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Queen’s Pawn Opening: Surprising Black E-mail
Written by WGM Raluca Sgîrcea, IM Renier Castellanos   
Tuesday, 15 September 2015 00:00

queens pawnNowadays it is difficult to find new ideas in the opening.  Most of the main lines have been thoroughly analyzed and some sidelines are too risky to even try. Nevertheless, there are still systems that have not been deeply examined yet, as is the case of the variation that we will present you in this article.

After the moves 1. d4 – Nf6 (or d5) 2. Nc3 – d5 (Nf6) 3. Bf4 seems like black needs to know one or two things before he can obtain the equality.

queen's pawn

In recent games, played mostly by the Grandmaster Jobava Baadur, the Georgian player showed how white can set problems for black from a very early stage. His idea is simple and straightforward against the three possible ways that the opponent can develop:

  1. If black plays 3… g6, then white will answer with 4. Qd2 and eventually continue with Bh6. Later on he can start an attack by f3, g4 and h4.
  2. If black plays the natural move 3… Bf5, then white’s plan is to play 4. f3 followed by g4 and h4, gaining space on the kingside.
  3. The remaining development is to play 3… e6. This is a solid move. However, the big drawback is that the bishop on c8 stays locked behind the pawns. In this case, white plays Bd3, Nf3 and usually castles short. Later on, he can play Ne5 with a firm control of the center.

After Jobava’s success with this line, many other players, such as Nakamura, Rapport, Harikrishna and so on have noticed the virtues of this system and have employed it in tournament games. We will examine now different examples that will show you how to play this system with white and how to employ the ideas we mentioned.


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In the first example we’ll have a look at the move 3… g6. This development is risky for black, although, with accurate play, he should be able to equalize. Nevertheless, the positions arising from this variation are very interesting and sharp.

In the next game, black develops with 3… Bf5, which is probably the best set up for him in this system. Here, white continues with f3 followed by g4, starting an early attack on the kingside. The positions arising are closed, with chances for both sides.

In the last example we have a look at the line with 3… e6, keeping the bishop on c8. This way of development is very solid and black is close to equalizing. Against the direct 3… e6, white can try the move Nb5, attacking c7 immediately and forcing the black knight to move to a6. In case black prevents this idea with 3… a6, then white continues to develop by playing e3, Nf3 and Bd3, in a standard way.

As we can see from the games, the system does not promise any advantage for white, but it’s perfect for the creative player who is not afraid of new positions.

From black’s point of view, it can be awkward for the King’s Indian/Gruenfeld players, since the line with g6 is the most risky set up for him.

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About the Authors:

Raluca Sgîrcea

WGM Raluca Sgîrcea is an active chess player and teaching chess for over two years.  European champion U10, winner of several Romanian national championship medals, Woman International Master title since 2011. One Woman Grandmaster norm. Highest FIDE rating 2302.

Renier Castellanos

IM Renier Castellanos is an active chess player and trainer for over 10 years, have worked for Chessbase and done live commentary on several major events, winner of many international tournaments. One Grandmaster norm. Highest FIDE rating 2529.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 09:13


0 #2 Yury 2015-09-16 10:28
Yes, it is a very versatile opening and can be played from 500 to 2800 level. It can be surprisingly complex however, if you don't know what you're doing. :roll:
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+3 #1 Mido 2015-09-16 10:07
d4 – Nf6 (or d5) 2. Nc3 – d5 (Nf6) 3. Bf4 were my first 3 moves whenever I was novice and still learning chess fundmentals I discoverd this system alone with no book or teacher and I was effective and fine but I left it when I learnt some d4 openings as queen gambit and london system but I will never forget my first love =D
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