Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alternatives to Alterman's PCG Analysis

Before the USATE 2009, I received an e-mail from P.K. Sivakumar whose son Kavinayan is pictured above. Here is an excerpt.

Recently my son and I watched a three-part video on the Philidor Central Attack by GM Boris Alterman at the ICC as part of his Gambit Series lectures. Mr. Boris mentions that White has a clear tactical advantage in almost all lines. As you are a person who advocates the Philidor from the black side, I am very interested in knowing your thoughts on this. This would also help my son to learn something new in the process.

At the USATE 2009, I encountered the Sivakumars and asked them to send me Boris Alterman's analysis which follows.

(1) Philidor Defense,Central Attack [C41]
- Notes from ICC Video given by GM Boris Alterman
- Prepared by Kavinayan P. Sivakumar

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Central Attack

[3.Bc4 Be6= White has no advantage.
(3...h6?? 4.Nc3 Bg4 5.Nxe5! dxe5 (5...Bxd1 6.Bxf7+ Ke7 7.Nd5#) 6.Qxg4+-) ]

3...f5 Philidor Counter Gambit

[3...Nc6 4.Bb5; 3...Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3

(4...dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Nxe5+- Black has no compensation.)

5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6
(6...Qd7 7.Nc3 c6 8.Bg5 a5 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.Qxf7+ Qxf7 11.Rd8#)
7.Qb3± /+- 7...Qe7
(7...b6 8.Bxf7+ Kd7 9.Qe6#)
(8.Qxb7 Qb4+ 9.Qxb4 Bxb4+ 10.c3 is another good way for White to continue.)
8...c6 9.Bg5 b5 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0–0–0 Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+! Nxb8 17.Rd8#]

[3...Nd7 trying to maintain center and develop pieces. 4.Bc4! c6

(a) 4...Ngf6 5.dxe5 Nxe5 (5...dxe5 6.Ng5 Qe7? 7.Bxf7+ Kd8 8.Ne6++-; 5...Nxe4 6.Qd5) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Bxf7+! (7.Qxd8+? Kxd8 8.Bxf7 Nxe4 is not that good for White.) 7...Kxf7!? 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2!+-;)

(b) 4...h6 5.dxe5 dxe5 (5...Nxe5 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Bxf7+! White wins a pawn.) 6.Bxf7+! Kxf7 7.Nxe5+! Kf6 (7...Ke8 8.Qh5+ Ke7 9.Qf7+ (9.Ng6+ Kf6 10.Qf5#) 9...Kd6 10.Nc4+ Kc5 11.Qd5+ Kb4 12.Bd2+ Ka4 13.b3#) 8.Nc3 Kxe5 (8...Bb4 9.Qd4 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 Ke6 11.Qd5+ Kf6 12.Qf7+ Kxe5 13.Bf4+ Kxe4 14.f3#) 9.Qd5+ Kf6 10.Qf5+ Ke7 11.Nd5+ Kd6 (11...Ke8 12.Qg6#) 12.Bf4+ Kc6 13.Qe6+ Bd6 14.Nb4+!! Kb6 15.Bxd6 cxd6 16.Qxd6+ Ka5 17.Nd5 b6 18.c4 Ka6 19.Qc6 Ngf6 20.Nb4+ Ka5 21.Qb5#;)

(c) 4...Be7 5.dxe5 dxe5

(5...Nxe5 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Qh5! g6 8.Qxe5+-)

6.Qd5!+- Nh6 7.Bxh6+-; 5.Ng5 (5.0–0 Be7 6.Nc3

(6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qe2 Ngf6 8.Rd1 Qc7 9.Ng5 0–0 10.Bxf7+ Rxf7+- 11.Qc4+-)

6...Ngf6 7.a4) 5...Nh6 6.a4 Be7 7.Bxf7+ Nxf7 8.Ne6 Qb6 9.a5 Qb4+

(9...Qb5 10.Nc7+)

10.c3 Qc4 11.Nc7+ Kd8 12.b3; 3...Nf6 4.dxe5

[4.Nc3 Bg4 5.dxe5 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 dxe5 7.Bc4 Bb4 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.Rd1 Be7

(9...0–0 10.Bxf6)

10.0–0 0–0 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Qf5+-)

4...Nxe4 5.Bc4 c6 6.Nbd2 Nxd2 7.Bxd2 Be7 8.exd6 Qxd6 9.Bc3 0–0 10.Qxd6 Bxd6 11.0–0–0 Bc5 12.Ne5 Bb6 13.Nxf7 Rxf7 14.Rhe1 Bd7

(14...Kf8 15.Bb4+ c5 16.Bxc5+ Bxc5 17.Rd8#)


3...exd4?! 4.Nxd4

(4.Qxd4 Nc6 (4...a6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.0–0–0 0–0 8.e5! Nc6 (8...dxe5 9.Qh4 Nbd7 10.Bd3 h6 11.Bxh6 gxh6 12.Qxh6 Re8 13.Ng5 Bf8 14.Bh7+ Kh8 15.Nxf7#)


(9.exf6 gxf6 (9...Nxd4?? 10.fxe7 Qd7 11.exf8Q+ Kxf8 12.Rxd4) 10.Qe4 fxg5 11.h4÷) )

5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.0–0

(8.Bg5 Be7 9.0–0–0 0–0 10.Rhe1)

8...Be7 9.Nd5 Bxd5 10.exd5 0–0 11.Bg5 c6 12.c4 cxd5

(12...Nxd5 13.cxd5 Bxg5 14.Nxg5 Qxg5 15.dxc6 bxc6 16.Qxd6)

13.cxd5 Re8 14.Rfe1 a5 15.Re2 Rc8 16.Rae1 Qd7 17.Bxf6 Bxf6

(17...gxf6 18.Qf4)

18.Qg4! Qb5 19.Qc4!! Qd7 20.Qc7!! Qb5 21.a4! Qxa4 22.Re4! Qb5 23.Qxb7!! Qxb7 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Rxe8#)

4...Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.g3 0–0 7.Bg2 Bg4 8.f3 Bh5 9.0–0 Nbd7 10.Nf5 Re8 11.Be3 Bf8 12.g4 Bg6 13.Ng3 Ne5 14.Qe2 c6 15.Rad1 Qc7 16.Kh1 Nfd7 17.f4+-]

4.Bc4 fxe4 5.Nxe5! d5

[5...dxe5 6.Qh5+ Kd7 (6...Ke7 7.Qxe5+ Kd7 8.Qe6#) 7.Qf5+ Kc6 8.Qxe5 a6 9.d5+ Kb6 10.Be3+ Bc5 11.Bxc5+ Kxc5 12.b4+ Kxc4 13.Qc3+ Kb5 14.a4+ Kb6 15.Qc5#]

6.Qh5+ g6 7.Nxg6 Nf6 8.Qe5+ Be7 9.Bb5+ c6 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 12.Be2+-, 1–0.

Because Mr. Sivakumar's question pertains to the Philidor Counter Gambit, I will repeat here Alterman's main line variation.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 fxe4 5.Nxe5 d5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Nxg6 Nf6 8.Qe5+ Be7 9.Bb5+ c6 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 12.Be2 with a winning position.

After 4,Bc4, White is threatening the knight sacrifice on e5. Black has no time to play the thematic 4...fxe4, as Alterman correctly points out. There are three alternatives for Black on move four: (1) overprotecting the e5 square with 4...Nc6 [Morphy]; (2) moving the threatened e5 pawn with 4...exd4 [Mestel] ; (3) deflecting the white bishop with 4...b5 [Zilbermintz]. Here are examples of each: a draw, a Black win, and a draw.