Marin's Solution to 1.Nf3 - Part 3
In the final part of his Anti-1.Nf3 repertoire, Marin deals with all systems which are different from the Hedgehog. Given the fact that the move 1.Nf3 may lead to a number of different openings, the current database will help you to increase your general chess understanding. The repertoire is designed in a way that transpositions to the Hedgehog structure would be always in the air. Also, it is important to point out that the suggested systems are ambitious and allow Black to fight for a win.
Let's take a detailed look at different theoretical chapters.
Chapter 1 - 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.g3 b6 5.e4!?
This is the last chapter in which the author deals with a something similar to the Hedgehog. With the given move order, White aims at getting similar positions as in the Re1 systems albeit a tempo down. This is played by those who fear that Black would play ...Be7 instead of ...a7-a6 and answer Re1 with ...d5 or ...Ne4.
In this position, however, Black is not forced to go for a classical Hedgehog position. Instead, Marin suggests 5...Bb7 6.d3 d6 7.Bg2 g6!?
Since the bishop will eventually land on g7 (take a look at the middlegame articles), Black has good reasons to make this at once. This line was the choice of Vladimir Kramnik in his game against Ding Liren played at Candidates 2018. In this game, Kramnik demonstrated Black's tremendous dynamic possibilities. In his annotations, Marin covers White's different alternatives to the main line. In the end, he makes the conclusion that Black holds his own in every single line.
Chapter 2 - 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4
This is a very important line since it can lead to several important systems from other openings. Nevertheless, Marin suggests a move that has an independent value - 5...d5.
After 5...d5, White has a choice. The practice has seen the moves 6.g3, 6.e3, 6.Bg5, 6.Bf4, and 6.cxd5.
In this chapter, Marin deals with all these moves, except 6.Bg5 (this move is covered in the next chapter).
None of these continuations manages to pose Black serious problems. Nevertheless, White's position remains solid and precise play is required from Black. In his annotations, the author demonstrates Black's clear-cut way to the equality in these lines. As it becomes clear from the analysis, in some positions, Black can even overtake the initiative.
Chapter 3 - 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 d5 6.Bg5
This is a logical developing move, adding pressure on Black's center. If Black opts for a slow play, it is likely that White would enjoy a slight pressure. That is why Marin advocates a more energetic approach to the position - 6...e5
Black starts the central expansion in a moment when White's kingside is underdeveloped. The main line goes 7.Nf3 d4 8.Bxf6 gxf6 (Marin also deals with White's alternatives on moves 7 and 8).
Now and in other similar lines above the doubled pawns are not weak, as they are mobile. Compare with the old Sveshnikov main lines. In this chapter, Marin proves that Black's mobile pawn center and pair of bishops fully compensate the slightly compromised pawn structure.
Chapter 4 - 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.e3
The same as with 4.d4, this can transpose to several other systems than the Hedgehog. Once again, choosing between them is a matter of taste.
At this point, Marin opts for 4...b6!?
This move keeps the Hedgehog contours only temporarily. It is actually going to transpose to the 4.e3 Queen's Indian, a solid but not too threatening opening. The main position of the variation arises after the moves 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 Bb7
In this position, Marin deals with 4 moves - 7.d5, 7.a3, 7.Be2, and 7.Bd3.
The move 7.d5 looks dubious since White cannot maintain his over-extended center after the simple 7...Bb4.
If White goes for one of the other 3 moves, at some moment, Black should decide whether to play d7-d5 or d7-d6. In this chapter, Marin explains the different move orders as well as the subtleties of the arising positions.
The main position of the chapter is being reached after 7.Bd3 Be7 8.0-0 d5
Here, by far, White's most popular move is 9.cxd5. This continuation is dealt with in the next chapter. In this chapter, the author examines the moves 9.Bg5 and 9.b3. Despite the fact that these continuations are less challenging, Black should know what he is doing.
Chapter 5 - 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.e3 - 9.cxd5 Nxd5
This is the critical position of the entire variation. White is at crossroads here. At this point, White has 3 main continuations - 10.Bb5+, 10.Re1, and 10.Ne5.
Despite the fact that first two moves lead to strategically complicated positions, they are less challenging from a theoretical point of view.
Recently, White's hopes in the fight for an advantage are mostly based on the move 10.Ne5. With this move, White wants to immediately launch a kingside attack. After 10...0-0, he can choose between 11.Qg4 and 11.Qh5. In this chapter, Marin demonstrates that if Black plays precisely, White's initiative will gradually run out of steam. One should never neglect the fact that in a long-term, the d4-pawn would be a liability.
Chapter 6 - 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.e4!?
This is a specialty of Rublevsky. White mainly aims to transpose to a Sicilian Paulsen Hedgehog. While this is not necessarily worrying, transposing to a different heavily analyzed system does not suit our initial intentions.
Marin's choice here is the natural 4...Nc6. This is the most active move taking measures against the early opening of the center.
Now, White's main move is 5.Be2. In this chapter, Marin also deals with the position arising after 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bb4. This sequence leads to a comfortable for Black Sicilian tabiya in which White's center is under higher pressure than in the similar lines with ...a7-a6 instead of ...Nc6.
After 5.Be2, Marin suggests the creative 5...Qb6!?
This is a radical way of preventing d2-d4. In the future, Black will be fighting for the control of the central d4-square. A possible idea could be d7-d6, followed by Be7, 0-0, and Nf6-d7-e5.
Marin prefers this approach over 5...d5 6.exd5 exd5 7.d4 which leads to a symmetrical position where to all probabilities Black should equalize gradually, but the play is rather one-sided.
Chapter 7 - 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4
The early opening of the center offers both sides a wider choice of plans. This line is also important for the Benoni players (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3).
At this point, Marin's recommendation is 4...a6!?
Here is what Marin has to say about this original approach:
This was recommended to me when I first started playing the Benoni. Black makes a useful move, controlling b5 and keeping the possibility of transposing to a Hedgehog in some cases, but also prepares ...d7-d5. If later he plays ...e7-e5 it will mean he has got the move ...a7-a6 for free. In some cases, this makes a difference as we will see.
In the position on the diagram, Marin examines the moves 5.g3 and 5.Nc3. Regardless of White's move, Black should follow with 5...d5. In the arising positions, Black even has the chance to overtake the initiative.
Chapter 8 - Reti with 4.d4
In this chapter, the author starts dealing with the Reti move order. The position which is the subject of the current chapter arises after the moves 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.d4
This is one of the two possible attempts at transposing to the fianchetto Queen's Indian. However, the missing c2-c4 allows Black to prevent that.
In order to avoid the Queen's Indian, Marin suggests 4...c5.
It is important to point out that if White plays 5.0-0 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bxg2 7.Kxg2 e6, most likely, the play will transpose to Hedgehog after c2-c4.
In this chapter, Marin deals with White's two independent moves - 5.dxc5 and 5.c3. These variations are quite and the exact move orders are not significant. The author explains the ideas for both sides and provides a number of instructive examples. It is not a surprise that the moves 5.dxc5 and 5.c3 fail to create problems for Black.
Chapter 9 - Reti with 3.d4
Sometimes, White tries to reach the Queen's Indian Defence via the following move order: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.d4
This move order leads to a more consistent play than in the previous chapter. The main line goes 3...Bb7 4.c4 c5 5.d5 b5
With respect to the Volga Gambit this loses a tempo, but first of all it does not imply a pawn sacrifice and secondly ...bxc4 causes White more problems after preparing the bishop's development on a different diagonal.
This variation leads to complicated and unbalanced positions where out-of-the-box thinking is very important. Detailed analysis shows that Black is in a very good shape in this line.
Chapter 10 - King's Indian Attack - Part 1
In this chapter, Marin starts dealing with the highly popular King's Indian Attack. Due to the difficulty to obtain an advantage in the classical openings, a number of top-players started to opt for KIA.
The main position of the chapter is being reached after 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.0-0 e6 5.d3 c5 6.e4 d6
As we can see, even against KIA, Black can follow the logic of the Hedgehog setup. A transposition to the Hedgehog structure would be possible if White plays 7.c4. In this case, Black can transpose to Chapter 1 by playing 7...g6.
In the position on the diagram, White's main move is by far 7.Nbd2. This continuation is examined in detail in the next chapter. In the current chapter, Marin deals with White's alternatives on move 7 - 7.b3, 7.Nh4, and 7.Nc3. These moves do not allow White to fight for an advantage. In a long-term, with a good positional play, Black can even outplay his opponent. Once again, the strategical ideas are much more important than the concrete moves. In his annotations, Marin demonstrates Black's best way to deal with each White's setup.
Chapter 11 - King's Indian Attack - Part 2
This chapter is dedicated to the main line of King's Indian Attack. The position of interest arises after the moves 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.0-0 e6 5.d3 c5 6.e4 d6 7.Nbd2
With this move, White is planning to gradually expand in the center. His next moves could be Re1, followed by c2-c3, and d3-d4. Nevertheless, such a strategy has an important drawback. After the eventual pawn exchanges on d4, Black will have the c-file at his disposal.
The main line of Marin goes 7...Be7 8.Re1 0-0 9.c3 Nc6
Black's main idea can be seen in the line 10.d4 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nb4 with a dangerous initiative on the queenside. Of course, White can start with 10.a3. Nevertheless, sooner or later he will play d3-d4 when Black's queenside play would be possible. Furthermore, the a3-pawn is a perfect hook which can be used in further actions on the queenside. We can say that in the arising complicated strategical struggle, Black keeps a fair share of the chances.
Chapter 12 - Odds and Ends
The final chapter of the database deals with lines which are highly transpositional and do not have an independent value. The common feature of these lines is their starting position which can be reached after the moves 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0-0 a6
In this position, Marin examines two different approaches - 7.e3 followed by d2-d4 and 7.d3 followed by e2-e4. In both cases, Black is not able to reach an exact transposition to the lines covered before. That is why some precision is still required. Nevertheless, once we know the most precise move orders, these sidelines will not create any problem for us.
Traditionally, at the end of the database, the author provides 20 interactive test positions. Below, you can try to solve 5 of them.