'Slaughtering the QGD'

Tue, 2014-03-04 13:21 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2014.03.03"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Slaughtering the Openings"]
[Black "Queen's Gambit Declined"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D30"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "4"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]

{This week we will be continuing the 'Slaughtering the Chess Openings' series,
but contrary to last week, I will be providing more balanced coverage of our
opening for this week. You would think that it is very hard to 'slaughter' an
opening as solid as the Queen's Gambit Declined for either colour, but that's
not the impression my selection of games today will give! For those who missed
last week's post, by 'slaughtering' an opening I mean misplaying it quite
badly and thus making the opening seem a lot worse than it really is.} 1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6 *
[Event "URS-ch17"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1949.10.16"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Kotov, Alexander"]
[Black "Petrosian, Tigran V"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D36"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "25"]
[EventDate "1949.10.16"]
[EventRounds "19"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{In the first game we'll see a World Champion (admittedly at the start of his
chess career) slaughter the reputed QGD!} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5
exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Qc2 Ne4 $4 {Black often wants to play ...Ne4 in
this variation to activate his knight and initiate a kingside attack (or even
stop White playing e4), but here it fails tactically.} (7... Nbd7 8. Bd3 Nh5 9.
Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nge2 (10. Nf3 Nf4 {gives Black what he wants.}) 10... Nb6 {would
be a much more solid way for Black to play.}) (7... O-O 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. Nge2 Re8
10. O-O Nf8 11. f3 {is the main line, which should favour White slightly as it
is hard for Black to find a good plan to stop an eventual e3-e4.}) 8. Bxe7 Qxe7
(8... Kxe7 9. Nxe4 dxe4 10. Qxe4+ {is hardly an improvement.}) 9. Nxd5 {This
is the tactic Black overlooked. Even strong players can forget 'Loose Pieces
Drop Off'!} cxd5 10. Qxc8+ Qd8 11. Bb5+ (11. Qxb7 {also wins comfortably.})
11... Nc6 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Qxc6+ {Black is two pawns down for nothing and
will lose the right to castle, so he called it quits.} 1-0 
[Event "Moscow ZCC"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1961.??.??"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Smyslov, Vassily"]
[Black "Tolush, Alexander V"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A34"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "33"]
[EventDate "1961.??.??"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2000.11.22"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 (3. Nc3 {allows the Nimzo with} Bb4 {.}) 3... d5 {
Black can also use this move order to avoid options such as the QGD Exchange
in the previous game.} 4. g3 {The Catalan often has a reputation of being a
quiet way to play for a small edge and niggling pressure, but there are plenty
of sharp variations in this opening. Black tries to avoid them in this game
but still faces lots of problems.} c5 (4... dxc4 5. Bg2 {gives Black a lot of
different options, of which} Bb4+ 6. Bd2 a5 {is probably the most solid, and})
(4... Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O Nbd7 {is the 'Closed Catalan' and a very robust
way to handle the position.}) 5. cxd5 Nxd5 {This is known as the Semi-Tarrasch,
but this is the best version of the Semi-Tarrasch for White.} (5... exd5 {
transposes to the Tarrasch Defence, whereas}) (5... cxd4 6. dxe6 Bxe6 7. Qxd4
Nc6 8. Qxd8+ Rxd8 {is an interesting gambit I read about in a recent New In
Chess Yearbook. White is up a pawn, but Black has a huge lead in development.})
6. Bg2 Nc6 (6... cxd4 7. O-O Nc6 8. Nxd4 {leaves White better as the 'Catalan'
bishop on g2 is very strong and in comparison, the c8-bishop is hemmed in.}) 7.
O-O Be7 8. Nc3 Nxc3 (8... cxd4 9. Nxd5 Qxd5 10. Nxd4 {is a trap I once caught
out a 1900 with - the point is that} Qxd4 11. Bxc6+ {wins the queen.}) (8...
O-O {is more common, but then} 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Bg5 {gives White
a fairly safe edge and scores well in practice. If you compare this to a
normal Tarrasch you'll realise how much less counterplay Black has after an
exchange of knights.}) 9. bxc3 O-O {Here White has solidified his d4-pawn, and
compared to a Grunfeld hasn't played e4 leaving his d4-pawn weak. He always
has e3 to guard it against e.g. ...Bf6, though in the game he doesn't even
need that!} 10. Rb1 $1 {An extremely attuned move, stopping Black from
developing his c8-bishop.} Qa5 (10... b6 11. Ne5 {wins material, while}) (10...
cxd4 11. cxd4 Bf6 12. e3 {keeps White's positional plusses.}) 11. Qb3 (11. Qc2
{is an equally good square for the queen. Note that if} cxd4 {, it is quite
interesting to play} 12. Nxd4 {to maximise the pressure down the long diagonal.
}) 11... Rd8 12. Bf4 (12. Rd1 {has been more common, but we'll see in the game
that Black isn't threatening to take on d4 in any case!}) 12... cxd4 13. Nxd4
$1 {This move is very strong as Black doesn't have a good square for the
knight, he can't defend it properly, and the pressure of the g2-bishop is
difficult to contend with. Finally, if Black grabs the pawn...} Nxd4 14. cxd4
Rxd4 15. Bxb7 Bxb7 16. Qxb7 {...he has quite a passive position, where White
dominates the queenside files (it is important that the f4-bishop stops Black
invading with ...Rd2). Still, Black didn't have to throw the game away with}
Qd8 {;} (16... Re8 17. Rfc1 Bf8 {would give reasonable chances of holding
despite White's imposing initiative.}) 17. Bb8 $1 {This is one of the most
beautiful ways to win the exchange I have seen in my life. Black resigned.} 1-0
[Event "World Teams 2013"]
[Site "Antalya TUR"]
[Date "2013.11.26"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Abdel Razik, K."]
[Black "Meier, Geo"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2450"]
[BlackElo "2623"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "44"]
[EventDate "2013.11.26"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "TUR"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2013.12.03"]
[WhiteTeam "Egypt"]
[BlackTeam "Germany"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "EGY"]
[BlackTeamCountry "GER"]

{The Bxf6 lines of the Classical QGD have a very solid reputation, but this
doesn't mean that one can flout chess principles safely in the QGD, as the
following brutal example demonstrates.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 (2... g6 3. c4 Bg7
4. Nc3 d5 5. Bg5 Ne4 6. cxd5 Nxg5 7. Nxg5 e6 8. Nf3 exd5 9. e3 {is very
similar to the variation in this game, only with White having played cxd5 and
Black's bishop being on g7 instead of f6.}) 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 (5. g4 {
is another way White can try bending the rules, but after} c5 6. g5 Ne4 7. cxd5
exd5 8. dxc5 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Bxc5 {as Lee Jones played against me some years ago
leaves the g5-pawn looking a bit out of place. Otherwise the position is
fairly normal.}) 5... h6 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. h4 $6 {White wants to hack
with g4 and g5, but this isn't appropriate when Black has not made any
mistakes.} (8. Rc1 c6 9. Bd3 Nd7 10. O-O dxc4 11. Bxc4 e5 {is the main line,
after which most wins by either colour result from the opponent falling asleep
from sheer boredom. Definitely a variation for the pipe smokers.}) 8... c5 9.
cxd5 (9. g4 cxd4 10. exd4 Nc6 {had been seen before, after which the consistent
} 11. g5 hxg5 12. hxg5 Bxg5 {leaves White wondering where his compensation for
the pawn went.}) 9... cxd4 10. Nxd4 exd5 {Black has quite a nice IQP position
here as White can't realistically castle kingside (due to the h4 gash) and
Black has a tiny lead in development. And if White castles queenside...} 11.
Qh5 Nc6 12. O-O-O Be6 {...his king will go splat. One of my students likes to
castle queenside against the QGD and somehow gets away with it though.} 13. Rd2
(13. g4 Bxd4 14. exd4 Qf6 {followed by ...Qf4 is pretty nasty.}) 13... Nxd4 14.
exd4 b5 $1 {Black is ready to play ...b4 to kick the knight away and blast
through on the c-file, and if White takes the pawn...} 15. Bxb5 Qa5 {...the
b-file is opened for Black's rooks. White simply can't handle the advantage in
force Black possesses on the queenside - that wayward h5-queen should have
stayed at home cleaning the castle!} 16. Nxd5 Qxa2 (16... Qxb5 17. Nxf6+ gxf6
18. Qxb5 {is a trick you'd do well to avoid.}) 17. Nxf6+ gxf6 {Sure, Black's
king looks weak, but White can't really exploit that, and his own king is a
lot weaker!} 18. d5 Rac8+ 19. Bc6 Qa1+ 20. Kc2 Qxh1 21. Rd3 Kh7 22. Rc3 Rxc6 {
White resigned.} 0-1
[Event "URS Spartakiad"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1964.10.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Furman, Semen Abramovich"]
[Black "Klovans, Janis"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D36"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "1964.10.??"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.11.16"]

{As the following game illustrates, one does not simply stodge around for 80
moves in the QGD! At least not when one needs to make the football game
starting in two hours!} 1. c4 Nf6 2. d4 (2. Nc3 {is not a bad way of avoiding
the Nimzo and Grunfeld.}) 2... e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 {I glossed
over this variation (which is what you'll get most often as Black) before, so
I'll treat it with the respect it deserves - none!} Be7 {I will tip off my
potential competitors and point out that 4.cxd5 has been refuted, but as for
the refutation...consider it a puzzle!} 6. e3 O-O 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. Nf3 (8. Nge2
Re8 9. O-O Nf8 {tries to somehow benefit from delaying ...c6 (don't ask) but}
10. b4 $1 Bxb4 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Nxd5 Qxd5 13. Qa4 {is then an effective
punishment.}) 8... c6 9. Qc2 Re8 ({It is more accurate to start with} 9... h6 {
, so that after} 10. Bh4 Re8 11. O-O {Black can play} Ne4 $1 {as after} 12.
Bxe4 (12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. b4 Ndf6 14. b5 cxb5 15. Bxb5 Bd7 {is also fine for
Black as White isn't really in a position to put pressure on the IQP.}) 12...
Bxh4 {there is no h7-pawn to capture (though White should probably throw in}
13. Bh7+ {anyway).}) 10. O-O Nf8 11. Rab1 {This is the positional approach,
intending a minority attack with b4-b5 to weaken Black's pawn structure, but} (
11. h3 {is the main move, with the idea of meeting} Ne4 {with} 12. Bf4 {,
preserving the bishop and enabling it to be tucked away on h2.}) 11... Ng6 ({
It's an interesting question whether Black should throw in} 11... a5 12. a3 Ng6
13. b4 axb4 14. axb4 {- compared to the game the Black rook has the open
a-file, so it is probably a slight refinement.}) 12. b4 Ne4 (12... a6 13. a4 {
is another set of moves you can argue for or against inserting. Note that if
Black plays} b5 {, it doesn't really work as Black doesn't have ...Nb6
followed by ...Nc4, and} 14. Ne5 Qd6 15. f4 {just seems very binding.}) 13.
Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Rfe1 {This just wastes time; the rook belongs on c1.} (14. b5 {
is very effective here as Black isn't in a position to play ...cxb5 or ...c5
due to the pressure on the d5-pawn. If} Bg4 15. Bxe4 dxe4 16. Nd2 f5 17. bxc6
bxc6 18. Qa4 {gives White a gigantic positional advantage - all of Black's
pieces are very out of play.}) 14... Nxc3 15. Qxc3 Bg4 16. Nd2 {White doesn't
have any pieces defending the kingside, so Black goes on the offensive.} Rac8 {
This takes one move but it's a useful one to stop an immediate b5. Moves that
slow down the opponent's attack as just as important as your own attacking
moves.} 17. Rbc1 Nh4 $1 {A charge like ...f5-f4 tends to backfire in these
positions, so Black relies on piece play instead.} 18. Bf1 Qg5 {The position
should still be about equal, but Black has the much easier game.} 19. Kh1 (19.
e4 {makes sense to meet Black's wing attack with a central break, and after}
dxe4 20. Nxe4 Qg6 21. Ng3 {both sides have their chances - White's structure
is worse but Black will need a bit of time to reorganise his kingside pieces.})
19... Re6 $1 {Now Black has ideas of ...Rh6 to build up his attack, and
opening up the centre doesn't work as well here as on the previous turn.} 20.
e4 (20. b5 Bh3 $1 {intending gxh3 Rg6 is perhaps what worried White, but} 21.
g3 Bxf1 22. Rxf1 {mans the fort.}) 20... dxe4 21. Nxe4 Qf4 22. Nc5 $2 {The
decisive mistake.} (22. Qe3 {was necessary to prevent Black's next, though}
Qxe3 23. Rxe3 Nf5 24. Ree1 Nxd4 {keeps good winning chances thanks to the
extra pawn.}) 22... Nf3 $1 23. g3 (23. gxf3 Bxf3+ 24. Bg2 Rh6 25. h3 Rxh3+ {is
no better.}) 23... Rh6 $1 {What a finish.} 24. h3 Rxh3+ 25. Bxh3 Qh6 {White
resigned as he can't get out of the lethal ...Qxh3.} 0-1 
[Event "Bundesliga 0304"]
[Site "Germany"]
[Date "2003.11.23"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Babula, Vlastimil"]
[Black "Gabriel, Christian"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D58"]
[WhiteElo "2550"]
[BlackElo "2560"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2003.11.01"]
[EventRounds "15"]
[EventCountry "GER"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2004.01.13"]
[WhiteTeam "Werder Bremen"]
[BlackTeam "Solingen"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "GER"]
[BlackTeamCountry "GER"]

{I'll finish by presenting a game for you to analyse, to help you understand
the QGD for both sides. In this game Black gets so absorbed in the positional
ideas that he completely forgets about the little tricks that often decide
games. In case you're after a puzzle: why did Black resign on move 22?} 1. d4
Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. Bd3 Bb7 9.
O-O Nbd7 10. Qe2 Ne4 11. Bg3 c5 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Rad1 Qc8 14. Rfe1 Bf6 15.
Bxe4 dxe4 16. Nd2 cxd4 17. exd4 Bxd4 18. Nb5 Bxb2 19. Nd6 Qc6 20. N2xe4 f5 21.
Qxb2 fxe4 22. Rc1 1-0