One way to improve your results is to develop a specific opening repertoire and learn it thoroughly so as to be prepared for most eventualities. This might seem like common sense but it is a lesson which many amateurs neglect to observe. A new book by the prolific author Cyrus Lakdawala (Opening Repertoire 1 d4 with 2 c4, published by Everyman Chess) seeks to plug this lacuna in the chess aficionado’s arsenal of openings by providing an aggressive repertoire based on the solid 1 d4.
Le Quang Liem-Nguyen Van Huy:
Ho Chi Minh City 2014; Nimzo-Indian Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 This is Lakdawala’s recommendation against the solid Nimzo-Indian Defence. White aims to create a strong centre as soon as possible and challenges Black to break it down. An attraction of the line is that if Black misplays the defence (as happens in this game) White can often crash through on the kingside with simple and natural moves. 4 ... d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 exd5 7 ... Nxd5 is a more challenging recapture. 8 e3 0-0 9 Bd3 b6 Black prepares to force a bishop swap via a6. The problem with this plan is that it often allows White’s knight access to f5, which can be the precursor of a kingside attack. 10 Ne2 Ba6 11 0-0 Re8 12 Ng3 Bxd3 13 Qxd3 Nc6 14 Bb2 Rc8 15 Rae1 cxd4 There isn’t much Black can do to prevent White’s e3-e4 break, so he looks for play down the c-file. 16 cxd4 (see diagram 1) 16 ... Ne7 This improvisational rescue attempt of Black’s king achieves its opposite intent. The knight, which should head for a5 and c4, is misplaced on e7 where it is a potential target for the white pawns advancing with e4-e5 and f4-f5-f6. After 16 ... Na5 White is only slightly better. 17 e4 Qc7 18 e5 Nd7 19 Rc1 Qb7 20 f4 Rxc1 21 Bxc1 Black won’t be able to make anything of the c-file and there is no good way to restrain White’s coming f4-f5. 21 ... Qc6 22 f5 A pawn storm of biblical proportions is coming Black’s way. 22 ... Rc8 23 Qf3 The simple 23 Bd2 Qc2 24 Qe3 is equally deadly. 23 ... Qc4 24 f6 Now we see why playing the knight to e7 wasn’t such a great idea. 24 ... Nc6 25 Nf5 (see diagram 2) 25 ... g6 If 25 ... Nxd4? then 26 Nh6+! gxh6 (or 26 ... Kf8 27 fxg7+ Ke7 28 Qxf7+ etc) 27 Qg4+ forces mate: 27 ... Kf8 28 Bxh6+ Ke8 29 Qg8+ Nf8 30 Qxf8+ Kd7 31 Qd6+ Ke8 32 Qe7 mate. 26 e6 fxe6 26 ... gxf5? 27 Qg3+ mates in three more moves. 27 f7+ The pawn can’t be touched due to a massive mega-fork on d6. 27 ... Kh8 28 Nd6 Nxd4 29 Bb2 e5 30 Qf2 Qc5 31 Nxc8 Black resigns After 31 ... Qxc8 32 Qxd4!, Black is unable to recapture since 32 ... exd4 33 Bxd4+ mates.