Kindred’s Special: QGD– Exchange Variation featuring Minority Attack and Defensive Strategy

During your chess adventures you will most likely come up against the old and famous weapon for White, namely the Minority Attack which occurs in the QGD Exchange Variation. I first met this idea when studying a beautiful win in the hands of GM Larry Evans who won a positional masterpiece and whose notes brought considerable attention.  As in most cases, such well played games  find themselves in print for audience appreciation and tend toward optimistic evaluations and lack offering better ideas for Black’s defensive resources.  Such coverage in those early days coincided with the evolution of modern day printing.  Space was limited and the key idea of writers was to present a game highlighting the combative spirit of the combatants.  It was felt that too much analysis and over indepth notes would lessen the impact of the game’s  beauty, whether it be positional, attacks or defense.  There were examples but tournaments were infrequent and news coverage limited of complete game scores found in the tournament book or chess magazines.

Our opening emerges from 1. d4  d5  2. c4  e6  3. Nc3  Nf6  4.Bg5 Nbd7  5. e3  Be7  6. cxd5  exd5  7. Bd3  c6  8. Qc2  O-O  9. Nf3  Re8  10. O-O  g6  11. Rab1 Nh5.

GM Erich Eliskases, a powerful correspondence player as well as over-the-board, developed a system to combat this dangerous setup and plan; his pupil IM Guillermo Soppe co-authored with Raul Grosso an interesting book, Erich Eliskases, Gentleman of Chess, and thus was born the Eliskases-Soppe System.

The jump move plan by White of b4 >b5>bxc6 with the idea of weakening the c6 and d5 pawn structure which has over time proven to be tough to defend, leaving White an initiative with space advantage on the Q-side. Eliskases developed a defensive plan based upon exchange of the black-square Bishops,  reducing the danger of dark squares created by g6, having the Q on e7 to strike and pressure the Q-side. As pieces lessen, Eliskases’ aim is to eventually get his King to d6 where it may present some chances for infiltrating on the Q-side.

Against Pedro Martin, Mar del Plata 1951, the play went… 12. Bxe7  Qxe7  13. b4  a6  14. a4  Nb6

The key tactical idea here is to meet 15. b5  axb5  16. axb5 c5! 17.dxc5  Qxc5 Here Larry Evans tried 18. Nd4  Bd7 19. Rbc1  Rec8 Eliskases won in 53 moves.

18.Rfc1  Bg4  19. Ne2  Qxc2  20. Bxc2 Bxf3  21. gxf3  Rec8  22. Nd4  Nf6  23. Ra1  Nfd7

Black’s Knights dominate the position and Black eventually won the game.

Of course there are different plans. Other moves tried are 12. h3  Nb6  13. Qb3  Nh5  14. Bxe7  Rxe7  15. Rfe1  Ng7  16. e4  dxe4  17. Nxe4  Be6  18. Qa3 Rc7 drawn vs. Najdorf.

Here, my intention is to show a fairly good opening method to meeting the dangerous minority attack launched by White. It is by no means the end in itself.  If you want to improve, then you should investigate by research and practice different approaches when meeting this system from either side.


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