The Campbell Report
Hard Chess
with USCF Master Mark Morss
5. c3 O-O 6. d4 Bb6 7. dxe5

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.d4 Bb6 7.dxe5

White opts for an immediate gain in space.

7...Nxe4 8.Qd5

8.Nbd2 d5 is equal;

8.Bd3 d5 9.exd6 Nxd6 10.Bg5 f6 11.Bf4 Bg4 and the game was even in Bronstein-Spassky, Mar del Plata 1960.


Diagram A
Analysis position after 8...Nc5

A critical position for the Classical Defense. Black's typical regrouping maneuver is ...Ne7 followed, depending on the retreat chosen by White's queen, ...Ne4 or ...Ne6.


9.Na3 a6 10.Be2 Ne7 11.Qd1 Ne6 12.Nc4 Ba7 13.Qc2 (13.a4 f5 14.Be3 Bxe3 15.Nxe3 f4 16.Nd5 Ng6 was unclear in Rausis-Chandler, postal 1989) 13...b5 14.Na5 (14.Qe4? Bb7!) 14...Bb6 15.b4 (15.Qe4 c6 16.Bd3 Ng6 17.Nb3 f5 with the point that 18. exf6 is met by 18...d5. Black has the initiative. ) 15...c5 with a double-edged position;

9.b4 Ne7 10.Qd1 Ne4 11.Bd3 (11.Qc2 d5 12.exd6 Nxd6 13.Bd3 Bf5 is even) 11...d5 12.exd6 (12.c4 c6 is O.K. for Black) 12...Nxd6 13.c4 c5 14.a3 Bf5 15.Bb2 Rc8 was even in Schmidt Schaeffer-Alawieh, Cannes 1995.;

9.Be3 Ne7 10.Qd2 Ne4 11.Qe2 d5 and Black's game is good enough.

9...Ne7 10.Qd1

10.Qc4?! a6! 11.Qh4 Ng6 12.Bxd8 (12.Qh5 Qe8 is good for Black; 12.Qb4?! Qe8 13.Be3 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5) 12...Nxh4

A) 13.Nxh4 axb5 14.Be7 (14.Bg5? Nb3) 14...Re8 15.Bxc5 Bxc5 with the better game for Black;

B) 13.Bxh4 axb5 14.Na3 (14.Nd4 Nd3 is even more favorable to Black) 14...Nd3 with advantage to Black in Gipslis-Suetin, USSR 1963.

10...Ne4 11.Bh4


Diagram B
Analysis position after 11. Bd3

This natural move is not considered in the theory books. It was played, however, in Kabisch-Zude (two master-level players) Bundesliga 1989.

A) Black continued with exceptional daring: 11...Nxg5!? 12.Nxg5 h6

A1) I investigated 13.Nh7 but after 13...Re8 14.Qg4 (14.Nf6+? gxf6 15.Qg4+ Ng6 16.Bxg6 fxe5!) 14...Ng6 15.Bxg6 d6! 16.Bxf7+ Kxf7 17.Qh5+ Kg8 18.Nf6+ gxf6 19.Qg6+ Kf8 20.exf6 Qd7 21.Qxh6+ Kg8 22.Qg6+ Kf8 White should probably take the perpetual instead of 23.Nd2?! Qg4 24.Qh6+ Kf7 and though it's not over yet, it looks like Black is repulsing the attack;

A2) The game continued 13.Qh5 Ng6 14.Nxf7 Nf4 15.Nxh6+ gxh6 16.Qxh6 Nxd3 17.Qg6+ Kh8 18.Qh6+ Kg8 19.Qg6+ Kh8 and here White should have taken the draw, but he played for the win and lost;

B) Black can also play the more prosaic 11...d5 and now:

B1) 12.Bxe4 dxe4
B1a) 13.Nd4? h6 14.Bh4 (14.Be3 Qd5) 14...c5 15.Nc2 (15.Nb3 Qxd1 16.Rxd1 Nf5 17.Bg3 Nxg3 18.hxg3 Re8) 15...Qxd1 16.Rxd1 Nf5 17.Bg3 Nxg3 18.hxg3 Re8;

B1b) 13.Qxd8 Rxd8 14.Nfd2 Re8 and the game will be even after the players grab each other's e-pawns;

B2) 12.exd6 Nxd6

B2a) 13.Re1 Re8 14.Qc2 (14.Bxe7 Rxe7 is also even) 14...Bf5 15.Bxf5 Ndxf5 16.Na3 Qd6 17.Rad1 Qg6 18.Bf4 Rad8 and Black has equalized;

B2b) 13.Nbd2 Bf5 14.Bxf5 (14.Qc2 Bxd3 15.Qxd3 f6 16.Bf4 Ndf5 17.Qe2 Qd7 with an even game) 14...Ndxf5 15.Qb3 (15.Qe2 h6 16.Bf4 Re8 17.Rfe1 Ng6 is not as good for White) 15...h6 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.Rfe1 Qd7 18.Rad1 Rfe8 Black has gotten two tempi behind instead of one, but the game is even nevertheless.;

11.Bf4 d5 12.Nbd2 c6 13.Bd3 Bf5 14.Qc2 Nxd2 15.Bxf5 Polugaevsky-Boleslavsky, USSR 1963 15...Nxf3+ (suggested by Keres as equalizing) 16.gxf3 Nxf5 17.Qxf5 Qe7 with a balanced game where White must seek kingside play to atone for his inferior pawns.

11...d5 12.Nbd2

12.c4 c6 13.Ba4 Bg4 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Nc3 (15.Nbd2 Qc7! 16.Rc1 Nc6 17.Nb3 Qd7! and Black's excellent piece activity compensates for his isolated queen pawn) 15...Nxc3 (15...g5 16.Bg3 Nxg3 17.hxg3 h6 was played in Hernandez-Sariego, Havana 1991, after which White should have played 18.Re1 with advantage due to Black's weakened kingside, according to Sariego) 16.bxc3 Rc8 17.Qd3 (17.h3 Bxf3 18.Qxf3 Rc4 19.Bxe7 Qxe7 20.Bb3 Rc5 with an equal game; 17.Rc1 Rc4 18.Bb3 Re4! and Black's play is at least sufficient for equality) 17...Bxf3 18.Qxf3 (18.gxf3?? Rc4 19.Bxe7 Qxe7 and Black wins, for example 20.Bc2 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Rh4) 18...Rc4 19.Bxe7 Qxe7 20.Bb3 Rc5 with equality;

12.Bd3 Qe8 13.Qc2 Bg4! 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Qxe4 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Ng6 and Black regains his pawn with an even game. Dubinsky-Zakarov, USSR Champ. 1962.

12...c6 13.Bd3 Bf5 14.Qc2

14.Qe2!? Nxd2 15.Bxf5!? (15.Qxd2 Bxd3 16.Qxd3 Qd7 is equal) 15...Nxf1 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Ng5+ Kh6 (17...Kg8? 18.Qh5) 18.Qd3 is a Tal-like sacrifice that was played in Putzbach-Hegler, Hamburg 1991.

Diagram C
Analysis position after 18. Qd3

A) I analyzed the diversionary 18...Bxf2+!?

A1) 19.Kxf2 Ng6 20.Qh3 Nd2

A1a) 21.Ke1 Nxh4 (21...Qc8!?) 22.Qxh4+ Kg6 23.Qh7+ Kxg5 24.Qxg7+ Kf5 25.g4+ (25.Kxd2? Qg5+) 25...Ke6 and White has not proven that he has enough for his material;

A1b) 21.Nxf7+ Rxf7+ 22.Bf6+ Nh4 23.Qxh4+ Kg6 appears to favor Black;

A2) 19.Bxf2 Kxg5 20.Rxf1 Kh6 21.Be3+ g5 22.Rf6+ (22.h4 Kg7 is good for Black) 22...Kg7 23.Bxg5 Rh8 24.Qg3 Kf8 25.Qf2 Rh7 (25...Qe8? 26.Re6) 26.e6 (26.Re6 f5 27.exf6 Ng8 is unclear, but White has to prove that he has enough for his lost rook) 26...Qe8 27.Bh6+ Rxh6 (only drawing is 27...Kg8 28.Qg3+ Kh8 29.Qe5 Kg8 30.Qg3+ Kh8 31.Qe5 Qb8 32.Qh5 Qf8 33.Qe5 Qb8 34.Qh5) 28.exf7 Qb8 29.Rxh6 Qe5 30.Rh7 b6 31.g4 Ng6 and Black looks better to me;

B) In the cited game Black continued more solidly: 18...f5 19.exf6 Ng6 20.Ne6 Qd6 21.Bg5+ Kh7 22.Qh3+ Kg8 23.Rxf1 Rxf6 24.Bxf6 gxf6 though White eventually drew, it is difficult at this point to believe that White has enough for his piece.

14...Nxd2 15.Bxf5 Nxf3+!

15...Nxf1?! 16.Bxh7+ Kh8 17.Rxf1 Qd7 18.Re1 Qe6 19.Bd3 Rae8 20.Bg5 offers White more than enough compensation for his exchange.

16.gxf3 Kh8

So as to meet 17. Bxh7 with g6.


17.Rae1 Qc7 18.Bh3 Rae8 19.f4 f5 20.exf6 Ng6!

A) 21.Rxe8 Rxe8

A1) 22.Bg5 Nxf4 23.Bg4 (23.Qf5 Nxh3+ 24.Qxh3 Qe5 is good for Black) 23...Qe5 24.Qf5 Qxf5 25.Bxf5 Ne2+ 26.Kh1 Re5 favors Black;

A2) 22.fxg7+ Qxg7 is also favorable to Black;

B) 21.Bg3 gxf6 22.Be6 Qg7 23.f5 Nh4 24.Kh1 Nf3 1/2-1/2, Geller-Spassky, USSR Champ. 1962.;

17.Bh3 Qc7 18.Rae1 Rae8 was the same thing in Bass-Aparicio, Argentina 1980.

17...Qc7 18.Kh1 Nxf5 19.Qxf5

Diagram D
Analysis position after 19. Qxf5


ECO-3 claims advantage for White, citing only Smirin-Weinstein, Israel Ch. 1992, which continued 19...f6?! 20.e6.


20.Qxc8 Raxc8 leaves White with somewhat the worse endgame;

20.Qh5 Qh3!? (20...Bd8 21.Bxd8 Rxd8 22.Rg1 g6 23.Qg5 Qe6 24.Rae1 Rg8 25.Rg3 was equal in Ghinda-Navrotescu, Romania 1993)

A) 21.Rg1

A1) 21...Rg8 22.Rg3 Qe6 23.Kg2 (23.Rag1? Bxf2; 23.Rgg1 d4 is good for Black) 23...Rae8 and I don't think White has enough to compensate for his inferior pawn structure;

A2) 21...Bxf2? 22.Rxg7;

B) 21.f5? Bd8! 22.f6

Diagram E
Analysis position after 22. f6

22...g5! wins most amazingly for Black.

20...f6 21.Qg3 fxe5 22.fxe5 Qf5 23.f4

Also possible is 23.f3 Rae8 24.Rae1 d4 with advantage to Black.

23...Qe4+ 24.Rf3 Be3 25.Re1 Bxf4 26.Qg4 Qf5 27.Qxf5 Rxf5 28.e6

28.Ref1 g5 29.Bxg5 Rxg5 30.Rxf4 Rxe5 White's advantage in activity is not quite enough to make up for Black's extra pawn.

28...Re8 29.Bg5 Rxg5

29...Re5? 30.Ref1 Rxg5 31.Rxf4

30.Rxf4 Kg8 31.e7 g6

and Black, intending ...Rf5, has the advantage.

Copyright © 1999 by Mark F. Morss

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