Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Intermezzo Check Part 2

Continuing our look at this rare line in the Scotch Game, White has had some better results by moving away from the 6. Be3 lines that seem to lead toward either equality or the most modest of edges.  After:

1. e4      e5 
2. Nf3   Nc6
3. d4     PxP
4. NxP  Bb4+ !?
5. c3      Bc5
6. NxN 

White is a tempo ahead on a related variation that is sometimes used at the highest level (4. NxP Bc5 5. NxN Qf6) and although c3 may not seem the best use of that tempo, it does not allow 6....Qf6?? because the mating threat at f2 can  now be met by 7. Nd4, winning.  

So Black has a choice of recaptures, the lifeless looking:
6. ....     dxN
7. QxQ+ KxQ
Which Shredder actually prefers to the alternative 6...bxN, but if so I'll call it a position only a computer could love (for Black).  White's kingside majority looks more threatening than Black's compacted queenside, and it is not out of the question that White could generate threats against the Black king if Black is careless.  Unsurprisingly my limited database has no examples of this position.   Alternatively, after:

6. ....  bxN
7. Bd3
There is a typical tradeoff in the Scotch game - Black has a somewhat compromised pawn structure but his pawns are dynamic and mobile with open lines to pressure White's queenside with rooks or White's kingside with bishops.  White has a solid structure and likely will incorporate f4, Nb1-d2-f3, Be3, and maybe eventually g4 into his plans for a kingside attack.  There are a variety of plans for both sides, and there doesn't seem to be a consensus best move for Black even here at the 7th move, so I won't try to deaden your imaginations with my opinion.   
The stem game for Black turned out poorly at the highest of levels, see:

Kasparov-Leko Tilburg 1997

However, annotators have concluded Black's play as having been much too aggressive in this case, and Black has had respectable results in this line.  Besides, most Kasparov-Mr. X games turn out poorly for Black, so what does that prove?
In conclusion, the Intermezzo Check line in the Scotch has plenty of life left in it, and it looks like a good way for Black to catch White by surprise in this old opening.


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