Reviving a Fascinating Anti-French

By Michael Goeller

I have always been a big fan of heirloom openings, so when I saw Igor Glek's article in Secrets of Opening Surprises #8 describing "A 19th Century Weapon versus the French," I knew I would have to try it. Not that I was unfamiliar with 1.e4 e6 2.f4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3, as I had worked through Alexander Bangiev's "White Repertoire 1.e4" CD years ago. But Glek's approach to the line seemed to offer significant improvements on Bangiev's system, especially with his McDonald and LaBourdonnaise inspired 8.Bd3, placing the Bishop in front of the d-pawn. Bangiev had played the opening more as a reversed version of the Lukin Variation of the English (e.g.: 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Nf3 f5 4.d4 e4 5.Ng5 Be7 6.Nh3 Nf6 7.e3 c6 8.Nf4 etc.), which has been played at even the most elite level. However, the reversed system as White with an early d3 is actually a tempo behind the Black line (where White's Knight takes four moves instead of two to find its way to f4), and the set up does not take advantage of the fact that White is not yet committed to d3 but can use his Bishop's greater flexibility to improve his chances. That's not to say there is nothing to learn from the Lukin Variation -- especially given the paucity of GM games with the Labourdonnais - McDonnell Attack -- and so I have included some discussion of this fascinating line as well.

Theory calls this line "the Labourdonnais Attack," after the early 19th Century French aristocrat and "world champion." But even a glance at the historical record shows that it really ought to be called after Labourdonnais's rival from the British isles, Alexander McDonnell, who not only played it first but seems practically to have taught it to Labourdonnais in many match games. Hence my calling it the "Labourdonnais - McDonnell Attack." Let's see if that catches on.

Game One

Alexander McDonnell - W. Fraser [C00]

London Match/London 1831


It was Alexander McDonnell who developed the 1.e4 e6 2.f4 d5 3.e5 scheme against the Franco-Sicilian, typically arising by transposition after 1.e4 c5 2.f4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.e5. The line is usually attributed to De LaBourdonnais on the strength of a couple games he played with the French move order. But it seems wrong to have the Frenchman take all of the glory for this anti-French line that he clearly received from his long time Irish rival. The following game may be McDonnell's most modern looking game with it, and one of the few where his own King is less in danger than his opponent's.

1. e4 e6

The line could also arise via 1... c5 2. f4 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 d5 5. e5 transposing.

 

2. f4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6

4... a6 5. c3 Nc6 6. Bd3 Be7 7. Bc2 This was the plan that McDonnell developed, which was also adopted by his contemporaries. However, current players of this system prefer to leave c2 open for the Knight via Nb1-a3-c2, controling the important d4 square. 7... Bd7 8. d4?! This move is playable here since Black has done little to contest the d4 square. But usually White should prefer to delay this move. Here it weakens the light squares, as discussed in my notes below. 8... cxd4 9. cxd4 Nh6?! (9... Nb4! 10. O-O (10. Bb3? Bb5) (10. f5!?) 10... Nxc2 11. Qxc2 Rc8) 10. Nc3! O-O 11. O-O Nb4 12. Bb1 Nf5 13. g4! Nh6 (13... Nh4? 14. Nxh4 Bxh4 15. g5 and White will win the wayward Bishop.) 14. f5!? (First 14. a3! is more precise, to enable a timely Qd3 attack later.) 14... Nxg4 (14... exf5 15. Bxh6 fxg4 16. a3 gxf3 17. axb4 gxh6 18. Qd3) 15. f6!? (And here winning is 15. h3! exf5 (15... Nh6? 16. f6!) 16. a3 Nc6 17. hxg4 fxg4 18. Nh2) 15... Nxf6 (15... gxf6 16. exf6 Nxf6 17. Ne5) 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. Kh1 Qb6 18. Bg5 Bxg5?










19. Bxh7+! Kh8 (19... Kxh7 20. Nxg5+ Kg6 21. Nxf7!) 20. Nxg5 g6 21. Qg4 Qd6 22. Qh4 Kg7 23. Bg8! f5 24. Qh7+ Kf6 25. Nce4+ dxe4 26. Nxe4# 1-0 McDonnell,A-Finch,J/London 1830.

 

5. c3 Be7

Interestingly, McDonnell's chief match opponent was among those to adopt his pet line: 5... Qb6 6. Bd3 a6 7. Bc2 Bd7 8. d4?! cxd4 9. cxd4 Bb4+?! (9... Nb4!) 10. Nc3 Nge7 11. O-O O-O 12. Bxh7+!? (12. a3! Bxc3 13. bxc3) 12... Kxh7 13. Ng5+ Kg8? (13... Kg6! 14. Qd3+ Nf5 15. Be3 f6) 14. Qh5 Rfc8 (14... Qxd4+ 15. Be3!! Qxe3+ 16. Kh1 Rfc8 17. Rf3) 15. Qxf7+ Kh8 16. Qh5+ (16. Rf3! forces mate.) 16... Kg8 17. Qh7+ Kf8 18. Qh8+ Ng8 19. Nh7+ Kf7 20. Ng5+ Kf8 21. f5! Ke7 22. Qxg7+ Kd8 23. fxe6 Nge7 24. Rf8+ Kc7 25. Nxd5+ Nxd5 26. Qxd7+ Kb8 27. Qxc8+ Ka7 28. Qxa8# 1-0 De la Bourdonnais,L-Lecrivain,M/Paris 1837.

 

6. Bd3 f5 7. Bc2 Nh6

It seems likely that LaBourdonnais picked up the variation from McDonnell after their match. One of their games continued from this position: 7... Qb6 8. O-O Nh6 9. Kh1 O-O 10. d4 Bd7 11. a3 a5 12. h3 Be8 13. b3 cxd4 14. cxd4 Bh5 15. Be3 Rac8 16. Ra2 Kh8 17. Qd2 Qc7 18. Nh2 Bh4 19. Rg1 Bg3 20. Nf1 Bh4 21. Qd3 Bg6 22. Nbd2 Be7 23. Qe2 Qd7 24. g4 Qe8 25. g5 Ng8 26. Bd1! Bd8 27. h4 Bf7 28. h5 g6 29. hxg6 Bxg6 30. Qh2 Bb6 31. Nf3 Qf7 32. Ng3 Nge7 33. Rd2 Kg8 34. Nh4 Nxe5 35. fxe5 f4 36. Nxg6 Nxg6 37. Nh5 fxe3 38. Nf6+ Kh8 39. Rd3 Rg8 40. Rg3 Nf4 41. Rdxe3 Rg7 42. Ref3 Rc1 43. Qd2 Rxd1+ 44. Qxd1 Nh5 45. Rh3 Nxf6 46. Rxf6 Qe8 47. Qf1 Kg8 48. Qf4 Bd8 49. Qh4 Bxf6 50. exf6 Rc7 51. g6 Rc1+ 52. Kh2 Rc2+ 53. Kg1 Rc1+ 54. Kf2 Qxg6 55. Rg3 Rc2+ 56. Ke1 Kf7 57. Rxg6 Kxg6 58. f7 Rc8 59. Qe7 1-0 McDonnell,A-De Labourdonnais,L/London 1834.

 

8. O-O c4 9. Kh1 Qb6 10. h3 Nf7 11. b3!? Qc7 12. bxc4 dxc4 13. Na3 Bxa3 14. Bxa3 b5 15. Qe1 Ne7 16. Nd4! a6 17. Qg3 O-O 18. Bd1 Re8 19. Bf3 Nd5 20. Nxf5! exf5 21. Bxd5 Bb7 22. Bd6 Qb6 23. Bxf7+ Kxf7 24. Rae1 Re6 25. Qg5 Rg6 26. Qxf5+ Kg8 27. Re2 Re8 28. Qd7 Rd8 29. Qc7 Qxc7 30. Bxc7 Rd3 31. Kh2 Bd5 32. f5 Rc6 33. Bd6 a5 34. a3 Ra6 35. f6 g6 36. e6 Bxe6 37. Rxe6

 

1-0

Game Two

Ken P. Neat - Anthony R. Barnsley [A21]

ENG-chT Correspondence/England 1993


As there are still so few games played with the Labourdonnais - McDonnell Attack against the French, it is useful to look at a rather parallel system played with colors reversed -- and, ironically, typically an extra tempo for Black! Often called the Lukin Variation, it has been played even by the chess elite.

1. d4

Just as the Labourdonnais - McDonnell Attack can arise via the Sicilian, so the Lukin variation also frequently arises via an English move order: 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 d6 3. Nf3 f5 4. d4 e4 5. Ng5 Be7 6. Nh3 Nf6 7. e3.

 

1... d6 2. c4 e5 3. Nf3 e4 4. Ng5 f5 5. Nc3 Be7 6. Nh3

This line is often attributed to St. Petersburg IM Andrey Lukin. One of Lukin's games with the line continued 6. h4 Nf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Be2 c6 9. d5 Na6 10. g3 Nc7 11. a3 Nd7! 12. Nh3 c5!? (more typically Black exchanges at d5 to create a pawn weakness there, but Lukin demonstrates a different method of undermining d5.) 13. Nf4 Bf6 14. Bd2 Ne5 15. b4 b5! 16. cxb5 c4! 17. Kf1 Nd3 18. a4 Bb7 19. Ra3 Qe8 20. Rg1 Qf7 21. g4 Nxd5 22. Ncxd5 Bxd5 23. gxf5 Be5 (23... Nxf4!) 24. Bxd3 exd3 25. Bc3 Qxf5 26. Rg5 Qf6 27. Qd2 Bf3 28. Kg1 Rf7 29. Rg3 Bb7 30. Ng2 Be4 31. f4 Bxc3 32. Rxc3 d5 33. Rc1 Rc8 34. Qc3 Qxc3 35. Rxc3 d2 0-1 Cherepkov,A-Lukin,A/Yaroslavl 1982.

 

6... Nf6 7. e3 c6

Does this pawn structure look familiar? The only difference between this position and the typical MacDonnell French is that Black has played d6 and so might be said to be "a tempo up" on the typical White lines that follow from 1.e4 e6 2.f4. But there are some benefits from not having moved the d-pawn, as we shall see. In both positions, the advanced e-pawn is the spearhead for a potential kingside attack, and many games with this line eventually end with a mating attack.)

 

8. Nf4

This Knight has taken four moves to get to f4 when his Black counterpart in the Labourdonnais - McDonnell French gains this perch in two. That's how Black ends up a tempo ahead of the parallel White variation.

 

Julian Hodgson, known for his innovative play with the Trompowski Attack, has also played an attractive attacking game with this line: 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Na6 10. f3 exf3! (This is usually the best way to handle Black's challenge, since Black can generally control the e4 square.) 11. gxf3!? Nc7 12. Nf2 f4! 13. e4 (13. exf4 Nh5) 13... Nh5 (Black can quickly marshall his forces for attack on the kingside, while the pawn at f4 effectively blocks White from transferring pieces to the King's defense.) 14. Bd2 Ne6 15. Be1 Bh4 16. d5 Ng5 17. Ng4? Bxe1 18. Qxe1 Bxg4! 19. fxg4










19... f3 20. gxh5 f2+ 0-1 Hawes,J-Hodgson,J/Jersey Open 1997.

 

8... Na6 9. h4 O-O










10. Bd2 Nc7 11. d5

This may well be White's best idea, splitting the board in two and permanently stopping Black's own d5 advance. Glek suggests that the parallel d4 advance is also probably Black's best method of handling the French with f4.

 

11... Ng4

This is a good path to the e5 square, if White has not inhibited it with Be2. Otherwise Nd7-e5 is an idea.

 

12. g3 Bd7 13. Be2 Ne5 14. b4 Rc8 15. Kf1 cxd5

Black will now work to target the artificially isolated d-pawn.

 

16. cxd5 Bf6 17. Kg2 Qe8

All of Black's pieces have found their way to their most effective squares.

 

18. a4 Ng6!

Black eliminates an important defender of both the King and of the weakened d-pawn.

 

19. Nxg6 Qxg6 20. Qb3 h6 21. h5 Qf7 22. Rhd1 Be5 23. Rac1 Ne8!

Black now shifts his forces where they will be maximally positioned to attack both the kingside and the d-pawn. To this end, the Knight heads to f6.

 

24. a5 Nf6 25. Rh1 Rc7

Black is at liberty to play on both sides of the board. He now threatens to double his Rooks on the c-file, which White cannot oppose without dropping the h-pawn.

 

26. f4? exf3+ 27. Bxf3 Ne4! 28. Bxe4 fxe4 29. Rcf1










29... Rxc3!!

 

and White resigned here without allowing the attractive conclusion:

30. Bxc3

30. Rxf7 Rxb3 31. Rxd7 Rb2 32. Rd1 Bc3

30... Bh3+!! 31. Kxh3 Qxh5+ 32. Kg2 Qe2+

(hence the need for Rxc3!!)

33. Kh3 Rxf1

and Fritz announces mate in 6 at most.

0-1

Game Three

Alexander Bangiev (2395) - Andreas Mende (2220) [C00]

Oberliga Nord W 9697 (8) 1997


I was first introduced to Labourdonnais and McDonnell's anti-French Defense by Alexander Bangiev's interesting "White Repertoire 1.e4" CD from ChessBase. The opening that Bangiev presented was still at the experimental stage. Bangiev usually accepted transposition to the Lukin Variation, though sometimes he tried too hard to get in the d4 advance when Black was fully prepared to attack d4. However, Bangiev ought to be counted among the pioneers of the line, and it is surprising that Glek does not mention his contributions.

1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6

4... Qd7 5. c3 b6 6. Na3 Ba6 7. d3! Ne7 8. Be2 h5 9. Nc2 Nbc6 10. O-O Nf5 11. Rb1 d4 (Play becomes very reminiscent of the Lukin Variation with colors reversed.) 12. c4! (12. Ng5 Be7! 13. Ne4 h4 14. Bf3 (14. b4? dxc3 15. b5? Ncd4 16. bxa6 Nxc2 17. Qxc2 Nd4) 14... Bb7) 12... Bb7 13. Ng5 Be7 14. Ne4 g6?! 15. a3! a5 16. b3 Kf8 17. g3 Kg7 18. Rf2 Rag8 19. Bf1 g5 20. Nf6! Bxf6 21. exf6+ Kxf6 22. fxg5+ Ke7 23. Qe2 Kd8 24. b4! axb4 25. axb4 cxb4 26. Nxb4 Nce7 27. Nc2 Nc8 28. Qe5 Rh7 29. Bh3 Rg6 30. Bxf5 exf5 31. h4 Qc6 32. Qd5+ Qxd5 33. cxd5 Bxd5 34. Nxd4 Rh8 35. Nxf5 Re8 36. Ne3 Be6 37. Ng2 Rgg8 38. Be3 Kc7 39. Nf4 Rd8 40. Rc2+ Kb7 41. Rcb2 Rd6 42. Nxh5 Bd5 43. Kf2 Rgd8 44. Nf6 Rc6 45. h5 Be6 46. Ne4 Rd5 47. h6 Bf5 48. Rh1 Bh7 49. Nf6 1-0 Bangiev,A (2400)-Just,J/cr-game 1996.

 

5. c3 Qb6

5... Nh6 6. Na3 Nf5 7. Nc2 Bd7 8. d4?! (8. Bd3!) 8... cxd4 9. cxd4 Rc8 (a) 9... Nb4 10. Nxb4 Bxb4+ 11. Kf2!? Qb6 12. g4 Nh6 13. h3 Bb5?! 14. f5) (b) 9... Qb6! 10. g4) 10. Bd3 Qb6 11. Bxf5 exf5 12. O-O Be7 13. Rf2 (13. Ne3!? Be6 (13... Nxd4? 14. Nxd4 Bc5 15. Nec2) 14. h3 O-O (14... f6!?) 15. g4 fxg4 16. hxg4 Qb5 17. f5 Bd7 18. Qb3 Nb4 19. Bd2 Bangiev) 13... Be6 14. h3 ( 14. Nce1 O-O 15. Be3) 14... O-O 15. Nce1 Rc7 16. Be3 Rfc8 17. g3 h6 (17... Na5 18. b3 Nc6 19. Rg2) 18. Rg2 Na5 19. g4 Nc4 20. Bc1 Rc6 21. Nd3 g6 22. a3 Na5 23. b4 Nc4 24. Nc5 Bxc5? (24... Kh7 25. Qd3) 25. dxc5 Qd8 26. Nd4 Qd7 27. g5?! (27. Nxc6 bxc6 28. g5 d4 29. Qd3 Rd8 30. gxh6 Bd5 31. Re2) 27... R6c7 28. gxh6 Kh7 29. Qe1 a6 30. Be3 Rh8 31. Nf3 Kxh6 32. Bd4 Kg7 33. Ng5 Rcc8 34. Qg3 Rh6 35. a4 Re8 36. Qb3 Ra8 37. Rga2 Rh4 38. Qg3 Rh5 39. Kg2 Rh6 40. b5?! Rh5 41. Qb3 Rhh8 42. Kg3 Rhc8 43. h4 Rh8 44. Qb4 a5?! 45. Qe1 Rh5 46. Rh2 Rc8 47. Qf2 Ra8 48. Kg2 Rc8 49. Kh1 Ra8 50. Nf3 Rah8 51. Rg1 Qc8 52. Rg5 Qd7 53. Rhg2 R5h6? 54. Rh2? (54. Rxf5!) 54... Rh5 55. Rxh5 Rxh5 56. Rg2 Qc8 57. Kh2 Qe8 58. Kh3 Qc8 59. Qa2 Qe8 60. Qb3 Qc8 61. Kg3 Rh8 62. Kf2 Qd7 63. Rg5 Qc8 64. Qd1 Rh6 65. h5 Qh8 66. hxg6 fxg6 67. Qg1 Kf7 68. Kg2 Qb8 69. Rg3 Ke7 70. Rh3 Rxh3?! 71. Kxh3 Bf7 72. Qg5+ Kd7 73. Qf6 Qg8 74. Ng5 Be6 75. c6+ 1-0 Bangiev,A (2400)-Wetjen,S (2130)/LPMM 9697 1997/[Bangiev]

 

6. Na3 Bd7 7. Nc2 Rc8 8. d3










With this move, White practically transposes to the Lukin Variation considered above.

 

8... f6 9. Be2

9. exf6!? Nxf6 (9... gxf6 10. f5!) 10. Ne5 Qc7 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. g4!

 

9... Qc7 10. O-O!?

The simple 10. d4 protects the pawn and seems to give White an edge.

 

10... fxe5 11. fxe5 Nxe5?

11... Nge7 12. d4 (12. Ng5!?)

 

12. Nxe5 Qxe5 13. Bf4 Qf6 14. d4!

a) 14. Bd6 Bxd6 15. Rxf6 Nxf6 Bangiev

b) 14. Ne3!? with the idea of Ng4-e5 looks strong.

 

14... cxd4 15. cxd4 Nh6?! 16. Bh5+ Kd8 17. Qd2!?

17. Bc7+ Rxc7 18. Rxf6 gxf6

 

17... Be7










17... Rxc2 18. Qxc2 Qxd4+ 19. Kh1

 

18. Qa5+

White clearly has a powerful attack with Black's king in the center and his Queen exposed.

 

18... b6 19. Qxa7 e5

19... Rxc2?? 20. Qxb6+ Kc8 21. Qb8#

 

20. dxe5

20. Bxe5 Qe6 21. Bxg7 Rg8 22. Rae1 Qc6 23. Nb4 Qb5 24. Nxd5

 

20... Bc5+ 21. Kh1 Qh4 22. e6! Bxe6 23. Qxg7 Qxh5

23... Rg8 24. Qxh6

 

24. Qxh8+

24. Bg5+ Ke8 25. Rae1! (25. Qxh8+ Ng8 26. Rae1)

 

24... Ng8 25. Nd4 Bf7 26. Qe5?!

There is no reason Black should be allowed to survive into the ending, but likely Bangiev wanted to simplify his task in time pressure.

26. Qg7

 

26... Qxe5 27. Bxe5 Bg6 28. Rac1

28. Ne6+ Kd7 29. Nxc5+ bxc5 30. Rad1

 

28... Kd7 29. Nf3 Ne7 30. Bd4 Kd6 31. a3 Rg8 32. Be5+ Kd7 33. b4 Bd6 34. Bd4 b5 35. Ne5+ Bxe5 36. Bxe5 Nc6 37. Bg3 Be4 38. Rf6 Ne5 39. Bxe5 Rxg2 40. Rc7+ Ke8 41. Re6+

1-0


Game Four

Igor Vladimirovich Glek (2531) - Etienne Goudriaan (2111) [C00]

Haarlem NOVA (5) 2007


GM Igor Glek has been a brilliant opening innovator for many years, often playing systems that require original thinking from both players. He discusses his own games with the Labourdonnais - McDonnell Attack in Secrets of Opening Surprises #8 in an article appropriately titled "A 19th Century Weapon versus the French."

1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 Nh6 6. Na3 Nf5

6... c4 7. Nc2 Bc5 8. b4!? (also possible is 8. d4 cxd3 9. Bxd3) 8... cxb3?! (8... Bb6 9. d3 cxd3 10. Bxd3) 9. axb3 d4 10. b4 (10. Bd3!?) 10... Bb6 11. b5 d3 (11... Ne7 12. Nfxd4 O-O and Black has some compensation for the pawn.) 12. bxc6 dxc2 13. Qxc2 bxc6 14. d4 c5 15. Ba3 cxd4 16. Nxd4 Ng4 (16... Bxd4 17. cxd4 Nf5 (17... Qxd4?? 18. Qc6+) 18. Bc5) 17. Qe4 Qd5 18. Qxd5 exd5 19. Nb5 Nf2 20. Nd6+ Kd7 21. Bb5+ Ke6 22. Rf1 Ne4 23. Nxe4 dxe4 24. Bd6 Kf5 25. h3 h5 26. Bc6 Be6 27. Ra4 Bb3 28. Bxe4+ Ke6 29. Rb4 1-0 Cicak,S (2490)-Maroto Borras,J (2258)/Lillet 1999.

 

7. Nc2 Bd7

a) 7... d4 8. Bd3! is examined below.

 

b) 7... h5 8. Bd3 g6 9. O-O c4 10. Bxf5 gxf5 11. d3 b5 12. Be3 a5 13. Nfd4 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Qd7 15. a4 Ba6 16. axb5 Bxb5 17. Nxb5 Qxb5 18. dxc4 Qxc4










19. Qa4+! Qxa4 20. Rxa4 Be7 21. Rfa1 Bd8 22. b4 Kd7 23. bxa5 Ra6 24. c4 dxc4 25. Rd1+ Ke7 26. Bc5+ Ke8 27. Rb4 Bc7 28. Rb7 Rc6 29. Bb4 f6 30. Ra7 Rh7 31. Ra8+ Kf7 32. Rd7+ Kg6 33. Rg8+ 1-0 Glek,I-Curien,N/Switzerland 2007.

 

c) 7... Be7 8. Bd3 Nh4 9. O-O c4 10. Be2 Nxf3+ 11. Rxf3 Bc5+ (11... f6 12. exf6 Bxf6 13. d4 Glek) 12. Kh1 Bd7 13. d4 cxd3 14. Bxd3 f5 15. exf6 Qxf6 16. Be3 Bxe3 17. Nxe3 O-O-O 18. Ng4 Qe7 19. Qe2 (19. Qd2!) 19... Qd6?! (19... g5!?) 20. Re1 Rdf8 21. Ne5! Nxe5 22. Qxe5 Qxe5 23. Rxe5 Kc7 White has a clear endgame advantage due to his superior minor piece and Black's backward e-pawn. It takes excellent technique, however, to convert the point. 24. Kg1 Kd6 25. g3 h6 26. h4 Rf6 27. h5 Be8 28. c4 Bc6 29. Rfe3 b6 30. Kf2 Rc8 31. b3 a5 32. Re2 dxc4 33. Bxc4 Bd5 34. Rd2 Rc5 35. Bd3 Ke7 36. Ke3 Rf8 37. Be4 Rc3+ 38. Rd3 Rxd3+ 39. Bxd3 Kd6 40. Kd4 Rd8 41. Re3 Rc8










42. Bc4! Rc5 43. Re5! a4 44. Bxd5 exd5 45. f5 axb3 46. axb3 Rb5 47. Re6+ Kd7 48. g4! Rxb3 49. Rg6 Ke7 50. Rxg7+ Kf6 51. Rg6+ Kf7 52. Kxd5 Rb4 53. Ke5 b5 54. f6 Rc4 55. Rg7+ Kf8 56. g5 Rh4 57. g6 Rxh5+ 58. Ke6 1-0 Glek,I-Huss,A/Switzerland 2007.

 

d) 7... Rb8 8. Bd3 Nh4 9. O-O Nxf3+ 10. Qxf3 Be7 11. Qg3 g6 12. Bb5!? (The Bishop has no future on d3. By exchanging off the Knight, White makes sure that the d4 advance will be secure.)(12. Be2 O-O 13. d3 d4) 12... Bd7 13. Bxc6 Bxc6 14. d4 b6 15. Be3 Qc7 16. Qh3 Bb5 17. Rfd1 h5 18. Rd2 Kf8 19. Bf2! Qd8 20. Ne1 (20. Na3!? Bc6 21. c4) 20... Kg7 21. Nf3 h4 22. Qg4 Bd7 23. Ng5 Bxg5 24. fxg5 Rc8 25. Bxh4 cxd4 26. Rxd4 Bb5 27. a4 Ba6 28. Bf2 Rc4 29. Qf4 Rxd4 30. Bxd4 Qc7 31. a5 bxa5 32. b4 Bb5 33. Rxa5 a6 34. Bc5 Bc4 35. Ra1 Qd8 36. Re1 Kg8 37. Re3 a5 38. h4 a4 39. Rf3 Rh7 40. b5 Bxb5 41. Qb4 1/2-1/2 Glek, I-Dambacher,M/Kemer 2007 -- though White was clearly in control, he allowed Black to create a fortress position that the Bishops of opposite color make impossible to break through.

 

8. Bd3!

This is Glek's innovative plan, using the Bishop to attack the Knight at f5 before advancing the d-pawn.

 

8... Nh4!

The Knight sidesteps the exchange at f5 to exchange Knights instead.

 

9. O-O c4?!

This advance is superficially attractive, but it seems ultimately to aid White. In a sense, Black surrenders the d4 square without forcing White to occupy it with a piece or pawn that can become the target of a counter-attack.

 

10. Be2 Bc5+

Glek points out that 10... Nxf3+ 11. Rxf3 Bc5+ 12. Kh1 essentially transposes to Glek - Huss (see above) with an extra tempo.

 

11. Kh1 Nf5?!

This vacillating really sets Black back.

 

12. d4! cxd3

After this Glek notes that "White has an obvious positional advantage." But avoiding the exchange of pawns was no better:

12... Be7?! 13. g4 Nh6 14. Ne3

 

13. Bxd3 g6

13... Nce7 14. g4 Nh6 15. Be3 Qb6 (15... Bxe3 16. Nxe3 Qb6 17. Qe2 O-O-O 18. a4) 16. Bxc5 Qxc5 17. Nfd4

 

14. Bxf5! gxf5 15. Be3 Bxe3 16. Nxe3 Qb6 17. Qd2 Rc8?

17... O-O-O 18. Rfd1 Rhg8 19. c4!

 

18. Rad1 Na5 19. b3 Bb5 20. Rg1

Preparing a possible g4 break.

 

20... Qc7 21. Nd4 Ba6

 










22. Ndxf5!

"Crushing Black's position!" Glek writes.

 

22... exf5 23. Nxd5 Qc6

23... Qd8 24. Nf6+ Ke7 25. Qe3 Glek

 

24. Qd4 Qe6?

Black desperately tries to stop e6. According to Glek, Goudriaan resigned without waiting for White's deadly reply.

 

25. Nc7+

1-0


Game Five

Igor V. Glek - Dimitrij Bunzmann [C00]

FRA-chT Top16 Gp Basse/France (8) 2007


If Black is not prepared to lay seige to the d4 square, then White may well be justified in an early d4 advance.

1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 Nh6

3... c5 4. Nf3 f6 5. c3 fxe5 6. fxe5 g6 7. d4 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bg7 9. Nc3 Nh6 10. Bg5 Qa5 11. Qd2 Nf7 12. Bf4 Bd7 13. h4 Nc6 14. h5 O-O-O 15. Bd3 Bf8 16. hxg6 hxg6 17. Rxh8 Nxh8 18. Bg5 Re8 19. Rc1 Bb4 20. a3 Bxc3 21. Qxc3 Qxc3+ 22. Rxc3 Rg8 23. Kf2 Be8 24. g4 a6 25. Rc1 Nf7 26. Bf6 Nfd8 27. g5 b5 28. Ke3 Kd7 29. Rh1 Nf7 30. Nh4 Na5 31. Kd2 Nc4+ 32. Kc3 Ne3 33. Bxg6 Nxg5 34. Bxg5 1-0 Gjuran,D (2344)-De Val,D (2237)/Nova Gorica 2009.

 

4. Nf3 Be7 5. c3 O-O 6. d4 b6 7. Be3 f6 8. exf6 Bxf6 9. Bd3 Ba6 10. O-O Nf5 11. Bf2 Qc8

11... Bxd3 12. Qxd3

 

12. Re1 Nd6 13. Bc2! c5 14. Nbd2 Re8 15. dxc5 bxc5 16. Nb3 c4 17. Nc5 Bb7 18. Ng5 Bxg5 19. fxg5 Nd7 20. Nxd7 Qxd7










21. Bxh7+! Kxh7 22. Qh5+ Kg8 23. g6 e5 24. Bh4 Nf7 25. Qh7+ Kf8 26. Rf1 1-0


Game Six

Alexander Bangiev - M. Feist [C00]

LPMM 9697 1997


The most difficult line for White, and the one most often recommended for Black, involves pushing the d-pawn forward to d4. As we saw in the Lukin lines above, however, the pawn at d4 is subject to attack. Alternatively, White can play c4 followed by a3 and b4 breaking on the queenside. It's important to note that White's best -- generally not given in the books -- is to meet d4 with Bd3, followed possibly by Be4, and only then Pd3.

1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 d4

5... Nh6 6. Na3 d4!? 7. Bd3 Be7 8. Nc2 f5?! 9. cxd4 cxd4 and now White should have considered 10. b4! to speed the seige of d4 in 1-0 Wippermann,T (2180)-Rechel,R (2140)/Wiesbaden op 1998.

 

6. Bd3!










Stopping the pawn from advancing further while not yet committing to d3.

 

6... Be7

6... dxc3?! 7. dxc3

 

7. Na3 f5 8. Nc2 a6 9. b3

9. cxd4! cxd4 10. b3 Nh6 11. Bb2 Bc5 12. O-O O-O 13. Rc1 Bangiev, laying seige to the pawn at d4, seems better.

 

9... Nh6

9... dxc3 10. dxc3 Nh6 11. O-O O-O 12. h3 b5 13. Be3 Bb7 14. Qe2 Qa5 15. c4 b4 16. Qf2 Rad8 17. Rfd1 Nf7 (17... Rd7) 18. Rd2 Rd7 19. Rad1 Rfd8 Bangiev.

 

10. cxd4 Nxd4

10... cxd4 11. Bb2 Bc5 12. O-O O-O 13. Rc1 Nf7 14. Qe2 Bangiev.

 

11. Ncxd4 cxd4 12. Bb2 b5 13. Qe2

13. Bxd4 Bb7 14. Be2 O-O

 

13... O-O 14. O-O Bc5 15. Rac1 Qd5 16. Rc2 Bb7 17. Rfc1 Rac8 18. h3 Nf7 19. Qf2 Rfd8 20. Kh2










20... Kh8?!

20... g5? 21. Qg3

 

21. Qh4 g5?!

a) 21... Re8 22. Qh5 Kg8 23. Rxc5 Rxc5 24. Rxc5 Qxc5 25. Ng5

b) 21... Rf8? 22. Rxc5 Rxc5 23. Qe7

 

22. Qh5 Kg8

22... Rf8 23. b4

 

23. Rxc5! Rxc5 24. Rxc5 Qxc5 25. Nxg5 Qe7

25... Nxg5 26. Qxg5+

 

26. Qxh7+ Kf8 27. Ba3 1-0


Game Seven

Igor V. Glek - Markus Klauser [C00]

SUI-chT/Switzerland (2) 2008


1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 d4

5... Nh6 6. Na3 Nf5 7. Nc2 d4 8. Bd3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Qe2 Qb6 11. Kh1 Bd7 12. b3 a5 13. Rb1 g6 14. Ba3 dxc3 15. dxc3 h5 16. Nd2 Kg7 17. Ne3 Nxe3 18. Qxe3 Na7 19. b4 axb4 20. cxb4 Nb5 21. bxc5 Qa6 22. Bxb5? (22. c6 Qxa3 23. cxd7 Nc3 24. Rxb7) (22. Bc1) (22. Bb2) 22... Bxb5 23. Bb4? (23. Rfc1 Qxa3 24. Qxa3 Rxa3 25. Rxb5) 23... Qxa2 1/2-1/2 Gamboa,N (2410)-Sadvakasov,D (2485)/Santa Clara 1999.

 

6. Bd3 Nh6

6... Nge7 7. O-O h5 8. Be4 Nf5 9. Na3 Be7 10. Nc4 Qc7 11. a4 Rb8 12. Qe2 O-O 13. d3 Rd8 14. Ng5 Bxg5 15. fxg5 g6 16. Bf4 Ng7 17. Bg3 Ne7 18. Nd6 Rf8 19. cxd4 cxd4 20. Rfc1 Qa5 21. Qe1 (21. Rc4) 21... Qxe1+ 22. Bxe1 Nd5 23. Bf2 Nf4 24. Kf1 b6 25. g3 Nh3 26. Bxd4 Nxg5 27. Bg2 Ba6 28. Ke2 Nf5 29. Be3 Nxe3 30. Kxe3 f6 31. exf6 Rbd8 32. Nb5 Rxf6 33. Rc7 Rf7 34. Rxf7 Nxf7 35. Be4 Kg7 36. Nd4 Rd6 37. Rc1 Ne5 38. Rc7+ Kf6 39. h3 g5 40. Rxa7 Bxd3 41. Bxd3 Nxd3 1/2-1/2 Schaffarth,P (2210)-Repplinger,M/Leverkusen open 1997.

 

7. Qe2 Nf5 8. O-O h5 9. Be4

9. Na3 first may be best, prepared to play Nc4 to hit the Queen at b6 if necessary.

 

9... Bd7 10. d3 g6 11. Na3 Be7

 










12. Nc2

12. Bd2! Qb6 13. Nc4 Qc7 14. a4

 

12... Qb6 13. c4 a5 14. b3 Nb4 15. Nce1 a4 16. bxa4 Rxa4 17. Rb1 Qa6 18. a3 Nc6 19. Qb2 Bc8 20. Nc2 Nd8 21. Bd2 Qa7 22. g3 Ra6 23. a4!? Rxa4 24. Ra1 Ra6 25. Rxa6 bxa6 26. Rb1 O-O 27. Qb8 Qd7 28. Qa8 Qc7 29. Qb8 Qxb8 30. Rxb8 Bd7 31. Rb6 Bc8 32. Kf2 f6 33. Ke2 Nf7 34. Rb8 fxe5 35. fxe5 g5 1/2-1/2


Game Eight

urusov - anon [C00]

Online Chess/Chess.com (1) 2009 -- 2 min. w/ 2 sec. increment.


My own experiences with the Labourdonnais - McDonnell French, though limited to blitz so far, have generally been quite positive.

1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6

My very first game trying this went 4... g6 5. c3 d4!? 6. Bd3 b6?? 7. Be4 1-0 urusov (2093)-anon (2151)/ Owl21.com 2009. I thought that was an auspicious first game with the line!

 

5. c3 Qb6 6. Na3 Bd7 7. Nc2 Be7

This is practically the tabiya of the opening, except that Black more typically goes in for Ne7-f5 or Nh6-f5, when White typically plays Bd3xf5. The Be7 seems misplaced or prematurely committed. Now White typically plays Bd3, but I thought I'd try something a little different.

 

8. a3!? Nh6

8... a5 9. d4 Nh6 10. Bd3 leads to interesting play reminiscent of the Advance Variation but with White's pawn at f4 already.

 

9. b4! c4?!

This does prevent White from establishing his pawn at d4, but that's no problem. Necessary was to go for queenside play with

9... cxb4 10. axb4 O-O 11. d4!? (11. Ba3!) 11... a5 12. b5!? Na7 13. Ba3

 

10. d3 cxd3 11. Bxd3 a5

11... Nf5!? 12. Bxf5 exf5 13. Qxd5 Be6 14. Qd3 O-O 15. Be3!

 

12. Be3! Qc7 13. O-O axb4 14. cxb4!?

14. axb4! Rxa1 15. Qxa1

 

14... O-O 15. Rc1 Qd8

15... Ng4 16. Ng5!

 

16. Kh1 Ng4 17. Bg1 f5 18. exf6 Nxf6 19. Qe1

19. Qe2

 

19... Bd6 20. Ng5!?

a) 20. Ne5 Nh5! 21. Nxc6 bxc6 22. g3 Qe7 23. Bd4 c5!

b) 20. b5! Na5 21. Ncd4 Bxa3 22. Nxe6

 

20... e5!? 21. b5 e4 22. bxc6 exd3?

Black needs to sacrifice a piece in exchange for some rolling pawns, when I have no clue who's better: 22... bxc6! 23. Be2 h6 24. Nh3 Bxh3 25. gxh3 c5

 

23. cxd7 dxc2

 










23... Qxd7? 24. Nd4 Rxa3 25. Qe6+!

 

24. Ne6?!

24. Qe6+! Kh8 25. Qxd6 Qxd7 26. Qxd7 Nxd7 27. Rxc2 Rxa3 28. Rc7 h6 29. Ne6 Rf7 30. Rxb7

 

24... Qxd7 25. Nxf8 Bxf8 26. Rxc2 Rxa3 27. Rb2 b5 28. Bd4 Ne4 29. f5 Rd3 30. Bg1 Ba3 31. Rb1 b4 32. Qe2

32. Rd1

 

32... Rd2 33. Qa6 b3??

33... Qe8 34. Be3 Rc2 35. Rbd1

 

34. Qxa3 b2 35. Rxb2 Rxb2 36. Qxb2 Kf7

(And though up a Rook, I was down practically to the increment and so had insufficient time to find the win. I ended up with only a draw when my flag fell after grabbing all of his material. Still, not a bad outing for the opening!)

 

37. Qd4

37. Ra1!

 

37... Qd6 38. Rd1 Qf6 39. Qxf6+ Nxf6 40. Bd4 Ne4 41. Kg1 g6 42. fxg6+ hxg6 43. Be5 Ke6 44. Bb8 g5 45. Re1 g4 46. Rxe4+ dxe4 47. Kf2 Kf5 48. Ke3 g3 49. Bxg3 Kg4 50. Kxe4 Kg5 51. h3 Kh5 52. Bf2 Kg5 53. g4 Kg6 54. Kf4 Kh6 55. h4 Kg6 56. Bd4 Kh6 57. Kf5 Kh7 58. g5 Kg8 59. Kg6 Kf8 60. h5 Ke8 61. h6 Kd7 62. h7 Ke6 63. h8=Q Kd5 1/2-1/2

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Games in PGN

Bibliography

Alexander Bangiev, White Repertoire 1.e4 (ChessBase)

Nigel Davies, 1.e4 for the Creative Attacker (ChessBase)

Igor Glek, "A 19th Century Weapon versus the French." Secrets of Opening Surprises #8 (New in Chess)

 

Copyright © 2009 by Michael Goeller