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The position where both 6.Rg1!? and Rb1!? are eminently sensible.

Parginos Vasileios

Ο Βασίλης Παργινός παρουσιάζει σήμερα ένα στρατηγικό θέμα, δικαιώνοντας για μία ακόμη τον φορά τον Aaron Nimzowitsch, ο οποίος τολμούσε να πάει κόντρα στη δογματική προσέγγιση του S. Tarrasch. Για παράδειγμα, ένας γνωστός στρατηγικός κανόνας είναι ότι οι πύργοι ανήκουν στις ανοικτές στήλες. Ας δούμε όμως και κάποιες μυστηριώδεις κινήσεις πύργων σε κλειστές στήλες! Όλα ξεκινάνε από τις παρακάτω θέσεις. Μπορείτε να βρείτε τη διαφορά μεταξύ τους;

Almost identical!

Game 1 Parginos V. vs Sigalas F.

[pgn] [Event “Nikea op 12th”] [Site “Nikea”] [Date “2004.??.??”] [Round “4”] [White “Parginos, Vassilios”] [Black “Sigalas, Frangiskos”] [Result “0-1”] [ECO “A44”] [Annotator “bparg”] [PlyCount “13”] [EventDate “2004.08.??”] [EventType “swiss”] [EventRounds “9”] [EventCountry “GRE”] [SourceTitle “EXT 2007”] [Source “ChessBase”] [SourceDate “2006.11.23”] [SourceVersion “1”] [SourceVersionDate “2006.11.23”] [SourceQuality “1”] {THE POSITION WHERE BOTH 6. Rg1!? AND 6. Rb1!? ARE EMINENTLY SENSIBLE Although moving a Rook early in the opening is not very common, there are some known examples of such moves that have become popular, like the 6. Rg1 in Sicilian Najdorf. But how about a position that both 6. Rg1 and 6. Rb1 are sensible candidate moves? And that’s not all. The best part is that both of them practically do the same job on the board!} 1. d4 c5 2. d5 e5 3. e4 d6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Nf3 Bg4 {[#] The typical idea behind this move in the Old Benoni defence, is to capture the Knight on f3 and play Bg5, exchanging the dark squared Bishops. In this position, there are 321 games in Mega Database 2020 and usually White continues with h3 or Be2. Being in a creative mood, White looked for a way to prevent Black’s plan and came up with a surprising novelty. } 6. Rg1 $5 $146 {Rumour has it than when Frangiskos returned to the board, it took him a second or two to understand why his clock was running, as none of White’s pawns, minor pieces or even the Queen had moved.} h6 ({After} 6… Bxf3 7. gxf3 {the g5 square is no longer available for the Bishop.}) 7. a4 $6 { Although thematic, this move doesn’t justify or at least support the Rg1 idea. In the game Black equalised easily and eventually went on to win the game. White should have continued with the critical} (7. h3 Bxf3 (7… Bh5 8. g4 Bg6 9. a4 {is certainly not what Black was hoping for.}) 8. gxf3 {and if} Bg5 { [#] then White replies with} 9. f4 $1 Bxf4 ({On} 9… exf4 {White has} 10. h4 Bxh4 11. Bxf4 {intending Bb5+, Qd2 and 0-0-0 with a comfortable position.}) 10. Bxf4 exf4 11. Qg4 {where} g5 {[#] is strongly met by} 12. e5 $1 {and although two pawns down, after} dxe5 13. O-O-O {White has full compensation and excellent prospects.}) 0-1 [/pgn]

Game 2 Tihonov J. vs Haba P.

[pgn] [Event “EU-Cup 25th”] [Site “Ohrid”] [Date “2009.10.10”] [Round “7.4”] [White “Tihonov, Jurij”] [Black “Haba, Petr”] [Result “1/2-1/2”] [ECO “A44”] [WhiteElo “2460”] [BlackElo “2541”] [Annotator “bparg”] [SetUp “1”] [FEN “rn1qk1nr/pp2bppp/3p4/2pPp3/4P1b1/2N2N2/PPP2PPP/R1BQKB1R w KQkq – 0 6”] [PlyCount “10”] [EventDate “2009.10.04”] [EventType “team-swiss”] [EventRounds “7”] [EventCountry “MKD”] [SourceTitle “CBM 133”] [Source “ChessBase”] [SourceDate “2009.11.19”] [SourceVersion “1”] [SourceVersionDate “2009.11.19”] [SourceQuality “1”] {[#]} {Five years later, GM Jurij Tihonov found another creative way to play this position.} 6. Rb1 $5 $146 {To be honest, when i first saw this move i didn’t really understand the point. I mean, going for b4 doesn’t seem to be a good idea, not even after a3. Indeed, in the game the Rook returned to a1 on move 19, with the b-pawn still on b2. Then i thought, what about defending b2-pawn against some possible Qb6? No, it doesn’t make sense, either. Fortunately, -the famous- Dr Tepelenis, enlightened me: – “Vasilis, he said, the move Rb1 carries out the same task, as your Rg1 move”. – Wait, what? – “Vasilis, it prevents Black’s Bg5”! – But…how?} Nd7 ({GM Petr Haba identified the threat and wisely avoided the Bg5 plan! On} 6… Bxf3 7. Qxf3 Bg5 $2 {[#] White intended to play} 8. Qg4 $1 {kindly asking Black to give up on his dreams of exchanging the Bishops now, as after} Bxc1 9. Qxg7 Qf6 10. Qxf6 Nxf6 11. Rxc1 {[#] White would simply be a healthy pawn up. However, with the Rook on a1, Black would have been able to reply Qxg7 with Bxb2, obtaining a winning advantage after Qxh8 by means of Bxc3+, followed for example by Qg5 or Kf8. It’s now clear that the Rook had moved to b1 in order to protect the b2-pawn from a possible attack by that innocent-looking Bishop on e7! A tricky plan, especially if you are unfamiliar with such positions.}) 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 a6 9. Be2 {After this move Black finally manages to exchange the Bishops.} (9. Qg3 {[#] is the engine’s suggestion here, White looks better.}) 9… Bg5 10. Bxg5 Qxg5 {and the game was drawn on move 46. Obviously, I don’t claim that 6.Rg1 or 6.Rb1 are the strongest replies in this position. Nevertheless, those moves look very interesting, they are definitely unexplored, and futhermore, after analyzing the positions either by using an engine or not, i couldn’t see how Black gets to equalize. So, if you ever find yourself playing White in this opening, and you don’t mind about the Bg5 idea, go for 6.h3 or 6. Be2. Besides, GM Ding Liren – one of the best players in the world – went for h3 too, against GM Liu Qingnan in 2014, when after some serious complications the game ended in a draw. But then again, he didn’t have the chance to read this article at that time, did he. On the other hand, if you want to surprise your opponent and ruin his frustrating, thematic exchange plan, now you know what to do. There is just one question left: Which Rook to move…?} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

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