20 January 2012

Annotated Game #27: English/Queen's Indian

This short draw has little in the way of middlegame fireworks, but was useful to look at for opening study purposes.  This game, which took place in the same tournament following Annotated Game #26, is from a much earlier phase of my career (pre-database) and I didn't have the line in my current opening repertoire system, which I've now updated accordingly.

I correctly remembered to pursue the basic idea from the relevant English/Queen's Indian Defense illustrated game from Nigel Povah's How to Play the English Opening, which features Romanishin's counter-intuitive development of Bd3.  However, at the time I evidently didn't recall the basic idea behind the move, which is a classic openings goof by less-developed players: studying a line without knowing the why of it, which makes it much less effective (or even dangerous) in practice.  My follow-up was therefore sub-par and my opponent was able to immediately equalize.  His own threats were in turn quickly neutralized, however, and the position became mostly closed and apparently quite drawn, although if anything with a slight plus to White (as Houdini evaluates in the end).

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Class B"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A17"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "32"] [EventDate "1995.??.??"] {A17: English Opening: 1...Nf6 with ...Bb4} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. e4 Bb7 5. Bd3 {originated by Romanishin, the idea being to emphasize bishop activity instead of burying the light-squared bishop after playing d3 to support e4.} d6 {prevents e5} 6. O-O (6. Bc2 {which defers castling is normally preferred and scores well at 59%, although O-O scores much better at 77% (from an admittedly smaller selection, less than 20 games).}) 6... Be7 7. Rb1 $146 (7. Bc2 {is the basic plan for White, allowing d4 as a follow-up; 4/5 database moves have this, with 62% score.} c5 $14) 7... c5 {Black takes advantage of White's central pawn absence} 8. Re1 Nc6 9. a3 {Secures b4} O-O 10. b4 (10. Be2 d5 11. exd5 exd5 12. cxd5 Nxd5 $11 {is the line originally given by Fritz, which then allows White to activate his bishop.} 13. Bc4) 10... Ne5 {although e5 is an excellent knight outpost, Houdini prefers the plan of repositioning the Nf6 on e5, via either d7 or g4.} 11. Nxe5 dxe5 {now the Ne5 is not replaced with another knight, but a weak pawn.} 12. Qc2 Qd7 13. Be2 { the bishop finally extricates itself.} Rfd8 14. d3 {at this point, it's clear that the half-open d-file will not do Black any good.} Rac8 15. b5 {White gains space, as Fritz originally noted, further restricting Black's freedom of maneuver by taking away the c6 square.} h6 {Prevents intrusion on g5} 16. a4 Nh7 1/2-1/2

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