Wednesday, January 25, 2006

1.c4 g5!? at ChessCafe


diagram

Martinovsky - Heinola
White to play and draw.
Where do you put the King?

ChessCafe posts their newest articles on Wednesdays, which generally helps me get over the "hump" in my week. Stefan Bücker's "Over the Horizons" column is a relatively new addition to the rolls there and features off-beat opening analysis from his Kaissiber columns (including a recent series on the Vulture). Today's piece--focused on the surprisingly playable 1.c4 g5!?--makes a fun read. At the very least, if you ever venture the English opening you will be prepared for that crazy 1...g5 player. And it is a line worth some study. Of all the varieties of the so-called "Borg" (the Grob 1.g4 reversed) it seems the most rational, since the idea is to play on the dark squares with c5, d6, Bg7, and h6 -- a plan that White's 1.c4 actually facilitates to some degree. Black also often plays Bxc3+!? to double White's pawns and shut down his play on the queenside.

The article focuses on the game Joel Benjamin-Kari Heinola, Honolulu 1996, and mentions that Heinola played two others with 1.c4 g5 at the same 1996 US Open in Hawaii. I tried to find the other games in my databases but could only turn up one, which I liked enough to annotate. The diagram above comes from that game, with White to play and actually rescue a draw from what seemed like (and soon became) a loss. (Martinovsky chose the wrong King move; what's the right one?) In my search, I also stumbled across the game Hanley -Yuan which also seemed to deserve some notes. It's a fun line for speed chess, that's for sure.

2 comments:

Newvictorian said...

I was just looking at my copy of Myer's Exploring the Openingsthe other day and thought that I might try this on one ultra-solid 2000 rated guy who always opens with c4. Might be worth it just to see his reaction!

Thanks much for providing the games and analyses.

Michael Goeller said...

Good luck with your planned surprise. I think the 1...g5 stuff should not be underestimated. I played a wild ICC game as White the other day that prepared me to take 1.c4 g5 seriously:

[Event "ICC 5 0 u"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2006.01.23"]
[Round "-"]
[White "goeller"]
[Black "guest948"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ICCResult "Black resigns"]
[WhiteElo "1671"]
[Opening "Reversed Grob (Borg/Basman defense/macho Grob)"]
[ECO "B00"]
[NIC "VO.17"]
[Time "15:21:32"]
[TimeControl "300+0"]

1. e4 g5 2. d4 Bg7 3. Bxg5 c5 4. Nf3 Qb6 5. Nc3 cxd4 6. Nd5 Qxb2 7. Rb1 Qxa2 8. Nc7+ Kd8 9. Nxa8 Nc6 10. Bb5 Qa5+ 11. Bd2 Qa3 12. O-O e5 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Bb4 Qa6 15. Bd6 Ne7 16. Rb8 f5 17. Qa1 Qc4 18. Qxa7 Rg8 19. Qc7+ Ke8 20. Rxc8+ Kf7 21. Ng5+ Kg6 {Black resigns} 1-0

As the game suggests, White has to be crazy and aggressive to win. Not your traditional English player's cup of tea!