Monday, June 26, 2006

Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Scheveningen (Keres Attack) Part I

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6
6 g4 Line




What's the game plan for White?

White intends to gain space on the kingside
( 6 g4, 7 h4, h5) and pressurize Black's game
in that sector (8 Rh1-g1, 9 gxh5 10 Bg5).
In the center, he aims to take advantage
of the half open d-file ( 11 Qd1-d2, 13 0-0-0)
and execute an appropriate f2-f4 advance.
However, the isolated h-pawn could be a
potential weakness in his set-up.


What's the game plan for Black?



Black wants to contain White on the kingside
( 6 ... h6, 8 ... h5) and retaliate on the
opposite wing, beginning with 12 ... a6,
followed by 13 ... Bd7 and 15 ... b5.
To give the attack more punch, he intends
to play ... Nc6-e5-c4. As always, a timely
... e5 or ... d5 is crucial to his survival
in the center. With regards to king safety,
... 0-0-0 is an option, although it's not
uncommon for the monarch to remain
seated on e8.


Also available:
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Defense
(Najdorf Variation) Part I

http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/01/chess-understanding-sicilian-defense.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Najdorf Part II
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/07/chess-understanding-sicili_115316520058364198.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Najdorf Part III
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/07/chess-understanding-sicilian-najdorf.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Najdorf Part IV
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/07/chess-understanding-sicilian-najdorf_17.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Najdorf Part V
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/07/chess-understanding-sicilian-defense_23.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Defense
(Accelerated Fianchetto)

http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/07/chess-understanding-sicilian-defense.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Dragon
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/01/chess-understanding-sicilian-dragon.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Defense
(Löwenthal Variation)

http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/08/chess-understanding-sicilian-defense_23.html
Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Defense
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/08/chess-understanding-sicilian-defense_22.html
Understanding the Sicilian Defense (Sozin Variation)
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/01/chess-understanding-sicilian-defense_30.html
Understanding the Sicilian Defense
(Sveshnikov Variation)

http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/06/chess-understanding-sicilian-defense.html
Understanding the Sicilian Richter-Rauzer
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/06/chess-understanding-sicilian-richter.html
Understanding the Smith Morra Gambit
http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/06/chess-understanding-smith-morra-gambit.html

For explanations of moves 1 through 5
please refer to Understanding the Sicilian Dragon

http://chesscoach1950.blogspot.com/2006/01/chess-understanding-sicilian-dragon.html.

1 e4



1 ... c5



2 Nf3



2 ... d6



3 d4




3 ... cxd4



4 Nxd4



4 ... Nf6



5 Nc3



5 ... e6



Enter the Scheveningen!

6 g4



(i) Gaining space
(ii) Threatening to pressurize Black's f6 knight by 7 g5.

6 ... h6



Prevention against an uncontested 7 g5.

7 h4



Gaining more ground and enhancing g4-g5.

7 g5 hxg5 8 Bxg5 Nc6 9 Qd2 Qb6 10 Nb3 a6
11 O-O-O Bd7 12 h4 Qc7 13 Be2 b5 14 a3 b4
15 axb4 Nxb4 16 Bxf6 (16 h5 Be7 17 h6
17 ... gxh6 18 Rxh6 Rxh6 19 Bxh6 Bc6 20 Qd4
20 ... a5 21 Bg7 e5)
16 ... gxf6 17 Qd4
17 ... Rb8 18 Qxf6 Rh7 19 Qd4 a5 20 e5 dxe5
21 Qe4, with a small advantage for White.


7 g5 hxg5 8 Bxg5 Nc6 9 Qd2 Qb6 10 Nb3 a6
11 O-O-O Bd7 12 h4 Qc7 13 Be2 b5 14 a3 b4
15 axb4 Nxb4 16 f4 Rb8 17 f5 e5 18 Bxf6 gxf6,
and Black looks somewhat better


7 g5 hxg5 8 Bxg5 a6 9 Qd2 Nc6 10 O-O-O Bd7
11 h4 Qc7 12 Be2 O-O-O 13 f4 Be7 14 h5 Kb8
15 Kb1 Qb6 16 Nb3 Bc8 17 h6 gxh6 18 Bxh6
18 ... Rdg8 19 Bg5 Rxh1 20 Rxh1,
with a minimal advantage for White


7 ... Nc6



Development towards d4 and e5.

7 ... Be7 8 Bg2 Nc6 9 g5 hxg5 10 hxg5 Rxh1+
11 Bxh1 Nh7 12 f4 g6 13 Qd2 e5 14 Nf3 exf4
15 Qxf4.


7 ... a6 8 Bg2 Nc6 9 g5 hxg5 10 hxg5 Rxh1+
11 Bxh1 Nd7 12 f4 Qb6 13 Nde2 g6 14 b3 Qc7
15 Bb2 b5 16 Qd2 Bb7 17 Nd1 Nc5 18 Ne3.


7 ... e5 8 Bb5+ Bd7 9 Bxd7+ Qxd7 10 Nf5 Nc6
11 Rg1 O-O-O 12 Ne3 d5 13 exd5 Nb4.


8 Rg1



Solidifying the g4-g5 advance.

8 g5 hxg5 9 Bxg5 Qb6 10 Nb3 a6 11 Qd2 Bd7
12 O-O-O Qc7 13 Be2 b5 14 a3 b4 15 axb4 Nxb4
16 f4 Rb8.


8 ... h5



But Black throws a wrench in the works.
The idea is that if 9 g4-g5, then 9 ... Nf6-g4;
in order to attain more space and harass Black's
kingside, White must put up with an intruder
on g4.

8 ... d5 9 Bb5 Bd7 10 exd5 Nxd5 11 Nxd5 exd5
12 Qe2+ Qe7 13 Be3 Nxd4 14 Bxd7+ Kxd7 15 Bxd4
15 ... Qxe2+ 16 Kxe2 f6 17 Rad1.


8 ... d5 9 exd5 Nxd5 10 Nxd5 Qxd5 11 Bg2 Qe5+
12 Be3 Bd7 13 Nxc6 Bxc6 14 Bxc6+ bxc6 15 Qd4
15 ... Qxd4 16 Bxd4 f6 17 h5.


9 gxh5



So he changes his pressurization plan to firing up the
half open g-file through the g1-rook .

9 g5 Ng4 10 Be2 Qb6 11 Bxg4 hxg4
12 Nxc6 bxc6 13 Qxg4 g6 14 b3 Bg7 15 Bb2
15 ... Qc5 16 Qf3 Rxh4 17 O-O-O.


[9 g5 Ng4 10 Be2 d5 11 exd5 exd5 12 Bb5 Bd7
13 f3 Nge5 14 Bf4 Nxd4 15 Bxd7+ Qxd7 16 Bxe5 Nc6
17 Qe2 O-O-O 18 O-O-O Qe6]
[9 g5 Ng4 10 Be2 d5 11 Bxg4 hxg4 12 g6 f6
13 exd5 exd5 14 Be3 Bb4 15 Qe2 Bxc3+ 16 bxc3 Qe7
17 Qb5 Qd7 18 O-O-O Nxd4]

9 ... Nxh5



[9 ... Rxh5 10 Bg5 Rh8 11 Qd2 Qb6 12 Nb3 Bd7
13 O-O-O a5 14 a4 Ne5 15 Qe2 Rc8 16 Be3 Qc7
17 f4 Nc4 18 Bd4 Rxh4 19 Qf2]

10 Bg5



Mobilization with attack.

10 ... Nf6



Protecting the Queen and avoiding the grim rim.
[10 ... Qb6 11 Nb3 a6 12 Be2 g6 13 Qd2 Bd7 14 Rg2
14 ... Qc7 15 O-O-O b5 16 a3 Ne5 17 Qd4 Rh7
18 f4 Nc4 19 Bxh5 Rxh5 20 Re1]
[10 ... Qc7 11 Qd2 a6 12 O-O-O Nxd4 13 Qxd4 Bd7
14 Kb1 Rc8 15 Be2 b5 16 Rge1 Qc5 17 Qd2 Nf6 18 a3]

11 Qd2



Now queenside castling is enabled.

11 ... Qb6



Breaking the pin on the f6 knight and attacking b2.
[11 ... a6 12 Be2 Qb6 13 Nb3 Bd7 14 h5 Nxh5
15 Rh1 g6 16 O-O-O Qxf2 17 e5 Qf5 18 exd6 Qxg5
19 Qxg5 Bh6 20 Qxh6 Rxh6 21 Nc5 Ne5]

12 Nb3



12 ... a6



(i) Deters a potential Nb5-d6.
The impending Qd2-Rd1 duo is challenge
enough for the d6 pawn.
(ii) Enables the thematic ... b5 break.
[12 ... Bd7 13 O-O-O a5 14 Bb5 Ne5 15 Qd4
15 ... Qxd4 16 Nxd4 Rc8 17 f4 Nc6 18 Bxf6 gxf6]

13 O-O-O



13 ... Bd7



Speedily mobilizing the queenside for attack.
[13 ... Qc7 14 Kb1 Bd7 15 f4 Nh7 16 f5 Nxg5
17 hxg5 O-O-O 18 Be2 Be7 19 Qf4]

14 Rh1



14 ... Qc7



15 Be2



[15 Kb1 Be7 16 f4 O-O-O 17 Bg2 Kb8 18 Bf3 Bc8
19 Qe2 Ng8 20 Bxe7 Ngxe7 21 h5 g6 22 Qd2 gxh5
23 Rxh5 Rxh5 24 Bxh5 f5]
[15 Bxf6 gxf6 16 h5 Bh6 17 f4 d5 18 Rh4 d4
19 Ne2 e5 20 Bh3 Be6 21 Kb1 O-O-O]

15 ... b5



[15 ... O-O-O 16 h5 Be7 17 Kb1 Kb8 18 f4 Bc8
19 Bf3 Ng8 20 Bxe7 Ngxe7 21 Rhg1 Rh7 22 Rg5 b6
23 Nd4 Bb7]
[15 ... Be7 16 f4 O-O-O 17 h5 Kb8 18 Kb1 Ne8
19 Bxe7 Nxe7]

16 a3



[16 Rhe1 Be7 17 a3 Rb8 ]

16 ... Ne5



[16 ... b4 17 axb4 Nxb4 18 f4 Rb8 19 f5 e5
20 Rh3 Bc6 21 Bxf6 gxf6 22 Kb1 a5]
[16 ... b4 17 axb4 Nxb4 18 Bxf6 gxf6
19 Qd4 a5 20 Qxf6 Rh6 21 Qd4 a4 22 Nd2 a3
23 Qxb4 a2 24 Nb3 a1=Q+ 25 Nxa1 Rxa1+
26 Kd2 d5 27 Qb3 Qf4+ 28 Ke1 Rxd1+
29 Nxd1 Qxe4 30 Qb8+ Ke7 31 Rg1 Rxh4]

17 f4



17 ... Nc4



18 Qd4 Rc8



19 h5



By ChessCoach@care2.com



















10 Comments:

Anonymous Mark Weeks said...

I looked at your latest post on the Scheveningen, because it's my current favorite as Black against 1.e4. Most players respond with the Keres Attack, but in my opinion it's not the best. Following your main line, after 7.h4 I've always played 7...Be7, and have had 8.Be3, 8.Rg1, 8.Bg2, and 8.Qf3 played against me. None of these moves gives White an advantage.

I agree with your 'What's the game plan for Black?', except that ...Qb6 and ...b5 are two different plans. White's problem is that after the 'attack' fizzles out, which it always does, the Pawn on g4 (or g5) is an endgame weakness, subject to encirclement. I think most players are attracted to the Keres Attack because it carries the great GM's name and has the word 'Attack' in it. Its positional foundation is dubious, which makes it speculative.

11:15 AM  
Blogger ChessCoach said...

Since my latest post did not focus on the 7 ... Be7 variation, I feel ill-equipped to take you to task on that matter. However, I will definitely make it the subject of my next Scheveningen article, and then I'll get back to you. It's interesting to note though that of the 100 or so 7 ... Be7 games in my Deep Fritz 8 database, White largely comes out on top. But then again a 100 games aren't truly representitive.

When you say ... Qb6 and ... b5 are two different plans, do you mean the following: ... b5 initiates Black's queenside attack whereas ... Qb6 primarily pressures the a7-g1 diagonal, particularly d4, f2 and g1? If that's not the case, I'd appreciate a clarification.

I don't see how the g4/g5 pawn could be a potential weakness considering that after 7 ... Be7, White can proceed with 8 g5 hxg5 9 Bxg5. Don't you mean the h-pawn? Or you are referencing those variations where White prepares for a recapture with the h-pawn? I'm a bit confused here. Unlike you I have confidence in the Keres Attack. It might be positionally dubious, but I've had some good wins with it. Or maybe my adversaries failed to find the best responses. Could the same be true with the games you've won using 7 ... Be7?

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Mark Weeks said...

'It's interesting to note though that of the 100 or so 7 ... Be7 games in my Deep Fritz 8 database, White largely comes out on top.'

Opening statistics are notoriously unreliable. The ChessBase databases include a lot of games by weaker players. These aren't always helpful to understand an opening.

'...Qb6 and ...b5 are two different plans, do you mean...'

No, in the move sequence you give ...Qb6 blocks the b-Pawn. If you intend to play ...b5, it's better to play the Queen to another square, or wait until ...b5 has been played. Note that the move ...b5 has a serious drawback: both wings are compromised. It signals that the Black King is probably going to stay in the center.

'after 7 ... Be7, White can proceed with 8 g5 hxg5 9 Bxg5.'

No one has ever played that against me. It leaves White's h-Pawn isolated on an open file. What's the compensation?

11:21 AM  
Blogger ChessCoach said...

"[In] the move sequence you give ...Qb6 blocks the b-Pawn. If you intend to play ...b5, it's better to play the Queen to another square, or wait until ...b5 has been played."

True, ... Qb6 does get in the way of ... b5, but, I suspect it may be a useful interposition:

It threatens to liquidate the d4 tension (... Nxd4), after which Black easily equalizes.

Sample Variation:

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 g4 h6 7 h4 Be7 8 g5 hxg5 9 Bxg5 Nc6 10 Qd2 Qb6
11 O-O-O Nxd4 12 Qxd4 Qxd4 13 Rxd4 Ng4 14 Bxe7 Kxe7 15 Be2 Nf6 16 h5 e5 17 Rc4 Bd7 18 Rg1 Bc6
19 Rxg7 Nxh5 20 Bxh5 Rxh5 21 Nd5+ Kf8 22 Rg1 f5 23 f3, e.t.c.

So, if White wants to really give Black a run for his money, he has to temporarily concede d4 through Nb3. Black then enables ... b5 by purposefully retreating the Queen to her beloved c7 post.

"No one has ever played [8 g5] against me. It leaves White's h-Pawn isolated on an open file. What's the compensation?"

Yes, it does leave the h-pawn isolated, which is why I reference that fact under White's game plan. The compensation, however, is a gain in kingside space. If the pawn experiences too much heat, White can always advance it with the hope of an exchange on h6. Otherwise the Be2-Rh1 set-up guarantees the pawn's safety on h5.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Mark Weeks said...

'True, ... Qb6 does get in the way of ... b5, but, I suspect it may be a useful interposition'

In the sample variation you give for ...Qb6, Black doesn't play ...b5. Like I said before, ...Qb6 and ...b5 are two different plans.

'Otherwise the Be2-Rh1 set-up guarantees the pawn's safety on h5.'

In the middle game this might be true. White's going on the defensive so early is not the trademark of a good opening.

In the endgame the h-Pawn is toast. Black goes on to win with the extra Pawn on the Kingside. That's why everyone plays to set up the recapture h4xg5.

The Keres Attack is not the best way to play against the Scheveningen. What do you think of the line played in Tal - Larsen, Bled 1965, 10th game?

4:02 AM  
Blogger ChessCoach said...

"In the sample variation you give for ...Qb6, Black doesn't play ...b5. Like I said before, ...Qb6 and ...b5 are two different plans."

I still feel that ... Qb6 and ... b5 are not mutually exclusive. The sample variation was solely meant to highlight how the liquidation of tension on d4 gives Black equality. "So, if White wants to really give Black a run for his money, he has to temporarily concede the d4 [outpost] through Nb3. Black then enables ... b5 by purposefully retreating the Queen to her beloved c7 post":
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 g4 h6 7 h4 Be7
8 g5 hxg5 9 Bxg5 Nc6 10 Qd2 Qb6 11 Nb3 a6 12 O-O-O Qc7 13 f4 b5 14 Bg2 b4 15 Ne2 Bb7 16 Bxf6 Bxf6 17 Qxd6 Qxd6 18 Rxd6 Be7 19 Rdd1 a5, e.t.c.

"In the middle game this might be true. White's going on the defensive so early is not the trademark of a good opening.

In the endgame the h-Pawn is toast. Black goes on to win with the extra Pawn on the Kingside. That's why everyone plays to set up the recapture h4xg5."

It's a potential weakness, that much I'll give you, but, I don't think I can set its fate in stone like that. The variation above illustrates one resource for dealing with the isolini.

"The Keres Attack is not the best way to play against the Scheveningen. What do you think of the line played in Tal - Larsen, Bled 1965, 10th game?"

I'll keep playing it until I'm convinced otherwise.
The Tal-Larsen line is interesting. I like the coup de grace. Perhaps 19 ... Nf8 could have saved Black's game?

4:05 AM  
Anonymous xplor said...

During the lull in this reenactment of the Battle of
Scheveningen can you both take time to comment on this game?

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. O-O a6 8. f4 Qc7 9. g4 b5
10. a3 Bb7 11. Bf3 Nc5 12. Qe2 e5 13. Nf5 g6 14. fxe5 dxe5 15. Nh6 Ne6 16. Bg2 Bg7 17. Rxf6 Bxf6
18. Nd5 Qd8 19. Qf2 Nf4 20. Bxf4 exf4 21. e5 Bxe5 22. Re1 f6
23. Nxf6+ Qxf6 24. Qd4 Kf8
25. Rxe5 Qd8 26. Rf5+ gxf5
27. Qxh8+ Ke7 28. Qg7+ Ke6
29. gxf5+

xplor

1:24 AM  
Blogger ChessCoach said...

Another engaging Scheveningen game. I like White's roundabout but effective Be2-f3-g2 maneuver.If an improvement is to found for Black, I think it's after 18 Nd5. Also, why not
21 Qxf4 instead of 21 e5?

1:25 AM  
Anonymous xplor said...

The Bishop maneuver looks helpful in the early g4 lines. Would you have played (15. Nh6), putting a Knight on the rim? Didn’t this move force white to make unconventional moves just to stay in the game?

Was the sacrifice of a Rook on f6 justified?

The reason given for (21. e5) is it raised the psychological stress on his opponent to the point he made an error.

xplor

1:26 AM  
Blogger ChessCoach said...

"Would you have played (15. Nh6), putting a Knight on the rim? Didn’t this move force white to make unconventional moves just to stay in the game?"

No, I wouldn't have played 15 Nh6. Heading for the d5 outpost (15 Ne3, 16 Nd5) would have been my choice. Nonetheless, I don't think White's game is desperate after 15 Nh6. Thanks to it, he is able to mate the enemy King. Of course, that's if we overlook the fact that Black could have improved on his play
(18 ... Qd8?).

"Was the sacrifice of a Rook on f6 justified?"

If we make the same proviso as above, then getting rid of the d5 defender and acquiring that square via 18 Nd5 is essential to the assault on Black's centralized King.

"The reason given for (21. e5) is it raised the psychological stress on his opponent to the point he made an error."

I can see that, although I still prefer 21 Qxf4 Bxd5 22 exd5 Qb6+ 23 Kh1 O-O-O 24 c3, for instance.

1:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home