The Amateur Eye -A Bit of Coffeehouse

Former World Woman Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk shows in this game from the Khanty-Mansiysk 2016 that feathers can fly with a return to what appears as for years was looked upon as “coffeehouse chess play”.  Against Bela Khotenashvili (black) the interesting somewhat rare line shows up like a rattlesnake bite –a mean venom.

l. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. O-O  N:e4  6. Re1!  Nc5  7. B:c6  d:c6  8. N:e5  Be6  9. Qh5!  Be7  10. N:f7!  Hey!  This is not supposed to happen like this but remember my thought about the f7 square being a weak link at the start of play.

10. … B:f7  11. Q:c5  Qd6  12. Qg5! Hey!  What gives?  This Queen has flighty feet.  A strange conflict with what we learn from the books.

12. … Kf8  13. Qg3  While this seems okay, if she wants to roam around, another idea would be 13. Qa5  b6 14. Qa4 looking at aggressive ideas on the Q-side.

13. … h5  Black avoids a Queen swap being a pawn down for the endgame.

14. d3  h4  15. Qh3  Rd8  16. Nc3  Qd7  17. Q:d7 R:d7  18. h3  Rh5  19. Ne4 c5  20. b3  White eventually converted the extra pawn to win the point.

Of course all the books say best is 6. d4 (instead of Re1) b5 7. Bb3 d5  8. d:e5  Be6 leading to most usual positions of the Open Defense.  But even here, 6. Re1  Nc5  for example gives white a pull. But a shocker comes if Black tries to return to the Open Defense idea by 6…b5  7. Bb3  d5  8. Nc3 N:c3  9. d:c3  Be6 10. a4  Na5  11. Bg5 leads to good chances.

The point is it seems to offer a sideline (6. Re1) that contains a lot of poison in the hands of attack minded players especially with home preparation and perhaps testing either with a friend or computer review.


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