Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A short novelty consultation

by Junta

A friend came up to me and asked if I could have a look at a variation he prepared - he was paired against a certain Australian junior the next round, probably later on that day. Although he was Black, I stood looking down at the White side of a board on a table. He showed me:

1.c4 e5 2.e4 Ke7

I was surprised - this definitely looked like a novelty, and an interesting one at that. If White was unable to punish it straight away, then maybe it would become a playable sideline. Left at the board alone, I started examining White's critical attempts - 3.Qh5, 3.Nc3, 3.d4, 3.f4...

3.Qh5 Nc6 - Black defends e5 easily, and will harass White's queen with tempo next with ...g6 (followed by ...Bg7) or ...Nf6. This attempt would be too crude.

3.Nc3 c6 - Black will follow up with ...d6, ...Nd7, ...g6, ...Bg7 - that looks quite solid. But surely there's a reason the king move has never been seen before. How could the game continue from here?

Pressuring e5 and opening lines up should be White's plan - let's say 4.f4 d6 5.Nf3 Nd7 6.d4 g6

Hmm...what does Black do if White just develops? Be2, O-O, Be3, Qd2... 7.Be2 Bg7 8.O-O Nh6 aha, so if 9.Be3, ...Ng4 with tempo. 9.h3 f6 And here I realised what my friend's plan must be - ...Nf7, ...Re8 and ...Kf8-g8, castling artificially!

After checking over the lines as well as examining other insignificant lines, I called my friend over to deliver my verdict. "It's an interesting novelty, but I'm not totally convinced. Your next opponent loves to have space and attack, so wouldn't this opening be helping him too much? I think you should stick with your normal repertoire this time." But I felt that the novelty was worth something, adding "But trying this line out in a game - it will definitely be a good learning experience for you."

N.B. This was a dream I had last night. Usually things are much more exciting in my occasional chess dreams, often playing in a tense tournament game myself, but usually I can't remember the positions and moves as well as here. Waking up, I wondered how the poor move 2...Ke7 could be considered ok, but in the dream it only felt like a sub-optimal, but playable move.

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