Beware the Ides of Zaitsev

One of the things that I have been working on lately is a much more thorough approach to my openings. While I have definitely had some growing pains, I am doing better when it comes to working harder to understand my opening repertoire.

I have been playing 1…e5 again lately and the Breyer has been my variation of choice. However, I have wanted to work on some other lines to both better increase my understanding as well as to give myself more weapons in the arsenal.

So I started looking at the Zaitsev.

Here is the main position, which arises after the move 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 

The main move here is 12.Nbd2, but it turns out that White has a drawing line if they wish to play it with 12.Ng5

Now the idea is that Black goes back with 12…Rf8 and then after 13.Nf3 Black is either left with repeating with 13…Re8 or playing 13…Nd7. In the games I was looking at the higher rated GM’s playing Black had a tendency to just go back and repeat. These were games from open tournaments where more often than not Black needs to play for a win in order to have a chance to finish well.

I’ll have to look into this more to determine why they wouldn’t play 13…Nd7. In the meantime here are two examples from May of this year.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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