Main Line with 6...d5 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb6! 9.Nc3 O-O 10.Be3

By Michael Goeller

I have written before about The Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack (also called the Anderssen or Greco Attack) in the Italian / Giuoco Piano, which arises after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 (or by numerous transpositions via Urusov Gambit or Scotch Gambit move orders). The resulting pawn structures in some ways resemble those that arise in the Modern Variation of the Two Knights Defense (3...Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5), which has been well analyzed by Roman Dzindzichashvili in his videos and repertoire books. Besides being familiar strategic territory for many White players, the Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack is relatively little-analyzed and therefore a remarkably effective weapon at the amateur level. Very few Black players know the best defense, which is the subject of this article: 6...d5 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb6! when White generally continues 9.Nc3 O-O 10.Be3 reaching the position in the diagram above. Though several recent high-level encounters have shown that White has excellent chances from this position of developing an attack, it can still be a tough nut to crack and Black has a lot of ideas for counterplay. As always, I include a PGN file and bibliography for those who want to do their own analysis, which I strongly recommend.

Game One

Gawain Jones (2606) - David Howell (2625) [C53]

98th British Championship/Sheffield, ENG (8.2) 2011


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. c3 Nf6 6. e5!?

Noting that most lines in the Giuoco Piano with d4 seem drawish, Jones said: "I tried e5 instead, which I'd looked at briefly this morning. It hasn't really accumulated much theory." He also mentions that the resulting pawn structures resemble those that arise in the Modern Variation of the Two Knights, with which he had great success in the recent Commonwealth and South African Open Tournament, where the line was employed successfully by the three top finishers: Jones, Nigel Short and David Smerdon.

 

6... d5 7. Bb5 Ne4 8. cxd4 Bb6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Be3

 










"And then he went into a long think here, taking over half an hour to come up with a plan. It's quite an interesting position. Black probably has good counterplay against the d4-pawn" notes Jones.

 

10... Ne7 11. Bd3 Bf5 12. O-O

Jones suggests that he gave some consideration to 12. g4?! Nxc3 (12... Bxg4!? 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Bxe4 f5!) 13. bxc3 Bxg4 14. Bxh7+ Kh8! (14... Kxh7 15. Ng5+ Kg8 16. Qxg4 Qc8 17. e6!) 15. Bc2 Qd7

 

12... Nxc3 13. bxc3 Rc8 14. Nh4! Bxd3 15. Qxd3 c5?

 










"Close to a losing move, because it gives away control of d6" notes Jones. Even after the better 15... Qd7 16. Bg5 White still eliminates the Ne7 and plays Nf5 -- he just does not gain the d6 square.

 

16. Bg5! Qd7 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Nf5 Qd7

18... Qe6 19. Nd6 Rc6 20. f4! cxd4 21. cxd4 (and Black has to give up the Exchange to keep from getting over-run) 21... Rc4!? (21... Rxd6 22. exd6 Qxd6 23. f5!?) 22. Nxc4 dxc4 23. Qe4 f5 24. Qe3 Rd8 25. Rfd1 Qd5 26. Kf1 Bxd4 27. Qf3 Qxf3+ 28. gxf3 b5 29. Ke2

 

19. Qf3!

Repositioning the Queen for attack on d5 or the kingside, depending on how Black plays. Black gets sufficient counterplay after the imprecise

19. Nd6 Rc6 20. f4? cxd4 21. cxd4 Rc4 22. Nxc4 dxc4

 

19... Qe6

 










Of course, not 19... cxd4?? 20. Qg4! and the double threat of Qxg7# and Nh6+ wins instantly.

 

20. c4!

Breaking through in the center. "A move I enjoyed playing" noted Jones, who at this point had a 50 minute advantage on the clock.

20. Qg4? g6 21. Nh6+ Kg7 22. Qf4 f6

 

20... g6

Probably Black's best try as all others lose at least the Exchange:

a) 20... dxc4 21. d5! Qxe5 22. Rfe1 Qf6 23. Ne7+ Kh8 24. Qxf6 gxf6 25. Nxc8 Rxc8 26. Rac1 with a won ending.

b) 20... cxd4 21. cxd5 Qxe5 22. Rfe1 etc.

c) 20... Rfd8 21. cxd5 Rxd5 22. Qxd5!

 

21. Nh6+ Kg7 22. cxd5 Qd7 23. Ng4 Qf5

Black is forced into a lost ending in order to keep from getting destroyed on the dark squares.

 

24. Qxf5 gxf5

"This pawn and rook ending is hopeless for him. His pawns are so scattered and my pawns are so strong" notes Jones.

 

25. Ne3 Kg6 26. Nc4

26. d6 cxd4 27. Nd5 was also strong.

 

26... cxd4 27. Nxb6 axb6 28. Rfd1 f4

28... Rc4 29. f4 Rd8 30. d6 f6 is a little less clear, but White's connected passed pawns look deadly.

 

29. Rxd4 Kf5 30. Re1 Rfe8










31. g3!

"This is a nice tactic. I'd just analyzed to g3 and thought, 'this position must be clearly winning'" notes Jones.

 

31... fxg3

31... Rxe5?? 32. Rxf4+

 

32. hxg3 Rc5 33. g4+ Kg5 34. d6 h5 35. e6 fxe6

 










36. Rxe6!?

Showy. As Jones notes, 36. d7 Rd8 37. Rxe6 amounts to the same thing.

 

36... Rd8 37. d7 Rc7 38. Re5+ Kg6 39. Rd6+ Kg7 40. Rg5+

1-0

[Michael Goeller]

 

jones howell

Gawain Jones - David Howell, Sheffield 2011


Game Two

Ni Hua (2641) - Mihail Marin (2551) [C53]

50th It - Golden Jubilee/Reggio Emilia ITA (9) 2008


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4

"I wonder if anyone else has ever played the Italian Game four times in an Italian tournament?" Ni Hua jokes in the book of the Reggio Emilia 2007/2008 Golden Jubilee Tournament. No doubt Ni Hua had prepared it especially for the many 1.e4 e5 players (including Marin) in this tournament.

 

3... Bc5

3... Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Be2 (8. Bd3!) 8... h6 9. Nh3!? The move that Fischer revived, following Steinitz.(9. Nf3 e4 10. Ne5 Bd6 11. d4 is more common) 9... Bd6 10. d3 O-O 11. Nc3 Rb8 12. O-O Nb7 13. Kh1 Nc5 14. Ng1 Qc7 15. Be3!? Ne6 (15... Rxb2 16. Bxc5 Bxc5 17. Na4 Rb5 18. d4 Bd6) 16. Rb1 Nd5 17. Nxd5 cxd5 18. c4 dxc4 19. dxc4 e4 20. Qd5 Bb7 21. Qf5 g6 22. Qh3 h5 23. Rfd1 Be5 24. c5 Qe7 25. Bc4 Bc8 26. Bh6 (26. b4 Nd4) 26... Re8 27. Qe3 Qxc5 28. Qxe4 Rxb2 29. Rd5 Bb7 30. Rxc5 Bxe4 31. Rxb2 Nxc5 32. Re2 1/2-1/2 Ni Hua-Almasi,Z/Reggio Emilia ITA 2007-2008.

 

4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5

 










"This move is probably unjustly considered as inoffensive" notes Mihail Marin in his online update to Beating the Open Games, written after his loss in the current game. Jude Acers comments: "If you are a professional person (with very little time for chess), you could even select this one line, rather than the intricate 6.cxd4 or 6.O-O lines, learn it from A to Z, with the assurance of ... many wins versus the unprepared throughout your career."

 

6... d5

See my analysis of alternatives in "The Steinitz-Sveshnikov Attack" (linked below in the bibliography).

 

7. Bb5 Ne4 8. cxd4 Bb6

 










The most accurate move and most challenging for White. The two main alternatives are:

 

a) 8... Bb4+ 9. Bd2 (9. Nbd2!? Bd7 10. Bd3 Bf5 11. Qc2 Bg6 12. O-O Ng5 13. Nxg5 Qxg5 14. f4 Bxd3 15. Qxd3 Qe7?! 16. Nf3 Triunfetti,C-Morel,O/Rosario Ch-ARG 1992.) 9... Nxd2 (9... Bxd2+ 10. Nbxd2 Bd7 11. Bxc6 Bxc6 12. O-O O-O 13. Rc1 a5 14. Re1 a4 15. Re3) 10. Bxc6+! bxc6 11. Nbxd2 Ba6 (11... O-O 12. Rc1 c5 13. dxc5 Bg4 14. O-O Bxd2 15. Qxd2 Bxf3 16. gxf3) 12. Qa4 Bxd2+ 13. Nxd2 Bb5 14. Qa3 (14. Qc2 Qc8 15. a4 Qa6 16. Ra3 Be2 17. f3) 14... Qh4 15. Qe3 O-O 16. a4 Ba6 17. Rc1 Rab8 18. Rxc6 Rb6 19. Rxb6 cxb6 20. Nb1 f6 21. e6 f5 22. Nc3 f4 23. Qe5 f3 24. Rg1 Qg4 25. Qxd5 Kh8 26. Kd2 h6 27. g3 Re8 28. Re1 Qg6 29. Qe4 Qf6 30. Qe5 Qe7 31. Nd5 Qb7 32. e7 Qc6 33. Nc3 Bc4 34. Re4 Qd7 35. d5 Bb3 36. d6 Qc6 37. Rf4 Kg8 38. Qd4 Bf7 39. d7 1-0 Leko, P-Mamedyarov,S/Moscow RUS.

 

b) 8... Be7 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Be3 Bd7 11. Bd3 (11. Nxd5! Nxe5 12. dxe5 Bxb5 13. Qd4 Bc6 14. O-O-O Qxd5 15. Qxd5 Bxd5 16. Rxd5) 11... Nb4 12. Nxe4 Nxd3+ 13. Qxd3 dxe4 14. Qxe4 Bc6 15. Qd3 Qd5 16. Qb3 Qd7 (16... Qxb3 17. axb3 Bd5=) 17. O-O Bd5 18. Qd3 a5 19. Nd2 (19. Bg5!?) 19... Ra6 20. f3 f5 21. Nb1!? f4 22. Bf2 Rg6 23. Nc3 Be6 24. Kh1 c6 25. Rad1 Kh8?! 26. d5! cxd5 27. Nxd5 Rd8 28. Bb6 Bh3!? 29. gxh3 (29. Nxe7!) 29... Rxb6 30. Qe4 Rh6 31. Nxf4 Qxd1 32. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 33. Kg2 Rc6 34. h4 Bxh4 35. Qf5! Rd2+ 36. Kh3 Be7 37. Qf7 Rh6+ 38. Kg3 Bh4+ 39. Kg4 Rd8 40. Nh5 Rxh5 41. Kxh5 1-0 Navara,D-Laznicka,V/Hustopece CZE 2009. It is always interesting to see players adopt an opening tried against them by an earlier opponent (see Ni Hua - Navara, Reggio Emilia 2007 below), which suggests that they came to respect it in the post-mortem.

 

9. Nc3 O-O 10. Be3

Most accurate according to Rowson.

10. Bxc6!? bxc6 11. Be3 f5 (11... Nxc3 12. bxc3 Ba6 13. Qa4 Qc8 14. Qxc6 Qf5 Sokolov) (11... Bg4 followed by f5 or f6 is also good) 12. exf6 Qxf6 13. Qb3 Qg6 14. Ne5 Qxg2 15. O-O-O Nxf2 16. Rhg1 Nxd1? (16... Qh3! 17. Rg3 Qf5 18. Bxf2 Qxf2 19. Nxd5!? cxd5 20. Qxd5+ Kh8 21. Qxa8 Bxd4 22. Rxd4 Qxd4 23. Nf7+ Kg8 24. Nh6+= Rowson) 17. Rxg2 Nxe3 18. Re2? (18. Rg1 Be6 19. Nxd5!! Rowson) 18... Bxd4 19. Nxc6 Bb6 20. Nxd5 Rf1+ 21. Kd2 Rd1+ 22. Kc3 Rc1+ 23. Kd2 Rc2+ 24. Ke1 Rxe2+ 25. Kxe2 Ba6+ 26. Kd2 Bc4 27. Nde7+ Kh8 28. Qc3 Rf8 29. Qe5 Bxa2 30. Qh5 Rf2+ 31. Kc3 Bf7 32. Qh3 Nd1+ 33. Kd3 Nxb2+ 34. Ke4 Re2+ 35. Kf4 Be6 36. Ng6+ Kg8 37. Nce7+?? (37. Nge7+!=) 37... Kf7 38. Qxh7 Nd3+ 39. Kf3 Re3+ 40. Kg2 Bh3+ 0-1 Rowson, J-Sokolov,I/Selfoss Milk Masters 2nd

 

10... Bg4

"This is a very brave move" notes Ni Hua.

a) 10... Bd7 11. Bd3! (11. Nxd5 Ba5+ 12. Kf1 Nxe5) 11... Bf5 12. O-O   Qd7 13. Qb1 (13. Qb3?! Nd2!) 13... Nb4 14. Bxe4 dxe4 15. Nh4!

b) 10... Nxc3 11. bxc3 Ne7 12. O-O Bf5 13. Nh4 c6 14. Nxf5 Nxf5 15. Bd3 Nxe3 16. fxe3 Qg5 17. Qe2 f6 18. Rf5 Qh6 19. Rh5 Qxh5 20. Qxh5 g6 21. Bxg6 hxg6 22. Qxg6+ Kh8 23. exf6 1-0 Macieja,B-Fontaine,R/ ACP Blitz Prelim3 3rd.

 

11. Qc2










Sveshnikov's idea: White breaks the pin and leaves open the possibility of castling queenside.

 

a) 11. Bxc6 ("This exchange consolidates Black's centre too soon" notes Marin in recent commentary. Black gains the initiative with an eventual f6.) 11... bxc6 12. Qa4 (12. Qc2 f5!? 13. exf6 Qxf6 14. Ne5 Bf5 15. Qa4 c5 16. Nxd5 Qd6 Marin) 12... f6! (12... Bd7 "the simplest way to cut across White's intentions" noted Marin in "Beating the Open Games," but his more recent comments favor a more active Black response. 13. O-O (13. Qa3 f5 Mannion - Mikhalevski, Port Erin) 13... c5 14. Qc2 cxd4 15. Nxd5 (15. Bxd4 c5 16. Nxd5 Bf5 17. Ne3 Bg6 18. Bc3 Ng3 19. Qa4 Nxf1 20. Rxf1) 15... dxe3 16. Nxb6 axb6 17. Qxe4 Bb5 18. Rfd1 exf2+ 19. Kxf2 Qe7= Marin) 13. Qxc6 (13. exf6 Bxf3 14. fxg7 Re8 15. gxf3 Nxf2! 16. Kxf2 Qh4+ 17. Ke2 Bxd4 18. Ne4 Bxe3 19. Kxe3 Rxe4+!! 20. fxe4 Re8 21. Rhg1 Rxe4+ 22. Qxe4 Qxe4+ 23. Kd2= De la Paz) 13... Nxc3 14. bxc3 Bxf3 15. gxf3 fxe5 16. dxe5 Bxe3 17. fxe3 Rxf3 Marcieja - De la Paz, Merida.

 

b) 11. Qb3!? Bxf3 (11... Nxc3 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Qxc3 xc5/c6) (11... Ne7 12. Bd3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Rc8) 12. gxf3 Ng5 13. O-O-O Nxf3 14. Qxd5 Ncxd4 (14... Qxd5 15. Nxd5 Bxd4 16. Bxc6 Bxe3+ 17. fxe3 bxc6 18. Ne7+ Kh8 19. Nxc6) 15. Qe4 f5 16. exf6 Qxf6 17. Bd3 g6! 18. Bc4+ Kg7 19. Nd5 Qc6 20. Bxd4+ Bxd4 21. Rxd4 b5.

 

11... Bxf3

This move seems a little dangerous, opening up lines on Black's king. But in his most recent analysis, Marin continues to defend this as most principled. I will take a closer look at White's options in the next game, but it is worth mentioning a few:

 

a) 11... Bf5 was played by Navarra earlier in the tournament, but Marin calls this a "less principled answer." 12. Qb3! Attacking the pawn at d5. As before, exchanging at c6 helps Black "consolidate his centre." 12... Ne7 (12... Nxc3 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxc3! Ni Hua) (12... a6 13. Be2 Re8 14. Qxd5!? Qxd5 15. Nxd5 Ba5+ 16. Kf1 Rad8 17. Nf4) 13. Be2 (13. O-O should transpose) 13... c6 14. O-O f6 (14... h6!? 15. Na4 Bg4 16. Bd3! Nf5 17. Nxb6 axb6 18. Qc2 Bxf3 19. gxf3 Qh4 (19... Nxe3 20. fxe3 Ng5 21. f4!?) 20. Qe2!? (20. Bxe4!) 20... c5 21. dxc5 Nxe3 22. fxe3 Nxc5 23. Kh1 f6 24. exf6 Rxf6 25. Bc2 1-0 Kashtanov,R-Gavrilov,A/ Chigorin mem 13th 2005 (56)) 15. exf6 (15. Na4!? Ng6! (15... Bc7 16. Qxb7 a5 17. exf6 Rxf6 18. Qb3) (15... Bg4 16. Nxb6 axb6 17. Bd3!? Bxf3 (17... Bf5? 18. Nh4) (17... Kh8 18. exf6) 18. gxf3 Ng5 19. f4 Qd7!? 20. Qd1 Nh3+ 21. Kh1 fxe5 22. fxe5 Nf4 23. Bc2 and the two Bishops guarantee White long term prospects and aid him in regaining control on the kingside after Rg1 etc.) 16. Nxb6 axb6 17. exf6 Rxf6 (17... Nxf6 18. Ne5 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Nd7 20. g4!? Bg6 21. f4 Be4 22. Rf2) 18. Ne5 Nxe5 19. dxe5 transposes back to the game continuation but does offer alternatives.) (15. Nh4?! Nxc3 16. Qxc3 fxe5 17. dxe5 d4! 18. Qc4+ Qd5 Marin) 15... Rxf6 16. Ne5 (16. a4!? Marin) 16... Ng6 17. Na4 Nxe5 18. Nxb6 (18. dxe5 Re6 19. Nxb6 axb6 20. Bxb6 Qe7 21. Rfe1 (21. f4? Nd2) 21... Rxe5=) 18... axb6 19. dxe5 Rg6 (19... Re6 20. g4!?) 20. Bh5 (20. Bxb6!? Qg5 21. g3 Nd2 22. Qc3 Nxf1 23. Bxf1 Marin) 20... Re6 21. f3 Nc5 22. Bxc5 bxc5 23. Qxb7 g6 24. Bg4 Bxg4!? (24... Rb8 25. Qa7 Rxe5=) 25. fxg4 Qe8 26. Rf7! Qxf7 27. Qxa8+ Qe8 28. Qxe8+ Rxe8 29. Kf2 (29. Re1 Kf7 30. Kf2 Ke6=) 29... Rxe5 30. a4 Re7 31. b3 Rb7 32. Rc1 Rxb3 33. Rxc5 Rb6 34. Ra5 Kf7 35. Ra7+ Ke6 36. Rxh7 c5 37. h4 Rb4 38. a5 Rxg4 39. a6 Ra4 40. a7 Kf5 41. h5 gxh5 42. Rxh5+ Ke6 43. Rh6+ Ke5 44. Rh5+ Ke6 1/2-1/2 Ni Hua-Navara,D/ Reggio Emilia ITA 2007-2008.

 

b) 11... Nxc3 12. Bxc6 (12. bxc3 f6!) 12... bxc6 (12... Nxa2 13. Bxb7 (13. Ng5!? g6 14. Bxb7) 13... Rb8 14. Rxa2 Rxb7 15. Ng5 g6 16. Qc6 Ni Hua) 13. Qxc3

 

c) 11... f5!? 12. O-O-O! (12. Nxd5 Marin gives this "!" without explanation, but it is a very wild ride after 12... Ba5+ as I discuss in more detail in the next game) 12... Nb4! (12... f4? 13. Nxd5!) 13. Qb3 c6 (13... f4!? 14. Nxe4 fxe3) 14. Be2.

 

12. gxf3 Ng5 13. Bxc6?!

More precise must be 13. O-O-O! Ne6!? (13... Nxf3 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Qe2 transposes back to the game) 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. f4 f5 16. Ne2!

 

13... bxc6

I was surprised Ni Hua does not mention 13... Nxf3+! 14. Ke2 Nxd4+ 15. Bxd4 Bxd4! Marin's current recommendation (15... bxc6 16. Bxb6 axb6 17. Rhe1?! (17. Qf5!) 17... Qg5 18. Kf1 Qh5 19. f4 f6!? 20. e6 Rae8 21. f5 Qh3+ 22. Kg1 Qg4+ 23. Kh1 (23. Qg2 Qxf5=) 23... Qf3+ 24. Kg1 Qg4+ 25. Kh1 Qf3+ 26. Kg1 1/2-1/2 Fernandez Garcia, J-Izeta Txabarri,F/ Bilbao ) 16. Bxd5 (16. Bxb7 Rb8 17. Bc6 Qh4 18. Raf1 (18. Ke1 Bxe5) 18... Qh5+ 19. Ke1 Qxe5+ 20. Kd1 Rb6 and Black has excellent chances for the piece according to Marin 21. Na4 Rb4 22. b3 Qf6! 23. Bxd5 Rd8 24. Qc6 Bb6 25. Qxf6 Rxd5+ 26. Kc2 gxf6 27. Nxb6 axb6) 16... Bxc3 17. Rad1 Bxe5 18. Bxf7+ Rxf7 19. Rxd8+ Rxd8 and Marin is right that the ending is equal after 20. Qb3 c5 21. Rd1 Rxd1 (21... Bd4!?) 22. Kxd1 b6 23. Qd5 Bxb2 24. Qa8+ Rf8 25. Qxa7 Rf6 26. Qe7 h6 when Black already has a solid fortress.

 

14. O-O-O!

a) 14. Qf5 f6!? (14... Ne6 features in several Alonso - Valdez, Cuba 2005 encounters -- in his original analysis Marin gives 15. O-O-O Qe7 (15... Qh4 16. f4) 16. f4 f6 Marin) 15. O-O-O (15. exf6 h6!) (15. Rd1 Bxd4!) 15... g6 16. Qg4 Qc8 17. Qxc8 Raxc8 18. f4 Ne6 Marin

b) 14. Qa4?! Nxf3+ 15. Ke2 f6 16. e6 Ng5 17. Qxc6 Qe8! Sveshnikov - Balashov, USSR

 

14... Nxf3

 










15. Qe2!

15. Qf5 Sveshnikov 15... Nh4 16. Qg4 Ng6 17. h4 f5 18. exf6 Qxf6 19. h5 Nf4 20. Rh4 and Marin notes in Beating the Open Games (p. 145) that "White has some compensation for the pawn but not more than that." In his most recent assessment, he offers 20... Ne6! and remarks: "I see no compensation for White."

 

15... Nh4

15... Ng5 16. f4 Ne4 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. f5 Ni Hua / Marin 18... Qd5!? 19. Qg4! Qxa2? 20. Bh6

 

16. Rhg1! f6

a) 16... Ng6 17. h4 Qxh4 18. Rh1 Qe7 19. Qh5 h6 20. Bxh6

b) 16... Qd7 (This is the move Marin now recommends, as does Joel Benjamin). 17. Bg5! (17. Qh5 Nf5 18. Bh6 f6 (18... Nxh6 19. Qxh6! (19. Rxg7+ Kxg7 20. Qg5+ Kh8 21. Qf6+ Kg8=) 19... g6 20. Rd3! (20. h4 f6 21. h5 Qg7) 20... f6 21. Rdg3!) 19. Rxg7+ Nxg7 20. Rg1 Rf7 21. exf6 Bxd4 22. Bxg7) 17... Qf5! (17... Ng6 18. h4 Ni Hua / Marin) (17... Nf5 18. Bf6! (18. Qg4 g6 19. Rd3 Marin) 18... Kh8 19. Rxg7!! Nxg7 20. Rg1 Rg8 21. Qh5 Bxd4 22. Qg5 Bxe5 23. Qxe5 h6 24. Bxg7+ Kh7 Benjamin) 18. Rg3 (18. Bxh4 Qf4+) 18... Ng6 19. h4 Nxh4 20. Bxh4 Qf4+ 21. Qe3 Qxh4 22. f4 Marin.

 

17. Qh5 Ng6

17... fxe5!? 18. Bg5 Qd7 19. Qxh4 (19. Bxh4 Bxd4 20. Ne2) 19... exd4 20. Bh6 Rf7 21. Ne2.

 

18. Rg3 fxe5?!

a) 18... Re8 19. Rh3! (19. f4 fxe5 20. fxe5 (20. Rh3 exf4 21. Qxh7+ Kf7) 20... Qh4 21. Qf5 Ni Hua) 19... Nf8 20. Bh6! (20. f4 Marin) 20... g6 (20... fxe5? 21. Bxg7! Kxg7 22. Rg1+ Kf6 23. Qh6+ Ni Hua) 21. Rg1 Qd7 (21... Kh8 22. Bxf8! gxh5 23. Bg7+ Kg8 24. Bxf6+ Kf7 25. Bxd8) 22. Bxf8 Rxf8 23. Rxg6+ hxg6 24. Qh8+ Kf7 25. Qxf6+ Ke8 26. Rh8 Rxh8 27. Qxh8+ Ke7 28. Qxa8 Bxd4 29. Qh8! (Ni Hua) and the threats of Qh4+ winning the Bishop or Qf6+ and e6 with decisive attack force a win.

b) 18... Rf7?! 19. e6 Re7 20. f4 f5 21. Qxf5 Nf8 22. Qg4 Nxe6 23. f5

 

19. Rh3! Qf6?!

19... Kf7 "The fact that [this move] is the only way to prolong the fight speaks for itself about Black's situation" notes Marin. 20. Rg1 (20. Qxh7 Rh8 21. Rf3+ Nf4 22. Qf5+ Qf6) (20. dxe5 Bxe3+ 21. fxe3 Qe7 22. Qxh7 (22. Rg1 Qxe5 23. Qxh7 Ne7) 22... Nxe5 23. Rg1 Qf6 24. Rhg3 Rg8 25. Rg5 Ke7 26. Rf5 Qe6 27. Rxg7+ Rxg7 28. Qxg7+ Nf7 29. Rf3) 20... Rh8 21. Qf5+ (21. dxe5!? Bxe3+ 22. Rxe3) 21... Qf6 22. Qd7+ Kg8 23. Rxg6 Qxg6 24. Nxd5 Re8 25. Ne7+ Rxe7 26. Qxe7 h5 27. Rg3 Qf7 28. Qxe5 (28. Qxf7+ Kxf7 29. dxe5 h4 30. Rh3 Ke6) 28... Qc4+ 29. Kd1 Qf7 30. Qe4 h4 31. Rg4

 

20. Rg1! exd4

20... Nf4 21. Qxh7+ Kf7 22. dxe5 Qxe5 23. Rf3 Ni Hua

 

21. Qxh7+ Kf7

 










22. Rxg6! Qxg6 23. Rf3+ Qf6 24. Rxf6+ Kxf6 25. Qh4+ Ke5 26. Qe7+ Kf5 27. Qd7+

27. Qg5+ might be stronger.

 

27... Kg6 28. Bxd4 Bxd4 29. Qg4+ Kh7 30. Qxd4 Rf6

White's extra piece must eventually tell, as soon as he activates it. Hence the next few moves White uses to bring his Knight into the game.

 

31. Nd1 a6 32. Ne3 Re8 33. Ng4 Rfe6 34. Qd3+ Kh8 35. Qxa6 c5 36. Qd3 c4 37. Qh3+

37. Qxd5!? Re1+ 38. Kc2 R8e2+ 39. Kc3 Rc1+ 40. Kb4 Rxb2+ 41. Kc5 Ni Hua

 

37... Kg8 38. Ne3 c6 39. Qg4 Rf6 40. Qd7 Re4 41. Nf5 Rf7 42. Qd8+

1-0

[Michael Goeller]

 

marin ni hua

Mihail Marin - Ni Hua, Reggio Emilia 2007 - 2008


Game Three

Monika Socko (2457) - Magnus Carlsen (2801) [C53]

BNbank Blitz GpA/Oslo NOR (4) 2009


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5 d5 7. Bb5 Ne4 8. cxd4 Bb6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Be3 Bg4

This might be considered the standard tabiya of the 8...Bb6 line. White can now play 11.Bxc6 (for which see the next two games) , but 11.Qc2 is a more complex and interesting option.

 

11. Qc2










11... Nb4?!

This seems a mistake on close analysis, though the world's highest rated chess player perhaps correctly assumed he would be more successful than his opponent calculating his way through the messy situations that follow. Black has at least two options worth a closer look:

a) 11... Bf5! as played by Navarra, and discussed in detail above, looks like Black's safest bet: 12. Qb3 (12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Qe2 Ba5= Ni Hua) 12... Ne7 13. Be2 (13. Nh4?! c6 14. Be2 (14. Bd3? Nxf2! 15. Bxf5 Nxh1 16. Qc2 Nxf5 17. Nxf5 f6!) 14... Be6) 13... c6 (13... c5!?) 14. O-O f6 Ni Hua - Navara, Reggio Emilia 2007-2008.

 

b) 11... f5!? may also be playable, but quite dangerous: 12. exf6 (12. Nxd5! is one wild ride for both players, as suggested by Navara and mentioned by Marin in recent notes: 12... Ba5+ 13. Ke2! I think this may be White's best try, though it is not mentioned by others.(13. b4 Nxb4 (13... Bxb4+!? 14. Kf1 Bd2 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Qxc6 Bxe3 17. Nxe3 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Nd2+ 19. Ke2 Qxd4 20. Qd5+ Qxd5 21. Nxd5) 14. Nxb4 Bxb4+ 15. Kf1) (13. Kf1?! Bxf3 14. Bxc6 (14. gxf3? Nxd4! 15. Bxd4 Nd2+) (14. Nf4!?) 14... bxc6 15. Nf4 Bg4 16. f3 c5 is an absolute mess.) 13... Nxd4+ 14. Bxd4 Kh8 (14... c6 15. b4!) 15. Bc4 c6 16. Ne3 Qxd4 17. Nxg4 Nc3+ 18. Qxc3! Qe4+ 19. Ne3 Bxc3 20. bxc3 f4 21. Bd3 Qa4 22. Nc4 and the three pieces should prove at least a match for the Queen) (12. O-O-O!? seems worth a try 12... Nb4 (12... f4 13. Nxd5!) 13. Qb3) 12... Nxf6 13. O-O-O (13. Bxc6 Bxf3 14. Bxb7 Bxg2 15. Rg1 Rb8 16. Rxg2 Rxb7 17. O-O-O) 13... Kh8 14. h3 Bh5 15. g4?! (15. Bxc6! bxc6 16. g4 Bg6 17. Qa4!) 15... Bg6 16. Qe2 Ne4 17. Bxc6 Nxc3 18. bxc3 bxc6 19. Ne5 Qd6 20. Nxg6+ Qxg6 21. Qc2 Qd6 22. Kb2 c5 0-1 Socko,M (2457) -Cmilyte,V (2480)/Konya TUR 2009/[Goeller, Michael] (44).

 

c) 11... Nxc3 12. Bxc6! Nxa2!? (12... bxc6 13. Qxc3) 13. Ng5!? (13. Bxb7 Rb8 14. Rxa2 Bxf3 15. gxf3 Rxb7 16. Qc6 Ni Hua 16... Rb8 17. h4) 13... g6 14. Bxb7 Rb8 15. Rxa2 Rxb7 16. O-O h6 17. h3! White has the better pawn structure in all cases.

 

d) 11... Bxf3 12. gxf3 Ng5 (12... Nxc3 13. Bxc6 see above) 13. Bxc6 is analyzed above in Ni Hua - Marin, Reggio Emilia 2007-2008.

 

12. Qb3 c6 13. Be2 a5 14. a3 Na6 15. Na4! Bc7 16. Qxb7 Qd7

 










17. Qb3

A natural decision, to safeguard the queen, but White must instead counter-attack c6:

17. Rc1! Rfb8 (17... c5 18. Bb5! Qe6 19. Bxa6) 18. Qxc6 Qxc6 19. Rxc6 Bd7 20. Rxa6 Rxa6 21. Bxa6 Bxa4 22. Bc1 and Black has insufficient compensation for his material.

 

17... c5 18. Bxa6

18. dxc5 d4 (18... Bxf3 19. Bxf3 Rab8 20. Nb6 Bxb6 21. cxb6 Nac5 22. Qc2) 19. Nxd4 Naxc5 20. Nxc5 Nxc5 21. Qb5 Bxe2 22. Qxd7 Nxd7 23. Kxe2 Bxe5 24. Rhd1.

 

18... Rxa6 19. dxc5 Rb8 20. Nb6 Bxb6 21. cxb6 Bxf3 22. gxf3 d4 23. Qd1 Qh3

 










24. fxe4?

The losing move. Up until this moment, White could still save the game and even maintain her material advantage with

24. Qxd4 Qxf3 25. Rg1 Raxb6 26. e6! Nf6 27. exf7+ Kxf7 28. Qc4+ Re6 29. Qc7+ Re7 30. Rxg7+! (30. Qxb8 Rxe3+=) 30... Kxg7 31. Qxe7+ Kg6 32. Qe5 Re8 33. Qg3+ Qxg3 34. hxg3 Nd5 35. Ke2

 

24... dxe3 25. Qe2 exf2+ 26. Qxf2 Raxb6 27. O-O-O? Rxb2

27... Qc8+ 28. Kb1 Qb7

 

28. Qxb2 Qe3+

and Black is winning in the ending that follows 29.Kb1 Rxb2+

0-1

[Michael Goeller]


Game Four

Evgeny Sveshnikov (2507) - Krystian Jedryczka (2321) [C53]

5th Amplico AIG Life/Warsaw POL (3) 2005


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5 d5 7. Bb5 Ne4 8. cxd4 Bb6 9. Nc3 Bg4

A more recent Sveshnikov game in this line went 9... O-O 10. Be3 Bd7 11. Be2 (not 11. O-O? Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nxe5; but 11. Bd3! looks more aggressive, as in the Jones game) 11... Bf5 12. O-O f6 13. exf6 Nxc3 14. bxc3 Qxf6 15. Bg5 Qg6 16. Bf4 Be4 17. Bg3 Rae8 18. Rc1 Re7 19. Nh4 Qe8 20. Bb5 g5! 21. Nf3 Bxf3 22. gxf3 Ref7 (22... Qh5!? 23. Be2 Rfe8) 23. Re1 Qc8 24. Re3 Ne7 25. Qe2 Nf5 26. Be8!? (26. Re5 c6 27. Bd3 Bc7 (27... Nxg3?? 28. Rxg5+) 28. Bxf5 Rxf5 29. Re7) 26... Nxe3 27. Bxf7+ Rxf7 28. fxe3 c5 29. Kg2 cxd4 30. exd4 Bxd4 31. cxd4 Qxc1 32. Qe8+ Rf8 33. Qe6+ Rf7 34. Qe8+ Rf8 35. Qe6+ Rf7 36. Qe8+ 1/2-1/2 Sveshnikov,E (2514)-Colovic,A (2451)/ Porto Carras GRE 2011/[Goeller,Michael]

 

10. Be3 O-O 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. h3 Bh5

Less effective is 12... Be6 13. O-O f5 14. Qc1 h6 15. Ne2! g5 16. Qxc6 Qe8 17. Qxe8 Raxe8 18. a4 a5 19. Rfd1 Rb8 20. g3 Ba7 21. Ra2 Rb3 22. Ne1 f4 23. gxf4 Bxh3 24. Rd3 Rb6 25. fxg5 Rg6 26. Ng2 hxg5 27. Nc3 Nxc3 28. Rxc3 Bb6 29. Ra1 Kg7 30. Rac1 Bf5 31. b3 Be4 32. Rc6 Rh8 33. Rxg6+ Kxg6 34. Rc6+ Kf5 35. Rf6+ Kg4 36. e6 Rh7 37. Rf7 Bg6 38. Rxh7 Bxh7 39. e7 Bg6 40. f4 c6 41. fxg5 Bc7 42. Bd2 Be8 43. Ne3+ Kh5 44. Nf5 1/2-1/2 Ninov,N (2500)-Grabarczyk,M (2463)/ Bethune FRA 2006/ (67)

 

Also possible is 12... Bxf3!? 13. gxf3 Nxc3 14. bxc3 f6 15. f4

 

13. O-O










13... f5!

13... f6!? 14. g4 Bg6 15. exf6 Qxf6 16. Ne5

 

14. Qc1

14. Ne2!?

 

14... Bxf3 15. gxf3 Nxc3 16. Qxc3 f4 17. Bd2

 










17... Qd7

The opened line in front of White's king can serve as an entry point for Black's attack or a pathway for White's rooks, depending on who siezes the initiative. Here Black is just a little too slow and it is White who gets organized first. The more accurate way to build his attack was 17... Rf5 18. Qxc6 Bxd4 19. Qe6+ Rf7 20. Bc3 (20. Bxf4 Rb8) 20... Bxc3 21. bxc3 Qd7 22. Qxd7 Rxd7 23. Rfe1 Re8 24. Rad1 c6 25. Rd4

 

18. Kh2! Rae8?!

Black is too slow to develop any initiative on the kingside, so White is able to exploit the open g-file to advantage.

 

19. Rg1! Re6 20. Rg4 Rh6 21. Rag1 Rf7

21... g6 22. b4!

 

22. b4! Rf5 23. a4!?

23. Rxg7+ Qxg7 24. Rxg7+ Kxg7 25. a4 is similar to the game.

 

23... Rfh5

 

 

24. Rxg7+! Qxg7 25. Rxg7+ Kxg7 26. Bxf4 Rxh3+ 27. Kg2 R6h4 28. Qxc6 Bxd4

The air has cleared and White is left with a won ending.

 

29. Bg3 Rh6 30. Qxd5 Ba1 31. Qd7+ Kg8 32. e6

1-0

[Michael Goeller]


Game Five

Wilhelm Steinitz - Carl Schlechter [C53]

Vienna 1898


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5 d5 7. Bb5 Ne4 8. cxd4 Bb6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Be3 f6

Immediately challenging White's center and seeking to open up the f-file for action on the kingside.

 










Besides 10...Bg4 (considered in detail above), Black has a few alternatives that also focus on the f-pawn advance as the main means of gaining counterplay.

 

a) 10... f5 (more forcing than 10... f6, as White is practically forced to exchange pawns to avoid the cramping effects of f5-f4) 11. exf6 Nxf6 12. Bxc6 (12. Rc1 Qd6 13. O-O Bg4 14. Be2 Rae8 15. h3 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Ne7= 1/2-1/2 Steinitz,W-Lasker,E/USA/CAN 1894 (71)) 12... bxc6 13. Ne5 Qd6 14. O-O Be6 (14... c5 15. dxc5 Bxc5 16. Bxc5 Qxc5 17. Rc1) 15. Rc1 Nd7 16. Nxd7 (16. Nd3! with the idea of Na4 xc5) 16... Bxd7 17. Ne2?! Rae8 18. Qd2 a5 19. Nc3! (changing course and headed to c5) 19... Rf5 20. Na4 Ref8?! (20... Qb4) 21. Nc5 Rh5 22. f4 Bf5 23. Rf3 Qf6 24. h3 Be4 25. Rg3 Re8 26. Nd7! Qd6 27. Ne5 Rh6 28. Bf2 Rf6 29. Rgc3 Qb4 30. a3 Qb5 31. b3 Ref8 32. Be3 Rd6 33. Kh2 Rff6 34. Bf2 Rfe6 35. g4 h5 36. f5 Re8 37. Nxc6 hxg4 38. a4 g3+ 39. Bxg3 Qa6 40. Bxd6 cxd6 41. Re1 (41. Rg3!) 41... Qb7 42. Qg5! Qf7 43. Rg3 1-0 Sveshnikov,E (2512)-Mazi,L (2401)/Celje SLO 2004 (55).

 

b) 10... Ne7 11. Bd3! f5 12. exf6 Nxf6 13. Ne5 Nf5 (13... Nd7!?) 14. Bxf5?! (14. O-O c6 15. Qd2 Qd6 16. Rae1) 14... Bxf5= 1/2-1/2 Steinitz,W-Pillsbury,H/Vienna 1898 (46).

 

11. Qb3! Nxc3 12. bxc3

12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Qxc3

 

12... Ne7

12... Bg4 13. exf6 Rxf6 14. Be2=

 

13. O-O c6 14. Bd3 Bg4

The simplifying idea 14... Bf5!? looks safer.

 

15. exf6 Rxf6 16. Ne5 Bf5 17. Bxf5 Rxf5 18. Rae1 Qd6 19. Bc1! Ng6 20. Ba3 Qf6 21. Nxg6 Qxg6 22. Re7 Rf7 23. Re2 Bc7 24. Rfe1 h6 25. g3 Bd6 26. Re8+

26. Bxd6 Qxd6 27. Re6

 

26... Rxe8 27. Rxe8+ Kh7 28. Bxd6 Qxd6 29. Qc2+ g6 30. Qe2 Qf6 31. Kg2 g5 32. Re6 Qf5

 










33. g4! Qb1 34. f3

34. h4! gxh4 (34... a5 35. hxg5 hxg5 36. Qe3) 35. Qe3

 

34... a5 35. a4 Rg7

35... Kg7 36. h4! Kh7 (36... gxh4 37. Qe5+ Kh7 38. Qe3) 37. h5 Kg7 38. Rg6+ Kh7 39. Qe6

 

36. Rf6! h5 37. Qe6 Qc2+ 38. Kg3

1-0

[Michael Goeller]

 

vienna 1898
Players from Vienna 1898. Schlechter is standing second from left, and Steinitz is seated front and center with cane and boller hat.

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Games in PGN

Bibliography and Works Cited
Readers interested in the lines discussed here may find the following resources useful for futher study.

Jude Acers and George S. Laven, The Italian Gambit System (Trafford 2003)

Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili, and Eugene Perelshteyn, Chess Openings for White, Explained (CIRC 2007)

Chessgames, Commonwealth and South African Open Tournament 2011

Fayetteville CC, Giuoco Steinitz-Sveshnikov Variation

__________, Two Knights Defense, Modern Sveshnikov System

Michael Goeller, The Steinitz - Sveshnikov Attack in the Giuoco Piano (online at the Kenilworth Chess Club website)

__________, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 White Repertoire Webliography

__________, Notes on the Two Knights with d4

__________, Two Knights Modern

__________, The Urusov Gambit System

Mihail Marin, Beating the Open Games (Quality Chess 2007)

___________ & Yuri Garrett, Reggio Emilia 2007-2008 (Quality Chess 2009)

Jonathan Rowson, Chess for Zebras (Gambit 2005)

WhyChess, Jones Crushes Howell

Copyright © 2011 by Michael Goeller