Thursday, July 28, 2011

MCC Openings Group 27/07/2011

Tonight we had a good number of people at the Melbourne Chess Club discussing the recent novelty played by Aronian against Harikrishna at the World Team Championship. Aronian's 10.h4 (in the position above) looks to our amateur eyes as the start of a mad king side attack. A closer look at the game shows that it may just be a space gaining operation on the king side.
The question that was posed was "is 10.h4 a move that black should really be scared of?" In the game Harikrishna never really got going, dropped a pawn and still hadn't developed properly. In the end, Aronian's advanced king side pawns tied black's king and rook to the back rank leaving black with nothing.

So we looked at some candidate moves starting already from move 10. In the end, it seemed the idea of 10..Nd7 followed by e5 was ok, and the exchange sequence seems forced, but the following moves weren't so hot.
In this position Frank Lekkas suggested 14..e4 with the idea of 15.Nd2 hxg5 winning a pawn. It looks mighty dangerous for black to open the h-file, or to encourage white's pieces to the king side, but it appears that black is holding.

a) 16.hxg5 Rh5 17.Qg1 (Lekkas again) and we couldn't find anything for white.
b) 16.Qh5 (Kerry Stead said that he'd heard Alex Yermolinsky talking up this move on ICC) 16..g6 (16..g4 was also touted as an idea) 17.Qxg5 (17.Qh6 g4 18.h5 g5 and white's going nowhere) 17..Qxg5 18.hxg5
This is the position we looked at mostly. Black has a weakness on d5, but it isn't easy to get at, while white has a weakness on g5, which again is difficult to attack. The position appeared to be balanced to the group. I reckon this position may see some games in master practice over the next 12 months, and it will be with interest that we will look at these games.

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