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23 Feb 2018

A01 Nimzowitsch-Larsen Opening (1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5)

A01 Nimzowitsch-Larsen Opening (1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5)

The move 1.b3 (31169 games, score 50.9%) is 7th most tried first move, according to my reference database. More often seen moves were 1.e4 (3418269 games, score 52.9%), 1.d4 (2134323 games, score 54.5%), 1.Nf3 (525023 games, score 55.4%), 1.c4 (446529 games, 54.3%), 1.f4 (45271 games, score 48.6%) and 1.g3 (44283 games, score 55.1%). The reply 1...e5 (13202 games, score 49.8%) is the favorite move of most players. It has been played such strong players as Levon Aronian, Garry Kasparov, Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana. The logical follow-up to 1.b3 was 2.Bb2 (12740 games, score 50.1%), but other moves have been tried too, however much more rarely. Then I played 2...Nc6 (9708 games, score 49.8%), which has been clearly the most played move in the position. The next move, 3.e3 (7213 games, score 50.8%), is the most played move and Grand Masters like Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Maxime Vachier Lagrave have played it. My reply, 3...d5 (2076 games, score 50.7%), is the second most often played move in the position and it has been played players such as Hikaru Nakamura, Peter Heine Nielsen, David Howell and Ivan Saric have played it. GM Hikaru Nakamura (2760) played it in a game against GM Baadur Jobava (2711) at Beijing Sportaccord rapid blindfold on December 18th, 2012. The most often played move is 3...Nf6 (3176 games, score 49.7%). Then with the move 4.d4 (23 games, score 45.7%) my opponent went to a line that is rarely played and according to my reference database, no Grand Master has played the move. The following moves, 4.Bb5 (2022 games, score 52.8%), 4.Nf3 (141 games, score 49.3%), 4.c4 (43 games, score 39.5%), 4.d3 (32 games, score 48.4%) and 4.g3 (30 games, score 33.3%), have seen more play. I continued the game with the move 4...Bd6, which had not been played before in the position. The four moves that had been played before are 4...exd4 (12 games, 41.7%), 4...e4 (11 games, score 59.1%), 4...Bf5 (1 game, score 0%) and 4...Bb4 (1 game, score 0%).

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2016.07.19"] [Round "?"] [White "Kojjootti"] [Black "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "1739"] [BlackElo "1741"] [Annotator "Stockfish 9 64 POPCNT (30s)"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d5 {A01 Nimzowitsch-Larsen Opening} 4. d4 Bd6 $146 ( 4... exd4 5. exd4 Nf6 (5... Qe7+ 6. Be2 Bg4 7. h3 Bxe2 8. Nxe2 Qd7 9. O-O g6 10. Nd2 Bg7 11. Nf3 Nge7 12. Nf4 O-O 13. Nd3 Rfe8 14. c3 {1/2-1/2 (14) Asfora, M (2270)-Toth,C (2380) Guarapuava 1992}) 6. Nf3 Bd6 (6... Bg4 7. Nbd2 Bd6 8. h3 Bh5 9. c4 O-O 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Be2 Qe7 12. O-O Ba3 13. Bxa3 Qxa3 14. Re1 Rfe8 15. Qc1 Qd6 16. Qc2 Bg6 17. Qb2 Ncb4 18. Rac1 c6 19. a3 Rxe2 20. Rxe2 Nd3 21. Qa1 {Jauschneg,T (800)-Pernerstorfer,M (1085) Mureck 2015 0-1 (62)}) 7. c4 Bg4 8. Nbd2 Bb4 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O Re8 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. Bc4 Bxd2 13. Qxd2 Bxf3 14. gxf3 Re6 15. Qc2 Qd6 16. Bc1 Rae8 17. Qf5 Rg6+ 18. Kh1 Nf6 19. Bf4 {Jauschneg, T-Hanc,N (1426) Mureck 2017 1/2-1/2 (53)}) (4... e4 5. c4 Nf6 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Bc4 Be6 8. Ne2 Qg5 9. O-O O-O-O 10. f4 exf3 11. Rxf3 Bd6 12. Nd2 Bg4 13. Ne4 Qg6 14. Nxd6+ Rxd6 15. Rg3 Re8 16. h3 Bxe2 17. Rxg6 Bxd1 18. Rxd6 cxd6 19. Rxd1 {Da Rosa,H (1715)-Ferreira,C (1416) Hebraica 2016 0-1 (56)}) (4... exd4 5. exd4 Qf6 6. Nf3 $11) 5. Nf3 {White threatens to win material: Nf3xe5} (5. dxe5 Bxe5 6. c3 Qf6 $15) 5... e4 {Black threatens to win material: e4xf3} 6. Nfd2 Nf6 ( 6... Nce7 7. c4 c6 8. Ba3 $11) 7. a3 {Controls b4} (7. c4 Nb4 8. c5 Bf8 $15) 7... Bg4 (7... Ne7 $142 $17) 8. f3 $4 {not a good decision, because now the opponent is right back in the game} (8. Be2 Bxe2 9. Qxe2 $11) 8... exf3 $17 9. gxf3 Bf5 (9... Bh5 $142 10. Bd3 O-O $17) 10. Nc3 $4 {cause more grief} (10. Bg2 Qe7 11. Nf1 O-O-O $17) 10... Bg6 (10... Nxd4 $142 {secures the win} 11. exd4 O-O $19) 11. Nb5 (11. Bg2 Qe7 12. Qe2 Bxc2 $17) 11... Qe7 (11... O-O $5 12. Bg2 Re8 13. Nxd6 cxd6 $17 (13... Qxd6 $6 14. Nf1 $17)) 12. Nxd6+ $17 Qxd6 {White has the pair of bishops} (12... cxd6 13. Kf2 Nh5 14. h4 $15) 13. Be2 (13. Bg2 O-O 14. O-O Rfe8 $11) 13... O-O (13... a5 14. Nf1 $15) 14. Nf1 $15 Rfe8 15. Qd2 a5 (15... Ne7 16. O-O-O $15) 16. O-O-O $15 Reb8 (16... Ne7 $5 $15 {might be a viable alternative}) 17. Ng3 $11 b5 $2 (17... Ne7 18. Kb1 $14) 18. Rhe1 (18. Rdg1 $5 $16) 18... Ne7 $14 19. Bf1 {White has a cramped position} (19. Kb1 h6 $11) 19... Ra6 (19... Nf5 $5 {deserves consideration} 20. Nxf5 Bxf5 $11) 20. e4 $14 dxe4 $2 (20... Qd7 $142 $14 {is the best option Black has}) 21. fxe4 $18 Qd7 $6 {not the bravest move} (21... Ne8 22. e5 Qd7 23. d5 $18) 22. d5 (22. a4 {might be the shorter path} Raa8 23. Bxb5 Rxb5 24. axb5 Qxb5 $18) 22... a4 23. b4 Rd8 (23... h5 24. Qf4 $18) 24. Qf4 (24. Be2 Rd6 (24... Bxe4 $4 {would be gruesome error} 25. Bxf6 Rxf6 26. Nxe4 $18) 25. Qf4 Nc8 $18) 24... Rd6 25. Be5 Rb6 $4 {simply worsens the situation} (25... h6 $18) 26. Bxc7 Rb7 27. Bxd8 Qxd8 28. d6 Nc8 (28... Nc6 {cannot change destiny} 29. h4 Qc8 30. h5 Nxh5 31. Nxh5 Bxh5 32. Rd5 $18) 29. e5 Nd5 (29... Ne8 $18 {is one last hope}) 30. Rxd5 Nb6 1-0

The latest and highest rated games from my reference database can be seen below.

[Event "China Elite Mind Basque (Women)"] [Site "Huaian"] [Date "2016.03.03"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Zhao, Xue"] [Black "Kosteniuk, Alexandra"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "2506"] [BlackElo "2554"] [PlyCount "123"] [EventDate "2016.03.02"] [EventType "swiss (rapid)"] [EventRounds "5"] [EventCountry "CHN"] [SourceTitle "Mega2016 Update 23"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2016.03.11"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d5 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. Nf3 f6 6. c4 Nge7 7. Nc3 a6 8. Ba4 O-O 9. O-O Nb4 10. d4 e4 11. Ne1 Be6 12. a3 Nbc6 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. c5 Bxh2+ 15. Kxh2 f5 16. f4 Kh8 17. Rh1 Ng8 18. Kg1 Nf6 19. Qe2 Ng4 20. Nd1 g5 21. Nf2 gxf4 22. exf4 Rg8 23. Nc2 Rb8 24. b4 Rg6 25. Nxg4 Rxg4 26. Qf2 Qg8 27. Rh3 Rf8 28. Ne3 Rg6 29. Bc3 Rf7 30. Be1 Rfg7 31. Qe2 Bc8 32. Bh4 Qf7 33. Qf2 Qe6 34. Bg5 Kg8 35. Kh2 h6 36. Bh4 Kf7 37. Rh1 Bd7 38. Kg1 Be8 39. Qe2 Qc8 40. Be1 Rh7 41. Rh5 Bd7 42. R1h3 Kf6 43. Qf2 Qf8 44. Qh4+ Kg7 45. Rg3 Rxg3 46. Qxg3+ Kh8 47. Qh3 Qg7 48. Qh4 Be8 49. Qd8 Qd7 50. Qf6+ Qg7 51. Qxg7+ Kxg7 52. Rxf5 Bd7 53. Re5 Kf7 54. Bh4 Kf8 55. Be7+ Rxe7 56. Rh5 Kg7 57. Kf2 Rf7 58. Kg3 Rf6 59. Re5 Rf8 60. Kf2 Kf6 61. g4 Rb8 62. g5+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "Moscow Nutcracker rapid"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2016.12.21"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Artemiev, Vladislav"] [Black "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "2653"] [BlackElo "2676"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2016.12.21"] [EventType "schev (rapid)"] [EventRounds "8"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "Mega2016 Update 65"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2016.12.29"] [WhiteTeam "Princes"] [BlackTeam "Kings"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d5 4. Bb5 Nge7 5. Bxe5 a6 6. Bxc6+ Nxc6 7. Bb2 Bd6 8. Nf3 O-O 9. Nc3 Qf6 10. Rb1 Qg6 11. Nxd5 Be6 12. Nc3 f5 13. h4 f4 14. h5 Qh6 15. e4 Bg4 16. d4 Rad8 17. Qd3 b5 18. Nd5 g5 19. c4 Bc8 20. cxb5 axb5 21. Qxb5 Nb8 22. Qc4 Be6 23. Qc2 c6 24. Nb6 Na6 25. a3 g4 26. Nd2 f3 27. gxf3 Bf4 28. Nbc4 Nc7 29. a4 Nd5 30. exd5 cxd5 31. Ne5 Bf5 32. Qd1 g3 33. Rg1 Qxh5 34. Nf1 g2 35. Rxg2+ Kh8 36. Rg1 Rde8 37. Rc1 h6 38. Qe2 Rb8 39. Ng3 Qh2 40. Rh1 Qg2 41. Qf1 Qxf1+ 42. Kxf1 Rxb3 43. Nxf5 Rxf5 44. Rc8+ Kh7 45. Rc7+ Kg8 46. Rg1+ Bg5 47. Bc1 Rb1 48. Ke2 1-0 [Event "US op 118th"] [Site "Norfolk"] [Date "2017.08.06"] [Round "9"] [White "Li, Ruifeng"] [Black "Lenderman, Aleksandr"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "2568"] [BlackElo "2585"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2017.07.29"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "Mega2017 Update 43"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2017.08.18"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d5 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. f4 f6 6. Nh3 Nh6 7. Qh5+ Nf7 8. Nc3 a6 9. Be2 Be7 10. fxe5 fxe5 11. O-O g6 12. Qf3 Be6 13. e4 Nd4 14. Qd3 Nxe2+ 15. Nxe2 d4 16. c3 c5 17. cxd4 cxd4 18. Nhf4 exf4 19. Nxf4 Qd7 20. Qxd4 Rg8 21. Qb6 Nd8 22. Rac1 Qd6 23. Qe3 Rf8 24. e5 Qd7 25. d4 Bg5 26. Ba3 Rf5 27. Qe4 Qf7 28. g3 Bxf4 29. Rxf4 Rxf4 30. Qxf4 Qxf4 31. gxf4 Rc8 32. Kf2 Rxc1 33. Bxc1 Nc6 34. Ke3 Kd7 35. Ba3 Bd5 36. Bd6 Ke6 37. Kd3 Kf5 38. Kc3 0-1 [Event "SWE-chT 1718 Elite"] [Site "Sweden"] [Date "2017.10.20"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Jobava, Baadur"] [Black "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "2705"] [BlackElo "2632"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2017.10.20"] [EventType "team-tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "SWE"] [SourceTitle "CB43_2017"] [SourceDate "2017.10.25"] [WhiteTeam "Malmo"] [BlackTeam "Stockholm Rockaden"] [WhiteTeamCountry "SWE"] [BlackTeamCountry "SWE"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d5 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. Nf3 f6 6. d4 e4 7. Nfd2 f5 8. c4 a6 9. Bxc6+ bxc6 10. Ba3 Nf6 11. Bxd6 cxd6 12. Nc3 Be6 13. cxd5 Nxd5 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 15. Qh5+ g6 16. Qh6 Kf7 17. h4 Qa5 18. Qf4 Ke6 19. h5 g5 20. Qxg5 Rag8 21. Qh6+ Ke7 22. g3 Rg4 23. Rh4 Rxh4 24. Qg5+ Kd7 25. Qg7+ Ke6 26. gxh4 Qd8 27. O-O-O Rg8 28. Qxh7 Rg2 29. h6 Qa5 30. Kb1 Qc3 31. Qc7 Rxf2 32. h7 Qd3+ 33. Kb2 Rxd2+ 34. Rxd2 Qxd2+ 35. Ka3 Qc1+ 36. Ka4 Bxb3+ 37. Ka5 1-0 [Event "Wch Rapid"] [Site "Riadh"] [Date "2017.12.27"] [Round "7"] [White "Short, Nigel D"] [Black "Howell, David"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "2678"] [BlackElo "2676"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2017.12.26"] [EventType "swiss (rapid)"] [EventRounds "15"] [EventCountry "SAU"] [SourceTitle "Mega2018 Update 11"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2018.01.05"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d5 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. Nf3 Qe7 6. d4 e4 7. Ne5 Qg5 8. Kf1 Nge7 9. h4 Qf6 10. c4 O-O 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. c5 Nf5 13. Kg1 Be7 14. h5 Qe6 15. Ng4 Bg5 16. Nc3 Ng3 17. fxg3 Qxg4 18. Qe1 Re8 19. Bc1 Ba6 20. Rh3 Re6 21. Qd1 Qxd1+ 22. Nxd1 Be2 23. Nf2 f5 24. Rh1 Rh6 25. Nh3 Rxh5 26. Nxg5 Rxg5 27. Bd2 a5 28. Kf2 Bd3 29. a4 Rg6 30. Ra3 Rf6 31. b4 axb4 32. Bxb4 Rff8 33. a5 Rab8 34. Bc3 Ba6 35. Ra2 Rb3 36. Rc1 Rfb8 37. Rcc2 Rb1 38. g4 fxg4 39. Kg3 h5 40. Rab2 R1xb2 41. Rxb2 Rf8 42. Kh4 g6 43. Be1 Bb5 44. Bg3 Rf7 45. Rf2 Rxf2 46. Bxf2 Kf7 47. Kg5 Ba6 48. Bg3 Bb5 49. Bxc7 Ba6 50. g3 1-0