1.e4 e5 2.Nc3
The Vienna game. In this opening White tries to open the f-file by f2-f4 in order to develop an attack on the black king (on f7). In case of an exchange at f4, besides the open file White gets a pawn superiority in the centre (d- and e- pawns vs a d-pawn.) In several variations White intends to storm the castled king by f2-f4-f5 and g2-g4-g5. Black in turn tries to hinder White's flank attack by a counter-thrust in the centre (d6-d5)
One of the best responses, preparing the advance d7-d5. also possible is 2...Bc5
in order to take control of the centre square d4 and the diagonal a7-g1.
The brilliant Russian player Alekhine preferred the continuation 3.Bc4
followed by d3 to prepare f2-f4. however by 3...Nxe4
Black gets sufficient counterplay. After 3. ...Nxe4 4.Qh5
( if 5.Qxe5+
and after c6 and d5 Black has a solid position 7...Nf5
the fight is very sharp. Black, in spite of his sizable loss of material has, apparently, the better chances since his attack is very dangerous.
The following example shows how a player unfamiliar with opening variations gets into difficulties. In a 1940 game against the Kazan Caregory 1 player Ingenol, I fell into this line for the second time (the first was against Saigin in the 1939 Kazan championship where I drew with difficulty) After long consideration, White found the following
fantastic plan of mobilising his forces: Qd5-d3, Qd3-f1, Qf1-g1, h2-h4, Qg1-h2, 0-0. White ultimately won this game, exploiting poor play by Black.
But now I would on no account want to repeat this artificial manouevre.
A counter-thrust in the centre is the best reply to a flank attack.
4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.Nf3
are often played here.
I played the opening without having any real idea of opening theory. Unfortunately, I learned the strength of many theoretical variations by my own bitter experience ......
As is generally known, 5...Be7
are good continuations.
In the latter case, the interesting variation 6.Qe2
gives Black the advantage.
Stronger here is 6.Be2
with a good game for White.
6...Bxc3 7.bxc3 Bg4?!
Activity at all costs! This is the way I generally played at the beginning of my chess career.
The move is the beginning of a combination by Black which, if White plays correctly, leads to a draw. Black should castle, to put his king in a safe position. Then a position with about equal chances would arise.
This inexact move gives Black tactical counterplay. Correct was 8.Ba3
and White gets significant chances for an attack on Black's king which is caught in the centre.
I will cite one possible variation: 8...Nc6
( Here the zwischenzug 11...Qc7
foils White's line: e.g. 12.Qb4
and Black remains the exchange ahead. - WAF) 12.Bxb5+
with a marked advantage for White in the endgame.
......is more active; then 8...Nc6
is risky because of 9...0-0!
and if 10.Qxc6?
( Instead White should play 11.h4!
though after 11...Bg4
Black still has the better position.) 11...Qh4+
and White loses material.; In this case better is 8...Nc6
with chances for both sides.
9.Qxb7 Bxf3 10.Qxa8
Instead of such a straightforward attempt to win material, White should make a deep appraisal of the specific features of the position. Then he would probably have found this promising sacrifice of the exchange: 10.gxf3!
leads to mate after 14.Ba3+
In this position, Black's small material advantage is outweighed by White's
large positional advantage; a strong pawn centre, two active bishops, and the
lack of co-ordination of black's pieces are grounds for evaluating this line in
is correct and after 11...Qh4+
( worse is 12.Kd1
since after 12...Qg4+
Black has a strong attack, for example: 17.Ke1
Black should force a draw by perpetual check 15...Qf3+
11...Qh4+ 12.Kd1 Nf2+ 13.Ke1 Nd3+ 14.Kd1 Qe1+ 15.Rxe1 Nf2#
The first and only "smothered mate" in my career. It was only many years later that I noticed the final attack in this game recalls the ending of a game by the famed Italian master Gioacchino Greco (1600 -c 1634). 0-1