Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gambitting Against the Nimzovich Defense

As I mentioned in my last post on his death, Hugh Myers once wrote a small piece for BDG WORLD. It's reprinted here, by request, from the July-August 1992 issue. I haven't checked Hugh's lines with the help of Rybka, but I imagine they'll stand up pretty well. At the end of this article Hugh announced the resurrection of his magazine, renamed The New Myers Openings Bulletin, which he continued until 1996. Gambitting Against the Nimzovich Defense By Hugh Myers I've had enough respect for the dangers of the BDG that I’ve advised 1.e4 Nc6 players to try to transpose away from it, for example with 1.d4 d5 2.e4 Nc6, or 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.e4 e6 (or 3...dxe4 4.d5 Ne5). But a determined gambit player can always can always find a way to play a gambit. An example of that is on p.33 of my book Nimzovich 's Defense to 1.e4, 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.d5 Ne5 5.f3 That book, written in 1985 and published in early 1986, was revised by me in 1989, with expectation of 1990 printing. For various reasons the publisher had to postpone it. Recently I did more updating of portions of it, as the publisher was optimistic that it would he published this year. That's still uncertain. Anyway, here is a sample, the rewritten 5.f3 section: 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.d5 Ne5 5.f3
We'll take separate looks at the gambit accepted and the gambit declined. (a) 5...exf3 This has been questioned since... 6.Nxf3 Nxf3+ 6...Ng6 7.Bc4 Nf6 8.0-0 Qd6 9.Be3 a6+/= +/=, Sherborne-Hutchinson, corres. 7.Qxf3 Nf6 8.Bf4 a6 9.h3 g6 10.g4 Bg7 11.0-0-0 +/- Milner-Barry - Mieses, Margate 1935 (1-0, 21). But accepting the gambit is not bad in the opinion of Lorenzo Buttari, who wrote the following analysis (there are minor additions by me) for the 10/87 issue of L'Italia Scacchistica. Moves are as in the main line above through 8.Bf4.
Then 8...Bg4 9.Bb5+ [9.Qd3 a6 then 10...Qd7 and 0-0-0;; 9.Qxg4 Nxg4 10.Bb5+ Qd7 11.Bxd7+ Kxd7; 9.Qg3 c6 and White's 0-0-0 has been delayed, but it's not clear, e.g. 10.Bg5 and I'm not sure if Bd7, Bh5, or Qd7 is best.] 9...c6 10.dxc6 [10.Qxg4 cxb5 11.Qf3 Qa5] 10...Bxf3 11.c7+ [11.cxb7+ Nd7] 11...Qd7 12.Bxd7+ Nxd7 13.gxf3 e5. Some of that might be questioned, but the main question is if White's position is worth a pawn. This is also pertinent to the variation 5.f4 exf3 ep. ( 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.d5 Ne5 5.f3) b) 5...e6 6.Qd4 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Bg3 exf3, Harding; 6.fxe4 exd5 (6...Nf6= Harding) 7.exd5 Bd6 8.Qd4 Qe7 9.Ne4 Ng4 10.Be2 Be5, J. Littlewood-G. Kenworthy, England 1981, 0-1. 31: (6.Bb5+ c6 (6...Bd7 7.dxe6 Bxb5 8.exf7+ Kxf7 9.Qxd8 Rxd8 10.Nxb5 exf3 11.Nxf3 Nxf3+ 12.gxf3 c6 13.Nc3 = /= +, Faxon) 7.Bf4! cxb5! (7...Bd7 8.Bxe5 and 8.dxc6 answers other moves), and for some bizarre action see the rest of this game, Martin-Faxon, below. 6..Bd6 6...Nc6!? 7.Bb5 (7.Qxc4 Nf6 =/= +) exd5 8.Bf4 Bd7 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.0-0-0 Nf6 -/+ Frost-Kenworthy, England 1981; that could very well be Black's best choice after 6.Qd4, especially considering the new preferred move. 8.Qa4+, below. 7.f4 7.fxe4 exd5 8.exd5 Qc7 =/+; 7.Bf4 Nxf3+ 8.gxf3 Bxf4 9.Qxg7 Qf6 10.Qxf6 Nxf6 11.fxe4 Be5 = +/-+ 7...c5 8.Qa4+ 8.Qxe4 Nf6 9.Qa4+ Bd7 1O.Bb5 Ng6 11.dxe6 fxe6 and Harding suggested 12..Nf3 0-0, unclear. 8...Bd7 9.Bb5 a6 10.Bxd7+ Nxd7 l1.dxe6 fxe6 12.Qxe4 e5 13.Qxb7 Ngf6 14.Nh3 0-0 15.0-0 Kh8 15...c4 16.Qf3 +/- Black gets some compensation for his sacrificed pawn, but the messy position doesn’t compare well with one in which he's a pawn ahead. That 8.Qa4+ line is from Damele-Berni, 1983 correspondence championship. Now here is the game Martin-Faxon, referred to above. Critical marks and notes were based on those by Faxon. Martin,R - Faxon,W Team Match, Boston 1987 1228 / Nimzovich Defense 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.d5 Ne5 5.f3 e6 6.Bb5+ c6 7.Bf4! cxb5!
8.Bxe5 f6 8...a6 then b5-b4, Myers 9.Bg3 b4? 9...a6 10.fxe4 e5 Myers 10.Nb5 e5 11.d6 Kf7! 12.Nc7? 12.f4! 12...Rb8? 12...Qxd6! 13.Qd5+ Kg6 14.0-0-0 14.Rd1 14...Bd7 15.Qxe4+ 15.f4! 15...Kh5? 15...Bf5 16.Qxb4 Rc8 16.f4! Bxd6 17.Rxd6 Qxc7 18.f5? 18.fxe5 18...g5
19.fxg6 ep? 19.Bxe5! 19...Qxd6 20.g7 Nh6 21.gxh8Q Rxh8 22.Nf3 Bf5!? 23.Qe2! Bg4 24.h3 Bxf3 25.gxf3! Qa6! 26.Qd1 Qxa2 27.f4+ Kg6 28.Qd3+ Kg7 29.Rf1 e4! 30.Qd7+ Qf7 31.Rd1 Re8 32.Qa4 a6 33.Qxb4 Nf5 34.Rg1 Qd5 35.Be1+ Kf7 36.Bc3 Rd8 37.Qb6 Rd6 38.Qc7+ Ne7 39.Rg7+? Kxg7 40.Qxe7+ Kh6 41.Qf8+ Kh5 42.Qe8+ Kh4 0-1. The Myers Openings Bulletin hasn't been around since 1988 because of my heart condition and a consequent lack of funds for publishing. The situation has improved in all respects, and the largest MOB yet will be published no later than early September. It will consist mainly of original analysis of a good variety of unfashionable openings. Counting it as a double issue, I've decided on a price of $5.00 postpaid until November (prices of subscriptions or of later issues are not set). Copies will be sent to former subscribers after they let me know their current addresses. MOB back issues are all scarce, but most are available. Hugh Myers, 1605 E. 13 St., Davenport, IA 52803-3801