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Action Book Action Book Action Book Action Book

An Awesome Repertoire
for the Chess Player
with Limited Time for Study



By Andrew Martin
International Master


2
CONTENTS

MENTAL STRENGTH 3
THE RIGHT WAY TO LEARN 5
SUMMARY OF OPENING PRINCIPLES 6
THE CORE OF THE REPERTOIRE WHITE 7
THE CORE OF THE REPERTOIRE - BLACK 8
IDEAS BEHIND 1b4 9
SUMMARY OF IDEAS 21
THEORY - SOKOLSKY VARIATION 22
CONCLUSION 29
THE IDEAS BEHIND 1...B6 30
Instructive games 31
THEORY INTRO 43
OWEN'S DEFENCE 44
ENGLISH DEFENCE 49
OTHER LINES 54


3


MENTAL STRENGTH

I have been asked to write a book for the busy player. I will give you some
suggestions about how to improve your chess strength and describe an opening
repertoire which will be practical for you to use

I will try to use clear and simple language at all times.


I've divided the material up into several sections.

In the first section we review the basics of all successful opening play. There is no
shame in constantly referring back to basics and it is a fact that all strong players keep
their basic technique in tip-top condition.

We will then review the suggested repertoire and I will explain why I suggest the
openings that I do.

I will introduce the openings and present KEY POSITIONS for you to study before
even tackling the theory.

I will then present a check list of suggested variations will full explanations.


Each opening has a database of 100 supplementary games attached for your own,
personal study.



I will then quiz you on those games.


I will show how not to play the opening in question. Forewarned is forearmed!


And finally I will present a series of training games in How Good is Your Chess
format, where you will be invited to guess the next move at virtually every stage, thus
learning more about the nuts and bolts of each opening in question.


To complete this forward I should perhaps give you one of the most important tips of
all


4






DEVELOP MENTAL STRENGTH


Chess players are extraordinary at making excuses as to why they lost. Or inventing
reasons why not to play. Chess is a game of TRUTH. You must FACE YOURSELF,
ALONE. You have to seek out your weaknesses and try to eliminate them. Whether
you succeed or not is down to you but the hard work involved SIMPLY GOING
THROUGH THIS PROCESS will improve you game dramatically . By just TRYING
to do this, you are developing MENTAL STRENGTH.

MENTAL STRENGTH is the key to success in ANY human endeavour.


I firmly believe ENJOYMENT holds the key to getting it right. No amount of
personal training can totally prepare you for the time spent at the board with your
opponent. You have to find a BALANCE between ENJOYMENT and WANTING
TO WIN. You have to develop a state of mind where you go out to enjoy the match.
Without that, you will not play at your best.

When chess becomes a chore or you start kidding yourself about the reasons you play
or you are simply tired of the game , STOP, REGROUP, GO FORWARD LATER.
There is no shame in not playing when you don't feel like it. Chess should be neither
addictive, nor compulsive. If you feel that you are like this STOP PLAY until you
have mentally sorted yourself out.


We are all capable of good, even great play!

We can all play wonderful games and make a dramatic increase in our playing
strength.

You must believe it and set yourself to move forward with this thought
UNWAVERING in you mind. That's what MENTAL STRENGTH is all about !



5

THE RIGHT WAY TO LEARN

The best way to prepare is to use the following method.

1) FAMILIARIZATION




Go through this book at reasonable speed to get the basic ideas and patterns of play in
your head. Run over the typical positions and pitfalls. Attempt the quiz.

2) TRY THE OPENING OUT in friendly or quick games at your club, on the Internet
or against a playing program.

3) CHECK the lines used in practical play against the suggestions in this book
You are now starting to learn theory!

4) REPEAT stages 2 and 3 for a few weeks

5) STUDY the book more carefully now and learn concrete lines . Run through the
quiz again.
6) PLAY your new opening repertoire choices in competitive games !


Finally, don't forget to:

7) ANALYSE your games afterwards. You can continuously update your opening
knowledge this way.

This is how the best players do it-you can become one of those players too-why not!

And it's with that very positive thought that we begin this investigation.


6

SUMMARY OF OPENING PRINCIPLES

If you stick to and master the following principles of opening play, you will not go far
wrong.

1) Bring all the pieces into play AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. In general the pieces
should be developed in reverse order of strength

2) Only make those pawn moves which are necessary to let the pieces out.

3) Castle early to bring the Rooks into the game and to get the King to safety

4) Do not lose time by allowing your pieces to be chased around. Try not to move the
same piece too many times.

5) Play to occupy or control the centre

6) The idea of the opening is to get a good position going into the middlegame. No
more, no less.


7
THE CORE OF THE REPERTOIRE WHITE

The busy player would typically be talented and would want to improve his or her
game as much as possible.

Time would be this player's greatest enemy.

A practical approach is therefore necessary, one that is devious and even cunning.

It is impossible to complete at any level today if one is constantly handicapped by
lack of book knowledge. There is no worse feeling than losing to a guy who knows
much more theory than you, but in fact who understands much less about chess!

It happens all the time.

There is nothing more satisfying than controlling the opening stage of the game. To
be able to shunt the opponent into positions which you have studied closely and which
they have not is an art. It's not easy, but we will attempt it here.


Therefore as White I suggest the Sokolsky Opening 1 b4!:

XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zppzppzppzpp0
9++++0
9++++0
9zP+++0
9++++0
9P+PzPPzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Here is a move that is both perfectly sound and which can lead to a wide variety of
aggressive positions. In most cases Black will be totally unprepared for 1 b4.

Thus this opening is ideally suited to our purposes.


8
THE CORE OF THE REPERTOIRE - BLACK

As Black I suggest a universal move, something unusual and challenging, which puts
the opponent's theoretical knowledge under the spotlight right from move one!
Thus 1 e4 [1 d4 b6!?; 1 f3 b6; 1 c4 b6!? as well!] 1 ..b6!?

XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zpzppzppzpp0
9zp+++0
9++++0
9++P++0
9++++0
9PzPPzPzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

is the idea and we will play this against everything else too! In this guise,1..b6 is
known as Owen's Defense, after the 19th century Reverend John Owen but against 1
d4, 1 c4 and 1 Nf3, perhaps the English Defence is a more appropriate name.
Restricting our own choice in this way is a practical step. We want to cut down on the
amount of study needed to master the opening and at the same time maximise our
results by luring the opponent on to unfamiliar ground.
That is the overall game plan.


9
THE IDEAS BEHIND 1b4

The ideas behind the Sokolsky Opening are easy to understand:

XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zppzppzppzpp0
9++++0
9++++0
9zP+++0
9++++0
9P+PzPPzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy


1) White strives to create an unusual position which he has studied and his opponent
has not.

2) White's b-pawn is offered as bait in order to create a central pawn majority.

3) White advances quickly on the queenside, hoping to cramp Black.

4) White's Bishop on b2 controls the central squares d4 and e5, beyond that attacking
g7.
White often launches a Kingside onslaught precisely because of this feature.

I now cover each of these ideas in turn.


10
AN UNUSUAL POSITION

(1) Sokolsky - Strugatch
A00
Minsk, 1958

1 b4
We will use games by the master himself to illustrate the ideas behind 1 b4.
Sokolsky was a very original attacking player of Grandmaster standard. He used 1 b4
with great success over many years against all comers including such greats as Paul
Keres. The opening rightly bears his name. Unusual positions abound after 1 b4. I
would say it's a very provocative move, and here's what might happen if Black gets
carried away.
1...e5 2 Bb2
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zppzpp+pzpp0
9++++0
9++zp+0
9zP+++0
9++++0
9PvLPzPPzPPzP0
9tRN+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

A critical position already. White offers the b pawn after which he will take on e5,
establishing a central pawn majority. Black decides to shut down the diagonal and
retain his threat to b4.
2...f6?! 3 e4!
A Gambit which may or may not be sound, but that is hardly the point. We are forcing
the opponent to fight on very shaky ground. White follows up with Bc4 and f2-f4!,
opening up Black's Kingside
3...Bxb4
Declining the gambit leads to complicated play which should favour White. For
instance 3...d5 4 f4! Blasting open the diagonal is the top priority. 4...exf4 5 Nh3!
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zppzp+zpp0
9++zp+0
9++p++0
9zP+Pzp+0
9++++N0
9PvLPzP+PzP0
9tRN+QmKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy



11
An interested and little-used option which seems to give Black problems after (5
Qh5+ g6 6 Qxd5 Qxd5 7 exd5 is steadier and White has compensation for his pawn in
all lines: 7...Bxb4 8 Bc4 Bf5 (8...Nd7 9 Ne2 Bd6 10 Nbc3 Kf7 11 00 Ne5 12 Bb3 g5
13 Ne4 Bg4 14 Nd4 Rd8 15 Nb5 Kg6 16 Nxa7) 9 Ne2 Bd6 10 Nd4) 5...dxe4
(5...Bxh3 6 Qh5+ g6 7 Qxh3 unclear) 6 Nxf4 Bf5 7 Bc4 with compensation.
4 Bc4 Nc6
I will deal with specific variations a little later but let us note 4...Ne7 at this point.
White must react accurately: 5 Qh5+! g6 (5...Ng6 6 f4 exf4 7 a3 d5 8 Bxd5 c6 9 Bb3
Bd6 10 Nf3) 6 Qf3 Nec6 7 Ne2
5 f4! exf4 6 Nh3
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+lwqk+ntr0
9zppzpp+zpp0
9+n+zp+0
9++++0
9vlL+Pzp+0
9++++N0
9PvLPzP+PzP0
9tRN+QmK+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

Not an everyday position. White threatens Nxf4 and/or Qh5+,finishing Black off
before the game has even started! I believe the average player will be most
uncomfortable as Black in such a situation. Look what happens here!
6...Nge7 7 Nxf4 Na5
Thanks to the gaze of the Bishop on c4, Black cannot castle. Thus 7...Na5, but the
move looks poor. I guess Black was running out of ideas.
8 Bxf6!!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+lwqk+tr0
9zppzppsnzpp0
9++vL+0
9sn+++0
9vlL+PsN+0
9++++0
9P+PzP+PzP0
9tRN+QmK+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

A triumphant move and very thematic. White brings the diagonal to life! You must be
prepared to make such gestures yourself. Of course, the key factor is the Black King
which is stuck in the centre. White's attack is fully justified.
8...Rf8
8...gxf6 9 Qh5+ Ng6 10 Nxg6 is the end of the road.
Likewise 8...Nxc4 9 Bxg7 Rg8 10 Qh5+ Ng6 11 Nxg6 is horrible for Black.
9 Nh5! Nxc4


12
If 9...gxf6 10 Ng7# is pure entertainment.
The variation after 9...Rxf6 is both complex and beautiful: 10 Nxf6+ gxf6 11 Qh5+
Ng6 12 Bg8!! Qe7 (12...Kf8 13 Qxh7 Ne5 14 00) 13 a3 Bc5 14 Bxh7 Qxe4+ 15 Kd1.
10 Nxg7+ Kf7 11 00 Kg8 12 Qh5!
12 Qg4 Rxf6 13 Rxf6 Ne5 14 Qg3 N7g6 is not as good.
12...Rxf6 13 Rxf6 Ng6 14 Rxg6! hxg6 15 Qxg6 Kh8
15...Ne5 16 Qg3 Qf6 17 Nh5+ Qg6 18 Qxe5 d6 19 Qg3 leaves White with two extra
pawns.
16 Ne8!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+lwqN+mk0
9zppzpp++0
9+++Q+0
9++++0
9vln+P++0
9++++0
9P+PzP+PzP0
9tRN++mK0
xiiiiiiiiy

A really excellent move, restricting Black's Queen. The two alternatives are nowhere
near as good:
16 Nh5 Qg8!; 16 Nf5 Qf8!
16...Qe7 17 Nf6
Black cannot guard both g8 and h7 and resigns. A brilliant game. So you will be
called upon to be resourceful if you essay 1 b4, but what is wrong with that? Make
sure you master the lines I'll be giving in the theory section and you will have nothing
to fear.


(2) Sokolsky - Anistchenko
A00
Minsk, 1959

The idea of obtaining a central pawn majority early in the game is a very important
one. Extra pawns in the centre deny squares to the opponent, give more space and the
opportunity to form effective plans.
It is perhaps a little-known trump of one of the main lines (which is supposed to be
good Black) that a central pawn majority is established almost at once.
1 b4 e5 2 Bb2 Bxb4 3 Bxe5!


13
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqk+ntr0
9zppzpp+pzpp0
9++++0
9++vL+0
9vl+++0
9++++0
9P+PzPPzPPzP0
9tRN+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Hey presto! White has a central pawn majority already. However, he clearly has to be
careful in view of Black's very active pieces.
3...Nf6 4 c4 00 5 e3!
I think this is the most effective way. White keeps options open with the King's
Knight.

5 Nf3 seems perfectly OK, but Black gets surprisingly good play after 5...Nc6 6 Bb2
d5 7 cxd5 Qxd5! 8 Bxf6 gxf6 9 e3 Bg4! 10 Be2 Bxf3! 11 Bxf3 Qe5
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++trk+0
9zppzp+p+p0
9+n+zp+0
9++wq+0
9vl+++0
9++zPL+0
9P+zPzPPzP0
9tRN+QmK+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

Black is winning a pawn and White is a long way from exploiting the doubled
Kingside pawns.
5...Nc6 6 Bb2 d5 7 cxd5 Nxd5
7...Qxd5 8 Bxf6 gxf6 9 Ne2! gives White the better game.Ne2-f4 is threatened and if
9...Bg4 10 Nec3! Qe6 11 Be2 Bf5 12 00 Rfe8 13 d4 Rad8 14 Qa4 leaves Black
struggling to justify the broken kingside.
8 Nf3 Bg4 9 Be2 Re8 10 00 Be7
10...Bd6 11 Nc3;
10...Qd7 11 d4
11 d4 Bf6 12 Nbd2


14
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqr+k+0
9zppzp+pzpp0
9+n+vl+0
9++n++0
9+zP+l+0
9++zPN+0
9PvLsNLzPPzP0
9tR+Q+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

White has the advantage; not enormous but enduring. His central pawns deny Black
counterplay and there will be chances of attack on the open queenside files. It's almost
a Sicilian in reverse; a good version.
12...Bf5 13 Nc4 Nb6 14 Rc1 Nxc4 15 Bxc4
White perhaps plans Bb5 and Qa4, with pressure, and so Black takes radical action.
15...Na5?!
But this cannot be right.
15...Qd7 was much better, after which I suggest 16 Qe2 Be4 17 Rfd1 and White's
game is more comfortable.
16 Be2?!
Sokolsky misses the shot 16 Bxf7+ Kxf7 17 Rc5 Be6 18 Rxa5 b6 19 Ra4 White's a
pawn up.
16...b6 17 Ba3 Be7 18 Bxe7 Qxe7 19 Qa4 Rac8 20 Ba6!
XIIIIIIIIY
9+r+r+k+0
9zpzpwqpzpp0
9Lzp+++0
9sn++l+0
9Q+zP++0
9++zPN+0
9P++zPPzP0
9+tR+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

It's worth noting that the advantage conferred by the central pawns remains and that
White has obtained distinct pressure along the c-file. This factor, combined with
Black's uncomfortable offside Knight, makes life difficult for the second player.
20...Rcd8 21 Rc3! Be4 22 Be2 Rc8 23 Rfc1 c6 24 Nd2 Bd5 25 Bf3!


15
XIIIIIIIIY
9+r+r+k+0
9zp+wqpzpp0
9zpp+++0
9sn+l++0
9Q+zP++0
9+tRzPL+0
9P+sNzPPzP0
9+tR+mK0
xiiiiiiiiy

Takes away a defender of c6.
25...Bxf3 26 Nxf3 f6?!
In a bad position don't make things worse!
Sometimes you HAVE to be patient and tough it out thus
26...Qe6 27 Qc2 Rcd8 28 Ng5 Qg6 29 Qxg6 hxg6 30 Nf3
XIIIIIIIIY
9+trr+k+0
9zp++pzp0
9zpp++p+0
9sn+++0
9+zP++0
9+tRzPN+0
9P++zPPzP0
9+tR+mK0
xiiiiiiiiy

was indicated. Black's not lost but the position is very uncomfortable.
27 h3
Calm insurance against back-rank tricks. Black cannot strengthen his position in a
similar way.
27...Red8 28 Nd2 Kf8 29 Nb3!
The last minor-piece defender of c6 is removed.
29...Rd5
29...Nxb3 30 axb3 c5 31 b4! Rd5 32 bxc5 bxc5 33 Qc2 wins the c-pawn after all.
30 Nxa5 Rxa5 31 Qc2


16
XIIIIIIIIY
9+r+mk+0
9zp+wqzpp0
9zpp+zp+0
9tr+++0
9+zP++0
9+tRzP+P0
9P+Q+zPP+0
9+tR+mK0
xiiiiiiiiy

White wins material. Sometimes chess is made to look simple by the experts.
31...g6 32 Rxc6 Rd8 33 Qb3 Rad5 34 R1c4!
34 Rc7 R5d7
34...R5d6 35 Qc3 Rxc6 36 Rxc6 Kg7 37 Qc4 Rd6 38 d5 Kf8
38...Rxc6 39 dxc6 Qc7 40 Qe6+-
39 g3 Kf7 40 Rc7
A very instructive game and one where Black failed to find counterplay, precisely
because of White's strong central pawn chain, blocking out his pieces. It's a feature of
Sokolsky positions which many of your opponents will fail to grasp.
10

(3) Sokolsky - Byschev
A00
Lvov, 1961
Most often Black is not going to snap off the bait on b4. He'll view the opening
suspiciously and play as neutrally and carefully as possible.
In this case White has the option of quickly advancing his queenside pawns. This
might not seem like much, but Black can often get cramp form the white pawn on b5.
Let us see this idea in action.
1 b4 Nf6 2 Bb2 e6 3 b5 d5 4 e3 a6 5 a4! Nbd7
5...axb5 After 6 axb5 Rxa1 7 Bxa1
XIIIIIIIIY
9snlwqkvltr0
9+pzp+pzpp0
9++psn+0
9+P+p++0
9++++0
9++zP+0
9+PzPzPPzP0
9vLN+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy





17
White's opening plan is successful. His pawn on b5 prevents the Nb8 from developing
cleanly and there is no doubt that White will be first to the a file, should the need
arise.
Additionally White has control of the central squares d4 and e5.The further plan
might be c2-c4, Nf3, Nc3 and Qb3 or Qa4, increasing the pressure. White might even
flick in f2-f4 if he's feeling aggressive.
6 Nf3 Bd6 7 c4 c5 8 d3 00 9 Nbd2 b6 10 Be2 Bb7 11 00 Qc7 12 h3 Rfe8
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++r+k+0
9+lwqn+pzpp0
9pzpvlpsn+0
9+Pzpp++0
9P+P+++0
9++PzPN+P0
9vLsNLzPP+0
9tR+Q+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

This would absolutely typical play in this system. Black no doubt feels he has a good
game. But there are clear signs that White is better:
a) The pawn on b5 is restricting.
b) Black's pawn on b6 could be weak in an ending.
c) White can consider Rc1 and d3-d4!, opening the centre favourably whilst the Black
Queen is on an exposed square.
13 Rc1! axb5 14 axb5 Ra2 15 Qb3 Rea8 16 Nb1 Qd8 17 Rfd1 R2a4 18 Nc3 R4a5
18...Rb4 19 Qc2 leaves the Black rook shakily placed.
19 d4!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wq+k+0
9+l+n+pzpp0
9zpvlpsn+0
9trPzpp++0
9+PzP++0
9+QsNzPN+P0
9vL+LzPP+0
9+tRR+mK0
xiiiiiiiiy

The crux of the matter! It's time to open the position and take advantage of the better
placed Rooks.
It is noticeable how little Black's Rooks actually achieve on the a-file.
19...Bb8 20 cxd5 exd5 21 dxc5 bxc5 22 Nxd5!!


18
XIIIIIIIIY
9rvlwq+k+0
9+l+n+pzpp0
9++sn+0
9trPzpN++0
9++++0
9+Q+zPN+P0
9vL+LzPP+0
9+tRR+mK0
xiiiiiiiiy

A superb exchange sacrifice, activating White's pieces to the maximum. Note the
passed b-pawn!
22...Nxd5
22...Bxd5 23 Rxd5 comes to the same.
23 Rxd5 Bxd5 24 Qxd5 Qe7
24...Ra2 might be met by 25 Ng5 Qe8 26 Qb3 h6 27 Nxf7 Rxb2 28 Nxh6+ Kh7 29
Qxb2 Kxh6 30 Bf3 Ra7 31 Bc6 With three pawns for a piece and the Black King
exposed, White has ample compensation.
25 Rd1 Nf8
25...Nf6 26 Qd8+ Qf8 27 Bxf6 Bh2+ 28 Kxh2 Rxd8 29 Rxd8 gxf6 30 Rxf8+ Kxf8 31
b6 wins easily for White e.g. 31...Ra2 32 b7 Rb2 33 Ba6 Ke7 34 Nd2 Kd7 35 Ne4
Kc6 36 Nxf6.
26 Bc4 R8a7 27 Ne5 Bxe5 28 Bxe5 Ra4 29 Bd6 Qe6 30 b6!
Occupying ground prepared long ago.
30...Rd7 31 b7 Rb4 32 Qxc5 Rxd6 33 Rxd6 Rb1+ 34 Kh2 Qe7 35 Bd5 g6 36 f4
Kg7 37 Qd4+ Kh6 38 Rb6
A most thematic game, where the eventual coronation of the b-pawn is the ultimate
extension of 1 b4 and the associated opening themes.
10

(4) Sokolsky - Willard
A00
Kiev , 1955

Two attacks now follow against the Black King. In the first game, White opens the
long diagonal to crushing effect.
1 b4 d5 2 Bb2 Qd6 3 a3 e5 4 Nf3 f6 5 e3 Be6 6 d4!
I like this move a lot after ...f7-f6. White angles for a good French Defense position in
reverse. Should Black play ...e5-e4 and then ...f6-f5, he loses time.
Meanwhile White's plan of c2-c4, Nc3 and Qb3 is easy to play and understand.
6...e4 7 Nfd2 f5 8 c4 c6 9 Nc3 Nf6 10 Qc2
Perhaps he wants to keep an eye on e4.
10...a6 11 Na4!


19
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+kvltr0
9+p++zpp0
9p+pwqlsn+0
9++p+p+0
9NzPPzPp++0
9zP+zP+0
9vLQsNzPPzP0
9tR+mKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

Well spotted and an instructive moment. White eyes the weak squares on b6 and c5
and the unprotected pawn on b7.
11...Qd8 12 Nc5 Bc8 13 Rc1
White has excellent chances.
He may complete his development by Be2 and 00 and then look to open the game by
playing f2-f3!
13...Be7 14 Be2 00 15 00 Bd6 16 f4!
16 f3 might run into the confusing 16...f4!? so White puts a stop to all that.
16...Ng4 17 Bxg4 fxg4 18 cxd5 cxd5 19 Qb3 Bxc5
19...Be7 20 Ndxe4! b6 21 Nd3 Be6 22 Ne5 is horrible for Black.
20 dxc5
I wouldn't want to be in Black's shoes now, but this is precisely the type of poor
position that the club or tournament player can stumble into and haven't the faintest
clue how it could have happened! Note the powerful Bishop on b2 and the weak
Black pawn on d5.
Perhaps Black is even lost.
20...Kh8 21 Rcd1 Bf5 22 Nb1! Be6 23 Nc3 Qe8 24 Nxd5
Game over.
24...Nd7 25 Qc3 Nf6 26 Nc7 Qf7 27 Nxa8 g3
Black tries a last desperate attack.
Of course this is a tactic mirrored in club games up and down the country, any
country. This is where MENTAL STRENGTH comes into play. One must keep calm
and assess the threats. Down get scared by ghosts! If you don't see a concrete threat,
proceed with your own plan.
And this is precisely what Sokolsky proceeds to do.
28 Nb6! gxh2+
28...Qh5 29 hxg3 Ng4 30 Qxg7#
29 Kh1 Nh5 30 Qe1! Qg6 31 Kxh2!
Very calm.
31...Rf5 32 Nc8 Nf6 33 Bxf6 gxf6 34 Nd6 10

(5) Sokolsky - Kirrilov
A00
Minsk, 1957




20


The second attack by White results from Black overestimating his chances. Doubtless
this will happen quite often to you as the opponent turns up his nose at the irregular 1
b4.
1 b4 e5 2 Bb2 d6 3 c4 Nf6 4 e3 Nbd7 5 Nf3 g6 6 d4 Bg7 7 Be2 00 8 00
Black adopts a King's Indian formation which is absolutely fine of course. You often
see White advancing on the queenside in the King's Indian, so what Sokolsky is doing
here is quite regular. Left to his own devices White might play moves such as a4, b5,
a5, etc., gaining space.
An alternative plan is to open the centre which Sokolsky proceeds to do.
8...Re8 9 dxe5 Ng4
Black may sacrifice/lose a pawn after 9...dxe5 10 Nxe5! but he has no real
compensation: 10...Nxe5 (10...Ne4 11 Nd3! Bxb2 12 Nxb2 Qf6 13 Qc2 a5 14 Bd3!
Ng5 15 f4 Ne6 16 b5; 10...a5 11 Nxd7 Bxd7 12 b5 Bf5 13 Nd2) 11 Qxd8 Rxd8 12
Bxe5
10 Nc3 Ngxe5
10...dxe5 11 h3 Ngf6 12 c5 is perhaps a better way for Black. However, there is no
doubt that White has a pull, with ideas such as Bc4 and Ng5 in mind. Black must try
to disrupt proceedings before this attack gets going: 12...a5 (12...e4 13 Nd4 Qe7 14
Qc2 a5 15 a3; 12...c6 13 Qa4 e4 14 Nd4+=) 13 a3 axb4 14 axb4 Rxa1 15 Bxa1 e4 16
Nd4 In each case White has the freer game.
11 Nd4 Nf6 12 Qb3 c6 13 Rad1!
When in doubt, centralize!
Note the backward Black pawn on d6, a clear target for White to attack.
13...Qe7 14 h3
Sokolsky liked this move; it features in most of his games. Here though, h2-h3 is
more than just a small, useful time-out. White cuts the g4 square from Black's use,
and prepares f2-f4!
14...Be6 15 f4! Ned7 16 e4!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++r+k+0
9zpp+nwqpvlp0
9+pzplsnp+0
9++++0
9zPPsNPzP+0
9+QsN++P0
9PvL+L+P+0
9++R+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

Suddenly White is in command.
He has more space and better placed pieces. He can choose between continuing the
attack on d6 with Rd2 and Rfd1 or threatening a further central advance with Bf3,
Rde1 and then e4-e5! or f4-f5!
16...Nf8 17 Bf3 Rad8 18 b5
18 a4 or; 18 Ba3 were other ways to strengthen the position.


21
18...c5 19 Nc2
The d5 square beckons a Knight. Black lacks space and he cannot form an effective
plan.
19...Bh6 20 Bc1 Bg7 21 Ne3 h6 22 f5!
With all the pieces on ideal squares, it's time to begin a direct attack.
22...Bc8 23 Ned5 Nxd5 24 Nxd5 Qh4 25 Bg4 Be5 26 Rd3 h5 27 g3! Bxg3 28 Rxg3
hxg4 29 Rxg4
Black does not wish to discuss 29...Qh8 30 Bb2! When given the opportunity to gain
space and time against poorly placed enemy pieces, one should always do so.
A good example of how to tackle the King's Indian formation.
10

SUMMARY OF IDEAS

We have seen in these first few games just how dangerous White's idea can be, and
how easily Black can slip into a poor position, if he is unaware of the basic ideas
behind the opening.


22
THEORY - SOKOLSKY VARIATION
(1) Theoretical 1...e5
A00

1 b4
This is the theoretical section, where I will be giving basic variations.
At the end of each variation I will give an assessment and some idea of the ongoing
plan for White.
The object isn't to dazzle you, so I will keep the information as crucial as I can.
1...e5
Black's sharpest reply
2 Bb2 Bxb4 3 Bxe5 Nf6 4 c4!
The first key move, restraining...d7-d5.
4...00
4...Nc6 5 Bb2
5 e3!
Retaining options with the Knight on g1.
5...Nc6 6 Bb2 d5
6...Re8 7 Nf3 d6 8 Be2 Bg4 9 00 Qe7 10 d4
7 cxd5 Nxd5
7...Qxd5 8 Bxf6! gxf6 9 Ne2 idea Nf4.
8 Nf3 Re8 9 Be2 Bg4 10 00
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqr+k+0
9zppzp+pzpp0
9+n+++0
9++n++0
9vl++l+0
9++zPN+0
9PvLzPLzPPzP0
9tRN+Q+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

Black has four decent moves.
10...Bd6
10...Be7 11 d4 Bf6 12 Nbd2 Bf5 13 Nc4 Nb6 14 Rc1+=; 10...Qd7 11 d4 Rad8 12 a3
Bd6 (12...Ba5 13 Qb3) 13 Nc3; 10...Qe7 11 h3! Bh5 12 Qb3 Nf4 (12...Nb6 13 Nc3)
13 exf4 Qxe2 14 g4
11 Nc3+=
ONGOING PLAN:
White uses his extra central pawns to stifle Black's counterplay and tries to work up
action on the queenside.

(2) Theoretical 1...e5 2 Bb2 f6
A00



23
1 b4 e5 2 Bb2 f6 3 e4!?
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zppzpp+zpp0
9++zp+0
9++zp+0
9zP+P++0
9++++0
9PvLPzPzPPzP0
9tRN+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

A sharp gambit putting immense pressure on Black.
3 b5 is possible for those who really do not wish to gambit. Play may proceed 3 ..d5
4 e3 e6 5 a4 d7 6 f3 intending d2d4, with rather typical play for the Sokolsky.
3...Bxb4
3...d5 4 f4! exf4 5 Nh3! dxe4 (5...Bxh3 6 Qh5+ g6 7 Qxh3) 6 Nxf4 idea Qh5+;
3...Ne7 4 Bc4 d5 5 exd5 Nxd5 6 a3 Be6 7 d4 exd4 8 Qxd4 Qe7 9 Ne2
4 Bc4
Preparing an outright assault on the Kingside with the help of moves such as Qh5+
and/or f2-f4!
4...Nc6
4...d6 5 f4 Qe7 6 f5!; 4...Qe7 5 Ne2 d6 (5...Nh6 6 c3 Bc5 7 d4 exd4 8 00 dxc3 9
Nbxc3 c6 10 Nf4 with attack) 6 c3 Bc5 7 d4 Bb6 8 00
5 f4 d6 6 Qh5+!
6 Ne2 unclear; 6 f5! Nge7 7 Qh5+ g6 8 fxg6 Nxg6 9 Nf3 Qe7 (9...Na5 10 Nh4 Ke7 11
Bd5 c6 12 Nc3! Bxc3 13 Bxc3 cxd5 14 Bxa5 Qe8 unclear) 10 Nh4 Qg7 11 Nf5
6...g6 7 Qh4 Qe7 8 f5 unclear
THE ONGOING PLAN:
is to batter away at the Black Kingside. White may even take the centre with the help
of moves such as c2-c3 and d2-d4.
Remember we are interested in practical play. Such positions are really difficult to
defend over the board.
How would you feel with Black?

(3) 1...e5 2 Bb2 d6
A00

1 b4 e5 2 Bb2 d6
Against this move White angles for a good variation of the French Defense in reverse.
White should not castle short too early.
3 c4 f5 4 e3
4 Nc3!? Nf6 5 e3 Be7 6 Nf3 e4 7 Nd4 Nc6 8 Nd5!
4...Nf6 5 Nf3 Be7
5...a5!? 6 b5 g6 7 d4 e4 8 Nfd2 Bg7 9 Nc3 00 10 Qb3 Be6 11 a4 Nbd7 12 g3 unclear
6 d4! e4 7 Nfd2 c6


24
7...00 8 Nc3 c5 9 bxc5 dxc5 10 d5 Bd6 11 Qb3 Qe7 12 Nb5; 7...d5 8 Qb3 c6 9 Nc3
00 10 b5
8 a4 d5 9 b5 00 10 Qb3 Be6 11 Nc3 Nbd7 12 Be2 Qe8 13 Ba3+=
ONGOING PLAN:
To delay castling for as long as is necessary and to press forward on the queenside.
Black's game is geared up to attack on the Kingside. Who knows, in this position
White might even castle long!

(4) 1 b4 d5 Queen's Gambit approach
A00

1 b4 d5
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zppzpzppzpp0
9++++0
9++p++0
9zP+++0
9++++0
9P+PzPPzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

1...d5 is usually played by opponents who want a very quiet life. They have been
surprised and react as safely as they can. Black angles for a Queen's Gambit or
Queen's Indian type position. There is nothing wrong with this approach and it's the
response of MOST strong players.
Nevertheless, I believe that White keeps an edge by pushing forward on the
queenside, using a pawn on b5 to restrict Black's play.
It should be noted that a2-a3 is usually a waste of a tempo in these lines.
2 Bb2 Nf6
2...Qd6 3 a3 One occasion where it HAS to be played. (3 b5!? Qb4 4 Bc3 Qxb5 5 e4
with compensation.) 3...e5 4 Nf3 f6 5 e3 Be6 6 d4 e4 7 Nfd2 f5 8 c4 c6 9 Nc3 Nf6 10
Qc2+=; 2...Bf5 3 e3 Nf6 4 Nf3 e6 5 c4! Be7 (5...Bxb4 6 Qa4+ Nc6 7 Nd4 Qd6 8 Nxc6
bxc6 9 a3 Bc5 10 d4) 6 Nc3 00 7 Qb3+= a5 (7...Nc6 8 a3 a5 9 b5; 7...c5 8 bxc5 Bxc5
9 d4 Be7 10 c5; 7...Na6 8 c5 c6 9 Nd4) 8 b5 Nbd7 9 d4 c6 10 a4
3 e3 e6
This time Black opts for a Queen's Gambit formation.
4 b5! c5
4...Bd6 5 Nf3 00 6 c4 Nbd7 7 d4 dxc4 8 Bxc4 Qe7 9 Nbd2 unclear
5 Nf3 Bd6 6 c4 Nbd7 7 Be2! 00 8 00 Qe7
8...b6 9 a4 Bb7 10 a5 dxc4 11 Na3! Rc8 12 Nxc4 Bb8 13 d3 Qe7 14 e4+=
9 a4
Note how White keeps his options open with the d-pawn. Ideally he would like to
play d2-d4 in one go.
9...b6
9...e5 10 cxd5 Nxd5 11 d3 Kh8 12 Nbd2 Bc7 13 a5 f5 14 Nc4 N5f6 15 b6!


25
10 a5 Bb7 11 a6 Bc8 12 d4!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+l+trk+0
9zp+nwqpzpp0
9Pzpvlpsn+0
9+Pzpp++0
9+PzP++0
9++zPN+0
9vL+LzPPzP0
9tRN+Q+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

White has the advantage due to his extra space on the queenside. Because of this and
his ability to develop his major pieces more easily, he opens the game.
MAIN IDEAS IN THIS SYSTEM:
There are many different move-orders for Black. It's important for White to push
forward on the queenside as quickly as he can and hold his d-pawn back. The timing
of either d2-d4! or d2-d3! is critical.

(5) 1 b4 the flexible 1...Nf6
A00

1 b4 Nf6
Flexible
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvltr0
9zppzppzppzpp0
9++sn+0
9++++0
9zP+++0
9++++0
9P+PzPPzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

2 Bb2 e6 3 b5 b6
The Queen's Indian approach, a very sound system for Black.
White must hold his d-pawn back and push forward on the queenside as before.
4 e3 Bb7 5 Nf3 Be7 6 c4 00 7 Be2 d6 8 00 Nbd7 9 a4!
With the idea of a5-a6! and only then d2-d4!
9...a6
9...a5 10 d3 idea Nbd2-b3, Ba3, Rc1 and c4-c5!
10 Nc3 Re8 11 Nd4!


26
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqr+k+0
9+lzpnvlpzpp0
9pzpzppsn+0
9+P+++0
9P+PsN++0
9+sNzP+0
9vLzPLzPPzP0
9tR+Q+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

THE ONGOING PLAN:
White tries to trade light-squared Bishops with Bf3 and exploit the weak square c6.
11...Bf8
11...d5 12 cxd5 Nxd5 13 Nxd5 exd5 14 Bf3
12 Bf3 Qc8 13 d3

(6) 1...Nf6 Old-Indian style
A00

1 b4 Nf6 2 Bb2 d6 3 c4 e5 4 e3 Be7
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqk+tr0
9zppzpvlpzpp0
9+zpsn+0
9++zp+0
9zPP+++0
9++zP+0
9PvLzPzPPzP0
9tRN+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Black sets up an Old Indian formation. He plans slow manoeuvres such as 00, ...c6,
...Re8, ...Bf8 etc.
White can play actively now.
5 Nf3 00 6 Be2 Nbd7 7 d4! e4 8 Nfd2 c6 9 Nc3 d5 10 b5

(7) 1 b4 King's Indian style
E60

1 b4 Nf6 2 Bb2 g6
This is a very important section as a lot of people will play this way. White does best
to delay castling and proceed on the queenside without delay.
3 c4 Bg7 4 e3 d6
4...00 5 Nf3 d6
4...c6!? 5 Nf3 d5


27
5 Nf3 00 6 d4 Nbd7
6...e5 7 Be2 e4 8 Nfd2 Re8 9 Nc3 Nbd7 10 a4 h5 11 b5 Nf8 12 a5
6...c5 7 bxc5 dxc5 8 Be2 Nc6 9 d5 unclear.
7 Qb3!
Protecting the Bishop on b2 and thus restraining ...e7-e5.
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+lwqtrk+0
9zppzpnzppvlp0
9+zpsnp+0
9++++0
9zPPzP++0
9+Q+zPN+0
9PvL+zPPzP0
9tRN+mKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

7...Re8 8 Nc3 e5 9 Be2 exd4
9...e4 10 Nd2 Nf8 11 a4 h5 12 b5 Bf5 13 a5
10 Nxd4 Ne5 11 h3 a5 12 a3 axb4 13 axb4 Rxa1+ 14 Bxa1 Nc6 15 Nxc6 bxc6 16
00
THE OVERALL PLAN:
To try to force a concession on the queenside BEFORE castling short into Black's
automatic attack.

(8) 1 b4 OTHERS (1)
A00

1 b4
OTHER IDEAS
1...c6
1...a5 2 b5 Nf6 3 Bb2 d6 4 c4 e5 5 e3 Nbd7 6 Nf3 With d2-d4 to come.
2 Bb2 Qb6 3 a3 a5 4 c4! axb4 5 c5! Qd8
5...Qc7 6 axb4 Rxa1 7 Bxa1 d6 8 Nf3 dxc5 9 Be5.
6 axb4 Rxa1 7 Bxa1 With an edge.

(9) OTHERS (2)
A00

1 b4 f5 2 Bb2 Nf6 3 Bxf6!!


28
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvltr0
9zppzppzpzpp0
9++vL+0
9+++p+0
9zP+++0
9++++0
9P+PzPPzPPzP0
9tRN+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

A bold and unstereotyped move which leads to a position where Black's two bishops
are stymied.
3 e3 is quite possible too: 3...e6 4 b5 Be7 5 c4 00 6 Nf3 d6 7 d4
3...exf6 4 c3 d5 5 e3 Bd6 6 Bd3!! Qe7 7 Ne2 c6 8 Qc2 g6 9 h4! h5 10 a4 Nd7 11 f4
This static position favours White, and the d4-square can provide a useful post for the
e2-knight.

THEORETICAL SUMMARY
Most difficulties are caused by 1...e5 but only if Black knows the lines down to the
last detail. The distinct likelihood is that he will not.
Study the lines I have given and memorise them.
The chances of them cropping up in a game are reasonably high but a lot of the time
you (and the opponent) will be on your own. The work that you have put in here will
stand you in very good stead at that moment. You will be much better able to
orientate yourself in the unorthodox positions that arise.


29
CONCLUSION
We've reached the end of our investigation into 1 b4 and now it's time to go out into
the big world and play some chess.

You are going to tailor the position to your requirements in the opening; that is the
whole point.

I firmly believe that your practical results will improve, now that you can take charge
at an early stage of the game.

Good luck! Andy


30
THE IDEAS BEHIND 1...B6

In keeping with the idea that we are trying to save as much time as possible, yet at the
same time maintain or improve our results, I've chosen 1...b6 as our universal
weapon.

What are the main ideas that lie behind this little move?

It is most important at this stage that we recognise the differences between Owen's
Defence (1 e4 b6) and the English Defence (1 d4 b6, 1 c4 b6). In my opinion Black
must be a lot more careful after 1 e4 b6 because White is able to develop his pieces
very rapidly. A higher state of awareness is needed.

Nevertheless, 1...b6 is underestimated and unexplored by comparison to all the other
sound Black first moves. As with 1 b4, we are luring the opponent on to our home
ground.

2) Black aims to control rather than occupy the center in the opening phase. His
ultimate aim is to demolish the white centre completely.

3) Black tries to attack and conquer the e4 square and beyond that, the whole a8-h1
diagonal.


31
INSTRUCTIVE GAMES

(1) Pollock,William Henry Kraus - Gunsberg,Isidor
B00
USA06.Congress New York (22), 1889
Andy Martin
OBSCURITY
1 e4 b6
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zpzppzppzpp0
9zp+++0
9++++0
9++P++0
9++++0
9PzPPzPzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

1 e4 b6!? has been around for a long time, without attracting a great deal of attention.
Strong players dabble with 1...b6 from time to time, but not with any great conviction.
It's thought that White can get the advantage in several ways.
1 e4 b6 is known as Owen's Defence, named after the Reverend John Owen, who used
the opening frequently in the 19th century. We are going to use the obscurity and the
lack of chartered ground to our own advantage. I believe that 1 e4 b6 is nothing like
as bad as it seems. For starters, White is drawn into an unusual position, which he
almost certainly will not have studied.
2 d4 Bb7 3 Bd3
Many will play this way.
3...Nc6!?
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqkvlntr0
9zplzppzppzpp0
9zpn+++0
9++++0
9+zPP++0
9++L++0
9PzPP+zPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Old and yet new! Admit it, have YOU seen 3...Nc6!? before? Even a lot of very
strong players will be answering no. Black hits d4 and prepares ideas such as ...e7-e5
and ...Nc6-b4. In the latter case ...Nb4 will obtain the two Bishops for Black. Pollock
was a very strong master by 19th century standards. He is baffled by 3...Nc6


32
4 c3!
Here's a brief analysis of a couple of alternatives.
4 d5 Ne5 5 f4 Nxd3+ 6 Qxd3 e6; 4 Nf3 Nb4 5 Bc4 (5 00 Nxd3 6 Qxd3 e6) 5...e6 6
c3 d5 7 exd5 Nxd5 8 00 Ngf6 Hardly a refutation in either case.
4...e5!
The average opponent will throw up his hands now. Theory is at an end and he will
have to think for himself. The very last thing he wants after a hard day at work.
5 d5
5 Nf3 exd4 6 cxd4 Nb4! 7 00 Nxd3 8 Qxd3 h6 9 Nc3 Ne7 leads to some analysis I
made with IM Bruno Carlier back in the 1990's. It's not so bad for Black who plans
...Ng6,...Be7 and ...00.Pollock is hoping to minimize the impact of Black's opening
surprise by blocking the centre. He is in for a further shock.
5...Nce7 6 Ne2 f5!
An unsettling flanking blow.
7 00?
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqkvlntr0
9zplzppsnzpp0
9zp+++0
9++Pzpp+0
9++P++0
9+zPL++0
9PzP+NzPPzP0
9tRNvLQ+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

It's obvious that White has been disturbed and a blunder results. I analyse two
alternatives, both of which are very obscure:
7 Bg5 h6 8 Bh4 g5 9 Bg3 Bg7 10 exf5 (10 f3 f4 11 Bf2 Nf6 12 Nd2 Ng6) 10...Nxd5; 7
f3 Nf6 8 Nd2 fxe4 9 fxe4 Ng6 10 00 Bc5+ 11 Kh1 00 (11...Ng4)
7...fxe4 8 Bxe4 Nf6 9 Ng3 Nxe4 10 Nxe4 Bxd5-+
Already Black is winning.
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqkvltr0
9zpzppsnzpp0
9zp+++0
9++lzp+0
9++N++0
9+zP++0
9PzP+zPPzP0
9tRNvLQ+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

11 Qh5+ Ng6 12 Bg5 Be7 13 Bxe7 Qxe7 14 Nbd2 00


33
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++trk+0
9zpzppwqzpp0
9zp++n+0
9++lzp+Q0
9++N++0
9+zP++0
9PzPsNzPPzP0
9tR++RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

In a way, Black has gambled with his opening choice and he has certainly won his
bet. He's a pawn up for very little compensation and has the open f-file to boot.
15 Ng5 Rf5!?
He could have settled for 15...h6 16 Qxg6 Qxg5 17 Qxg5 hxg5 18 c4 Be6 19 b3 d6 20
Ne4 g4 but Gunsberg was a romantic. One should attack if one possibly can!
16 Qxh7+ Kf8 17 h4 Rxg5!!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++mk+0
9zpzppwqzpQ0
9zp++n+0
9++lzptr0
9+++zP0
9+zP++0
9PzPsNzPP+0
9tR++RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

That was the brilliant idea. White's queen becomes a target.
18 hxg5 Qxg5 19 g3 Kf7! 20 Qh3 Rh8 21 f4 Nxf4 22 Rxf4+ exf4 23 Qxd7+ Kg6
No more checks.
24 Ne4 fxg3
24...Qh5! was better still.
25 Re1 Qh4 26 Nf2 Qh1+ 27 Nxh1 Rxh1#
A wipe-out.
01


(2) Ogaard,L - Miles,AJ
A40
Reykjavik, 1978
Andy Martin
The next extraordinary little example combines the twin themes of an unusual
position and the utter annihilation of the pawn centre. Even very strong masters can
fail to come to terms with 1...b6
1 c4 b6


34
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnlwqkvlntr0
9zpzppzppzpp0
9zp+++0
9++++0
9+P+++0
9++++0
9PzPzPPzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

In this guise we know 1...b6 as the English Defence, named after the several famous
English players (Miles, Keene, Plaskett, Basman, Stean), who did so much to
popularize the opening in the 1970's and 1980's.
2 d4 e6 3 d5 Qh4!?
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnl+kvlntr0
9zpzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++P++0
9+P++wq0
9++++0
9PzP+PzPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

'Chess from another planet', was how Grandmaster Vlastimil Hort described such
play. Imagine how unsettling a move like this will be for your opponent. Black attacks
c4!
4 e3
One cannot blame him but this is certainly not a move that Ogaard would have
wanted too make. 4 e3 is passive. 4 Nc3 is considerably more testing, as in a game
Karpov-Miles from the same year, but in the theory section I will show how Black
gets a decent game against that. 4 e3 is just the sort of timid reply that will be seen at
club level time and time again.
4...Nf6 5 a3
Guess he was afraid of 5 Nc3 Bb4, with pressure on d5.
5...Bb7


35
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+kvltr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+psn+0
9++P++0
9+P++wq0
9zP+zP+0
9zP+zPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Already Black has so much pressure on d5 that White is forced to concede the centre.
6 Nf3
6 Nc3 exd5 7 cxd5 Ne4! 8 Nxe4 Qxe4 leaves the white d-pawn a goner.
6...Qh5 7 dxe6 fxe6 8 Be2 Qg6 9 Nh4?!
Poor old Ogaard has been completely psyched out by Miles. 9 Nh4 is just so horrible!
Surely better was
9 00 Bd6 10 Nc3 00 but even here Black has an ideal attacking position. Note the
aggressive Queen, raking Bishops and half-open f-file.
9...Qh6 10 Bf3 Nc6!
Of course Black doesn't exchange. White's Knight is lonely on the rim.
11 g3 g5!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++kvltr0
9zplzpp++p0
9zpn+psnwq0
9+++zp0
9+P++sN0
9zP+zPLzP0
9zP+zPzP0
9tRNvLQmK+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

ENERGY would characterise the handling of the typical English Defence. This is not
an opening where Black sits back passively.
12 e4
12 Ng2 is answered by 12...g4! with advantage to Black in all cases: 13 Be2 (13 Bxg4
Nxg4 14 Qxg4 Ne5+; 13 Bxc6 Bxc6 14 00 Bf3 15 Qd3 000) 13...Ne5-+
12...Ne5 13 Bg2 Qg7 14 f4
It's all gone wrong for White, and no amount of trickery can help him to escape.
Note 14 Bxg5 Qxg5 15 f4 Qh6 16 fxe5 Qe3+ 17 Kf1 (17 Qe2 Qc1+ 18 Kf2 Ng4+ 19
Qxg4 Qxb2+ 20 Kf3 000!!-+) 17...Bc5-+
14...gxh4 15 fxe5 Ng4 16 Bf4 000 17 Nc3 Bc5 18 Qd2 Nxe5 19 b4 h3!
Nice. After 20 Bxe5 comes 20...hxg2! Experimental play by Miles which has since
become respectable. Yet 3...Qh4 and similar ideas which abound after 1...b6, retain
the ability to shock and confuse. 01


36

(3) Mikhalevski,V (2553) - Roussel Roozmon,T (2425)
A40
It Montreal CAN (7), 19.01.2005
Andy Martin
1 d4 e6 2 c4 b6 3 e4 Bb7 4 Qc2 Qh4!
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+kvlntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+PzPP+wq0
9++++0
9PzPQ+zPPzP0
9tRNvLmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Here's another line of the English defence where the outlandish early development of
the Black queen proves very effective. With 4 Qc2 White hopes to deny Black a
pinning opportunity (with ...Bb4) and deter ...f7-f5. But with 4..Qh4, Black is
nevertheless able to drum up excellent play.
5 Bd3
5 Nd2 Bb4 6 Bd3 f5 7 Ngf3 Qg4
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+k+ntr0
9zplzpp+zpp0
9zp+p++0
9+++p+0
9vlPzPP+q+0
9++L+N+0
9PzPQsNzPPzP0
9tRvLmK+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

is very interesting. Black threatens ...Qxg2 and ...Qxf3! I feel that the average
opponent will feel extremely uncomfortable facing such tactics. Black's play is so
unorthodox one can't help the feeling that it is somehow bad. And then the thought
creeps in that one is going to lose to this nonsense. So 7...Qg4 is psychologically
unsettling, as well as being damned difficult to meet! Let's review some analysis: 8
exf5
a) 8 a3 Qxg2 9 Rf1 Bxd2+ 10 Nxd2 Nc6-+;
b) 8 00 Bxd2 9 Nxd2
b1) 9 Bxd2 fxe4;
b2) 9 Ne5 Qh4 10 Bxd2 (10 Nf3 Qh5 11 Bxd2 Nf6) 10...fxe4; 9...Ne7 10 f3 Qh4
unclear; 8...Qxg2 9 Rg1 Qxf3+
5...f5 6 Nd2 Nf6


37
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+kvltr0
9zplzpp+zpp0
9zp+psn+0
9+++p+0
9+PzPP+wq0
9++L++0
9PzPQsNzPPzP0
9tRvLmKsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

A new and strong move, improving on the usual 6...Bb4,which is probably OK too in
the final wash. Note the immediate pressure on e4 and the unprotected g2 square
beyond. The gaze of Black's fianchettoed Bishop is powerful.
7 Ngf3 Qg4
Better get used to this move, hitting g2 and e4 simultaneously. Those with a poor
memory should note that White has moved his King's Bishop early, leaving g2
unprotected. Having absorbed this feature of the position, it's the next step to look out
for ideas such as ...Qh4-g4.
8 exf5 Bxf3!
Well seen, and an effective change of plan.
Taking on g2 was unattractive now: 8...Qxg2 9 Rg1 Qh3 10 Rg3 Qh5 11 fxe6
9 gxf3 Qg2 10 Rf1 Nc6!
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++kvltr0
9zpzpp+zpp0
9zpn+psn+0
9+++P+0
9+PzP++0
9++L+P+0
9PzPQsNzPqzP0
9tRvLmKR+0
xiiiiiiiiy

Typically creative and very much in the attacking style of the English Defence. Black
introduces ideas such as ...Nb4 and ...Nxd4. A lesser player might falter at this
moment. Mikhalevski steels himself and tries to play the best move.
11 fxe6
The Grandmaster must have seen the following two lines judging them both
unfavourable for White, in the sense that Black gets a big initiative. Very strong
players are reluctant to go down this road. So he chooses the line which he thinks will
best disrupt the natural flow of Black's game and breaks up the pawn structure. 11
Nb3 Nb4 12 Qe2 Nxd3+ 13 Qxd3 exf5 14 Qxf5 000; 11 Be4 Nxd4 12 Qd3 Nxe4
13 Qxe4 Nc6 14 fxe6 000 15 exd7+ Kb7.
11...Nxd4 12 Qc3 c5!
Holding the Knight in this strong central position.


38
13 Nb3 Nxf3+ 14 Ke2 000 15 Bf5
XIIIIIIIIY
9+ktrvltr0
9zp+p+zpp0
9zp+Psn+0
9+zp+L+0
9+P+++0
9+NwQ+n+0
9PzP+KzPqzP0
9tRvL+R+0
xiiiiiiiiy

A well-timed draw offer I would say. After either 15...Nxh2 or even 15...Ng1+!?,
Black is better. A brief, recent game, which shows the English Defence in a very
healthy condition.



(4) Ross,L (2117) - Ivanov,AV USA (2582)
B00
ch-USA San Diego USA (3), 26.11.2004
Andy Martin
TAILORING THE GAME TO SUIT YOURSELF
1 e4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Nc3 e6
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvlntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+zPP++0
9+sN++0
9PzPP+zPPzP0
9tRvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

White is one of America's leading young female players who obviously hasn't the
faintest idea of what to play against 1...b6. Black is soon able to engineer a
transposition into a favourable French formation and wins with ease.
4 Be3!?


39
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvlntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+zPP++0
9+sNvL+0
9PzPP+zPPzP0
9tR+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

A misplacement of the Bishop. Yes, it really does matter where you put your pieces in
the opening. Better leave them at home until you know what to do!
4...Bb4 5 f3 d5! 6 e5 c5!
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqk+ntr0
9zpl++pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9+zppzP+0
9vlzP++0
9+sNvLP+0
9PzPP++PzP0
9tR+QmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy


Black is better after six moves. Ivanov is already exerting unpleasant pressure against
White's centre
7 a3 Bxc3+ 8 bxc3 Ne7
The position resembles a French Winawer, with White's Bishop misplaced at e3 and
the f3 pawn looking silly. Black plans include ....Ba6, exchanging off the bad Bishop
and then ...Nb8-c6 followed by ...Rc8, with play down the c-file.
9 f4 cxd4 10 cxd4 Qc8!
Preparing ...Ba6.
11 Qd2 Ba6!
The Bishop was potentially bad, hampered by the central pawn structure, so Ivanov
exchanges. Simple and effective strategy.
12 Bd3 Nbc6 13 Nf3 Na5
Eyeing c4.
14 00 Bxd3 15 Qxd3 Qc4 16 Qxc4 Nxc4 17 Bf2 Rc8-+


40
XIIIIIIIIY
9+r+k+tr0
9zp+snpzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++pzP+0
9+nzPzP+0
9zP++N+0
9+P+vLPzP0
9tR++RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

This is an almost perfect game by Black because the ideas are very easy to
understand. Virtually White's only chance of counterplay is to play f4-f5 somewhere.
At present that move seems a long way off. Meanwhile Black creates play on the c-
file and ties White down to passive defence of the pawns on c2 and a3.
18 g4 h5!
Breaking up the pawn advance before it even gets going!
19 h3 hxg4 20 hxg4 Rh3!
Ivanov spies a tactical flaw in White's thinking.
21 Kg2 Rxf3! 22 Kxf3 Nd2+ 23 Kg2 Nxf1 24 Rxf1 g5!!
24...Rxc2 25 Rh1 Ra2 was also very good, but the grandmaster always looks for
something better. I guess he reasons that the c-pawn always drops and so he can
afford to smash up the White kingside first. 24...g5 is a great move.
25 Rh1 gxf4 26 Rh8+ Kd7 27 Rxc8 Kxc8 28 Kf3 Ng6 29 Be1 Kd7 30 Bd2 Kc6 31
a4 a5 32 Ke2 b5
XIIIIIIIIY
9++++0
9+++p+0
9+k+p+n+0
9zpp+pzP+0
9P+zPzpP+0
9++++0
9+PvLK++0
9++++0
xiiiiiiiiy

This was the position he surely saw before playing 24...g5!!. Black creates two passed
pawns.
33 Kd3 bxa4 34 c4 dxc4+ 35 Kxc4 f3
Variety is possible after 1...b6, as you have seen. We just want to engineer variety on
our terms, that's all.
01


(5) Van Der Sterren,P - Sahovic,D
B00


41
Lone Pine, 1979
Andy Martin
1 e4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Bd3 Nf6!?
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvltr0
9zplzppzppzpp0
9zp+sn+0
9++++0
9+zPP++0
9++L++0
9PzPP+zPPzP0
9tRNvLQmKsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

This will be our recommended repertoire move and so its important to look this game
over carefully. 3...Nf6 is instantly provocative because aggressive White players will
always be looking at e4-e5. But thanks to the weakness at g2, e4-e5 isn't playable yet.
I think that 3...Nf6 is a pretty good move and very consistent with Black's idea of
dismantling White's centre and prising open the long diagonal.
Like many will do in your games, Van Der Sterren tries to play it safe and comes
unstuck.
4 Nd2 c5!
A second attack on White's centre.
5 c3 cxd4 6 cxd4 Nc6
The third attack. Sahovic is relentlessly consistent.
7 Ngf3 Nb4
Number Four.
8 Be2
If 8 Bb1 then 8...Ba6!
8...Rc8 9 00 e6 10 e5 Nfd5 11 a3 Nc2 12 Ra2 Nf4
Black's pursuit of the initiative is striking. He is taking every opportunity to attack
White's position. Van Der Sterren is very disturbed by these tactics and overlooks a
stunning tactical shot.
13 b3 Ne3!!
XIIIIIIIIY
9+rwqkvltr0
9zpl+p+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++zP+0
9+zPsn+0
9zPP+snN+0
9R+sNLzPPzP0
9+vLQ+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

14 fxe3 Rxc1! 15 exf4 Rxd1 16 Rxd1 Be7 17 Nc4 00


42
White has only Rook and Knight for the Queen. More to the point he has serious
problems on the long diagonal.
18 a4 f6! 19 exf6 Bxf6 20 Ne3 Be7 21 g3 g5!
Opening up the enemy King is a good way to emphasize the attacking power of the
Queen.
22 Ng2
22 fxg5 Bxf3; 22 Nxg5 Bxg5 23 fxg5 Qxg5.
22...gxf4 23 Nxf4 Bd6 24 Ne5 Qg5
The instant that the Queen enters the fray, White's game falls apart.
25 Rf1 Bxe5 26 dxe5 Qxe5 27 Rf2 Qe4
Black's domination of the long diagonal is complete and this final position is a fitting
way to end the introduction.
01


43

THEORY INTRO

The theory section is rather fiddly compared with 1 b4 but I hope you can navigate
you way around.

I've concentrated on what I think will be the most likely move-orders in practical play
and reduced the workload as much as I can.

It will probably be wise to commit most of this stuff to memory. Playing Black you
can't get away with much these days.


44

OWEN'S DEFENCE
(1) OWENS 3 Nc3 MAIN LINE
B00
Andy Martin
We commence the Theory section by covering Owen's Defence. I reiterate here that
Black is in most danger after 1 e4 b6, but we will not let this inhibit us.
1 e4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Nc3 e6
The main idea is to play ...Bb4,attacking e4. White has tried:
4 Nf3 Bb4 5 Bd3
5 e5 Ne7 6 Bd3 d6=
5...Nf6
5...Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 d6! 7 00 Nd7 8 Bg5 Ne7 is another interesting approach, patented
by Argentina GM Garcia Palermo. Black doubles White's pawns and then shuts down
the position for his Knights to get to work in the middlegame.
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqk+tr0
9zplzpnsnpzpp0
9zpzpp++0
9+++vL0
9+zPP++0
9+zPL+N+0
9P+P+zPPzP0
9tR+Q+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

6 Bg5
White must play sharply lest his advantage of the first move evaporate. Alternatives
leave Black comfortable:
6 e5 Ne4 7 Bd2 Nxd2! 8 Qxd2 (8 Nxd2 Qg5!=) 8...Bxf3 9 gxf3 Nc6=; 6 Qe2 d5 7 e5
Ne4 8 Bd2 Bxc3 9 bxc3 00=
6...h6 7 Bxf6 Qxf6 8 00
8 e5 Qf4!
8...Bxc3
Taking the opportunity to mess up White's pawns.
9 bxc3 d6 10 Nd2
10 a4 00 11 a5 e5 12 Qe2 Nc6 13 a6 Bc8=.
10...e5 11 f4
Neutral play by White just leaves Black positionally better thanks to his superior
pawns.
11 Nb3 Nc6 12 f4 exd4-+
11...exd4 12 e5 dxe5 13 Qh5 g6 14 Qh3
14 Qe2 Nc6=+
14...exf4 15 Rae1+ Kf8 16 Ne4 Qe5-+


45
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+mktr0
9zplzp+p+0
9zp++pzp0
9++wq+0
9+zpNzp+0
9+zPL++Q0
9P+P++PzP0
9++tRRmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

Black plans ...Kg7 and ...Nc6, consolidating.
Line


(2) 3 Nc3 e6 MAIN LINE OTHERS
B00
Andy Martin
1 e4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Nc3 e6
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvlntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+zPP++0
9+sN++0
9PzPP+zPPzP0
9tRvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Moves other than 4 Nf3 are less common but cannot be ignored:
4 Bd3
4 a3 Is it really worth a tempo to prevent ...Bb4? Black can go back into Sicilian
positions, with the move a2-a3 of questionable value: 4...Nf6 5 Bd3 (5 e5 Nd5 6 Nxd5
Bxd5 7 c4 Bb7 8 d5 Qe7! unclear) 5...c5! 6 Nf3 cxd4 7 Nxd4 Nc6 8 Nb3 Be7 9 f4 d6
10 00 00 11 Be3 a6=; 4 d5 Too early. 4...Nf6 5 Bg5 Be7=; 4 g3 f5!? 5 Bg2 Bb4=+
White has problems defending his centre already.
4 f4?! White cannot afford all these pawn moves 4...Bb4 5 Bd3 Nf6 6 Qe2 d5 7 e5 (7
exd5 Nxd5 8 Bd2 Nxc3 9 bxc3 Be7 10 Nf3 00 11 00 c5) 7...Ne4 8 Bd2 Bxc3 9 bxc3
Qh4+!
4...Bb4 5 Nge2
5 Nf3 Nf6 6 Qe2 d5
5...c5! 6 00
6 a3 Ba5!? 7 00 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bxc3 9 bxc3 Ne7 10 Qg4 00=
6...cxd4 7 Nxd4 Nc6=


46
Black has a decent Sicilian-like position. His ongoing plan would be ...Nf6 or...Nge7
and 00.
CONCLUSION
After 3 Nc3 White should probably angle for a Sicilian-like formation, albeit in a less
aggressive setting then normal. Independent lines which lead to original positions are
quite OK for Black, whose plan of ...Bb4, ...Nf6 and ...d7-d5 is easy to implement and
understand.
Line


(3) OWENS 3 Bd3 Nf6!
B00
Andy Martin
1 e4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Bd3 Nf6!
Aggressive and uncharted.
4 Nd2
4 Qe2 e6 5 Nf3 c5 6 c3 Be7 7 00 Nc6 8 e5 Nd5 9 c4 Ndb4=
4 f3 Nc6!? 5 c3 e5! 6 d5 Nb8 7 Be3 Na6 8 Ne2 c6 9 dxc6 dxc6 10 b4 Qd7= 11 00
(11 Bc4? b5 12 Bb3 c5+=) 11...Rd8
4 Nc3 e6 5 Nf3 Bb4 transposes to other lines.
4...c5!
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvltr0
9zpl+pzppzpp0
9zp+sn+0
9+zp++0
9+zPP++0
9++L++0
9PzPPsNzPPzP0
9tRvLQmKsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

5 c3
5 Ngf3 cxd4 6 Nxd4 d6 7 00 g6 8 c3 Bg7 9 Qe2 00 10 Re1 a6 11 Nf1 Nbd7 12 f3
e5 13 Nc2 d5 Karaklajic-Planinc Yugoslavia 1979
5...cxd4 6 cxd4 Nc6 7 Ngf3 Nb4 8 Be2


47
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqkvltr0
9zpl+pzppzpp0
9zp+sn+0
9++++0
9snzPP++0
9+++N+0
9PzPsNLzPPzP0
9tRvLQmK+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

8 Bb1 Ba6
8...Rc8
8...Nxe4!?
9 00 e6 10 e5 Nfd5 11 a3 Nc2 12 Ra2 Nf4 13 b3 Ne3!! 14 fxe3 Rxc1-+
Van Der Sterren - Sahovic Lone Pine 1979.

The 3...Nf6 variation is one for the pioneers. The analysis here might seem brief, but I
assure you that you will have a massive head start over 99% of your opponents if you
remember it.
Line


(4) OTHER IDEAS FOR WHITE
B00
Andy Martin
1 e4 b6
Sequences other than 2 d4 Bb7 3 Nc3 or 3 Bd3 are very rare.
2 Nf3
2 d4 Bb7 3 f3 e6 4 Be3 Nf6
2 g3 Bb7 3 Bg2 e6 4 Nc3 f5 5 Nge2 Nf6 6 d3 Bb4 7 00 fxe4 unclear
2...Bb7 3 Nc3 e6 4 g3 Bb4
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqk+ntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9vl+P++0
9+sN+NzP0
9PzPPzPzPzP0
9tRvLQmKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

5 d3 d5= Line



48
SUMMARY OF OWEN'S DEFENCE
Owen's Defence is an underused response to the King's pawn. It doesn't enjoy a great
reputation, which means that the majority of players will just be accepting what the
books say without ever having looked at them!
You have surprise on your side!


49
ENGLISH DEFENCE

1 d4 e6 2 c4 b6

(5) ENGLISH DEFENCE 3 d5
A40
Andy Martin
1 d4 b6 2 c4 e6 3 d5 Qh4!? 4 Nc3!
4 e3 Nf6 5 a3 Bb7=+
4...Bb4! 5 Bd2 Nf6
5...Qxc4 6 e4 Qc5 7 Rc1
6 e3
6 Nf3 Qxc4 7 e4 Qc5 8 Rc1 Ng4! 9 Qe2 Ba6
6...Bxc3 7 Bxc3 Ne4 8 Qc2 Nxc3 9 Qxc3 00 10 g3 Qe4 11 f3 Qg6 12 Ne2
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnl+trk+0
9zpzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p+q+0
9++P++0
9+P+++0
9+wQzPPzP0
9PzP+N+zP0
9tR+mKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

Karpov-Miles Bugojno 1978Now
12...d6 13 Rc1 e5
is most accurate, equalizing. The ongoing plan might be ....f7-f5 and ...Nd7-f6.
Possibly Black can consider ...a7-a6 and ...b6-b5!? too.
Line


(6) 3 a3 and 3 Nc3 Bb7 4 a3
A40
Andy Martin
1 d4 b6 2 c4 e6 3 a3
A move which has become very popular in recent years, whether preceded by ...Nc3
or not. White plans Nc3 and d4-d5, trying to stifle the Bb7.
3...Bb7 4 Nc3 f5! 5 d5
5 Nf3 Nf6 6 e3 Be7 7 Bd3 00 8 b4 Ne4 unclear; 5 f3 Nf6 6 Nh3 Bd6!? 7 Nf2 00 8
e4 fxe4 9 fxe4 e5
5...Nf6


50
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvltr0
9zplzpp+zpp0
9zp+psn+0
9++P+p+0
9+P+++0
9zPsN++0
9zP+PzPPzP0
9tRvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

The pressure is already quite intense on the White centre.
6 g3 a5!? 7 Bg2 Na6 8 Nh3 Bd6 9 00 00 10 e4 Be5!
This was the idea behind the unusual deployment to d6. Black will exchange on c3.
11 exf5 Bxc3 12 bxc3 exf5 13 Qc2 Ne4! 14 Bxe4 fxe4 15 Qxe4 Nc5 16 Qg4 Qe7 17
Be3 Qe4
Tal-Miles Niksic 1983Despite being a pawn down, Black has excellent endgame
chances if the queens come off thanks to the doubled pawns on c3 and c4.And if
White keeps the Queens on, his King may become exposed.
Line


(7) 3 e4 Bb7 4 Bd3
A40
Andy Martin
1 d4 b6 2 c4 e6 3 e4 Bb7 4 Bd3 Qh4!?
A very sharp move used with success by Hungarian GM Forintos. Again ...Qh4 is
bound to have an unsettling effect. In the main line White is forced to sacrifice a
pawn, or Black is very happy indeed.
5 Nf3
5 Qc2 f5
5 Qe2 f5 6 Nf3 Qg4 unclear
5...Qg4 6 00
6 h3 Qxg2 7 Rg1 Qxh3 8 Rg3 Qh1+ 9 Rg1 Qh5 10 Rg5 Qh1+=
6...Bxe4 7 Bxe4 Qxe4 8 Nc3 Qb7
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+kvlntr0
9zpqzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+PzP++0
9+sN+N+0
9PzP+zPPzP0
9tRvLQ+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy



51
the consequences of the pawn sacrifice are not clear to me. Black recuperates with
...Be7 and Nf6, remaining a pawn up.
9 Re1
9 Bg5 Be7 10 Qd2 Nf6 unclear
9 Bf4 Nf6
9...Bb4 Line


(8) 4 Qc2 Qh4!
A40
Andy Martin
1 c4 b6 2 d4 e6 3 e4 Bb7 4 Qc2 Qh4!
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsn+kvlntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+PzPP+wq0
9++++0
9PzPQ+zPPzP0
9tRNvLmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

This is a variation that gives rise to messy complications, most of which have to be
learned. Watch the pawns on e4 and g2 closely-never miss a chance to attack them.
5 Nd2
5 Nc3 Bb4 6 Bd3 f5 7 g3 (7 Nf3 Bxc3+ 8 Qxc3 Qg4 9 00 fxe4 10 Ne5 Qh4 11 Bc2
d6) 7...Qh5 8 Be2 Qf7 9 f3 fxe4 10 fxe4 Nf6 11 d5 00 12 Nf3 Qg6 13 Bd3 Qh5 14
00 Na6 15 a3 Bxc3-+ Farago-Miles Hastings 1976-7 16 Qxc3 Nc5 leaves the White
centre crumbling.
5...Bb4 6 Bd3 f5 7 Ngf3 Qg4! 8 exf5
8 a3 Qxg2 9 Rf1 Bxd2+ 10 Nxd2 Nc6; 8 00 Bxd2 9 Nxd2 (9 Ne5 Qh5 10 Bxd2 Nf6)
9...Ne7
8...Qxg2
Line


(9) 4 f3
A40
Andy Martin
1 d4 b6 2 c4 e6 3 e4 Bb7 4 f3


52
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvlntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+PzPP++0
9+++P+0
9PzP++PzP0
9tRNvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

Too many pawn moves? Now I suggest the uncharted
4...Qh4+ 5 g3 Qh5!?
With similar ideas to those already discussed. The Queen check softened the long
diagonal and now Black's plans certainly include ...Bb4+ and f7-f5, combined
possibly with either ...Ne7 or ...Nh6.There has been very little experience with this
plan.
Line


(10) ENGLISH DEFENCE 4 NC3
A40
Andy Martin
1 d4 b6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb7 4 e4 Bb4
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqk+ntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9vlPzPP++0
9+sN++0
9PzP+zPPzP0
9tRvLQmKLsNR0
xiiiiiiiiy

In this variation Black's ideas are most consistent. He batters away at the e4 square
with everything he's got.
5 Bd3 f5 6 Qh5+
6 Qe2 Nf6 7 Bg5 (7 f3 00!) 7...fxe4 8 Bxe4 Bxc3+ 9 bxc3 Bxe4 10 Bxf6 Qxf6 11
Qxe4 Nc6 12 Nf3 00 13 00 Qf4!=
6 d5 fxe4 7 Bxe4 Qh4! 8 Qd3 exd5 9 cxd5 Nf6 10 Bf3 Ba6-+
6...g6 7 Qe2 Nf6 8 Bg5
8 f3 Nc6!? 9 Be3 f4!? 10 Bf2 (10 Bxf4 Nxd4 11 Qf2 Nc6 12 Nge2 00 13 Qh4 Be7 14
Bh6 Ne5 15 000 Nfg4+) 10...e5
8...fxe4 9 Bxe4 Bxc3+ 10 bxc3 Bxe4 11 Bxf6 Qxf6 12 Qxe4 Nc6=


53
Black's position is most satisfactory. His simple plan is ...00 and ...Qf4 with a
slightly better ending.
Line


SUMMARY of the ENGLISH DEFENCE

Black's ideas are holding up well in the English Defence. You'll note that in most
lines we are playing the destabilising ...Qd8-h4 as soon as we can but please be alert
to those cases where we do not (lines where White delays Bf1-d3 usually.)
Look out for the move order and the small delay in...Bb7. This 1 d4 b6 2 c4 e6! is
correct because we wish to answer 3 d5 with 3...Qh4!?
the English Defence is a thoroughly sound and exciting way to meet the queen's
pawn.


54
OTHER LINES

(11) 1...b6 vs English (1)
A10
Andy Martin
1...b6 is eminently playable against the English and 1 Nf3. I give the most likely
sequences here.
1 c4 b6 2 Nf3 Bb7 3 g3 Bxf3! 4 exf3 c5!
To try to nail down the d4 square.
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvlntr0
9zp+pzppzpp0
9zp+++0
9+zp++0
9+P+++0
9+++PzP0
9PzPzPzPzP0
9tRNvLQmKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

5 Bg2?!
5 d4! cxd4 6 Qxd4 Nc6 is the only critical sequence. Black follows with ...g6, ...Bg7,
...Rc8, ...Nf6, ...d6 and ...00, with play against White's fractured pawns.
5...Nc6 6 00 e6 7 f4 Rc8 8 Nc3 Nge7
The further plan might be ...Nf5, ...g6, ...Bg7 and ...Ncd4. White finds it very tough to
generate activity thanks to the grip on d4.
Line


(12) 1...b6 vs English (2)
A10
Andy Martin
1 c4 b6 2 Nc3 Bb7 3 e4 e6 4 Nf3 Bb4 5 Qb3
5 d3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 g3 f5 unclear
5 Bd3 Ne7 6 00 00 7 Re1 f5 8 a3 Bxc3 9 dxc3 fxe4 10 Bxe4 Bxe4 11 Rxe4 Nbc6=
5...Na6!


55
XIIIIIIIIY
9r+wqk+ntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9nzp+p++0
9++++0
9vlP+P++0
9+QsN+N+0
9PzPzPzPPzP0
9tRvLmKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

With the idea of ...Nc5!
6 Be2
6 a3 Nc5 7 Qxb4 (7 Qc2 Bxc3 8 Qxc3 Bxe4 9 Qxg7 (9 d3 Bxf3 10 Qxg7 Qf6 11 Bh6
Qxh6 12 Qxh8 Nb3!) 9...Qf6!) 7...a5 8 Qb5 c6+
6...Ne7 7 a3
7 00 00 8 d3 d5! 9 exd5 exd5 10 Bg5 d4 11 Nd5 Bc5 12 Nxe7+ Bxe7 13 Bxe7
Qxe7 14 Rfe1 Qf6=+
7...Nc5 8 Qc2 Bxc3 9 Qxc3 00=
After 5 Qb3 Na6, Black obtains satisfactory play. Against other, quieter lines, Black
aims for ...Ne7 and ...f7-f5 with chances on the Kingside.
Line


(13) 1...b6 vs English (3)
A10
Andy Martin
1 c4 b6 2 Nf3 Bb7 3 d4 e6 4 g3
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvlntr0
9zplzpp+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9++++0
9+PzP++0
9+++NzP0
9PzP+PzPzP0
9tRNvLQmKL+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

A move order that will be tried by many queen's pawn or English players looking for
that elusive quiet life. Black should damage White's pawns!
4...Bxf3 5 exf3 Nf6 6 Nc3 Be7 7 Bg2
Blocking the diagonal as far as is possible.
7...d5 8 b3 00 9 00
9 f4 Nc6
9...Nc6 10 f4 Bb4 11 Bb2 Qd6 12 Rc1 Bxc3 13 Rxc3 Rfd8


56
Schussler. Black's pressure against the White pawn centre is at least as important as
the two White Bishops.
Line


(14) 1...b6 vs KIA
A05
Andy Martin
1 Nf3 b6 2 g3 Bb7 3 Bg2 e6 4 00
Against the King's Indian Attack I propose Black goes back into a French-type
position.
4...Nf6 5 d3 d5 6 Nbd2 c5 7 e4 Nc6! 8 Re1 Be7 9 a3
Many White players won't go for this idea and block the centre immediately. In this
case Black can possibly attack White on the kingside with ...Qc7, ...g5, ...h5 etc.
9 e5 Nd7 10 Nf1 h6 11 h4 Qc7 12 Bf4 000! 13 N1h2 Rdg8
9...h6! 10 e5 Nd7 11 c3 Qc7
XIIIIIIIIY
9r++k+tr0
9zplwqnvlpzp0
9zpn+p+zp0
9+zppzP+0
9++++0
9zPzPP+NzP0
9zPsNzPLzP0
9tRvLQtRmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

Black's position is flexible. He may follow with ...000 and ...g5, ...h5 which is the
traditional plan in this line, or he may castle short.
Line


(15) 1...b6 vs Rti
A10
Andy Martin
1 Nf3 b6 2 g3 Bb7 3 Bg2 e6 4 c4 f5 5 00 Nf6 6 d4 g6!?


57
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvltr0
9zplzpp++p0
9zp+psnp+0
9+++p+0
9+PzP++0
9+++NzP0
9PzP+PzPLzP0
9tRNvLQ+RmK0
xiiiiiiiiy

7 Nc3 Bg7
is a rare move-order which leads to messy play. Black's ongoing plan is ...00 and
...Ne4.
Line


(16) 1...b6 vs Rti and others
A10
Andy Martin
1 f4
Bird's Opening
1 b3 b6 2 Bb2 Bb7 3 c4 c5 4 Nc3 Nf6 is already looking very equal.
1...b6 2 Nf3 Bb7 3 e3 c5 4 Be2 e6
XIIIIIIIIY
9rsnwqkvlntr0
9zpl+p+pzpp0
9zp+p++0
9+zp++0
9++zP+0
9++zPN+0
9PzPPzPL+PzP0
9tRNvLQmK+R0
xiiiiiiiiy

5 00 Nf6
is fine for Black. Note against the Bird it's best to delay the advance of the d-pawn so
that White can't play Nf3-e5! and begin a routine Kingside attack.
Line

THEORY OUTRO.
I hope that wasn't too painful.
I'm actually struck by the way that 1...b6 turns out; it looks very, very playable in
every single line.
Just shows you that you can't believe everything that you read in the newspapers!


58


THE END


We've reached the end of our survey into 1...b6 as a universal weapon.
I think you'll find that this little move completely baffles most opponents and will
force them to think for themselves at the earliest possible stage.

'NO COMFORT ZONE' should be the motto!

Andy Martin

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