1997 (32)

 

10... f5 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. Nde4 Qd7 13. Be3 Nf6










14. Ng5 h6 15. Ne6 Bxe6 16. dxe6 Qxe6 17. Bxb7 Rab8 18. Bd5 Nxd5 19. cxd5 Qh3 20. Qe2 Rb4 21. f3 Rfb8 22. b3 R8b7 23. Rab1 Qf5 24. Ne4 Bg5 25. Bf2 Ne7 26. Rfd1 a5 27. Nc3 a4 28. Kg2 Rb8 29. Qa6 axb3 30. a3 R4b7 31. Ba7 Qc2+ 32. Ne2 Nxd5 33. h4 Rxa7 34. Qxa7 Ne3+ 35. Kf2 Nxd1+ 36. Rxd1 Rf8 37. Rf1 Bd2 38. Qb7 b2 39. a4 Bc1 0-1


Game Three: Expanding on Both Sides and Using the f-file

Tom Borvander - Vytautas Slapikas [A54]

Gothenburg op/Gothenburg (4) 2001


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. d5 Ne7 6. h3

6. Bg5 Nd7!? (6... h6!? 7. Bxf6 gxf6 8. e4 f5 ) 7. Nd2 f6 8. Bh4 Ng6 9. Bg3 f5 10. f3 Be7 11. Bf2 O-O 12. Qc2 b6 13. g3 a5 14. Bg2 Nc5 15. e4 f4 16. Ne2 Bd7 17. Nc1 Nh8 18. Nd3 g5 19. a4 Nxd3+ 20. Qxd3 Qe8 21. b3 h5 22. Rg1 Ng6 23. O-O-O g4 24. Rdf1 Bg5 25. Kc2 Rf7 26. Be1 Qf8 27. Nb1 Qh6 28. Bd2 Raf8 29. Nc3 Kh7 30. Rh1 h4 31. fxg4 fxg3 32. Bxg5 Qxg5 33. Ne2 Bxg4 34. Rxf7+ Rxf7 35. Bf1 0-1 Taujanskis,E-Kuvsinov,A/Platelia 1999 (35)

 

6... Ng6 7. e4 Be7 8. Bd3 O-O 9. Ne2 h6 10. Be3

White's strategy is to control the key squares on the kingside with his pieces. But pieces alone cannot oppose the Panther on the dark squares.

 

10... Nh7! 11. Qd2 f5!?










An interesting bid for the initiative. Alternatives are not as attractive:

a) 11... Ng5 12. Nxg5 Bxg5 13. Bxg5 Qxg5 14. Qxg5 hxg5 15. g3 exchanges off Black's best pieces and yields White control of key squares.

b) 11... c5 is an interesting idea since White gains nothing by 12. dxc6 bxc6=

 

12. exf5 Bxf5 13. Bxf5

13. Ng3 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Rxf4 16. O-O Qd7

 

13... Rxf5 14. Qc2 Rf6 15. Nd2

15. O-O?! Rxf3!? 16. gxf3 (16. Qxg6! Rf6 17. Qd3 ) 16... Nh4 17. f4 Qd7 18. Kh2 Nf3+ (18... Rf8 19. f3 exf4 20. Bxf4 Bg5 21. Bg3 Nxf3+ 22. Kg2~~) 19. Kg3 Rf8 20. Qg6 Bh4+ 21. Kg2 exf4 22. Nxf4 Nhg5 23. Rh1 Rf6 24. Qc2 Qf7

 

15... Nh4 16. Qe4

16. O-O Rg6 17. Ng3 Bg5

 

16... Nf5 17. h4?!

17. O-O

 

17... Qd7 18. Nc3 a6 19. O-O-O Rf7 20. Nf3 Nf6 21. Qd3 Ng4 22. Ne4 c6 23. Kb1 b5!

Black controls the kingside and now seeks to open lines on the queenside as well. It is difficult for White to match Black's pieces in the attack.

 

24. Bb6 c5

24... bxc4 25. Qxc4 cxd5 26. Qxd5 Rb8

 

25. Ba5 b4 26. b3 Bd8 27. Bxd8 Rxd8 28. h5 a5 29. Kb2 a4 30. Ra1 Nd4 31. Rh3 a3+ 32. Kc1 Rf4 33. Kd2










33. Nxd4 cxd4 34. f3 Ne3

 

33... Rxe4

Quicker may have been 33... Rdf8! 34. Nxd4 Nxf2 35. Nxf2 (35. Ne6 Nxd3-+) 35... Rxd4-+

 

34. Qxe4 Nxf2 35. Qh4 Nxh3 36. Nxd4 cxd4 37. gxh3 Rf8-+ 38. Rg1 Qf5 39. Rg6 Qf1 0-1


Game Four: Czech Benoni Ideas

Gerd Euler - Harald Bletz (2295) [A56]

Oberliga Hessen/Hessen 1992


1. d4 Nf6

1... c5 2. d5 e5 3. dxe6!? (3. Nc3!?)

 

2. c4 c5 3. d5 e5 4. Nc3 d6 5. e4 Be7 6. g3 Nbd7

As discussed previously, the Czech Benoni has some resemblance to the Panther and is worth comparing. The important difference is that Black's ...c5 allows him to open a front on the queenside via the ...b5 break as well as on the kingside via ....f5. Typically, Black should strive to achieve both breaks in the Czech Benoni, especially when White is working to create a light-square bind with g3, h4, and Bh3 exchanging the Bishop. The Panther can transpose to Czech Benoni lines when Black plays an early ...c5, which serves to either retard White's queenside play or create possibilities of queenside play for Black

 

A recent game at the club showed how quickly Black can go wrong in these lines if he does not develop active play: 6... O-O 7. h4! h5? 8. Bh3! Nbd7 9. Kf1!? Re8 10. Kg2 g6 11. f3 Nh7 12. Nge2 g5 13. hxg5 Nxg5 14. Bxg5 Bxg5 15. Bxd7 Qxd7 16. Rxh5 Be3? 17. Qd3 Bd4 18. Qd2 (18. Rah1) 18... Kf8? (18...f6 19. Rah1) 19. Qg5! forces mate.... 1-0 Stoyko,S-Wojcio,M/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2006 (19)

 

7. h4 O-O 8. Bh3 b5!?

The most vigorous remedy to White's slow bind, but risky. Also playable would be 8... a6 9. a4 Rb8

 

9. cxb5 a6 10. bxa6 Bxa6

In the stem game with this line, Kavalek played 10... c4!? 11. Be3 Qa5 12. Qc2 Bd8 13. Nf3 Bb6 14. Bxb6 Qxb6 15. O-O Bxa6 16. Rfb1 Nc5 17. Bf1 Ng4 18. Nd1 f5!










19. exf5 e4!? (19... Bc8! 20. Qxc4 Bxf5 21. Rc1 e4 ) 20. Nd4 (20. Nd2) 20... Nd3 21. Qc3 Rf7 22. b3 Qc5 23. bxc4 Bxc4 24. Bg2 Bxd5? 25. Ne6 (25. Rb5! ) 25... Qa7 26. Qd4 Qxd4 27. Nxd4 Rc7 28. Nb5 Rc2 29. Nbc3 Bc6 30. Rb6 Rc8 (30... Nge5) 31. Nxe4 Bxe4 32. Bxe4 Ndxf2? Black's hoped-for attack is a mirage: 33. Bxc2-+ Nh3+ 34. Kg2 Rxc2+ 35. Kf3 Ng1+ 36. Kxg4 Rc4+ 37. Kh5 Ne2 38. Rb3 Kf7 39. Re3 Nd4 40. Re4 d5 41. Rf4 1-0 Donner,J-Kavalek,L/The Hague 1966 (41)

 

11. Nge2

11. g4 Qa5 12. Qf3 Nb6 13. g5 Ne8 14. Nge2 Na4 15. Ng3 Rb8 (It's important for Black not to move a pawn in front of his king but to continue with a queenside counterattack.) 16. Nf5 Bd8 17. h5 Nxb2! 18. Rg1 g6 19. Nh6+ Kg7 20. Bd7 Nd3+ 21. Kd2 Nf4 22. Bxe8 Rxe8 23. Kd1 Bd3 24. Bxf4 Qxc3 25. Bxe5+ Qxe5 26. Rc1 Bxe4 27. Qxf7+ Kh8 28. Re1 Qd4+ 29. Ke2 Qd3# 0-1 Rosenlund,T-Ost Hansen,J/Randers 1973 (29)

 

11... Qc7 12. O-O Rfb8 13. Qc2 c4 14. Be3 Nc5

Black's typical Benko-like counterplay is well-contained by White on the queenside. Perhaps Black could have preserved the Rook at f8 in order to open another front with ...f5, as in Kavalek's game.

 

15. Rfb1 Rb4

15... Qa5 16. f3

 

16. Nc1 Rab8 17. Bxc5 Qxc5 18. a3 R4b7 19. N1a2 Rc7

19... Rb3!?

 

20. Nb4 Bb7 21. Re1 Bd8 22. Rac1 Nd7 23. Na4 Qa5 24. Nc6 Rxc6 25. dxc6 Bxc6 26. Nc3 Nc5 27. Bf1 Nb3 28. Bxc4 Nd4!?

28... Nxc1 29. Rxc1 Bb6 30. Nd5

 

29. Qd3 Rxb2 30. Ne2 Rd2? 31. Nxd4! Rxd3 32. Nxc6 Rxg3+ 33. fxg3 Bb6+ 34. Kg2 Qd2+ 35. Kh3 Bf2 36. Rf1+- g6 37. Rcd1 Qe3 38. Rxf2 Qxf2 39. Rf1 Qc5 40. Bxf7+ Kg7 41. Bd5 Qxa3 42. Nd8 Qd3 43. Ne6+ Kh6 44. Rf2 Qd1 45. Kg2 Qg4 46. Nf8 Kh5 47. Nxh7 Qd1 48. Ng5 Qd3 49. Be6 1-0

Games in PGN

Copyright 2006, Michael Goeller