Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Avrukh part 2

The Dutch Stonewall is not a popular opening at grandmaster practice. Thus theoretical developments only happen slowly. However also the character of the opening plays a role herein. Tactical refutations are rare compared with more open types of schemes. We have rather a battle between plans than exact moves.

1 of the last big shifts in the Dutch stonewall was the rise of the b6 systems which largely replaced the old Bc8-d7-e8-h5 (g6) systems. I wrote about this in my article manuals. Today I believe we experience a new shift. More and more white chooses to leave the classical setups with knights on e5 and d3 to control the black squares and instead chooses a more dynamic type of position recommended by Avrukh.

In my article of 2012 I already wrote that we saw an increase of 150% of this unorthodox system in the databases after the publication of Avrukhs book and this trend still continues. There are 50 games (+2300 elo) played in 2015 with this openingline in the database. That is more than 4-fold of what we see in the years before 2010.

This evolution doesn't surprise me. It is not easy psychologically to play the Dutch Stonewall when you are forced to drop the standard schemes. Whites score in my opening-book is more than 62% on + 400 games (+2300 elo) which only boosts the popularity. Also in Belgium I see a number of players picking up white. Grandmaster Bart Michiels is probably the strongest and most known supporter. His recent game against the reigning Flemish champion Ashote Draftian, a very big fan of the (Dutch) stonewall demonstrates well whites chances in this line.
[Event "39th Eastman Open"] [Date "2016.07.18"] [White "Michiels, Bart"] [Black "Draftian, Ashote"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A81"] [WhiteElo "2524"] [BlackElo "2283"] [PlyCount "122"] 1. d4 f5 2. g3 e6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. c4 d5 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 c6 8. Qc2 Ne4 9. Rb1 Qe7 10. b4 Bd7 11. b5 Be8 12. a4 Nd7 13. c5 Bc7 14. bxc6 bxc6 15. Rb7 {(White exits the opening with a nice edge but he is not able to keep it.)} Qd8 16. Nxe4 fxe4 17. Ng5 Rf6 18. Be3 h6 19. Nh3 Nf8 20. Bf4 Bxf4 21. Nxf4 g5 22. Nh3 Rf7 23. Rxf7 Bxf7 24. f3 exf3 25. exf3 Rb8 26. f4 Bg6 27. Qd1 Rb1 28. Qd2 g4 29. Nf2 Rxf1 30. Bxf1 Bf5 31. Qb4 Qc7 32. Ba6 Nd7 33. Kf1 Kf7 34. Be2 h5 35. h3 Nf6 36. hxg4 Nxg4 37. Bxg4 hxg4 38. a5 Ke7 39. Nd1 Bd3 40. Ke1 Kf6 41. Ne3 Qh7 $4 {(The decisive blunder. Bf5 is still equal.)} 42. Nxg4 Kf5 43. Nf2 Be4 44. Qb8 Qh2 45. Qe5 Kg6 46. Qxe6 Kg7 47. Qf6 Kg8 48. Ke2 Qg2 49. Qg5 Kf8 50. Qg4 Qg1 51. Nxe4 dxe4 52. Qf5 Kg8 53. Qxe4 Qa1 54. Qxc6 Qb2 55. Kf3 Qc3 56. Kg4 Qd2 57. Qe6 Kf8 58. Qf6 Ke8 59. Qe6 Kf8 60. c6 Qd1 61. Kg5 Kg7 1-0
Of course Bart is the stronger player but I assume Ahsote wasn't up to date of the theory as otherwise he would not enter the line with 10.b4. Obviously I play the opening completely different. Studying openings is today a big part of my study-time. Contrary to Ashote I do use extensively foreknowledge in my games. An extreme example is surely my game of Open Gent played in round 5 against Johan Goormachtigh in which I spent less that a quarter.
[Event "Open Gent 5de ronde"] [Date "2016"] [White "Goormachtigh, J."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A90"] [WhiteElo "2189"] [BlackElo "2314"] [PlyCount "42"] 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. Nf3 d5 5. O-O Bd6 6. c4 c6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Qc2 Nbd7 {(Johan already met in his practice the most popular move Ne4 in 2013 by Jan Rogiers according to my megadatabase so his chosen line is not a surprise for me.)} 9. cxd5 {(Rb1 was played end of last year against me by Raf De Coninck. Cxd5 is considered as critical by the theory but of course I knew an anti-dote.)} cxd5 10. Nb5 Bb8 11. Bf4 Bxf4 12. gxf4 Ne8 13. Rfc1 Nb6 14. Nc7 Nxc7 15. Qxc7 Nc4 16. Qxd8 Rxd8 17. b3 Nd6 18. Rc2 $146 {(The first new move as in 1928 Ne5 was played by the Polish/French grandmaster Saviely Tartakower.)} Bd7 19. e3 Rac8 20. Rac1 Rxc2 21. Rxc2 Rc8 {(I only spent 10 minutes for all the moves. The endgame is pretty sterile. A half point was acceptable for me with the tournament-situation but the line can be a disadvantage if you really want to win with black.)} 1/2-1/2
I will not claim at all that Nbd7 is the end of whites concept but the anti-dote used in most sources (as the one of Avrukh) is totally inadequate. The old game Efim Bogljubov - Savielly Tartakower played in 1924 is often used as model but nobody seems to be aware of the game Savielly Tartakower - Alfred Brinckmann played in 1928 which shows a totally different evaluation. Maybe this has to do with the different move-sequence but any database consists today of tools to bypass this problem.

By complete chance I got the same opening another time on the board in the last round of the same tournament. First I wanted to vary my play but as I was out of contention for the prizes (due to a discrimination based on Belgium ratings) I decided to check what my opponent has prepared. A mini-thematic tournament looked at first appealing to me but it became a disappointment.
[Event "Open Gent 9de ronde"] [Date "2016"] [White "Clemens, A."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A90"] [WhiteElo "2170"] [BlackElo "2314"] [PlyCount "46"] 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 d5 5. Nf3 c6 6. O-O Bd6 7. Nc3 {(After the game Adrian told me that he saw Bart playing this in round 5 successfully against Ashote Draftian so he also wanted to give it a shot. However he did not know that I already met it in the same round against Johan Goormachtigh.)} O-O 8. Qc2 Nbd7 {(I doubted several minutes here as I was not sure if it is safe to repeat the same choice as in my game against Johan. Maybe Adrian prepared something against it. In the end I anyway again played Nbd7 as the analysis of the alternatives were not easy to remember and there were no prizes anymore to win for me.)} 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. Nb5 Bb8 11. Bf4 Bxf4 12. gxf4 Ne8 13. Rfc1 Nb6 14. Nc7 Nxc7 15. Qxc7 Nc4 16. Qxd8 Rxd8 17. b3 Nd6 18. Ne5 {(Only here Adrian deviated from my game against Johan. As already written in the comments of Johans game this Ne5 was also played in 1928 by Saviely Tartakower.)} Bd7 $146 {(Although here I deviate myself from the old game. Alfred Brinckmann played the weaker Ne8. I discovered the move earlier at home with the help of my engines.)} 19. Rc7 Bb5 20. e3 Rac8 21. Rac1 Rxc7 22. Rxc7 Rc8 23. Rxc8 Nxc8 {(2 draws with black against FMs is not bad. On the other hand I spoil a chance to play real chess and I already play few games.)} 1/2-1/2
Adrian did not know about my game against Johan Goormachtigh despite it was published via the live-broadcasting. He just chose the line because he saw a few rounds earlier Bart winning against Ashote with it. At move 18 I improve on the earlier mentioned game Tartakower - Brinckmann with something I had studied at home and a few moves later the game was dead already. Again I used only 10 minutes for the complete game which afterwards did feel a bit awkward especially as I would not be able to play chess anymore till the new season.

2 solid comfortable draws against FMs and earlier this season a very quick victory over Raf De Coninck (see resigning) is a promising start for this concept. On the other hand it does not offer a solution against mainly lower rated players which are only looking for a draw. I did not continue the endgames as they offer very few opportunities to play for a win. However I do remember one online blitz-game in which I managed to do the impossible although with some help of my opponent.
[Event "Rated game, 3 min"] [Site "Main Playing Hall"] [Date "2016.01.11"] [White "Adnan___n"] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A90"] [WhiteElo "2128"] [BlackElo "2384"] [PlyCount "126"] 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. Nf3 d5 5. O-O Bd6 6. c4 c6 7. Qc2 O-O 8. Nc3 Nbd7 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. Nb5 Bb8 11. Bf4 Bxf4 12. gxf4 Ne8 13. Rac1 Nb6 14. Nc7 Nxc7 15. Qxc7 Nc4 16. Qxd8 Rxd8 17. b3 Nd6 18. Ne5 Bd7 19. a4 Be8 20. Rc7 Kf8 21. Rfc1 Rdc8 22. e3 Rxc7 23. Rxc7 Rc8 24. Rxc8 Nxc8 25. Bf1 Nd6 26. Bd3 Ke7 27. Kf1 a5 28. Ke2 b6 29. Kd2 h6 30. h4 Kf6 31. Kc3 g5 32. fxg5 hxg5 33. hxg5 Kxg5 34. f4 Kh4 35. Nf3 Kg3 36. Ng5 Bd7 37. Kd2 Kf2 38. Nh3 Kg2 39. Ng5 Kg3 40. Be2 Kf2 41. Nh3 Kg3 42. Ng5 Kh4 43. Nf3 Kh3 44. Ng5 Kg3 45. Bh5 Kf2 46. Bf7 Ne4 47. Nxe4 fxe4 48. f5 {(White is trying to win but he miss my f4. Otherwise it is of course a draw.)} exf5 49. Bxd5 f4 50. exf4 e3 51. Kc3 e2 52. Bc4 e1=Q 53. Kb2 Qd2 54. Ka3 Qxd4 55. Bf7 Qxf4 56. Bc4 Qd6 57. Kb2 Qb4 58. Kc2 Bxa4 59. Be6 Bc6 60. Kd3 a4 61. Bc4 axb3 62. Bd5 b2 63. Bxc6 b1=Q# 0-1
So I recommend to also know an alternative when you want to play for a win with black. The mainline with Ne4 surely offers more chances if of course you know the theory. Anyway it also looks prudent to not always play the same line and use the element of surprise in your games.


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