A dogged attempt once again reaches out to remedy the long standing dispute over the French dilemma of the Queen’s “Bad Boy” Bishop. The following opening pattern, one of several available, with a French Defense setup continues the road to test both amateur and professional alike. So, set up your pieces or turn on your computer brain for a jolly ride in an interesting variation to see just where such old or new ideas take form in this French pattern.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Be3 b6?! Varying from a more normal practice of developing 7….Nc6 or perhaps 7….O-O; the idea is to seek an exchange of the noted French bad bishop which has little scope for improved square count that will remain a problem well into the game.
8. Be2 Where to best place this Bishop is answered by opening analysis of Capablanca vs. Lasker. This question pops up in the Wijk aan Zee A 2013 Tournament between Sergey Karjakin and Hou Yifan, where again, the value of square count for the Bishop is the long diagonal.
8. … Ba6 9. O-O A logical developing move that activates the Rook in support of the advanced f-pawn, safeguards the King by removing it from the center, connect Rooks– all which advances the developmental position of White forces. The flaw of Black’s rush to exchange off the bad bishop will leave the white square pawns a potential target and lead potentially to a more open position that should favor White. This evaluation of the position suggests that developing Nc6 may have been a more prudent idea than experimenting with 7…b6. If now, 9….O-O White can proceed with a good plan, 10. f5! B x e2 11. Nxe2 exf5 12. c3 supporting the center d4. Superior square count supports this vision of future play as well as the pawn attack 11. c4 coming.
9. ….Bxe2 10. Nxe2 Nc6 11. c4! Loosening up the center is a green light for action.
11. ….dxc4 12. d5 exd5 13. Q x d5! This centralizing of the Queen would not be possible had Black’s King been tucked away from the center by castling earlier. In that case, Black could gain a pawn and tempi by Ndxe5!! 14. Qxd8 Nxf3+ 15. Rxf3 Rxd8. One more positive to castling out of central exposure.
13. ….Nb4 14. Q x c4 b5 15. Qe4 Keeping an eye on c2 as 15. Q x b5? allows the Knight fork …Nc2, winning the Bishop.
15….Qc8 16. Nc3 Qc6!! 17. Q x c6 N x c6 18. N x b5 Rb8 19. Nc7+!? Keeping the King from castling. The alternative 19. a4 is also worth investigating and where such move plans can easily create tornado storms in chess positions by demand of thinking time from both players.
19…. Kd8 20. Nd5 R x b2 21. Rfd1 Re8 22. Rac1 Rxa2 23. Nd2 Sergey Karjakin says this may be inaccurate from a computer brain assessment that suggests 23. f5 Bf8 24. Nf4! N x e5 25. N x e6 R x e6 26. fxe6 N x f3+ 27. gxf3 fxe6 28. B x c5 B x c5+ 29. R xc5 giving White a better game. The point is that after 23. Nd2 Ra4! White does best to go back to Nf3 but in human thought retains the better game.
23….g5 In the French defensive counter chances, this move is not uncommon as it often gives active play for Black’s pieces. But the defense is hard, especially in time pressure. 23….Nd4 runs into 24. Bxd4 cxd4 25. Nb3 Ba3 26. Rc4 with a clear edge.
24. Ne4 gxf4 25. B x c5! B x c5+ 26. N x c5 Rg8 27. g3 fxg3 28. h3 (h4!) N/d x e5 29. Nb4+ Ke8 30. Nxa2 Nf32+ 31. Kg2 Nh4+ 32. Kf1 Nf3 33. Ne4 g2+ 34. Kf2 g1Queen+ 35. Rxg1 R x g1 36. R x c6 Ra1 37. Nf6+ Ke7 38. Nc3 Ne5 39. Ncd5+ Kd8 40. Rc3 Ra2+ 41. Kg3 Rd2 42. Kf4 Ng6+ 43. Kg5 Ne7 44. Nxe7 Kxe7 45. Re3+ Kd8 46. Ra3 Rg2+ 47. Ng4 h6+ 48. Kh4 f5 49. Nxh6 Black Resigned.
Black discovers a way of eliminating the “Bad Boy” Bishop but as play illustrates, chess is a fight. (Where did we read that before!)
I chose the play in this game to give examples from the past: 1. Never give up the ship no matter how desperate the situation! 2. Each turn can alter the dynamics of a game. 3. When developing a plan in the opening, it is important to do so with a plan of operations, even if you are entering uncharted waters. 4. A game is just a game although chess is probably closest to being a fierce war of minds and known as the game of Kings. 5. Youth, representing both sexes, fight with zeal and ask for no quarter! 6. The symbolic power of the pieces within the terrain of the 64-square board is awesome!
All notes to this game are my own and any errors in judgment or typing are strictly my own. The style I employ is to foster a learning experience to enjoy the game and provide inspiration to improve at your own pace how ideas challenge thought toward learning and enjoying the game of chess.