Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pseudo-Steinitz Two Knights French

There is a wonderful lecture series by GM Ronen Har-Zvi at ICC on what he calls the "Pseudo-Steinitz Variation of the French," where Black plays 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4!? to mess up White's plans, with one continuation being 5.Nce2!? f6!? (see for example Nijboer - Kujif, Wijk aan Zee 1991). FM Steve Stoyko was apparently inspired by Har-Zvi's lecture enough to try the same idea against the Two Knights French after 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4!? 5.Ne2 f6!? (see diagram above). I have annotated Milonovic - Stoyko, Hamilton Quads 2009 (or download the PGN) to explore this idea, which turns out to be much more interesting for Black than the result of the game would indicate.

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