In this database, IM Renato Quintillano is dealing with some of the most aggressive and ambitious openings after 1.d4.
He provides a repertoire against Tarrasch Defence, Semi-Tarasch Defence, Albin Countergambit, Chigorin Defence, Baltic Defence, and the exotic Australian Defence (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5!?).
The author follows a very pragmatical way to create a repertoire:
He starts by explaining seven of the most frequently arising structures.
When dealing with a given structure, he follows a simple logic:
• Explanation of typical plans and ideas
• Extensively annotated model game
• Interactive tests
When you learn all the typical structures, you can continue with the theoretical part of the database.
It contains 10 chapters and 20 interactive tests.
Typical pawn structures:
We can summarize Whites plan in 3 steps
- Playing Ne5 in order to put pressure on "d5" and exchange the knights on "c6"
- Answering bxc6 with b2-b3! Later on, White tries to put pressure on the newly created weakness on c6
- Exchanges of the minor pieces are welcome for White, especially the dark-squared bishops. On the other hand, he wants to keep more major pieces on the board.
This structure can arise from the Tarasch Defence when Black is sacrificing a pawn on c5 for an active play.
White should know some important ideas.
- Protecting the pawn with a2-a3 and b2-b4
- If Black plays Bf6+Ne4, White should answer with Bb2, Rc1, and b4-b5
- If Black chooses the plan with d5-d4 followed by Be4 and Qd5, White plays Bf4(d2) and activates the knight via b2-d3
- e2-e3 is NEVER good because Black is answering this with d4-d3 with an active play
The Isolated pawn is one of the most important pawn structures in chess. You can find a detailed explanation in some articles of Modern Chess Magazine.
Below, you can find some of the basic ideas.
- White wants to exchange minor pieces, especially the dark-squared bishops
- White should block the pawn and control the d4-square.
- By using the squares e5 and c5, White can try to provoke new weaknesses
- Black plans to push d5-d4 or to create some counterplay on the kingside or against the e2-pawn.
So-called Semi - Hanging Pawns.
- White's goal in such positions is to establish a firm control over d4 and c5, as well as to build a long-term pressure against the pawns.
- The endgame favors White
White is trying to keep both knights on the board
- The bishop pair usually does not favor Black
- Black’s only active idea is a kingside attack
This structure is very fashionable nowadays, as the Semi-Tarrasch became very popular in the last few years.
Black's strategy is similar to other openings such as the Grünfeld or the Queen's Indian (Petrosian Variation): he gives the center away in order to quickly develop his pieces and put pressure on White's center.
Plans for White:
- a4-a5 followed by axb6, creating a weakness
- d4-d5 - opening lines in the center, activating the pieces and creating a dangerous passed pawn on the d-file
- The most aggressive idea is to play d4-d5 and to met exd5 with e4-e5! White has a nasty attack - the light-squared bishop is open and Nd4-f5 is an idea.
This plan usually works when Black’s knight is on c6
- Very often, h4-h5 supports White’s kingside attack.
Plans for Black:
- Meeting a4-a5 with bxa5! and putting pressure on the "e" and "d" pawns
- Regarding the d4-d5-break, Black should place the rooks on the "c" and "e" files. In this way, he is ready to play an open position which can arise after d4-d5. An adequate way of preventing the ideas associated with h4-h5 is to play the prophylactic h7-h6, protecting g5 and preventing some sacrifices on h7.
- In the long-term, Black should not forget about his queenside majority which is his biggest asset.
This structure arises from the main line of the Chigorin Defense in which Black gives up the bishop pair for a quick development and pressure against White's center.
- White wants to open the position
- The common idea is f3-f4 when we met exf4 with e3-e4 followed by capturing the f4-pawn with the bishop.
- White shouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice the pawn for quick development.
- Most of the endgames favor White.
This structure is characteristic of the Albin's Counter-Gambit.
Usually, it is White’s favor because the presence of the pawn on b5 gives space and allows to attack the c7-pawn. Additionally, the a5-pawn is also a potential weakness.
- Attacking the weaknesses of c7 and a5
- Pushing his kingside majority
- Placing the bishop on d4
- Almost all the endgames are in White’s favor
IM Quintillano starts the theoretical part with two chapters dedicated to the Tarrasch Defense.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 (Nc3) c5
This move characterizes the famous Tarrasch Variation of the QGD. This line has been regularly played along the chess history, even used as a weapon by Garry Kasparov in some moments of his career. Right from the opening, Black looks for a dynamic play in the center and tries to gain space for his pieces.
The critical position arises after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 (Nc3) c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.g3 Nc6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.dxc5!?
The Brazilian IM chooses this relatively simple way to play with White. The idea is to immediately initiate play against the Isolani. This is also an effective approach since White doesn't have to deal with the variations in which Black goes for the advance c5-c4.
In chapter 1, after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 (Nc3) c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.g3 Nc6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.dxc5!? Bxc5
the author deals with the most natural reply for Black 9…Bxc5 (9…d4 is analyzed in the next chapter)
Then after 10.Na4 Be7 11.Be3 we achieve the main position of the variation.
Here is what the author says about this position: The plan is obvious: White should establish a firm control over the important squares around the isolani when especially notable is the blockade on d4. Additionally, the squares c5, e5, and even f4 can be comfortably occupied by White's forces. That is why White will be trying to exchange Black's dark-squared bishop. Bringing the rooks to c1 and d1 is a likely follow-up as well. As a general rule, Black should decide whether to safely protect the pawn and accept a passive position, or opt for active actions which are always very risky. This is the kind of position in which is better to understand the common ideas, pawn structures and exchanges than memorizing moves.
He analyses three moves for Black 11…Re8, 11…Ne4, 11…Bg4, but the Renato proves an advantage for White after all of them.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 (Nc3) c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.g3 Nc6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.dxc5!? d4 10.Na4 Bf5
An interesting pawn sacrifice, but not sufficient for equality.
The Brazilian IM shows a straightforward plan for White starting with the move 11.a3!? followed by 12.b4, thus protecting the extra pawn.
Depending on Black’s play, White can choose between 2 setups: Bb2 and b4-b5 or Bf4(d2) followed by Nb2 – Nd3.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 cxd4
This variation had been popular for a certain period of time. Nowadays, however, this continuation is not fashionable anymore.
The author chooses a simple approach 6.Qxd4 exd5 (6…Nxd5? Is bad according to the analysis) 7.Bg5!. This is a reliable option in the spirit of Tarrasch positions.
The main line is 7…Be7 8.e3 Nc6 9.Qa4 0-0 10.Rd1
White keeps the pressure on the d5 - pawn. A possible plan is to transpose to “Semi - Hanging Pawns” after Bb5 followed by Bxc6.
White’s position is more comfortable to play, and the practice confirms this evaluation.
Semi – Tarrasch 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5
This is a solid line that has scored pretty decently for Black. Despite giving the center, Black exchanges a couple of minor pieces and obtains a stable position in which he has good chances of equalizing with a correct play. Many strong players trust this variation, notably Vladimir Kramnik.
The main line continues 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4 9.Bd2 Bxd2 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4
Black is on a crossroads here. In this chapter, we will examine the move 11…Nc6 which according to the author is not suitable for Black.
The Brazilian IM provides us with some brilliant analyses in this line.
His main line goes 12.0-0 b6 13.Rad1 Bb7 (13…Na5 is also analyzed) 14.Rfe1 Rc8 and now 15.d5!
A brilliant idea found by Polugaevsky and Spassky.
The author proves that 15…exd5 16.Bxd5 is better for White.
The main line is quite instructive 15…Na5 16.Bd3 exd5 17.e5!!
This is the point of White's strategy: He has different attacking ideas, such as Ng5 and Nd4-f5, or even e5-e6.
This chapter of the database is like an attacking manual.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4 9.Bd2 Bxd2 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4 Nd7 12.0-0 b6
In this very popular position, the author again chooses a practical approach.
He suggests 13.d5!
This is by not the most popular move, but a very ambitious one.
Here is how the Brazilian IM explains this move:
Immediately trying to exploit White's small lead in development. Objectively speaking, Black should be OK, but some differences can give White realistic chances in a less studied and tested position. The critical point is that Black is not ideally developed to face the d4-d5-advance.
In this position, you will find analyses for 13…Nf6, 13…Nc5 and 13…exd5, but in all the cases White still keeps some small advantage.
Chapter 6. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4 9.Bd2 Bxd2 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4 b6!?
This is a more flexible option since the bishop should go to b7 anyway. With this move order, Black intends to develop his knight according to White's plan.
As you can already guess, White should play in the same fashion as in the previous chapter.
With Black being underdeveloped, this break is even more effective. The analysis shows that Black cannot completely solve his problems.
Black tried here three different setups:
12…e5, 12…Na6 and 12…Ba6 – Neither of these moves manages to equalize completely.
Chigorin Defense 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6
As the name suggests, the Chigorin Defense has been introduced at a high level by the great Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin more than 120 years ago. Nevertheless, this creative opening first appears in historical registers back in 1837(!). This opening illustrates very well Chigorin's bold approach to the game. Instead of safely protecting the pawn, Black goes for a quick development and immediately puts pressure on White's center. Of course, as we are going to witness, such a brave opening concept has some drawbacks.
IM Quintillano chooses one of the most ambitious lines.
The main line arises after the moves: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.cxd5 Bxf3 5.gxf3 Qxd5 6.e3 e5 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.bxc3
This is one of the main tabyias in Chigorin Defense. At first sight, one could get very impressed by White's strong center and the bishop pair, but things are not so simple: The piece pressure considerably restricts the pawn advances and the knights can be very useful for blockading purposes. The c4-square could be an excellent outpost, and if White eventually advances the pawns with c3-c4 followed by d4-d5, then c5 becomes another one. Due to the doubled pawns on the kingside, Black is probably going to have some stable square there. On the other hand, besides his compact central pawns, White can make use of the semi-open "b" and "g" files.
The author analyzes 5 different moves here:
9...exd4, 9...Qd7, 9...Nge7, 9...Nf6 - all these moves are playable and tricky, but Quintillano's explanations and analyses proved an advantage for White.
9...Qd6 is the main line - аnticipating ideas like c3-c4 and d4-d5.
White's idea here is very instructive; 10.Rb1 b6 11.f4! exf4 12.e4!
a thematic procedure that allows White to get rid of the doubled pawns and obtain a mobile center.
We can conclude that Chigorin Defense is an interesting and fighting opening, but according to the theory. White has the upper-hand in all lines.
Baltic Defense - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5
The Baltic Defense is a sideline variation that it is not so frequent in high-level games.
Nevertheless, White could get caught by surprise if he is not familiar with the theory.
That is why it is important to know how to answer this strange approach.
White need to remember just one trick here. 3.cxd5 Bb1 4.Qa4!
Nice intermediate move after which White is better in all variations.
The main line continues 4...c6 5.Rb1 Qxd5 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.b4!
We can stop here. White's bishop pair and initiative on the queenside gives him an advantage.
Australian Defense - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5
This exotic position is called Symmetrical or Austrian Defense. Probably, this is Black's most aggressive response to 2.c4. Although this line seems a bit dubious, some strong grandmasters like Wang Hao and Mamedyarov have played it recently. If White is not very precise, Black has a good chance of solving his opening problems.
The author suggests a very simple plan for White.
3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.Nxd4
This should be the main position of this opening: The big question is whether White can transform his lead in the development in some stable advantage.
The only playable move is 6...Nf6 which we should meet with 7.Bd2!?
Despite being the third most played move, it seems very logical since White continues developing and creating threats against the queen. White's high score with this move suggests that Black has some unpleasant problems to solve.
IM Quintillano analyzed 4 different moves: 7...Qb6, 7...Qd8, 7...Bd7, 7...e5 but all of them failed to equalize completely.
Chapter 10. Albin Counter-Gambit - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5
The Albin Counter Gambit is an old line that remains popular even nowadays.
With the help of the modern computers, such dynamic openings are very playable. That is why we can face the Albin at every level.
The main tabya arises after the moves 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3!
Black has many moves here - 5...Bg4, 5...Be6, 5...a5, and the main line 5...Nge7.
First three moves are not that challenging and White achieves an advantage with ease. After 5...Nge7, the variation continues 6.b4 Ng6 7.Bb2
In this position, Black can continue with 7...Ncxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.e3 which is much better for White.
The better try is 7...a5! followed by 8.b5 Ncxe5 9.Qxd4 Qxd4 10.Bxd4 Nxc4 11.e3 Nd6 12.Nbd2
White definitely has a slight edge in this endgame. His play is mainly based on the backward pawn on c7. Another major problem for Black is the restricted mobility of the g6-knight.
At the end of the database, you will find 20 test positions. Here, are 5 of them.