Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Queen's Gambit Declined

One of the first lines I learned was the Orthodox Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. That line runs to 16 moves and is still in good standing today. Here are the moves:

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 e3 c6 6 Rc1 Nbd7 7 Nf3 0-0 8 Bd3 dc 9 Bxc4 Nd5 10 BxB QxB 11 0-0 NxN 12 RxN e5 13 de Nxe5 14 NxN QxN 15 f4 Qe4 16 Qe2

This is basically the starting position for the middle game. Many moves can be, and have been, tried here, and my purpose with this post is to investigate the current state of the theory about this position.

A search of a database turned up 17 recent games. 13 of these featured 16...Bf5, and there was one each for Qg6, Rd8 Re8 & Be6.

Of the 13 with 16...Bf5, 11 Whites played 17 Bd3, with 17 g4 played in the other 2. All but one of the Black's responded to 17 Bd3 with Qd5, with the 11th playing Qe6. An interesting 1993 correspondence game between Ardin & Rowe continued (after the normal 17...Qd5):

18. e4 Qd4+ 19. Kh1 Rfe8 20. e5 Be6 21. Qh5

White continues aggressively, putting pressure on Black with every move until Black's position crumbles.

21...g6 22. Qh6 Rad8 23. f5!

White threatens both 24 PxB and 24 f6, followed by mate on g7, so Black's next is forced.

gxf5 24. Ba6!

White threatens 25 Rg3ch, mating next, so again, Black's next is forced.

f4 25. Rxf4 Qd1+ 26. Bf1!

Certainly not 26 Rf1? PxB 27 RxQ RxRmate.

Bg4 27. Rg3 Re6 28. Rgxg4+ Rg6 29. Rxg6+ hxg6 30. e6! 1-0

White's last move is the nail in the coffin, and Black gives up.

The only time I have had the position after 17 Bd3, at lest as far as my current information indicates, was vs. Dutch-Master in 2006. That game continued:

17...Qe6 18 e4 Rfe8 19 e5 BxB 20 RxB Rad8 21 Rfd1 RxR 22 QxR Kf8 23 Qd6ch QxQ 24 RxQ Ke7 25 Kf2 Rd8 26 RxR and the game was soon drawn.

I did have the book position after 16 Qe2 in 2006 against Zoroastro, and that game continued
16...Be6 17. Bd3 Qd5 18. e4 Qd4+ 19. Kh1 Rfe8 20. e5 Bd5 21. Qh5 g6 22. Qh6 Be4 23. Bxe4 Qxe4 24. f5? (24 Rh3) Qxe5 25. Rcf3 (Now I see not 25 f6? Qxf6! 26 Rxf6?? Re1ch and I get mated) Qg7 26. Qh4 Re5 27. f6 Qf8 28. Qd4 Rd5 29. Qc4 Rad8 30. Rb3 R8d7 31. h3 Qd6 32. Re3 h6 33. Qh4 Kh7 34. Re8 Rh5 35. Qe4 Qd5 36. Qxd5 Rhxd5 37. Re7 Rd1 38. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 39. Kh2 Rd2 40. Rxf7+ Kg8 41. Rxb7 a5 42. Kg3 g5 43. Kg4 Rxg2+? (43...Rf2) 44. Kh5 Re2 45. Kg6 Kf8 46. Rb8+ Re8 47. Rxe8+ Kxe8 48. Kg7 {Black resigns} 1-0

As can be seen, I used the idea of pushing the e and f pawns, as in the Ardin-Rowe game above, but I miscalculated, and was lucky to salvage the win later on.

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