A Common Error in the Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation, with 8.Nge2?!
by Michael Goeller

The following two games were played by members of the Kenilworth Chess Club team at the 2006 U.S. Amateur Team East on successive days of the event. Clearly White's error with 8.Nge2?! in the Exchange Variation QGD, allowing 8....Ne4 with equality, is fairly common at the amateur level and worth knowing about if you play these lines as Black.

Joan Santana (2200) - Steve Stoyko (2350) [D35]

US Amateur Teams East/Parsippany, NJ USA (4) 2006


1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3

Theory sometimes recommends 6. Qc2 before developing with e3 and Bd3 so as to prevent an early ...Bf5 by Black and to avoid the problems with ...Ne4 we see in the game.

 

6... c6 7. Bd3 O-O Now to judge from this game and the one below, the following is probably a pretty common opening error in amateur play: 8. Nge2?!










More precise is 8. Qc2 to hold the e4 square.

 

8... Ne4!

Black now quickly gets full equality and has the best chances of gaining a kingside initiative.

 

9. Bf4!?

Keeping pieces on the board. But now the Bishop becomes a target to aid Black in developing a kingside initiative. Besides exchanging Bishops with 9.Bxe7, which we will see in the next game, White has two alternatives:

a) 9. h4!? f5 (9... Nxg5?! 10. hxg5 Bxg5? 11. Bxh7+ ) (9... f6!? 10. Bf4 f5 is an interesting alternative, to avoid the exchange of Bishops) 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. Nf4 Nd7 12. Bxe4?! fxe4 13. g4 Rf7 (Black has too much control on the kingside for White's attack there to work.) 14. g5 Nf8 15. Qe2 Bf5 16. O-O-O Ne6 ( Black should already begin his counter-attack with 16... b5!) 17. Rd2?! Raf8 18. Rh2 Bg6?! (18... Nxf4 19. exf4 Qd6 ) 19. Nh5 Bxh5 20. Qxh5 g6 21. Qd1 Rf3 22. a3 Ng7 1/2-1/2 Lagland,G-Kaasalainen,A/Finland 1970 (71) and now Black should have hurried to get his own queenside initiative going with a rapid ...b5 advance but instead allowed the game to become a drawish ending by not attacking on the queenside.

 

b) 9. Bxe4?! Bxg5! 10. Bd3 Nd7 (10... f5!?) 11. Qc2 Nf6 12. O-O-O Bh6 13. Ng3 g6 0-1 Raineri de Luca,P-Gutierrez,R/Buenos Aires 1997 (31) Black eventually won but, as in the game cited above, should have gotten his queenside counterattack rolling more quickly.

9... f5 10. O-O?!

10. Qc2 followed by Pf3, keeping open the option of castling queenside, was probably better, e.g.: 10... Be6

(10... Nd7 11. f3 Nxc3 (11... Nd6!?) 12. bxc3 Nb6 13. O-O Be6 14. e4 Qd7 15. Ng3 fxe4 16. fxe4 dxe4 17. Bxe4 h6 18. Nh5 Bf5? 19. Bxh6!! Qe6 (19... gxh6 20. Bxf5+-) (19... Bxe4 20. Qxe4 Rxf1+ 21. Rxf1 Rf8 22. Qg6+-) 20. Rxf5 Qxh6 21. Ng3 Rxf5 22. Nxf5 Qe6 23. Qe2 Bf6 24. Re1 Rd8 25. Qf2 Qc4 26. Nh6+ Kf8 27. Ng4 Nd7 28. Bf5 Qxc3 29. Bxd7 Qxd4 30. Nxf6 1-0 Volzhin,A-Kroencke,M/Bad Wiessee 1999 (30))

11. f3 Nd6 12. O-O-O b5 13. g4 Na6 14. Bxd6 Bxd6 15. Bxf5 Bxf5 16. gxf5 Qg5 17. Qd2 Rae8 18. e4 Qxd2+ 19. Kxd2 b4 20. Na4 dxe4 21. fxe4 Rxe4 22. Kd3 Rfe8 23. Ng3 Re3+ 24. Kc4 Nc7 25. Rhg1 Nd5 26. Nc5 a5 27. Na4 Rf3 28. Rd3 Ree3 29. Rd2 Nb6+

 

10... g5! 11. Bg3 Qe8 12. f3 Nxg3 13. Nxg3 f4 14. exf4 gxf4 15. Nge2 Qh5

Lines are open for Black's attack. Now he just has to get the rest of his pieces into the action.

 

16. Qd2 Bd6 17. Rf2 Kh8!

Steve liked this move very much, since the best targets are along the g-file and he does not want to surrender the back rank prematurely by a Rook lift with 17... Rf6!? 18. Re1 Rh6? (18... Be6!) 19. g3! unclear.

 

18. g4?

This can only help Black, but it is exactly the type of attempt at "active defense" to which all non-masters are prone.

 

18... fxg3 19. hxg3 Bh3!

Perhaps Black hoped for 19... Rxf3? 20. Rxf3 Qxf3 21. Rf1 - but now the White Rook is prevented from getting to f1 and Black will get his pawn.

 

20. Qc2?! Rxf3 21. Bxh7?










Still more useless counter-attacking attempts - though there was no real defense.

 

21... Bxg3! 22. Rxf3 Qxf3 23. Nxg3 Qxg3+ 24. Kh1 Qh4!

and White resigns. He must lose at least a piece: 25. Bd3 25. Qh2 Kxh7 26. Rg1 Qh6! 27. Rg3 Bf5-+ 25... Bf5+ 26. Kg2 Qh3+-+ picks up the Bishop at d3.

 

0-1


Ben Gershenov (1963) - Scott Massey (2212) [D35]

US Amateur Teams East/Parsippany, NJ USA (6) 2006


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. Nge2?!

Steve had just finished showing me his win in this line from the night before (see above) when we hustled, a bit late, to find our table. As I sat down next to Scott, this was the position on the board. I could hardly repress a laugh at the coincidence, of course.

 

8... Ne4! 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Bxe4

White exchanges immediately because he plans to play Ng3 and f3 to liquidate Black's e-pawn and then advance his own e-pawn. As always in the Exchange Variation, there are a variety of alternative plans, but none cause Black significant problems because of his active kingside play.

a) If you worry that it would be hard for a non-master to exploit Black's edge here, take a look at this nice Class-B game with this line: 10. O-O f5! 11. Qc2 Qg5?! with the idea of discouraging Pf3 (11... Be6 12. Nf4 Nd7 13. b4 Ndf6=) 12. Nd1?! (12. Nf4) 12... Nd7 13. f3 Nd6 14. Nf4 Qf6 15. Rc1 g5! 16. Nh3 Rf7 17. Qf2 Nf8 18. Nc3 Qh6 (18... f4!) 19. Qg3 Rg7! 20. Nf2 f4! 21. Ng4 Bxg4 22. Qxg4 fxe3 23. Rce1 Re8 24. Re2 Ng6 25. Rfe1 Rge7 (25... Nf4! 26. Rxe3 Rxe3 27. Rxe3 Qf6 28. Ne2 h5 29. Qg3 Nxe2+ 30. Rxe2 Qxd4+ ) 26. Nd1? Nf4!-+ 27. Rxe3 Rxe3 28. Rxe3 Rxe3 29. Bxh7+ Kxh7 30. Nxe3 Qe6 31. Qxe6 Nxe6 32. Nc2 Nf5 33. Kf2 Nfxd4 34. Nxd4 Nxd4 35. g3 Kg6 36. Ke3 c5 37. f4 gxf4+ 38. gxf4 Kf5 0-1 Smith,R-Gregory,K/Flint ch-MI class-B 1992 (38)

 

b) An alternative method for Black of pursuing the kingside initiative that does not involve an immediate ...f5 push is illustrated in this game, which has a nice finish: 10. Qc2 Re8 11. O-O Nd7 12. Rab1 Ndf6 13. Nxe4 Nxe4 14. Nc3 Nf6 15. b4 g6 16. h3 Nh5 17. b5 Qg5 18. Kh1 f5 19. Na4 Re6 20. Nc5 Rf6 21. bxc6 bxc6 22. Be2 f4 23. e4 f3 24. Bxf3 Rxf3 25. gxf3 Qh4 0-1 Kelly,R-Hunt,J/IECG email 1996 (25)

10... dxe4 11. O-O

11. Ng3 f5! 12. O-O Be6 13. b3 Na6! (13... Nd7!? seems more natural but allows 14. d5! cxd5 15. Nxd5 ) 14. Qd2 Rad8 15. f3 exf3 16. gxf3? (16. Rxf3 c5 17. Raf1=) 16... Nc7 17. Kh1 f4! 18. Nge2 Bh3 19. e4 Bxf1 20. Rxf1 Qh4 21. Rg1 Ne6 22. Qd3 Ng5 23. Nd1 Qh5 24. Qc4+ Kh8 25. Qc5 Qxf3+ 26. Rg2 Qf1+ 27. Rg1 Qxe2 28. Qxg5 Qf3+ 29. Qg2 Qxg2+ 30. Rxg2 Rxd4 31. Nf2 Rd2 32. Ng4 Rfd8 33. e5 h5 34. Nf2 f3 0-1 Von Malm,H-Brenner,S/Germany 1993 (34)

 

11... Bf5!?

Black's idea is to develop the Bishop before pushing with f5, but this turns out to be a little slow. Two better plans suggest themselves:

a) Fritz likes 11... Bg4!? 12. Qc2 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 f5=

 

b) After the game, Steve Stoyko suggested 11... f5 12. Nf4!? Be6! 13. Qh5 Nd7 and Black's plan is to play Nf6, Rf7, g5, Kh8, and Rg8 (in a logical and tactically sound order), eventually developing a kingside initiative.

12. Ng3 Bg6 13. f3 exf3 14. Qxf3 Nd7

14... f5!? 15. e4?! fxe4 16. Qxf8+ Qxf8 17. Rxf8+ Kxf8 18. Rf1+ Ke7 19. Ncxe4 Na6 20. Nf5+ Bxf5 21. Rxf5 Rd8

 

15. Rae1 Rae8 16. e4 c5!

Black's idea is to gain the dark squares.

 

17. d5?!

This just aids Black in his plan. Better perhaps 17. Nd5 Qd6 18. Qd1!?=

 

17... Ne5! 18. Qe3 b6 19. Nf5

Stoyko thought this just helps Black, since the Knight is a better piece than the Bishop, but it is hard to see what White does otherwise.

 

19... Bxf5 20. Rxf5

20. exf5!? f6

 

20... Qh4!

Vying for the initiative, but never expecting White to walk right into a cute combination.

 

21. Ref1??










21... Qxh2+! 22. Kxh2 Ng4+ 23. Kg3 Nxe3 24. a4 f6 25. R1f3 Nxf5+ 26. Rxf5 Re7 27. Rf1 Kf7 28. Nb5 Rd8 29. Nc3 a6 30. Kf3 Re5 31. Rh1 h6 32. g4 Ke7 33. Rh2 Rh8 34. Rg2 Rg5 35. Ne2 h5 and White resigns. 0-1

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