Based on lectures by FM Steve Stoyko
In the Summer and Fall of 2005, FM Steve Stoyko gave a series of lectures at the Kenilworth Chess Club on Lasker's Defense to the Queen's Gambit Declined. Since then, many players at our club have made the Lasker part of their repertoires and quite a few have developed interesting innovations with it. Steve's lectures presented a complete repertoire for Black after 1.d4 d5, and I think anyone who plays through the 23 games and notes that follow will feel very comfortable playing the defense against any level of opponent. A brief bibliography and a PGN file is appended below for those who want to modify the repertoire to fit their own style of play.
Lasker's Defense typically begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.Nf3 Ne4, offering the trade of two minor pieces to ease Black's defensive task. It is a very straight-forward system, though there are many opportunities for both players to vary from the main line. For one thing, Black can reach the main position by various move orders, most notably from a Nimzo-Indian beginning 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 where Black chooses to return to Queen's Gambit lines rather than try the Queen's Indian or Bogo-Indian set-up. That "transpo trick" can be especially useful for confronting players who use alternative d4 systems, against which Black may benefit from keeping the d-pawn back. Black can also leave out ...h6, as Lasker himself generally did, which actually makes for a slightly different system (where, for example, Black more typically plays an early ...f5 advance because he worries less about weakening the g6 square near his King), but the modern method is to include ...h6 so that White does not gain time by attacking h7 with a Qc2 and Bd3 battery. The repertoire that follows also includes some ideas on how to handle various White alternatives, including: the Exchange Variation (with an early cxd5 by White, where we recommend an early ...Ne4! whenever possible); various White Bishop developments (including an early Bxf6 or Bf4 to sidestep the Lasker); and various other White systems (including the Torre, Catalan, and Colle).
Part One: Main Line with 9.Rc1
Most GMs prefer the strong positional system with 9.Rc1, where White often gains lasting pressure along the c-file and on Black's queenside pawns. At the highest levels, both Yusupov and Kasparov have shown that Black can play an early Pc6, often accepting a safe but rather passive and cramped position, in order to secure a draw. While that method of playing the Lasker works well at the GM level, where having a safe way to gain a draw as Black can help win tournaments or matches, at the amateur level it is not especially attractive. But Black has alternatives, and former Kenilworth Champion Scott Massey demonstrated a more interesting method for Black against Stoyko himself in the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship.
Steve Stoyko (2350) - Scott Massey (2212) [D56]
Kenilworth CC Ch, Open/Kenilworth, NJ USA 2006
The Lasker Variation, which was the cornerstone of Steve's recommended 1.d4 d5 Black Repertoire lecture series this past summer at the club. Playing the Lasker against Steve, though, takes some guts.
Though this move has been played before, it remains rather unknown to theory. It may well be Black's best. The idea is to play a more useful "temporizing" move than the more traditional pawn to c6 (which is the method preferred by the great Lasker champion Yusupov). The Knight will temporarily block White's pressure on the c-file while speeding Black's development so that he can deal with that pressure without creating pawn weaknesses. The Knight will then remaneuver to a more useful square. The Knight move also allows Black to play a quick ...e5 break in some lines without the time-wasting preparations of ... c6 and ...Nd7.
Also possible is the more direct method with 9... Nxc3 10. Rxc3 Nc6 11. a3!? (11. Bd3 Nb4!? 12. Bb1 dxc4 13. Rxc4 b6 14. a3 Nd5 15. Ne5 Ba6)
11... Rd8 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Bb5 Nb8! 14. Qc2 c6 15. Bd3 a5 16.
White has several alternatives:
b) Black seems fine after 10. Qc2 Nxc3 11. Qxc3 Nb4!? (an alternate Chigorin-like plan is 11... Rd8 12. a3 a5 13. Be2 Bd7 14.
c) 10. Bd3 has brought White the most success in practice: 10... Nxc3 (10... f5?! 11.
a) 12. Bd3! Bg4! 13.
b) 12. Be2?! Qd6 13.
a) Also good seems to be 12... Nb8!? 13. Qc2 c6 14. Bd3 Nd7 15.
b) 12... Bd7?! This move seems a little too passive, but Black demonstrates an interesting tactic for dealing with White's pressure on the c-file: 13.
Here Scott accepted a draw from Steve. After the game, Scott was very magnanimous and said, "You taught me well," referring to Steve's lectures. But I think that Scott's 9th move suggests that he was quite the active learner.
Part Two: Main Line with 9.cxd5
Another popular line is 9.cxd5, which forces Black to exchange Knights and strengthen White's center with 9...Nxc3 10.bxc3 exd5 when the eventual c4 advance for White will gain a preponderance of pawns in the center. However, Black's rapid development and piece play in the center and on the kingside more than compensate for White's slight structural plus. As Yusupov demonstrated in one of his games with Karpov, Black gets a lot of play in this line and can often damage White's castled position. The following game was featured in Steve Stoyko's first lecture on the Lasker.
Steve Stoyko Lectures on the Lasker
Stoyko Lecture #1
Anatoly Karpov - Arthur Yusupov [D57]
Candidates Match /1989
There are a number of possible move orders: 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5
The transpositional 3... Be7!? is sometimes played to discourage the Exchange Variation since after 4. cxd5 exd5, the White Bishop cannot go to its best square at g5 but instead must settle for 5. Bf4 Nf6=
a) Later we will consider 4. cxd5 exd5 ( Steve does not recommend meeting the exchange with the Semi-Tarrasch 4... Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5) 5. Bg5 Be7 (the least commital and consistent with the Lasker set-up, though also played are 5... c6 or the trappy 5... Nbd7!? when 6. Nxd5?? Nxd5 7. Bxd8 Bb4+ 8. Qd2 Bxd2+ 9. Kxd2 Kxd8).
b) Also possible is 4. Bf4!? which had a lot of interest for several years until Black players figured out what to do, which will be covered later.
For good coverage of 6... Ne4, which is not discussed here, I recommend the work of Soltis or Van der Sterren given in the annotated bibliography at the end of this article.
a) After 7. Bxf6 Bxf6 there are pluses and minuses for both players--the chief minus being that White can attack on the kingside with g4-g5 attacking the h6 pawn and labelling that move a problem. However, Black has active counterplay in the center and the queenside with a speedy ...c5.
b) After 7. Bf4 Black can also play an early ...c5. This is discussed in more detail below.
It's tactically advisable for the defense to exchange some pieces. By exchanging a piece or two, Black is able to mitigate White's initiative and pawn advantage in the center. Generally, two pieces will be traded, though white has some options to preserve his Bishop.
You can expand your repertoire to add 7... b6!? -- the Tartakower Variation -- for play against opponents you'd rather not simplify against.
Black does well if White tries to avoid this natural Bishop trade:
b) 8. Bg3!? is problematic from a development standpoint, and Black gets a good game with 8... b6! developing his last piece, possibly with Ba6 or Bb7 depending on the position. Also possibble is 8... Nxc3!? 9. bxc3 when the c-file is shut down and Black has less to worry about with the Bishop pointing toward c7.
This is the main line, though there are other moves including:
a) 9. Rc1 -- as discussedin Game 1 above -- when best may be 9...Nc6!
b) 9. Qc2
c) 9. Bd3 is covered below in Game 7.
d) 9. Nxe4 is discussed in several games below, including Game 5, which shows how Black gets a nice center and kingside initiative.
Steve said, "The books often say that this position is drawish and boring, but I have won from this position 100% of the time in my 30 years experience playing this line."
This is the best move for White, putting pressure on Black right away.
b) 11. Be2?! is a typical defensive move, trying to prevent the pin by Bg4. 11... Be6!? (11... Bf5?! 12. Qb3 c6 and Black has trouble developing his Knight.) (11... b6!? with ideas like ...c5 and ...Ba6) 12. Rb1 b6 and Black is very comfortable with ideas like ...c5 and ...Nd7 or ...Nc6.
a) 11... Qd6!? was a second idea in the 50s of Guimard and Eliskases, with the idea of playing an early ...c5. But with the Queen at d6 you can run into ..c5 Qa3! which is a royal pain in the neck. 12. c4! c6 and we are passive again(12... dxc4 13. Bxc4 Nc6 (13... Bg4? 14. Ne5)
This is the critical move that solves all of Black's development problems: it stops Ne5 and even threatens ...Nxd4 due to the pin on the e-file. White also has to deal with Na5 forking Queen and Bishop.
And White is behind in development and under attack.
a) 15. Be2 Bxf3 16. gxf3 (16. Bxf3? Nxd4 17. Bxb7 Rab8)
16... Rac8 is safest and best, especially in discouraging Queenside castling.( Black has tons of good ideas: 16... Nb4 17. a3 Nd5)
(16... Rd6!? 17.
17. f4!? Black has resouces such as Qh4, Ne7, Nd5 or other attacking ideas.
The old timers used to play 17... Rd7 with the idea of bringing the Knight over to h4 via Ne7-g6-h4 and White is in trouble.
Reveals one reason behind Qf6 which was dual action, defending the Knight and attacking f3.
19. Ba6 Ne7! Yusupov says this was his idea, which he says gives him at least a forced draw due to Black's attacking chances. The idea is to give up the exchange to get the defender of the White squares of the board.(19... Qxf3 20. Bxc8 Rxc8 (20... Rd6 21. Rfc1) )
with ideas like ..c5 or ..Rh5 and ...Qh4
Yusupov should have won this game, and the only reason he did not win was because his opponent was Karpov! But what did Black do that was so mysterious? Nothing. He developed logically and made simple moves. The only thing he did new was he found the idea ...Rc8, which is also perfectly logical. So it really doesn't matter who you are, you can play like this.
Carlos E Guimard - Erich Gottlieb Eliskases [D57]
Mar del Plata (1) 1941
This game between two Lasker Defense experts can tell us a lot about what might be the best strategy for both sides.
Preventing Black from damaging his kingside with 15...Bxf3 16.gxf3. This is the main reason that ...Qd6 fell out of favor, but Black is still fine here.
White begins to drift without a definite plan. This move drives the Bishop to where it wants to go.
Defending the g-pawn while beginning a kingside offensive.
Likely premature, though Black has the right idea. An interesting idea might be 25... Bd5 26. a5 b5!? weakening the Queenside structure but stopping White's queenside play in preparation for the attack on the kingside.
Part of Black's plan! Now the fireworks begin.
Miguel Najdorf - Carlos E Guimard [D57]
ARG-ch/Buenos Aires (1) 1955
It is probably a good idea for players to investigate their options here:
A blunder. The idea behind it, however, is very nice but has to be executed in the correct order: 23... b5! 24. Qa6 Rb6 25. Qa5 Nxe3!? 26. fxe3 Qxe3+ 27. Kh1 c5 (27... Bxd3? 28. Rd1 Rxd4 29. Qxa7) 28. Re1 Qxd4 and Black has a wonderful initiative.
Part Three: White Exchanges Knights with 9.Nxe4
The most pleasant line for Black to play against is where White chooses to exchange both Bishop and Knight by 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Nxe4 dxe4 when Black gets great play in the center and on the kingside by either ...f5 or an immediate ...e5.
Stoyko Lecture #2
Mark Kernighan - Steve Stoyko [D56]
Mt. Arlington, NJ USA (2) 2005
White threatens Nxe4. The only way for Black to defend the pawn directly is with ...f5, but that move has some drawbacks, including trapping Black's light squared Bishop.
"I no longer believe the move is sound" says Steve. The only alternative is:
10... f5! "I think this is most correct. The idea is to first prepare the e-pawn advance by Nd7-f6 and c6 and only then push ...e5. White's only good counter to this plan is basically to play c5 and Nc4-d6 -- but Black's central play is too fast. 11. c5 e5 12. Bc4+ (12. d5!? Qxc5 13. Rc1 Qa5 14. b4 Qxb4 15. Rxc7 f4 16. Qb3)
12... Kh8 (12... Be6 13. Qb3)
"But isn't that just a transposition to ...f5 lines?" "No."
This is the critical position.
"White's best is 13.
"Now this move is very combative. White gets away from the possible kingside pawn-storm by f4-f3 for example. Now White might open lines on the kingside -- if Black gives him time."
Stoyko says, "being completely objective, White is very slightly better, but it is very tricky to play."
"A natural move, pointing another piece at the King. Black will double Rooks on the b-file and get a ready made attack. So I give my opponent credit for originality here for preventing that plan."
"This move gets five stars for originality but only one for soundness. This does help stop Black's plan -- but it moves the same piece twice and fails to get a counterattack going." Safe and sound is 17. Bc4 Bd5!? (17... Nd5 18. g4!? (18. Bxd5?! cxd5) )
The logical follow-up. White's plan is to take away all of the doubling squares for the Rooks. While the White King looks airy, there is no way to get to it -- at least right away."
"I don't think this is necessarily the best move, but I had correctly predicted my opponent's next logical move and planned a sharp retort."
As expected. Better is probably 19. g4.
Gaining a tempo to get all the pieces into the attack. The Queen has to surrender the c-pawn with check and may lose the Bishop. So Black has plenty of compensation. So much for White's plan of keeping Black from using the b-file!"
The King has nowhere to go. After you play over this game, I don't think you'll fear the 9.Nxe4 line as Black.
Part Four: Early Bd3 Development
White typically develops the light-squared Bishop to d3 in the Queen's Gambit Declined, so many players will develop the Bishop to that square in an almost unthinking way. In some lines, the move is quite appropriate. In others, it allows Black to quickly liberate his game with ...c5.
Lubomir Ftacnik - Ventzislav Inkiov [D57]
A classic game reached a position similar to that in the game, but without ...h6 (following Lasker's own preference): 6... Ne4 7. Bxe7 Qxe7 8. cxd5 Nxc3 9. bxc3 exd5 10. Qb3 Rd8 11. Bd3 c5 12. Qa3 b6 13.
12... Nc6!? 13.
13... Qc7 14.
14... Nc6 15. Qb2 Be6 16. Bb5 Rac8 17. Bxc6?! Rxc6 18. a4 Bf5 19. Ne5 Re6 20. a5 Be4 21. axb6 Rxb6 22. Qe2 c4 23. Qg4 f6 24. Ng6 Qd7 25. Qg3 Kh7 26. Nh4 Rdb8 27. Nf3 Bd3 28. Rfc1 Rb1! Black clears off the Rooks so that his outside passed pawn can march forward to victory. 29. Rcxb1 Rxb1+ 30. Rxb1 Bxb1 31. h3 a5 32. Qb8 Bc2 33. Nd2 Qf5 34. Qb5 a4 35. e4 Qg5 36. f4 Qxf4 37. Qxd5 a3 38. Qa5 Qg5 39. Qxa3 Qxd2 0-1 Gagunashvili,M-Nigalidze,G/Tbilisi GEO 2007.
"With the elimination of the kingside pawns, Black's winning chances have sharply declined" - Soltis. Perhaps Black should consider one of the alternatives shown in the illustrative games above.
Vinny Puri (2246) - Steve Stoyko (2293) [D57]
Las Vegas Masters/Las Vegas, NV USA (7) 2006
The following game is from Steve Stoyko's games at the 2006 Las Vegas Masters. Black gains a clear advantage but misses some winning opportunities. The ending, where White's active Queen and Rook help hold a draw despite being a pawn down, is worth some attention.
White can sidestep QGD transpositions several ways, including by 3. b3.
Lasker used to play the Knight move immediately with 6... Ne4 possibly to avoid 6...h6 7.Bxf6 and White gains time in exchange for the Bishop pair.
The standard Lasker's Defense idea. Black seeks to exchange off pieces and reduce White's attacking force. He will then pursue a break by . ... c5 or ....e5 with equality.
Steve considers this move the least challenging of White's choices at this point, mostly because Black has no problem now liberating his game after the trade of knights and of pawns (with tempo). To review White's alternatives:
a) 9. Rc1 is the most challenging move, but Black has a good antidote in 9...Nc6! as we saw in Game 1.
"I generally prefer this Knight development" Steve says. The chief alternative idea is 12... b6 13. Qe2 Bb7 14. e4 Nc6 15. Rad1 Rad8 16. Rd2 e5 17. d5 Na5 18. Bd3 Bc8 19. Ne1 Rfe8 20. Bb5 Bd7 21. Bxd7 Qxd7 22. Nf3 Nb7 23. Rb2 Nd6 24. c4 Rb8 25. Nd2 1/2-1/2 Cramling,P-Krogius,N/Genova 1989 (25).
To trade off the good Knight and make Ne5 possible.
White decides to surrender a pawn in order to get his Rook to the 7th. White will have lots of activity in the heavy piece ending that follows. Meanwhile, hanging onto the pawn is no fun for White: 21. Qxc1 Qxc1+ 22. Rxc1 Rd8 23. Rd1 Bc6 (also interesting are 23... Be2 24. Rd2 Bxf3 25. gxf3 b5 or 23... Be2 24. Rd2 Bxf3 25. gxf3 b5) 24. Re1 f5!
Black plans a series of checks that force the exchange of minor pieces without disrupting his pawns by Nxc6 bxc6. But the resulting heavy piece ending will be difficult to win, especially since White's Rook remains on the seventh. A better idea is to keep the minor pieces on and grab a second pawn by 23... Qb1+! 24. Kh2 Bxe4! (but not 24... Qxe4?? 25. Nxc6!)
Black is up a straight pawn, with a wonderful connected passer pair on the queenside. It appears he should win, but White has lots of counterplay. White's Rook is much more active than Black's, his Queen is more active, and his d-pawn is faster and better supported than Black's two pawns.
It may be that Black's best chance at victory is to keep the Queen nearer to the passed pawns so that they can be pushed up together. For example: 29... Qb6 30. d5 a5 31. d6 (31. Rc6?! Qd4) 31... b4 32. d7 (32. e5 a4 33. Rc4 b3! 34. Rb4 Qc6 35. Rxa4? b2) 32... Qb8 (32... Qd4!?) 33. Qd6 Rd8 34. e5 b3
The Rook ending appears at first winnable for Black, but close analysis suggests that it is drawn with best play. Black must improve before this point. These heavy piece endings are certainly difficult.
A critical moment.
"Too commital" said NM Scott Massey, who went over some lines with us at the Kenilworth Chess Club. But even trying to bring up the Black king more quickly did not result in real winning chances for Black.
Part Five: The Lasker as an Everyday Weapon
Here are two games: the first from among Steve Stoyko's online games with the Lasker (his ICC handle is "knightmare51"). The second shows Greg Tomkovich, a B-player, gaining the edge as Black against master Mark Kernighan, his long-time rival at the Kenilworth Chess Club, before going wrong. The Lasker makes a great everyday weapon.
KIMO - knightmare51 [D57]
ICC Blitz/Internet Chess Club 2005
b) 9. cxd5 (This appears to be the most commonly played move among strong players on ICC) 9... Nxc3 10. bxc3 exd5 11. Bd3 c5! 12.
c) 9. Rc1! c6 10. Bd3 Nxc3 11. Rxc3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 Nd7 13.
31... Qh3# 0-1
Mark Kernighan (2210) - Greg Tomkovich (1718) [D56]
Kenilworth Chess Club Chp./Kenilworth, NJ (4) 2006
I think these players have had this position against each other many times.
8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Nxe4 dxe4 10. Nd2 e5 11. d5 f5 12. Qc2 c6 13. Nb1 cxd5 14. cxd5 Nd7 15. Nc3 Nf6 16. Be2 Rd8 17.
The position is quite sharp and Black rightly plays for a kingside attack. Safer may have been liquidation by
Black misses the strongest shot: 29... b5! 30. axb5 axb5 31. Nxb5 Qe5! (Also strong is 31... Qd7!? 32. Na3! Qg4 (32... Rxc4? 33. Nxc4 Qg4 34. Ne3) 33. Bf1 fxg2 34. Bc4 Qh3) 32. gxf3 exf3 33. Qg6 Rxc4!! 34. Rxc4 Rxd5 35. Rcd4 Qg5+ 36. Qxg5 Rxg5+
41. d6 Ba6 42. Rd2 Rf1+ 43. Ke3 Rfe1+ 44. Kf2 Rf1+ 45. Kg3 Rg1+ 46. Rg2 Rgd1 47. d7 Rc4 48. Qe6 Kh7 49. Qxb6 Rcd4 50. Qxa6 Rxd7 51. Ra2 R7d5 52. Qc4 Rg5+ 53. Kf2 Rdg1 54. Qe4+ Kh8 55. Re2 R1g2+ 56. Ke3 Rg1 57. Qa8+ Kh7 58. Qe4+ Kh8 59. Kd2 Ra1 60. Qd4 Rgg1 61. Re8+ 1-0 [Fritz8]
Part Six: White Plays Bf4
One way for White to sidestep the Lasker is by playing Bf4, either in place of Bg5 or after the Bishop at g5 is attacked by ...h6. White thus avoids the exchanges in the Lasker, but he does not put as much pressure on Black who can therefore generally liberate his game with an early c5 advance.
Stoyko Lecture #3
Anatoly Tonkonogy - Steve Stoyko [D37]
a) Next time we will focus our attention on the most critical line, which some call "the GM point machine": the Exchange Variation with 4. cxd5! In my view, Black should not choose the semi-Tarrasch route via 4... Nxd5?! which I have used a few times with very bad results. But let's just get the warning on this line out of the way.(Next time we will look at 4... exd5! 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 h6 (6... c6 7. Bd3
b) 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3
to nullify the Knight
surprisingly White is not threatening b4 due to Nxb4!
10. Be2 Nb4 11. Qb3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 Nbd5 13. Be5 Bb4 14.
Beliavsky's improvement. This is much more active than ...Be7 because it allows the Bishop to retreat to f8 leaving the Rook to support Pe5.
a) The book move 10... Be7 has certainly been proven equal in many games, especially Karpov's match with Korchnoi: 11. Nd2 (11. Rd2!? Rd8 12. cxd5 Nxd5 (12... exd5 13. Be2 Bg4 14.
b) 10... dxc4?! is played but leaves the Queen-a5 unhappy.
unpinning and threatening b4
leaving the possibility of ...e5
Karpov played 11... e5!? 12. Bg5! Nd4! 13. Qb1 Bf5 14. Bd3 e4 15. Bc2 (15. Bf1!)
15... Nxc2+ 16. Qxc2 Qa6 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Nb3 Bd6 19. Rxd5 Re5 20. Nd4 Rc8 21. Rxe5 Qxe5 22. Nxf5 Qxf5 23.
the idea is to "exploit" the lack of Be7
White is chuckling here, but all of his pieces other than the Nd5 are on bad squares and his King is in the center -- and it takes two moves to castle.
Black has the bishop pair and outside passer, though White's King is certainly more active.
securing the draw for the team
with an eventual draw in Tonkonogy-Stoyko, US Amateur Teams 1978
Mark Kernighan - Steve Stoyko [D56]
Kenilworth Chess Club Championship/Kenilworth, NJ USA (12) 2005
I told Mark he would likely face the King's Indian. Oh well. You can never know for sure what to expect from Steve.
The Lasker Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined, which Steve has studied and played for decades.
More usual is 6. Bh4
The most common move. Black can also consider two more immediately active alternatives:
a) 6... dxc4!? 7. e3 (7. Qa4+ c6 8. Qxc4
An interesting idea, designed to rule out Black's typical counterplay by ...c5 or ...b6 and ...c5. But the c-pawn can also now become a target and White is spending more time that could be used for development.
Black risks sacrificing a pawn in order to make it impossible for White to castle or finish his kingside development easily. Steve now thought that Black was practically winning, though any computer program you ask thinks that White is much better.
Steve thought best was to grab the e5 square with 13. Ne5 Nfd7 (13... Ne4!?) 14. Qa5 which looks better than the game continuation, if still better for Black: 14... Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Qc8 16. Qxc7 (16. Bxc7?! Nc6 17. Qb6 Nxd4) (16. e3? Bxf1 17. Rxf1 Nc6 18. Qxc7 Qa8) 16... Nc6!
Steve thought that giving up the c-pawn for activity was the best way to emphasize White's lack of development. Black can also preserve the c-pawn by 13... c6 14. Bc7 Qc8 15. Bxb8 (15. Ne5!? Nfd7) 15... Qxb8 16. Qxa6? (16. Ne5 Bd8 17. Qa3 Qb7 18. g3!? Bc7 19. Bg2 Ra8) 16... Qb4 17. Qd3 Ra8! 18. e3 Ne4 19. Nd2 Nxc3 20. f3 Ra2
Giving back the pawn and making Black's task somewhat easier. Black gets excellent compensation if White tries to hold onto the pawn by 16. Qa4 dxe4! (16... Qxc7 17. Nc3 Qb7 18. e3 Bxf1 19. Kxf1 Ra8) 17. Qxc6 exf3 18. Qb6! (otherwise Bd8 wins the pinned Bishop at c7) 18... fxe2 19. Bxe2 Bxe2 20. Kxe2 Qa8 (also possible are 20... e5!? 21. dxe5? Qg4+ or 20... Qd7!?)
Q: "What do you do when the King is in the center?" A: "Attack!"
This allows White to block the Queen with his c-pawn.
Several onlookers were not sure this was possible since they overlooked the critical following move.
28... Rc8 should also win according to Steve - and confirmed by Fritz
Time pressure, but there is no hope for White.
and mate next move.
Victor Korchnoi - Anatoly Karpov [D37]
Baguio City/Baguio City, Phillipines (21) 1978
Supporting ...e5 directly while clearing the f8 square for the Bishop's retreat.
The book move 10... Be7 does have a better reputation. And to enter into the complications following 10...Re8!? without plenty of analysis under your belt would be a mistake.
a) 11. Be2 e5!? There is really no good safe alternative for Black. 12. cxd5 (12. Bg3 d4!) 12... exf4 13. dxc6 fxe3 14. b4 exf2+ 15. Kf1 Qxa3 16. bxc5 bxc6 Black will have three pawns for the piece, open lines, and threats on the White King. The idea of Ra8-b8-b2 is one way of getting the attack going. 17. Qc1 Qa5! 18. h3 Rb8 19. Rd4? Rb3! 20. Nb1 Rbe3 21. Qd2 Qxd2 22. Nbxd2 (22. Rxd2 Ne4!) 22... Rxe2 0-1 Banas,J-Ac,M/Sala 1987 (22)
This move is universally condemned. Timman calls it "consistent but bad" and goes on to speculate that Karpov and his team recognized that it was bad but expected to gain enough from the element of surprise to simply overwhelm Korchoi with the complications that follow. In any event, I seek to show in my analysis that Black has many practical chances here. Beliavsky had analyzed the superior 11... Bf8! but the complications that follow are difficult for both players to fathom: 12. Nb3 (12. Bg5!? dxc4! (12... Qd8?! 13. Nde4!) 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. Nxc4 Qg5!? (14... Qh5 15. Be2 Qg6) 15. g3 (15. Ne4!?) 15... e5 16. Nd6 Bxd6 17. Rxd6 Bf5) 12... Qd8 13. Bg5 (13. cxd5 exd5 14. Be2 Be6) 13... h6 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 15. cxd5 exd5 16. Nxd5 Qg5 17. Nc7 (17. h4!?) 17... Bg4 18. Rd5 (18. Rd2 Nb4! 19. axb4 (19. Qb1?! Bf5!) 19... Rac8) 18... Nb4!! 19. Rxg5 Nxc2+ 20. Kd2 hxg5 21. Nxa8 Nxa3 (21... Rc8!?) 22. Nc7 Bb4+ 23. Kd3 Rd8+ 24. Nd4 Ba5 25. bxa3 Bxc7 26. Be2 Bxe2+?! (26... Be6) 27. Kxe2 Bb6 28. Rb1 Bxd4 29. exd4 b6 1/2-1/2 .
12. Bg3!? protecting f2 12... Nd4 13. Qb1 (13. exd4 exd4+ 14. Ne2 Ne4 (14... b6!?) (14... dxc4!?) 15. b4 (15. cxd5 Bf5 16. Qc4 Nxg3 17. hxg3 d3) 15... Qxa3 16. bxc5 Nxc5) 13... Bf5 14. Bd3 e4 15. Bc2 (15. Bf1! Bxa3! 16. exd4 (16. cxd5 Bb4) (16. Rc1 Bb4 17. exd4 e3 18. Nb3! (18. Qxf5 Bxc3 19. bxc3 (19. Rxc3 exd2+ 20. Kxd2 Ne4+) 19... exd2+ 20. Kxd2 Ne4+) 18... Bxb1 19. Nxa5 e2 20. Bxe2 Bd3 21. Kd1 Bxe2+ 22. Nxe2 Bxa5=) (16. bxa3 Qxc3 17. Rc1 Qxa3) 16... e3 17. Nb3 (17. Qxf5 exd2+ 18. Kxd2 Bxb2) 17... Qb4 18. Bd3 Bxb2 19. Qxb2 Bxd3 20. Rxd3 exf2+ 21. Kxf2 dxc4 22. Rf3 Ng4+ 23. Kg1 cxb3 24. Nd5 Qc4 25. h3 Re2 26. Qxb3 Qxd4+ 27. Ne3) 15... Nxc2+ 16. Qxc2 dxc4 17. Nxc4 Qa6 18. Nd6 Bxd6 19. Rxd6 b6 20. Qe2 Bc8 21. Nb5? (21. Qb5 Bb7) 21... Bg4! 22. f3? exf3 23. gxf3 Bxf3! 24. Qxf3 Qxb5 25. Rxf6 Qd3 26. Kf2 gxf6 27. Rg1 Kf8 28. Bf4 Rad8 29. Rg4 Re6 30. h4 Qc2+ 31. Kg3 f5 32. Rg5 Qe4 33. h5 Rd2 34. Qf1 Rf6 35. Kh3 Qd5 36. Rg1 Rc6 37. b4 Rcc2 38. Kh4 Qe4 39. Kh3 Ke7 40. Kg3 Rh2 0-1 Eriksson,O-Arfwedson,G/Corr. Sweden 1979 (40).
All sources agree that the "Steinitzian retreat" (Timman) by 15. Bf1! was "winning" after 15... Ng4 (15... Bxa3!? 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. cxd5! Bb4 18. exd4 e3 19. Qxf5 Bxc3 20. bxc3 exd2+ 21. Kxd2) 16. cxd5! (16. Nxd5? Ne5!? 17. exd4? e3! 18. Qxf5 Nf3+!! 19. Qxf3 exd2#) 16... b5? (16... Ne5!? 17. exd4 (17. Bc4 Rac8) 17... Nf3+ (17... Bxd4!?) 18. gxf3 exf3+ 19. Nde4 (19. Be3 Bxb1 20. dxc5 Bc2 must offer some practical chances.) 19... Bxe4 (19... Rxe4+!? 20. Qxe4 Bxe4 21. dxc5) 20. Qc1 Bc2+ 21. Be3 Bxd1 22. dxc5 Bb3 offers some practical chances for Black.) 17. exd4 e3? 18. Nb3 1-0 Cunningham,P-Cooper,J/Wales 1981 (18).
16... dxc4! Kholmov 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Nxc4 (18.
22. f4! Qf6 23. Nxe4 Bxe4 24. Qxe4 Qe7 25. Qxe7 Bxe7 26. Kd2 Rxc4 27. Kd3 Rc8 28. e4 h5 29. b4 g6 30. e5 Kh7 31. Rd1 b6 32. Rd2 a5 33. Rc2 Rxc2 34. Nxc2 axb4 35. Nxb4 Bc5 36. Kc4 Kg7 37. a4 Bg1 38. h4 Bf2 39. Kb5 Bxh4 40. Kxb6 Bf2+ 41. Kc6 h4 42. a5 g5 43. fxg5 1-0 Massimini Gerbino,M-Van Bommel,T/IECG email 2002 (43)
23... Rxc4 24. Rd1 Qe5 25. g3 a6 26. Qb3 b5 27. a4 Rb4 28. Qd5 Qxd5 29. Rxd5 Bf8 30. axb5 a5 31. Rd8 Rxb2 32. Ra8 f5 33. Rxa5 Bb4 34. Ra8+ Kf7 35. Na4 Rb1+ 36. Kg2 Bd6 37. Ra7+ Kf6 38. b6 Bb8 39. Ra8 Be5 40. Nc5 Bd6 41. b7 Ke7 42. Rg8 Be5 43. f4 exf3+ 44. Kxf3 Kf7 45. Rc8 Ke7 46. h3 h5? 47. Rg8 Kf7 48. Rd8 g5 49. g4 hxg4+ 50. hxg4 Ke7 51. Rg8 fxg4+ 52. Kxg4 Kf7 53. Rc8 Bd6 54. e4 Rg1+ 55. Kf5 g4 56. e5 Rf1+ 57. Ke4 Re1+ 58. Kd5 Rd1+ 59. Nd3 Rxd3+ 60. Kc4 1-0
Part Seven: The Exchange Variation
The biggest challenge as Black in the Queen's Gambit Declined is not the main line where White allows Black to resolve the tension in the center but the Exchange Variation where White resolves the tension in the center with 4.cxd5 exd5. The resulting positions allow White to use his superior piece activity and to develop certain pawn strategies (either by supporting a central advance at e4 or a minority attack by b4-b5xc6). However, Black is not without counterplay, and his best chance often lies in a timely ...Ne4! as in the Lasker.
Steve Stoyko Lectures on the Exchange Variation
Stoyko Lecture #4
Ermenkov - Seret [D36]
Stockholm 1969 (fragment)
3... Be7!? avoids some of the main lines with Bg5.
Steve began by saying a few words about the pawn structure of the Exchange Variation. He noted that superficially it appears that Black is helped by the exchange of central pawns because the light-squared Bishop is liberated and the tension in the center is resolved without any immediate gain for White. But, long-term, White has the minority attack once Black plays ...c6 (which is almost inevitable). The minority attack (with b2-b4-b5xc6) can leave Black with a crippled pawn at c6 or an isolated pawn at d5. So no matter how you slice it, Black is going to get a bad endgame. So what can be done? One option is to play an early ...a5 to trade White's pawn after a3 and b4, Pa5xb5 Pa3xb4 and then play the ugly looking ...b5!? but only if he can play Nd7-b6-c4 or Nf6-e8-d6-c4. Of course, the timing is everything in this line. Black can also play for his own minority attack after White's e3 advance by playing f7-f5-f4xe3 with similar advantageous possibilities to White's minority attack on the other side. But this is the type of game that goes on and on. It is a lifetime study. Unlike the Colle, where White has just one plan and Black can easily nullify it, in the Exchange White has plans upon plans, Black has counter-plans, and White has counter-counter plans, and it goes on and on. Where do the pieces go? For White, typically (for the Minority Attack) Nf3, Nc3, Bg5 (or Bf4 but g5 is better), Rb1 (to support b2-b4-b5), Qc2, Bd3, O-O, and Rc1. For Black, things are more limited and that's part of the advantage that White has. Black plays Nf6, Be7, O-O, maybe Re8, Qd8, Ra8 (until you know where to put it), Nbd7 (possibly redeploying to 8). Let's see how this plays out in practice.
Defending the d-pawn directly and b-pawn indirectly because Black will be able to play Qc7 or Qb6.
8... h6?! such weakening kingside moves invite White to switch gears and play for direct attack on the kingside by O-O-O, h4, and g4-g5.
9. Nge2!? keeps open the possibility of O-O-O and storming the king or playing for f3 and e4 in the center.
with the plan of Bg4-h4-g6 nullifying the White Bishop--if he gives us the time.
10... h6!? might be safe after O-O by White
Reshevsky Variation-eliminates the possibility of Ne4 and speeds the development of the minority attack. There are several alternatives:
a) 11. Rab1 Minority Attack main line 11... a5 Black can also gain a move by waiting for Pb4 and playing ...Pa6 with the same inevitable exchange of pawns and slowing of White's attack. 12. a3 Ng6!? with the idea of ...Ne4 and White has no Bf4(12... Ne4 13. Bf4! is the main problem with Black's advance.(13. Nxe4 dxe4) (13. Bxe4 Bxg5 14. Nxg5 Qxg5=) (13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. b4 axb4 15. axb4 Bf5!? (15... b5?! 16. Bxe4 dxe4 17. Ne5) ) 13... Bd6?! (13... f5 14. Ne5) 14. Nxe4!? Bxf4 15. exf4 dxe4 16. Bxe4) 13. b4 axb4 14. axb4 Ne4 15. Bxe7 Qxe7 16. Rfc1 Bg4 and Black is getting some activity on the kingside 17. Bxe4 (17. Nd2? played by Taimanov-Nezh 17... Nxd2 (17... Nxf2! is also very strong) 18. Qxd2 Nh4! 19. Bf1 Qg5 20. f4!? (20. Kh1? Bf3!! 21. gxf3 Nxf3) 20... Qg6!? (20... Qe7) 21. Bd3 Bf5 (21... Nf3+!? 22. gxf3 Bf5+) 22. Bxf5 Nxf5) 17... dxe4 18. Nd2 with the idea of Nf1 or Nxe4 and Na4, b5, etc. But Black can attack the king, perhaps with Rd8-d5-h5!? 18... f5 (18... Bf5 19. b5)
b) 11. Rae1 Botvinnik Variation, where the plan is Ne5 followed by f4!? or f3 and e4 with strong central control. Botvinnik had great success with this type of plan -- witness Botvinnik-Capablanca, Avro 1938. It is discussed by Angus Dunnington in "Attacking with 1.d4."
c) 11. h3 Karpov Variation, which is very nuanced and basically a very high-class waiting move, waiting for Black to commit himself so that White can make a suitable counter-plan. Yermolinsky does a good job of covering this in his Road to Chess Improvement.
speeding up the minority attack by foregoing Rb1. But if you give Black time he might play Qd6, Bd8-c7, and Bg4 and possibly f7-f5-f4 with real attacking chances.
If White doesn't go for this advance, he may be slowed by ...a6.
and both side s have achieved their standard set-ups to pursue plans attacking on opposite sides -- with Black focusing on the White king and White on Black's queenside pawns. Black has to watch out for the Nb5 shot here after Bc7 and Nf1. Standard is the Rook lift via Re6-h6 to help defend the c-pawn laterally. White likely retains an edge, but Black holds his own. Our main game concluded: 16...Re6 17.Nf1 Bh4 18.Rab1 Rf6 19.Ng3 Bxg3 20.hxg3 h5 21.e4 Rh6 22.e5 Qd8 23.f3 h4 24.fxg4 hxg3 25.Ne2 Qh4 26.Kf1 Qxg4 27.Qd2 Ne6 28.Rb4 Nf4 29.Ng1 Nxd3 30.Rcb1 Qf5+ 31.Ke2 Nxb4 32.Qxb4 Qc2+ 33.Ke3 Rh4 34.Nh3 Re4+ 35.Kf3 Qd3+ 0-1 Ermenkov- Seret, Stockholm 1969 -- see next game below.
[Stoyko and Goeller]
Evgenij Ermenkov - Jean Luc Seret [D36]
Wch U20 prel-F/Stockholm (5) 1969
Black defends the weakended c-pawn laterally with Queen and Rook so that he can also use those pieces to begin a kingside attack.
An unusual place for the Bishop, which usually goes to c7, but White's timing prevents Black's typical set-up due to a tactical trick.
Max Euwe - Carlos Guimard [D36]
New York (6) 1951
Discouraging b5 with White's Queen at c2 and avoiding an exchange of Rooks on the a-file.
An earlier advance by ... a5 followed by ...axb4 axb4 typically amounts to the same thing as ...a6 and a4 plus b5 ...axb5 axb5 etc.
Black must play vigorously for a kingside attack. The Rook also can serve as a defender of c6 on the 6th rank.
simplifying to a won ending.
41... Qxe8 42. Nd6 Qd7 43. Nxe4 dxe4+ 44. Qxe4 Qg4+ 45. Kg2 h4 46. Qe8+ Kg7 47. Qe7+ Kg6 48. Qd6+ Kf7 49. Qc7+ Kf8 50. Qd8+ Kf7 51. Qxh4 Qe2+ 52. Kh3 Qf1+ 53. Kg4 Qe2+ 54. Kg5 Qe7+ 55. Kh5 Qe4 56. Qg4 Qh7+ 57. Kg5 Qg7+ 58. Kf5 Qh7+ 59. Ke5 Qh8+ 60. Ke4 Qh1+ 61. Qf3 Qe1+ 62. Kf5 Qe6+ 63. Kg5 Kg7 64. Kh4 Qf6+ 65. Kh3 Qh6+ 66. Kg2 Qg6 67. Qe2 Kf8 68. f5 Qg5 69. f6 Qd5+ 70. Kh3 Kf7 71. Qe7+ Kg6 72. Qg7+ 1-0
Carsten Hoi - Carlos Perdomo [D36]
Yerevan,ARM ol32 (4) 1996
A good way o slow White's progress on the queenside, but Black has done well with other moves.
b) 13... Rc8 14. Rfc1 Be7 15. b5 c5?! (15... Ba3!? 16. Rcb1 Qg5 17. bxc6 Bh3 18. g3 bxc6) (15... cxb5 16. Qb3) 16. a4? (16. Bf5! Bxf5 17. Qxf5 cxd4 18. Nxd5!) 16... cxd4! 17. exd4 Bb4 18. Ndb1 Qg5 19. Qb2 Bf3 (19... Bd6) 20. g3 Bxc3 21. Nxc3 Ne6 22. Nd1 Rxc1 23. Qxc1 Nxd4 24. Bf1 Qe5 25. Qe3 Be4 26. Nc3 Nc2 0-1 Uhlmann,W-Klovans,J/Gladenbach GER 1999
Basically a draw offer more than a move. Best was
Joan Santana (2200) - Steve Stoyko (2350) [D35]
US Amateur Teams East/Parsippany, NJ USA (4) 2006
Theory sometimes recommends 6. Qc2 before developing with e3 and Bd3 so as to prevent an early ...Bf5 by Black.
To judge from this game and the one below, this is probably a pretty common opening error.
More precise is 8. Qc2 to hold the e4 square.
Black now qu ickly gets full equality and has the best chances of gaining a kingside initiative.
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, covered in the next game, White has two alternatives:
a) 9. h4!? f5 (9... Nxg5?! 10. hxg5 Bxg5? 11. Bxh7+)
(9... f6!? 10. Bf4 f5)
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.
b) 9. Bxe4?! Bxg5! 10. Bd3 Nd7 (10... f5!?)
11. Qc2 Nf6 12.
10. Qc2 followed by Pf3, keeping open the option of castling queenside, was probably better: 10... Be6 (10... Nd7 11. f3 Nxc3 (11... Nd6!?)
12. bxc3 Nb6 13.
Lines are open for Black's attack. Now he just has to get the rest of his pieces into the action.
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
This can only help Black, but it is exactly the type of attempt at "active defense" to which all non-masters are prone.
Still more useless counter-attacking attempts - though there was no real defense.
and White resigns. He must lose at least a piece:
picks up the Bishop at d3.0-1
Ben Gershenov (1963) - Scott Massey (2212) [D35]
US Amateur Teams East/Parsippany, NJ USA (6) 2006
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.
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.
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.
11. Ng3 f5! 12.
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:
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.
Black's idea is to gain the dark squares.
This just aids Black in his plan. Better perhaps
Stoyko thought this just helps Black, since the Knight is a better piece than the Bishop, but it s hard to see what White does otherwise.
Vying for the initiative, but never expecting White to walk right into a cute combination.
and White resigns.0-1
Thomas Bartell (2350) - Mark Kernighan (2216) [D35]
Westfield Action Quads/Westfield, NJ USA 2005
Black has removed some pieces but strengthened White's center. His next exchange only serves to help White further.
White has achieved his goal and will eventually build up a kingside initiative. But Black is not without chances, especially due to the weak c-pawn and c4-square.
an interesting maneuver, which forces Black's Rook to g6 where it will be attacked by the f-pawn.
With the "threat" of Rxa2 or Ra3--and thinking the d-pawn is protected by a tactical trick. ..but is it? White has tactics of his own and they are better.
A time blunder in an otherwise still difficult position for both sides. Black was down to Game in 3 minutes. Forced is
A pattern that we should remember from "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess"! After 34. ..Rxc8 then 35.Rxc8# is mate.1-0
Mark Taimanov - Rashit Nezhmetdinov [D36]
The key move to the modern system of Black counter-attack.
17... Nxd2 18. Qxd2 Nh4 19. f3 Qxe3+ 20. Qxe3 Rxe3 21. fxg4 Rxd3 22. bxc6 bxc6 23. Ne2 Rd2 24. Rf2 h6 25. Rbf1 Ng6 26. h3 f6 27. Ng3 Rxd4 28. Rb1 Ra7 29. Rb8+ Kh7 30. Rfb2 Rd1+ 31. Kh2 Re1 32. Rd8 Nf4 33. Nh5 Re2 34. Rxe2 Nxe2 35. Rc8 Nd4 36. Nf4 Re7 37. h4 Re4 38. Kg3 Re3+?!
41. Rxc6 Nxf4 42. gxf4 Rxf4+ 43. Kg3 Re4 44. Rd6 Re5 45. h5 Kg8 46. Kf4 g5+!? 47. Kf3 Kf7 48. Rd7+ Ke6 49. Rh7 d4 50. Rxh6 Re3+ 51. Kf2 Re4 52. Kf3 Rf4+ 53. Kg3 d3 54. Rh8 Rd4 55. Re8+ Kf7 56. Re1 d2 57. Rd1 Rd3+?
Aleksandar Kaminik - Janis Klovans [D36]
Wch Seniors/Rowy (6) 2000
12. b4 Ne4! 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. b5 (14. Rfe1 Nxc3 15. Qxc3 Bg4 16. Nd2 Rac8 17. Rbc1 Nh4 18. Bf1 Qg5 19. Kh1 Re6 20. e4 dxe4 21. Nxe4 (21. Rxe4 Rce8 22. Rce1 Bf5) 21... Qf4 22. Nc5 Nf3 23. g3 Rh6 24. h3 Rxh3+ 25. Bxh3 Qh6 0-1 Furman,S-Klovans,J/Moscow 1964) 14... Bg4 15. Nd2 (15. bxc6 bxc6 16. Bxe4 dxe4 17. Nd2 f5) 15... Nxd2 16. Qxd2 Nh4 17. Kh1 Nf3 18. Qd1 Nxh2 19. Be2 Qh4 20. Kg1 Bxe2 0-1 Abdulghafour,Y-Klovans,J/Istanbul 2000
Though not as entertaining as Klovans's shorter wins with this line, the present game helps to bring the basic pawn formation issues into stark relief.
Black's tripled power pieces may bite on granite at e3, but they are all perfectly placed and centralized.
I assume that the score is mistaken here and that the exchange of pawns happened first.
26. Qg2? axb5 27. axb5 Ra8 28. bxc6 bxc6 29. Rcb3 Kg7 30. f3 Rd6 31. Qf2 Re8 32. Rb7 Qg5 33. e4 dxe4 34. fxe4 Rf6 35. Qe2 h4 36. e5 Rf4 37. Rf1 hxg3 38. h3 c5 39. e6 Rxf1+ 40. Qxf1 Qe3+ 41. Kg2 Qxe6 42. dxc5 Qd5+ 43. Qf3 Re2+ 44. Kxg3 Qe5+ 0-1
Svetozar Gligoric - Bojan Kurajica [D58]
Belgrade (12) 1969
This position typically arises out of the Tartakower Defense rather than the Lasker, but Black can transpose to it from the Exchange Variation. The Bishop at b7 supports an eventual liberating ...Ne4.
The chief alternative is 10. Be2 Nbd7 11.
10... c5!? 11.
12. Qb3 Rd8 13.
12... Rc8 13. Ne5 Nf6 14. Ng4 Nbd7 15. Nxf6+ Nxf6 16. Qa4 c5 17. dxc5 bxc5 18. Rfe1 Qd6 19. Bf5 Re8 20. Red1 d4 21. exd4 Qf4 22. Bh3?! cxd4 23. Nb5?? Ng4 and White can only save himself by 24.Bxg4 Qxg4 25.f3 Bxf3 26.Rd2 . The danger posed by the Bishop on the long diagonal is quite real in these lines. 0-1 Kragelj,I-Burmakin,V/Ljubljana 1997.
13. Qa4 c5 14. Bb1 Rfc8 15. Rfd1 Ndf6 16. Ne5 Nd6 17. b4 c4 18. Qc2 Nde4 19. Qb2 Nxc3 20. Rxc3 b5 21. Bc2 a5 22. a3 Ra6 23. bxa5 Rxa5 24. Rb1 Rca8 25. a4 Ne8 26. Bd1 Nd6 27. axb5 Ra2 28. Qb4 Rxf2 29. Ra3 Rxa3 30. Qxa3 Rd2 31. b6 Qh4 32. Bf3 Nb5 33. Qc1 Qf2+ 34. Kh1 Rc2 35. Qe1 Qxe1+ 36. Rxe1 Rb2 37. Nxc4 dxc4 38. Bxb7 c3 39. Be4 Nd6 40. Bd3 Rd2 41. Ba6 c2 42. Bb5 Rd1 0-1 Szukszta,J-Kwasniewski,J/Lublin 1969.
13... c6 14. Qb3 Nxc3 15. Rxc3 a5 16. a3 axb4 17. axb4 b5 18. Rb1 Ra4 19. Bc2 Rfa8 20. Qb2 R4a7 21. Qc1 Nb6 22. Ne5 Nc4= 23. Nxc4 bxc4 24. e4 Bc8 25. Re3 Qd8 26. b5 cxb5 27. Rxb5 Ra1 28. Rb1 Rxb1 29. Qxb1 Be6 30. exd5 Rb8 31. Qd1 Qxd5 32. Be4 Qd7 33. h3 Rd8 34. d5 Kf8 35. Rc3 1/2-1/2
Part Eight: White Avoids the Queen's Gambit
Stoyko Lecture #5
Wolpert - Wilken [D58]
Black can also play a more cagey method, which allows him to meet non-QGD lines such as the Torre, London, and Colle with more of a Hedgehog formation that includes ....d6 (rather than ...d5), ...c5 ...b6, ...Bb7, ...a6, ...O-O, ...Re8, ...Qc7, and ...Nbd7 with chances to push through with ...Pe5. This is actually a more dynamic system than the one I recommend with 1.d4 d5, so you should be aware of this method of playing. 1... Nf6 2. Nf3 (2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5 Nbd7=)
2... e6 (2... d5)
3. e3 (3. Bg5 The Torre System, but still with potential to transpose to main line QGD territory so you have to be aware. 3... Be7 (3... c5!?)
(3... b6!? 4. e4 (4. d5 exd5 5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. Qxd5 Qxb2! 7. Qxa8?? Qc1#)
4... h6 5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. Bd3 Bb7=)
4. e3 c5 followed by the ...b6, ...Bb7, ...d6, ...O-O, ...Qc7 set-up as we shall see. Players were already using this method against Torre himself at Moscow 1925.)
(3. Bf4 The London System 3... Be7 4. e3 c5 5. c3
White can enter a Catalan set-up via a number of move orders, including 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Be7 (4... dxc4 5. Bg2 is too passive for Black.)
This move order is best because it asks White what he is going to do and waits to see if he pushes Pc4 or not.
With the idea of playing a quick . ..c5 and ...g6 with ... Bg7, possibly followed by ...b6, ... Bb7, and ... Qc7 and if White does not attack Black's center then possibly the ...e5 push.
Immediately blunting the Bishop. White will never be able to sac the Bishop at h7, which is always the dream scenario of the Colle. It's good to kill your opponent's dreams before they hatch. What follows is a generalized system that is good for Black and does not require a lot of deep study.
7. Qe2 c5 8. c3 Qc7 (8... b6 9. e4) (8... Re8!?) 9. e4! e5?! Overly risky.(9... cxd4 10. cxd4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Qxe4 Nf6=) 10. dxe5 dxe4 11. Nxe4 (11. exf6?! exd3 12. Qxd3 Nxf6) 11... Nxe5 12. Nxf6+ ( 12. Nxe5! Qxe5 13. f4 Qc7 14. f5!) 12... Bxf6 13. Bf4 Nxf3+ 14. Qxf3 Be5 15. Bxe5 Qxe5 16. Rfe1 1/2-1/2 Denker,A-Morton,H/New York 1936 (39)
21. Ne5 f6 22. Nf3 Rdc8 23. Qb3 Qxb3 24. axb3 Rd7 25. Kf1 Rd5 26. Red1 Kf7 27. Rd3 Rcd8 28. Ke2 g5 29. g4 h6 30. Ne1 f5 31. gxf5 Rxf5 32. Nc2 Rfd5 33. h3 Kg6 34. R1d2 Nf4+ 35. Bxf4 gxf4 36. Kf3 Kf5 37. Re2 e5 38. Re4 Bf6 39. Rc3 exd4 40. Rxf4+ Ke6 41. Rd3 Rf5 42. Ke4 Re5+ 43. Kf3 Rf5=
1/2-1/2 Wolpert,J-Wilken,L/Johannesburg 1955 (43)
[Stoyko and Goeller]
Games in PGN
If you are interested in learning more about Lasker's Defense and related lines, the following resources should be helpful.
Copyright © 2007 Michael Goeller and Steve Stoyko