Friday, March 19, 2010

Improvements in the Ruy Lopez

found the Russian Firebird 64mp engine, of which it is said that it
has been made with reversed engineering of Rybka. Well anyway
tried some new analysis. While less solid than Rybka, Fire(bird)
very fast sometimes finds interesting lines, and i seemed
to be able to maintain some slight advantage against both
the Zaitsev (9.. Bb7) and the Chigorin defences in the Ruy Lopez.

For example, whereas i previously thought black is ok in the
main line Zaitsev (9..Bb7 10.d4 Te8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.a4 h6 etc.),
with new analysis a rather obscure line, namely with 12.Ng5
seems to be able to achieve a white advantage.
After 12.Ng5 black plays 12.. Re7 to cover f7, and now
the (rare) move is 13.Ndf3! In Guez(2177)-Colin(2402),2005 black
played exd4?! (.. h6 also has been played, but 12.. Qe8N is
probably best), white played 14.cxd4 (Nxf7 would have been
better), and after 14. .. Qe8?! (Na5 would have been better)
we get the following position:

Now white could have got the advantage with 15.e5!N but
being a lower rated - and most likely worse- player,
he played 15.Bc2? and lost the game.

Well anyway the Zaitsev is anyway difficult to play,
especially for beginners, but the Chigorin still (9.. Na5)
is useful in practical play, because of the complexity
and many sideslines despite the slight advantage for white
according to my extensive analysis. For a similar reason,
black can also choose for other defences than the closed
defence, eg. 3.. g6 (Smyslov/fianchetto defence), etc.
See for example a recent book by Solokov on such lines.

But for advanced players, well now my analysis indeed points
to the Sicilian 1..c5 as 'best' defence for black.
Especially the lines with ..d6, possibly leading to
the Najdorf are solid, eg. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 but sometimes very sharp,
eg. with 6.Bc4!

And black also needs to know how to maintain equality
against 3.Bb5! instead of d4, with 3..Bd7 4.Bxd7 Nxd7
(or Qd7 c4!) etc. as described eg in a book by Pedersen.

One chessplayer advised me, that one should not
play the Sicilian below 2000, and he might be right,
a few weeks ago i played a youthful player who
in retrospect told me he wanted to play the Dragon.
But i simply tried the wing gambit, 4.b4!? after 3..d6
and won the game. So i'll keep on recommending
1..e5! in my book, except for advanced players.

and as for Fire(bird), well i expect the new version
Rybka 4 will be stronger again, especially if you
hire the online version, eg. on a cluster with 16 cpu's.

So more theoretical improvements expected to come
(update Dec 2010): with Rybka 4 the variation with Ng5
isnt best anymore, instead now against the Zaitsev
'best' play is going like 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Rfe8 11.Nbd2 Bf8
12.a3! with only a slight advantage for white.
Also with some new analysis in the Chigorin defence
against the RL (9..Na5) this variation appears to be
just as 'solid' as the Zaitsev, but also quite difficult.
(note: as result now the Petrov is advised for average
players with black, see the latest message in this blog

Bookbuilder program/download link

Apparently at the site the download link for my chess opening program Bookbuilder disappeared Here it is: Bookbuilder demo ...