Notes on the French Two Knights

Michael Goeller (2023) - Steve Stoyko (2350) [C00]

Casual blitz /Kenilworth Chess Club (1) 2005


1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 c5 5. d4 5. Bc4 Nc6 6. d3 is the alternative method recommended by Chris Baker. 5... cxd4 6. Qxd4 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 a6 8. Bf4 Bd7 9. Nd6+ Bxd6 10. Bxd6 Nc6 11. O-O-O Nf6 12. Be2? 12. f3 Nd5 (12... O-O-O 13. c4+/=) 13. Nf5!+/= 12... Ne4 13. Bg3 Nxg3 14. hxg3 Nxd4 15. Rxd4 Bc6 16. Bf3? 16. f3 16... Bxf3 17. gxf3 Rd8 18. Rhd1? 18. Rdh4 18... Ke7 19. Rxd8 Rxd8 20. Rxd8 Kxd8 21. Kd2 Kd7 22. Kd3 Kd6 23. Kd4 h5 24. c4 g5 and the pawn will queen. 0-1


Michael Goeller - Marv Pestcoe [C10]

Hillside at Westfield/Westfield, NJ USA 1984


1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 c5

 

a) 3... Nf6 usually reaches the same positions as in the game after 4. e5 Nfd7 (4... Ne4 5. Qe2!? (5. Ne2 Bc5 6. d4 Be7 7. Ng3+/= is book) 5... Nxc3 6. dxc3 b6 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Qe3 Ba6 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Bd3~~ Goeller-Lunna 1984) 5. d4 c5 6. Bb5!? Nc6 7. O-O Qc7 8. Bf4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Bc5 11. Qd2 Qb6 12. Bd3 Bd4 13. Rfe1 (Fritz points out 13. Nb5! Bc5 (13... Bxe5?! 14. Bxe5 Nxe5 15. Qc3 d4 16. Nc7+ Kd8 17. Nxa8!+-) 14. b4 Be7 15. Be3 Qd8 16. f4+/-) 13... Qa5 14. Qe2!? Bxc3 15. bxc3 Qxc3 and by an improbable sequence we have ended up in the same position as the main game! 16. Qg4 Kf8 17. Qg5!? (17. Rad1! with ideas like Re3 and Bd2 is best.) 17... Qc7 18. Bd2 h6? 19. Bb4+ Kg8 20. Qe7 g6 21. Re3 Rh7 22. Qe8+ Kg7 23. Rf3 Nc5 24. Bxg6!! Kxg6 25. Qg8+ Rg7 26. Rf6+ Kh5 27. Qxg7 and Black cannot prevent mate at h6 - Goeller-McGrath, West Orange "Candidate Expert Invitational" 1981

 

b) 3... d4 4. Ne2 c5 5. c3 (better >= 5. Ng3 with a nice "reversed Nimzovich" game ) 5... Nc6 (better 5... Nf6! 6. e5?! Nfd7 7. cxd4 cxd4 8. Nexd4 Nxe5!=) 6. cxd4 cxd4 7. Qa4 Bd7 (7... Bc5 8. b4!+/-) 8. Nexd4 Bc5 9. Nxc6 Bxc6 10. Bb5 Bxf2+ 11. Ke2!? (11. Kf1!+/-) (11. Kxf2?! Qb6+~~) 11... Bb6 (11... Qb6 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. d4+-) 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Qxc6+ Kf8 14. d4!?+/- Goeller-Kramer, Westfield Championship 1983

 

c) 3... Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3!? Ba5?! 6. b4! cxb4 7. Nb5|^

 

d) 3... dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 (4... c5!? 5. d4!+/=) 5. d4 Ngf6=

 

4. d4!? Nf6

4... Nc6?! 5. exd5 exd5 6. Bb5!? cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nge7 8. Qe2 Bd7 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. O-O g6 11. Qe5 Rg8 12. Bg5 Bg7 13. Bf6 Bxf6 14. Qxf6 Nf5 15. Rfe1+ Kf8 16. Qe5 Nxd4 (16... Qb8!) 17. Qxd4 Qb6 18. Qf6 Be6?? 19. Rxe6 Qxb2 20. Rb1 Qxc2 21. Re7 Rg7 22. Rbe1! Qf5 23. Rxf7+! Rxf7 24. Qh8# Goeller-Ganning, West Orange 1983

 

5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bb5!?

This move was played by Gurgenidze in the late 70s and early 80s with mixed results and I don't think I'd recommend it today, though it is playable. The move appears odd until you realize that this is the only way for thelight-squar ed Bishop to help in the fight for the dark squares by eliminating one of Black's Knights. And, as we see in the main games, the Bishop does not always have to be exchanged. Today I would choose one of the several alternatives:

 

a) 6. Bg5!? is Adrian Skelton's "Jackal Attack"

 

b) 6. dxc5 is the clas sical book move and quite playable, as Chris Baker discusses in his "Startling Repertoire" book.

 

c) 6. Ne2! is probably best, with the idea of 6... cxd4 7. Nexd4+/= or c3 and Nf4. Shirov and Motwani have used this with good results.

 

6... Nc6

6... a6 7. Bxd7+ Bxd7 8. Be3 Nc6 9. dxc5 Qc7 10. O-O Nxe5 11. Re1 f6 12. b4 a5 13. Bf4 axb4 14. Nxe5 fxe5 15. Nxd5 Qxc5 (15... exd5 16. Rxe5+) 16. Rxe5 O-O-O 17. Ne7+ Bxe7 (17... Qxe7? 18. Ra5!->) 18. Rxc5+ Bxc5 19. Qh5+- Gurgenidze-Grigorian, USSR 1968

 

7. O-O Be7 8. dxc5

8. Re1 O-O 9. Ne2!? Qb6 10. Ba4 cxd4 11. Nexd4 Nc5 12. Bb3?! (12. c3! Nxa4 13. Qxa4 Bd7 14. Qd1 h6=) 12... f6 13. Bf4?! fxe5 14. Bxe5 Ne4!=/+ Gurgenidze-Henley, Tbilisi 1983

 

8... Bxc5 8... O-O 9. Bf4 Nxc5=

 

9. Qe2 a6 10. Bd3 Nd4 11. Nxd4 Bxd4 12. Bf4 Qc7 13. Rfe1 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Qxc3 15. Qg4 g6

15... Kf8?! is covered above in Goeller-McGrath, West Orange "Candidate Experts Invitational" 1981 which reached the same position.

 

16. Rad1 Nc5 17. Bd2! Qb2 18. Bb4 18. Qh4 18... Nxd3 19. Rxd3 h5? 20. Qf4! Rg8? 21. Rf3 Rg7 22. Rb3 and Black must lose material due to the threats of Rxb2 and Qf6 xg7 and Qe7#.

 

1-0

[Michael Goeller]

Game(s) in PGN