Last week, commenting on Nigel Davies’s new book The Pirc Move by Move (Everyman Chess), I wrote about my win against Dr Jonathan Penrose which clinched the British Championship title for me. I want to expatiate further on the black defensive strategy which is predicated on flank development with the aim of destroying White’s pawn centre from the edges of the board.
The Pontifex Maximus of this wing strategy was Duncan Suttles, the Canadian grandmaster, whose exploits are recorded in the multivolume Chess on the Edge: 100 Selected Games of Canadian Grandmaster Duncan Suttles by Harper and Seirawan (available on Amazon).
My main contribution to the theory of this edgy branch of chess thought was to refine a system based on an early … Nc6. Here is one example.
Frost-Keene: Training match Brighton 1979; Modern Defence
1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 f4 Nc6 5 Be3 Nf6 6 h3 An ambitious invention of the great Bobby Fischer. A more common alternative is 6 Nf3 0-0 7 Be2 a6 for example, Marjanovic-Keene, Skara 1980 which continued 8 a4 e6 9 h3 Ne7 10 g4 b6. 6 … 0-0 7 g4 a6 Adhering strictly to an edge policy. The main alternative is 7 … e5 when 8 dxe5 dxe5 9 f5 gxf5 10 gxf5 was Fischer-Udovcic, Zagreb 1970, while 10 exf5 was Arnason-Keene, London 1981. For the conclusion to the latter game see this week’s puzzle. 8 e5 Nd7 9 h4 From this point on White’s megalomaniac pawn advances simply undermine his own structure. After 9 Bg2, preventing … b5, White can claim a small advantage. 9 … b5 10 h5 Bb7 11 d5 Na5 (see diagram 1) 12 e6? White has conceived the incorrect plan of cracking open Black’s kingside in a way designed to win rook for bishop. However, the material investment is negligible and in the tempest which arises, White’s pawn centre vanishes without trace. Far more dangerous is 12 Qf3 with the plan of deferring the capture on g6 and transferring White’s queen to h3. 12 … fxe6 13 hxg6 hxg6 14 Qd3 Rf6 15 g5 Rf5 16 Bh3 Qf8 Salvaging the rook would be fatal but after the text Black assumes complete control. 17 Bxf5 Qxf5 18 0-0-0 Qxd3 19 Rxd3 b4 20 Nce2 Bxd5 (see diagram 2) White’s attack has vanished and so has his pawn centre. Black’s raking bishops add to White’s woes. 21 Rh2 c5 22 Bd2 Nc4 23 Ng3 Bxb2+ 24 Kb1 Bg7 25 f5 Nde5 26 Rxd5 exd5 27 fxg6 Rf8 White resigns
In the Vugar Gashimov Memorial tournament held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, the surprise winner was the homegrown grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. He surged to late victories and surpassed the early leaders, Fabiano Caruana and Anish Giri, as well as the official world title challenger, Sergey Karjakin. This will form the topic of next week’s article.
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