Opening Preparation

Mark Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov

With contributions from:

Sergei Dolmatov

Yuri Razuvaev

Boris Zlotnik

Aleksei Kosikov

Vladimir Vulfson

Translated by Joint Sugden

В. T. Batsford Ltd, London

First published 1994

© Mark Dvoretsky. Artur Yusupov 1994 Reprinted 1994, 1996 ISBN 0 7134 7509 9

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data. A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Ail rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, by any means, without prior permission of the publisher.

Typeset by John Nunn GM and printed in Great Britain by Redwood Books, Trowbridge, Wilts for the publishers, В. T. Batsford Ltd, 4 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H0AH


Editorial Panel: Mark Dvoretsky, John Nunn, Jon Speclman

General Adviser: Raymond Keene OBE

Commissioning Editor: Graham Burgess


Preface (Mark Dvoretsky)

General Principles of Opening Play (Artur Yusupov) 11

Logic in the Opening (Mark Dvoretsky)

Unexpected Moves in the Opening (Artur Yusupov) 52 Inventive Solutions to Intractable Opening Problems

(Sergei Dolmatov)

Practical Exercises (Mark Dvoretsky)

Building an Opening Repertoire (Mark Dvoretsky)

Solutions to Analytical Exercsics

The King's Indian Attack from White’s Viewpoint

(Mark Dvoretsky)

Preparing for a Game (Artur Yusupov)

You Arc Right, Monsieur La Bourdonnais!

(Yuri Razuvaev)

How Opening Novelties Arc Born (Boris Zlotnik)

The Move ...g7-g5 in the French Defence

(Aleksei Kosikov)

Opening Investigations (Vladimir Vulfson)

Middlegame Problems (Mark Dvoretsky)

The Link between Opening and Endgame

(Aleksei Kosikov)

In the Footsteps of One Game (Mark Dvoretsky)


Samples of Play by Our Students (Artur Yusupov) 282

Index of Openings


Mark Dvoretsky


Decisively opening up the game.

19   ...

20  £xf3

21  Ag2

22  d6

Black is still capable of resistance. For example, 23 £id5 would be answered by 23...Wc6! followed by 24...nd7, attacking the pawn on d6. Therefore White does not rush things.

23 0-0       £g7

Black loses quickly after the moves 23...£d7 24 &d5!? Wg7 25 ’йеЗ; with 26 Фе7 coming, the rook on a7 proves to be totally misplaced and material losses arc inevitable.

It is now essential for me to bring my heavy pieces into die game; otherwise the enemy fortifications cannot be breached. How to arrange the rooks is always a difficult question. In this case White appears to find the right answer.

24 Sacl!    £d7

25 Xfdl     £f5

If 25...Феб, then after 26 ?)d5 w’gS 27 ^xg5 £ixg5 the white knight once again penetrates to e7.

26 £xf5 tfxfS

27 'Й'еЗ!

This is why the rook went to cl! Black has no adequate defence against an exchange sacrifice on c5. The point is dial he has not managed to finish his development and connect his rooks.

27  -

28  Axc4

29  2d5

29...Wxb2 30 5dxc5.

30  Sdxc5

31  tfxc5

In both these last two games (against Tscshkovsky and Dolmatov), my opponents - essentially -

never succeeded in emerging from (he opening. For that reason it was useful to examine the games in full. Black seemed to make no obvious mistakes, and yet these examples proved that one or two inaccurate decisions - misjudgment of the position. neglect of the pawn structure, failure to fight for the centre in good time, inexactitude in defence - are sometimes enough to bring about a quick defeat.

2 Logic in the Opening

Mark Dvoretsky

How docs opening theory develop? What is it that helps a chessplayer to find the right answer to an opening problem which faces him, either over-the-board or in home analysis? Undoubtedly he needs the ability to improvise, to spot combinations, to calculate variations accurately. Yet there is one other component that is nearly always present in our opening investigations and plays quite a prominent role. That component is logic!

I wish to bring to your attention some examples of the logical solution of opening problems.

Clearly, logic does not function in a vacuum. It operates on our specific knowledge of chess openings and also on the typical precepts and judgements which we have acquired; it helps us to relate these factors to a particular chess position and hence to work out the correct decision. The more ideas we possess, the greater will be the scope for logic; and the deeper and more accurate our reasoning will become.

Let me remind you of a standard stratagem in the Sicilian Defence; it arises in positions of the Schevenin-gen type.

Dolmatov-Rashkovsky USSR Championship (Top League) Minsk 1979

15 В

Obviously White’s last move was 13 g4. How should Black continue? According to a general principle of strategy, it is desirable to meet a flank attack with a counter-stroke in the centre. Black played: 13...d5! and thereby obtained an excellent position.

Consider the situation which may have preceded the diagram. Let us put the black e-pawn back on e6. If Black now plays ...d6-d5. White replies e4-e5 and acquires a strongpoint for his knight on d4. It is therefore usual for Black to play ...e6-e5 first, fixing the White pawn on e4, and only then to strike with ...d6-d5. Any Schcvcningcn or Na-jdorf player must be thoroughly familiar with the stratagem of ...e6-e5! followed by,...d6-d5!.

In the following examples, we shall see how this same stratagem affects decisions taken by both White and Black.


USSR Championship (Top League) Minsk 1979



What should White play? He obviously aims to complete his development with £d2, Sacl and $hl, thus achieving an active position. But these considerations are not enough to indicate the best move; White needs to apply the concept of 'prophylactic thinking’ which we have frequently encountered.

Let us ask what Black wants here, what methods of play arc available to him. The answer is clear by now: ...еб-е5 followed by ...d6-d5. Is that his only possibility? Hardly - White also, for example, has to reckon with 13...d5 14e5&c4.

If Dolmatov had been thinking on these lines, he would surely have played the move he recommended himself in his notes to the game -13 £ig31. Then if 13...d5 14 c5, the black knight can no longer invade on c4; while if 13...c5, White has the excellent reply 14 Qf5.

In the game, unfortunately, Dolmatov was careless. He didn't give attention to his opponent's threats, and played:

13 ФЫ?

In itself, this move is quite useful in such positions, but here it is out of place and allows Black freedom of action.

13 ...           e5!

14 £g3      d5!

Black has succeeded in striking in the centre and seizing the initiative.

Smyslov-Hort Petropolis IZ 1973 Sicilian Defence




































&bd7 (17)


basic plan do you think

White has for his next few moves?



sa a


То be sure: g2-g4-g5. (He achieves nothing with 13 '®'g3 £c5 14 c5 de 15 fe £fc4! 16 £xe4 £xc4.)

How will Black react to 13 g4 here? The value of 13...d5 14 e5 £c4 is questionable, but I3...e5 is altogether bad in view of 14 £f5 (with tempo) and then 15 g5 - Black has no time for the counter-stroke ...d6-d5.

However, Black can first attack the white c-pawn with 13...£c5!, proceeding only after 14 Af2 with 14...d5 15 e5 £fc4 or 14...e5 15 £f5 d5.

Vassily Smyslov is an experienced and careful player, and will not allow this.

13 Af2!

Now, with the c-pawn (and the e4 square) securely guarded, White is threatening g2-g4. How should Black counter this threat?

13...£c5 prevents the immediate g2-g4, but Black has to reckon with 14 b4 £cd7 15 g4. White achieves his aim, albeit at the cost of weakening his queensidc.

What other resources does Black have? Ln 1979,1 analysed this position with Platonov. He suggested the reply 13...5fe8, quite a clever move typical of Sicilian positions; it is now recommended in opening manuals. If 14 g4, then 14...e5! follows with great effect, since on 15 £15 Black has cither 15...d5! (the bishop on c7 is defended) or 16 g5 £c5! (Abramov-Akopov, corr. 1981).

However, Platonov’s move also has a major snag: the square c8 may be needed for the knight. White secures the better chances with 14 c5!.

Thinking on these lines, I arrived at a fairly original solution - 13...g6!?. Depriving the white knight of the f5 square, Black prepares 14,..c5. If White plays 14 c5 himself, Black retreats to e8 either at once or after exchanging pawns. From e8 the knight will later go to g7. Opening the centre like this can hardly be good for White. Black seems to me to have a good position.

As you can see, logical analysis, taking some standard concepts as its starting-point, made it possible to probe deeper into the nature of the position and even to unearth some new ideas (which await confirmation in practice, of course).

Hon played superficially, and soon came under a strong attack.

13 ...          Sac8?

14 g4!

Black’s knight will now be driven away from f6. Hort frees the d7 square for it, but the result is merely a loss of time. He should have resigned himself to retreating to c8.