Thursday, January 1, 2009


[Bobby Ang]

Long-time Chess Piece readers know that this writer has made the Scandinavian with 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 his trademark. Some time last week one of my close chess friends asked me to train him in the 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 line. "I'm sorry, but I can't", was my answer. "Why?" he persisted, and my reply was "Because I think that it has been refuted."

It was an honest answer, but he wouldn't leave me alone and made me promise to write about the so-called refutation. So here it is.

We are talking about the main line 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bd2 e6. In one of the recent issues of New in Chess Yearbook, GM Sergei Tiviakov explains the technique easily:

"White easily gets an advantage if he remembers a small series of simple moves: Bc4, Bd2, Nd5, exchange on f6, followed by Bb3 (protecting the pawn on c2, may be dispensed with if attack is underway), Qe2, 0-0-0. Knowing these moves, he will always be ready for the variation with 3...Qa5 in the Scandinavian Defence. The sequence can be played against lines with both ...Bf5 and ...Bg4."

Ye Jiangchuan (2593) - Hauchard,Arnaud (2518) [B01]
Belfort Comtois 4th Belfort (7), 19.12.1999

GM Ye Jiangchuan has been China s top player since the late 80s and even reached ELO 2684 in 2003. I have met him several times and regarded him as a very friendly person who is not averse to accepting the quick draw. GM Joey told me once that Ye is equally good in attack, defence, tactics and strategical play. Today we are witness to his prowess in calculation.

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5
3...Qd6 or 3...Qd8 also has its followers.

4.d4 c6 5.Bc4 Bf5 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.Bd2 e6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6
The most natural move. The alternative 9...gxf6 will be taken up in the next game.

This is the Shirov treatment - the fiery Latvian-turned-Spaniard won a brilliant game against Salov a few years back and it has become a model for White to adopt against this particular Black set-up.

Taking the c-pawn with 10..Bxc2 is met by 11.d5! In Shirov-Salov the continuation was 10...Bg4 11.d5! Bxf3 12.gxf3 cxd5 (12...Qxb2 is just too much. Shirov has indicated 13.0�0 cxd5 14.Bxd5 Nc6 15.Rab1 Qxc2 16.Rxb7 Nd4 17.Qe3 Qc5 18.Qxd4! Qxd4 (18...Qxd5 19.Qxd5 exd5 20.Re1+ Kd8 21.Ba5+ Kc8 22.Rc7+ Kd8 23.Rxf7+ Kc8 24.Re8#) 19.Bc6+ Kd8 20.Ba5+ Kc8 21.Rc7+ Kb8 22.Rb1+ Bb4 23.Rb7+ Kc8 24.R7xb4 it is a rout) 13.Bxd5 Nd7 14.0�0�0 Ba3 15.c3 0�0 16.Be4 Black s position with fraught with danger. The game we are following concluded abruptly thus: 16...Be7? 17.Bxh7+!? (maybe 17.h4! is better, but who argues with success?) 17...Kxh7 18.Qd3+ Kg8 19.Qxd7 b6! 20.Rhg1 Rad8! 21.Qxa7 Bc5 22.Be3 Ra8 23.Qb7 Rxa2 24.Qe4! Bxe3+?! 25.fxe3 b5? 26.Kc2 b4 27.Qxb4 Qf5+ 28.Kb3 Raa8? 29.Rxg7+ 1�0 Shirov,A-Salov,V/ Madrid 1997.

[11.d5 does not work now: 11...cxd5 12.Bxd5 Be7 13.Bc3 Bb4 14.Bxb4 Qxb2 15.0�0 Qxb4 16.Rab1 Qa4 17.Rxb7 0�0 18.Bb3 Qc6 19.Rb4 Nb6 20.Nh4 a5 21.Nxf5 exf5 22.Rh4 a4 23.Bc4 Nxc4 24.Rxc4 Qb5 25.Qd3 1/2 Nataf,I-Waitzkin,J, Bermuda 1999]

Here is the mistake. GM Matthias Wahls, at one time the world s foremost authority in the Scandinavian, points out that Black should play 11...Nb6! 12.Bb3 (Rublevsky won a short game with 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 Qg6?! 14.Qb3 Qxg2? 15.Rhg1 Qh3 (15...Qxf2 16.Qd3 leaves Black with a big problem) 16.Rg3 Qf5 17.Ne5 Be7 18.Rf3 Qe4 19.Rxf7 Qd5 20.c4 1�0 Rublevsky,S-Popov,V/ St Petersburg 2001) 12...Bg4 13.d5 Bxf3 14.gxf3 cxd5 15.Bxd5 0�0�0! (15...Nxd5? 16.Qb5+ Kd8 17.Qxb7 Rc8 18.Ba5+ mate soon) 16.Be4 Bc5 . But I think the way to salvation as pointed out by Wahls emphasizes the ills of the system. Apart from the fact that equality is only claimed but not proven, the point is that Black has to go through severe contortions to get an equal game, while White is just playing normal, easy-to-find moves.

12.Bg5! Qg6
Now the dam breaks.

13.d5! cxd5
Black can also try to wiggle out of his difficulties with 13...Ne5 14.h4 Nxf3 (14...Bxc2? 15.Nxe5! Bxd1 16.Rxd1 Qf5 17.dxe6 White is winning, for example after 17...Bxe5 (17...Qxe5 18.Qh5 0�0 19.exf7+ Kh8 20.Bd3 curtains) 18.exf7+ Kf8 19.Qd2) 15.gxf3 cxd5 16.Rxd5 Bc7 17.Bb5+ Kf8 18.Rd7 Black s position does not inspire confidence.

14.Rxd5 Be7 15.Bxe7 exd5
[15...Kxe7 16.Rxd7+ Kxd7 17.Ne5+]

16.Bxd5 Be6 17.Bd6 Rd8 18.Re1 Nb6 19.Qb5+ Rd7 20.Ne5 Qg5+ 21.Re3! Nxd5 22.Nxd7 a6

caption: position afer 22...a6

23.Nf6+! Kd8 24.Be7+!! Kc8
Everything loses:
a) 24...Nxe7 25.Qxg5;
b) 24...Kxe7 25.Nxd5+ Kd6 (25...Kf8 26.Qc5+ Kg8 27.f4 Qh4 28.Qc8+ Bxc8 29.Re8#; 25...Kd8 26.Qa5+ Kd7 27.Nb6+) 26.Qb6+ Kxd5 27.Qa5+ b5 28.Qd2+ Kc6 29.Rxe6+;
c) 24...Kc7 25.Qc5+

25.Qc5+ Kb8 26.Nd7+ 1-0
As can be seen Black's queen is misplaced in the kingside, so perhaps it might be a good continue to recapture on the 8th move with the g-pawn rather than the queen?

Bologan,Viktor (2620) - Hauchard,Arnaud (2518) [B01]
Belfort Comtois 4th Belfort (9), 21.12.1999

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Bd2 Bf5 7.Nd5 Qd8 8.Nxf6+ gxf6
We have now reached the same position as in the previous game, with the difference that Black played 8...gxf6 rather tan 8...Qxf6.

9.Nf3 e6 10.Bb3 Nd7 11.Qe2 a5?!
The text was not obligatory, of course, but normal means give White the advantage. Some examples:
a) 11...Bd6 12.0-0-0 Qc7 13.Nh4 Bg6 14.g3 Westerinen,H-Smeets,J/ Hoogeveen NED 1999 1-0 (52);
b) 11...Qc7 12.0-0-0 0-0-0 13.Nh4 Bg6 14.Nxg6 hxg6 15.h4 Grosar,K-Rukavina,J/ Bled SLO 1999 1-0 (44)]

12.a4 Be7 13.0-0-0 Nb6?! 14.c4! Nd7 15.Bf4 Qb6 16.Bc2 Bxc2 17.Qxc2 Nf8 18.Kb1 Ng6
This knight had to go through a lot before it could improve its position. Funny thing is, by advancing his h-pawn White can force Black to relocate it again.

19.Bh6 0-0-0 20.h4 Bf8 21.Be3! Bb4
Protecting his knight with 21...h5 sets himself up for 22.d5! c5 23.dxe6 Rxd1+ 24.Rxd1 Qxe6 25.Qd2.

22.h5 Ne7 23.g4 Qc7 24.g5! fxg5
[24...f5 25.Ne5 Rhf8 26.Nd3]

25.Bxg5 Rhf8 26.Qe4 Rde8 27.Bf4 Bd6
[27...Qb6 28.Qe5 is tough]

28.Bh6 Nf5
[28...Rg8? 29.c5 wins the bishop]

29.Bxf8 Bxf8 30.d5 Bc5 31.dxc6 bxc6 32.Ne5 Bxf2 33.Rd7 Qb6 34.Rhd1 Bc5 35.Nxc6 Ne3 36.Ne7+ Kb8
[36...Bxe7 37.Qa8+ Qb8 38.Qa6+ Qb7 39.Qxb7#]

37.Rd8+ Rxd8 38.Rxd8+ Kc7
[38...Qxd8 39.Nc6+ Kc7 40.Nxd8 Kxd8 41.Qe5]

39.Qa8 1-0

So, Mr. Joe Rabe, I hope this explains why I don't play 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5.

Reader comments/suggestions are urgently solicited. Email address is

"This article first appeared in Bobby Ang's column in Business World (Philippines) on 29 April 2005"