Monday, March 10, 2008
The Brooklyn Defense
I have posted some analysis of the game Robert Gruchacz - Joel Benjamin, New York 1980 which features the surprisingly interesting Brooklyn Defense (1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Ng8!?) You have to see it to believe it, but I think this is a fully viable system and one with lots to teach us about opening play!
As GM Benjamin and Eric Schiller note in Unorthodox Openings (1987), it's "not nearly as dumb as it looks" and can even be "psychologically devastating." Most opponents will be insulted by such a cheeky retreat and will expect to obtain a big edge, which may lead them to over-reach. Yet Black's position remains fundamentally sound (he has introduced no weaknesses, after all!) and so any premature attack is bound to fail. In fact, it may be White who is most in danger since his center pawns have ventured forward and can be attacked or exchanged in typical hypermodern fashion.
This is the first in a series of opening articles inspired by GM Joel Benjamin's American Grandmaster: Four Decades of Chess Adventures. While I enjoyed the book very much and recommend it, I was disappointed not to find more analysis of the numerous unorthodox opening systems that Benjamin has helped to popularize--and by which he has probably had the most lasting influence on other chess players. These articles are my own attempt to fill in the blanks, and to highlight the important contributions that GM Benjamin has made to opening theory.