Raymond Keene

Thoroughly modern

In 1972, in collaboration with George Botterill, two-times British champion, I published a revolutionary book on 1 … g6 which we named the Modern Defence. At first sight this defence is paradoxical, since it makes no attempt whatsoever to prevent the construction of a gigantic white pawn structure. However, its virtues have subsequently been recognised and it is now mainstream, as this week’s win by the world champion demonstrates. First Steps: The Modern by Cyrus Lakdawala is published by Everyman Chess.

Wei Yi-Carlsen: Bilbao 2016; Modern Defence

1 d4 g6 2 e4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 Be3 a6 5 f4 b5 6 Nf3 Nd7 7 e5 Bb7 8 Bd3 c5 The dismantling of White’s centre is top priority. 9 Be4 Bxe4 10 Nxe4 Nh6 11 dxc5 dxe5 12 c6 Nf6 13 Qxd8+ Rxd8 14 Nxf6+ exf6 15 c7 Rc8 16 Bb6 This is scary for Black, since now White plans to transfer a rook to d8. 16 … Kd7 Carlsen utilises the endgame principle which guides us to move our king out of the safety zone and put it to work in an ending. In fact in this game Carlsen’s hardworking king moved a remarkable total of 11 times. 17 Ba5 Nf5 18 0-0-0+ Kc6 19 Rd8 Carlsen now finds an efficient way to dismantle White’s bind by transferring the knight to either c4 or b7, which dislodges White’s bishop. 19 … Nd6 20 fxe5 fxe5 21 Rd1 Nc4 22 Bc3 Rxc7 23 b3 Ne3 24 Bxe5 Nxd1 25 Rd6+ The endgame is approximately even. 25 … Kb7 26 Bxg7 Rg8 27 Bd4 Nc3 Black has won the exchange, but White now wins it back.

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