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12 Feb 2018

A03 Bird's Opening with 1...d5 (1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.d3 Nc6 4.e3 g6 5.Be2 Bg7 6.O-O)

A03 Bird's Opening with 1...d5 (1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.d3 Nc6 4.e3 g6 5.Be2 Bg7 6.O-O)

This is most likely the last post of the week, I am a bit sick and I need to get well for the weekend when I need to go play a weekend tournament. Therefore I am concentrating more on resting than doing my normal routine. The move that started the battle this time, 1.f4, is the 5th most commonly played move that was featured in 44959 games in my reference database and it has a score of 48.6%. More commonly seen moves are 1.e4 (3390699 games, score 53%), 1.d4 (2114962 games, score 54.5%), 1.Nf3 (519789 games, score 55.4%) and 1.c4 (442701 games, score 54.2%). My reply to 1.f4 was the most often played 1...d5 (22313 games, score 48.3%). The move 1...d5 was played by Veselin Topalov against Levon Aronian in the 15th Melody Amber rapid and blindfold tournament on March 19th, 2006, for instance. It was the game that was played blindfolded and Aronian ended up winning that game. It has been played by other top Grand Masters more recently and one example of that is the game between Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik that they played on June 29th, 2017 at Leuven and it was a rapid game. In that game Magnus Carlsen was able to win with the white pieces.

Next my opponent played the natural follow-up move 2.Nf3 (16545 games, score 48.5%), which is also the most often played move in the position. It has been played by very strong players such as Magnus Carlsen, Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Morozevich. My reply was the 3rd most popular move 2...c5 (2966 games, score 49%), while more often seen moves are 2...Nf6 (6654 games, score 50%) and 2...g6 (3639 games, score 40.9%). Then my opponent chose to play 3.d3 (100 games, score 50%), which has been played by a Grand Master or two, but not that often. It was the 4th most played move in the position, more often were played 3.e3 (2080 games, score 48.1%), 3.g3 (674 games, score 52.3%) and 3.b3 (265 games, score 50%). The highest rated player that went for the move 3.d3 is Aleksej Aleksandrov with a rating of 2592 at the time of the game.

I then played 3...Nc6 (67 games, score 53.7%), which is the most regularly played move. Kojjootti's 4th move e3 was the first one that no Grand Master has played, at least according to my reference database. It has been seen in the database 10 times and it has a score of 45%. It was actually the third most commonly played move, behind the moves 4.g3 (51 games, score 60.8%) and 4.c3 (12 games, score 33.3%). About the score, in case I have understood it correctly, in case the score is, for example, 100% it means that White wins every game, 50% would mean that the move has performed equally well for both colors and 0% would mean that Black wins every time, therefore if the score is between 100% and 50% the move is favorable for White and if it is between 50% and 0%, the move has performed in Black's favor. I then played 4...g6 (10 games, score 20%), which is the second most commonly played move, only 4...Nf6 (16 games, score 40.6%) was played often than that. According to that 4...g6 has been the better option. However, the sample size is very small and not that significant in my opinion. The next move 5.Be2 (10 games, score 20%) was the most popular of the three moves that had been tried in that position. It is a natural looking developing move. The next move is the most natural continuation in the position and the only move that has been played there, 5...Bg7 (12 games, score 29.2%).

Because the database also understands that the same position can occur from different move orders, the amount of reference games actually increased after 5...Bg7 and the move 6.O-O that my opponent chose was played in 55 games with a score of 37.3%. It was clearly the most played move, the other two moves 6.Nbd2 (2 games, score 25%) and 6.a3 (1 game, score 0%) have also been tried. Next I played 6...Qb6 (4 games, score 25%), which was the 6th most common move in the position. More common were the moves 6...Nf6 (104 games, score 40.9%), 6...Nh6 (29 games, score 39.7%), 6...e6 (15 games, score 50%), 6...e5 (13 games, score 46.2%) and 6...Bg4 (10 games, score 35%). The move 6...Qb6 has the obvious idea of adding an attacker towards b2 and in case White does nothing to protect it, I could win a pawn by taking on b2 with my bishop. The threat against b2 was protected against with the move 7.c3 (2 games, score 50%). It was barely the most often played move. Two other moves, 7.Nbd2 and 7.Na3 have been tried. Both moves have been played once. The next move 7...Nf6 (2 games, score 0%) was one of the two moves that were played in this position, the other move was 7...Nh6 (1 game, score 100%). It does say in the notation that 8.d4 was a novelty, but I did find one game where it had been played before, it was played on a game between Burckhard Plietz and Walter Heil in 1991. The actual novelty seems to be the move 8...cxd4, in that one game Walter Heil played 8...O-O.

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2016.07.18"] [Round "?"] [White "Kojjootti"] [Black "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A03"] [WhiteElo "1706"] [BlackElo "1823"] [Annotator "Stockfish 9 64 POPCNT (30s)"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 c5 3. d3 Nc6 4. e3 g6 5. Be2 Bg7 6. O-O {A03 Bird's Opening with 1...d5} Qb6 (6... b6 7. Qe1 Bb7 8. e4 Qd7 9. c3 e6 10. Kh1 Nge7 11. Be3 c4 12. Na3 cxd3 13. Bxd3 dxe4 14. Bxe4 Nf5 15. Rd1 Qe7 16. Bf2 O-O 17. Nb5 Rad8 18. Qe2 Bf6 19. a4 Nd6 20. Nxd6 Rxd6 21. Ne5 {Hayward,K-Bradford,J (2430) Chicago 1988 1-0 (40)}) 7. c3 (7. Na3 Nf6 8. Kh1 O-O 9. Qe1 a6 10. Bd1 Bg4 11. Ne5 Bxd1 12. Qxd1 Qc7 13. Nxc6 Qxc6 14. Qf3 e6 15. Bd2 Rac8 16. g4 b5 17. Rae1 b4 18. Nb1 a5 19. Bc1 Qa4 20. Re2 Qxa2 21. Nd2 c4 {Suarez Pazos,A (1674)-Lopez Colon,F (1999) Las Palmas 2016 0-1 (37)}) 7... Nf6 8. d4 $146 (8. Qe1 Be6 9. Na3 Rd8 10. Kh1 Bc8 11. Ne5 O-O 12. Nc2 Qc7 13. Nxc6 Qxc6 14. b4 cxb4 15. Nxb4 Qc7 16. Bd2 a5 17. Nc2 e5 18. fxe5 Qxe5 19. Nd4 Ng4 20. Nf3 Qe7 21. Qc1 Rde8 22. Re1 Bf5 {Tesar,K-Prucha,K Trebic 1959 0-1 (41)}) (8. Nbd2 Qc7 $15) 8... cxd4 (8... O-O 9. Nbd2 $11) 9. cxd4 $11 O-O 10. Ne5 Ne4 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nxe5 (12... Na5 13. Ba3 f6 14. Nf3 $11) 13. fxe5 $11 Bf5 (13... Be6 14. Bd2 $11 ) 14. Ba3 {White threatens to win material: Ba3xe7} (14. c4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Rac8 $11) 14... Rfe8 (14... Rfc8 15. Bxe7 Rxc3 16. Bg4 Bxg4 17. Qxg4 $11) 15. Qb3 Qxb3 (15... Bh6 16. Qxd5 Bxe3+ 17. Kh1 $11) 16. axb3 Be4 {The black bishop is well posted.} (16... f6 17. Bf3 Rad8 18. g4 $11) 17. Bc5 (17. Bf3 Bxf3 18. gxf3 a5 $11) 17... a6 $14 18. b4 {White has a new backward pawn: c3} (18. c4 Rac8 19. Ba3 Rc6 $11) 18... Bh6 {Black threatens to win material: Bh6xe3} 19. Kf2 e6 {Black has a new backward pawn: f7} (19... Rab8 20. Ba7 Ra8 21. Bc5 $11) 20. b5 {White threatens to win material: b5xa6} (20. Bf3 Bxf3 21. Kxf3 Rec8 $14) 20... Rec8 (20... a5 21. Bf3 Bd3 22. Be2 $11) 21. bxa6 $14 bxa6 22. Bxa6 (22. Rxa6 $6 Rxa6 23. Bxa6 Ra8 $11) 22... Rcb8 23. Bb4 (23. Be2 Bf8 $14) 23... Rb6 (23... Bf8 $142 $5 $11 {should be examined more closely}) 24. Be2 $16 Rbb8 (24... Rc8 25. Bf3 Bxf3 26. Kxf3 $16 (26. gxf3 $6 Bf8 $11)) 25. Rfc1 (25. Bf3 Bd3 26. Be2 Be4 $16) 25... Bf8 26. Bxf8 (26. Bd6 Rd8 $14) 26... Kxf8 (26... Rxa1 27. Rxa1 Kxf8 28. Bf3 Rb2+ 29. Kg3 $11) 27. c4 (27. Kg3 $5 $14 {must definitely be considered}) 27... dxc4 28. Bxc4 Rb2+ 29. Kf1 (29. Be2 $142 $5 {looks like a viable alternative} Rxa1 30. Rxa1 Bxg2 31. h4 $11) 29... Bxg2+ 30. Kg1 Rxa1 31. Rxa1 Be4 32. Bf1 (32. Ra2 $142 Rb1+ 33. Bf1 $17) 32... Rb3 $4 {Black threatens to win material: Rb3xe3. Black has let it slip away} (32... g5 $142 $19 { Black had this great chance}) 33. Kf2 Rb2+ 34. Kg3 h5 35. Re1 Kg7 36. h4 Kh6 37. Re2 {White threatens to win material: Re2xb2} Rb1 {Black threatens to win material: Rb1xf1} 38. Bg2 Bf5 39. e4 {White threatens to win material: e4xf5} Bg4 {Black threatens to win material: Bg4xe2. Praise the bishop!} 40. Rf2 { White threatens to win material: Rf2xf7} Rb3+ 41. Kh2 Kg7 42. d5 exd5 43. exd5 {White has a new passed pawn: d5} Re3 44. e6 fxe6 45. dxe6 Bxe6 {Black has a new backward pawn: g6. . .} 46. Rb2 Bf5 47. Rb7+ Kf6 48. Rb6+ Ke5 0-1

Here is the only reference game I was able to find where both players had a rating over 2500 and reached the same position that I did after 6.O-O.

[Event "Wch Blitz"] [Site "Riadh"] [Date "2017.12.30"] [Round "20"] [White "Adhiban, Baskaran"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A03"] [WhiteElo "2655"] [BlackElo "2711"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2017.12.29"] [EventType "swiss (blitz)"] [EventRounds "21"] [EventCountry "SAU"] [SourceTitle "Mega2018 Update 11"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2018.01.05"] 1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. e3 Bg7 4. Be2 c5 5. O-O Nc6 6. d3 Nf6 7. Ne5 Qc7 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. e4 Ba6 11. Kh1 c4 12. Qe1 cxd3 13. cxd3 e6 14. Be3 Rfd8 15. Bg1 d4 16. Na4 Bb5 17. Nc5 Qb6 18. b4 a5 19. a4 axb4 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. Qxb4 Qa5 22. Qxa5 Rxa5 23. axb5 Rxa1 24. Rxa1 cxb5 25. Rb1 Nh5 26. Bxh5 gxh5 27. Rxb5 Rc8 28. Rxh5 Rc1 29. g4 Rd1 30. Rh3 Rd2 31. e5 1-0