Monday, November 09, 2009

Marshall's Italian Legacy of d7-d5

Frank James Marshall was known for his risky and uncompromising opening play, especially in the Open Games, where he often insisted on playing an early d7-d5 push as Black even if it meant playing a gambit. His legacy continues to interest players today, especially in the Marshall Gambit against the Spanish but also in an early d7-d5 advance against the Italian or Giuoco Piano, which players continue to try in various forms. Though the early d5 push in the Italian game is often frowned upon by theory, some recent games show that it is not as bad as they say and definitely creates many problems for White. We take as our example the game Garnelis - Brunello, World Junior Championship 2009 which opened 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 O-O 6.O-O d5! 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Re1 (see diagram above) and continued like the famous game Leonhardt - Marshall, Barmen 1905 (which we examine in the notes). Due to White's pressure on the e-pawn, Black will have to sacrifice it. But he is able to induce weaknesses in White's camp (chiefly by 8...Bg4, inducing h3 and g4) that provide sufficient compensation. Sabino Brunello has played the d-pawn push many times before with success. His games (and those of at least one of his chessplaying siblings) feature in our analysis. You can examine the game and notes online or download the PGN to do your own analysis with a computer.

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