This is an extract from the book ** The Art of the Tarrasch Defence** by Alexey Bezgodov, published by New In Chess.

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How should one solve the problem of the black pieces?

In our day, it is a real practical necessity to develop rare, little-explored continuations, so that the effect of surprise will allow one to play for a win.

But you have to know how to do it.

There are some variations, which have plenty of surprise effect, but the weaknesses of which are simply so obvious that a strong opponent will be able to solve his problems even over the board.

Then the surprise effect is liable to rebound on you.

One needs great positional foundations, to avoid such problems.

The Tarrasch Defence is one of the most principled and positionally based defences.

At least one black pawn remains in the centre for the long term and Black also has no difficulties with his development.

In most cases, he manages to castle quickly and effectively.

One very important thing is that White generally does not obtain any sort of space advantage.

He does not usually get the chance for quiet, unhurried play to strengthen his advantage, as often happens in quieter variations of the Queen’s Gambit. (...)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.♘f3 ♘c6 6.g3 ♘f6 7.♗g2 ♗e7 8.0-0 0-0 9.b3

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In the double fianchetto systems, like e.g. the one depicted above, White develops both bishops to the long diagonals.

It can occur within the Tarrasch Defence and also the English Opening.

Here there are certain specifics and subtleties, which one should know.

Game 63 **Igor Kovalenko** 2587 **Alexey Bezgodov **2500

Moscow 2012 (3)

Against the strong GM Igor Kovalenko, I wanted to play the Tarrasch, but my opponent, who has a wide opening repertoire, had other ideas.

He chose a very deep and slow system, one often chosen by top players to avoid an opening theory discussion.

I therefore thought it would be useful to include the game in this book, although, strictly speaking, it is not a Tarrasch Defence.

Against Tarrasch experts, such systems, where White does not put his pawn on d4, are often employed.

1.c4 e6 2.♘f3 d5 3.g3 ♘f6 4.♗g2 ♗e7 5.0-0 0-0 6.b3

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I am playing directly, just as in the Tarrasch itself, although taking account of circumstances, of course.

6...c5 7.♗b2 ♘c6 8.e3 b6 9.d4

Against the topical 9.♘c3 I have several times played 9...♗b7 10.cxd5 ♘xd5 11.♘xd5 exd5 12.d4 a5! 13.dxc5 bxc5 with the possible variation 14.♘h4 ♗xh4 15.gxh4 ♕xh4 16.♕xd5 ♘d8! 17.♕e5 f6 18.♕g3 ♕xg3 19.hxg3 ♗xg2 20.♔xg2 a4. 9...♗b7 10.♘bd2 ♖c8 11.♕e2 dxc4 12.bxc4 ♘a5 13.♖fd1 ♕c7 14.♖ac1 ♖fd8

Also possible is 14...cxd4 15.exd4 ♖fe8 16.d5 (there is no other active idea) 16...exd5 17.cxd5 ♕d8 18.♖xc8 ♗xc8 19.♘f1 ♘b7 20.♘e3 ♗c5 with a very complicated, but equal game.

15.♘b3 ♘xb3 16.axb3 a5 17.♖a1 ♘e8 18.h4 ♖a8 19.♕c2 ♘f6 20.♘e5 ♗xg2 21.♔xg2 ♕b7+ 22.f3 ♖ac8 23.♕e2 ♘e8

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White has nothing to fasten onto.

I await some aggression and strengthen my position.

24.♖d2 ♗d6 25.♘g4 ♕c7 26.f4

A good move, but it has drawbacks too.

26...cxd4 27.♗xd4 27.exd4 ♗b4 28.♖dd1 ♘d6 27...♗c5

Aiming for simplification.

Also possible, of course, is 27...♗b4∞. 28.♖ad1 ♗xd4 29.♖xd4 ♖xd4 30.♖xd4 ♖d8

Continuing exchanges.

31.♘e5 ♖xd4 32.exd4

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The pieces are getting fewer and fewer.

White has no advantage, but my young and talented opponent wanted to win, especially with white.

32...f6 33.♘f3 ♔f7 34.h5 ♕c6 35.♕d3 g6 36.♔h2 ♘d6 37.♘d2 b5 I decided it was time to start some small activity, so as to confuse the opponent.

No worse is 37...♔g7. 38.c5 ♘f5 39.g4 ♘e7 40.hxg6+ hxg6 41.♘e4 a4

Now I have a passed pawn.

42.bxa4 bxa4 43.♘d6+ ♔g7 44.f5 ♕d5

Activating the queen.

There were many other moves. 45.fxe6 ♕xe6

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46.♕a6?

This is a mistake, although Black’s position is already more pleasant.

46...♕a2+ 47.♔g3 ♕b3+ 48.♔f2 ♕b2+ 49.♔e3 ♘d5+ 50.♔f3 ♕b3+ 51.♔g2 51.♔e4 offers some hope of saving the game.

51...♘e3+ 52.♔g1 ♘xg4 53.♕a7+ ♔h6 54.♔g2 f5 55.♘f7+ ♔h5 56.♕c7 ♕c2+ 57.♔h3 ♘f2+ 58.♔g3 ♘e4+ 59.♔h3 ♕d3+ 60.♔g2 ♕e2+ 61.♔h3 ♕f3+ 62.♔h2 ♕f2+ 63.♔h3

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63...g5 0-1

A nice way to end the game.

Game 64 **Andrey Derbenev **2313 **Alexey Bezgodov **2558

Izhevsk 2005 (6)

After some misgivings, I decided to include this curious game, because it has a very unusual finish.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.♘f3 ♘c6 6.g3 ♘f6 7.♗g2 ♗e7 8.0-0 0-0 9.dxc5 ♗xc5 10.a3

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An insidious modern variation.

10...♖e8

The pawn sacrifice 10...♘e4 is very decent, and we will discuss this later.

11.b4 ♗b6

Now I consider this move if not a mistake, then at least a serious inaccuracy.

Now White can by simple means obtain a very comfortable position, with play for two results.

But since I won quickly, I do not consider a question mark against the move to be quite appropriate.

Many players prefer 11...♗e7, and this is definitely safer.

12.♗b2

Less accurate is 12.♘a4 ♗c7 13.♗b2 ♘e5 14.♘xe5 ♗xe5 15.♗xe5 ♖xe5 16.e3 ♗f5 17.♕d4 ♕e7 18.♘c3 h5 19.♖ac1 ♗e4.

12...♗g4

This active move could have seriously weakened my position.

Yes, such things happen.

However, White also has some advantage after 12...a6 13.♖c1 ♗f5 14.♘a4 ♗a7 15.e3 ♖c8 16.♘c5 ♗xc5 17.♖xc5 ♗e4 18.♘h4⩱. 13.♘b5?

I was lucky – over the board, my opponent was not up to the task. Now Black can breathe a sigh of relief.

The essence of the position is that White should play not for the occupation of d4, but to exploit the unfortunate position of Black’s pieces.

Black would hardly have been likely to win after 13.♘a4!.

He does not want to retreat the bishop to c7, but nor to exchange it.

White has a very strong dark-squared bishop, and excellent chances of successful play on the queenside.

Black’s defence is difficult and unpleasant: 13...♗c7 (the defensive task is also not easy in the variation 13...♕e7 14.♘xb6 axb6 15.♖e1 ♖ad8 16.♖c1⩱; 13...♘e4 14.♖c1⩱)

14.♖c1 ♖c8 (equally depressing is 14...♘e5 15.h3 ♗f5 16.♗xe5 ♗xe5 17.♘xe5 ♖xe5 18.g4 ♗d7 19.♘c3)

15.♘c5 b6 16.♘d3 ♗b8 17.♕a4 ♗d7 18.b5 ♘a5 19.♖xc8 ♗xc8 20.♗xf6 ♕xf6 21.♘d4⩱ 13...♕e7

Now Black is certainly not worse.

But I certainly did not think I would win in three more moves!

14.♘bd4 ♖ac8

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15.♖e1?

A real mistake – White completely misses his opponent’s play.

Everything is fine after 15.h3 or 15.e3 ♘e5 16.♘f5.

15...♘e4 16.♖c1 ♕f6

A large advantage is promised by 16...♘xf2 17.♔xf2 ♘xd4, but the text move is also strong.

17.e3?

It was essential to return the rook to f1, but then White stands badly.

17...♘e5

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An improbable position – White is losing a piece, after what seems such sound play around the strong point! White resigned.

Game 65 **Etienne Bacrot **2704 **Alexander Delchev **2622

Plovdiv Ech 2012 (4)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.♘f3 ♘c6 6.g3 ♘f6 7.♗g2 ♗e7 8.0-0 0-0 9.dxc5 ♗xc5 10.a3 ♘e4!

In my view, the strongest reply.

It is a shame to give up the pawn, but it is not done in vain.

11.♘xd5

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Very logical, but Black has many resources.

11...♗e6 12.♘c3

White can face some danger after 12.♘e3 f5, and Black is certainly not worse, as White has problems with his development.

Let us continue the variation:

13.♕xd8 ♖axd8 14.b4 ♗b6 15.♗b2 g5 16.♖ad1 f4 17.gxf4 gxf4 18.♖xd8 ♖xd8 19.♘d1 ♗c4 12...♘xc3

Another interesting line is 12...♕xd1 13.♘xd1 ♘a5, and White’s advantage is in doubt.

Now we will try 14.b4 and 14.♖e1: A) 14.b4 ♘b3 15.♖b1 ♗e7 16.♖xb3!? ♗xb3 17.♘d4 ♗xd1 18.♗xe4 ♗a4 19.♗xb7 ♖ad8 20.♘c6 ♖d7 21.♘xe7+ ♖xe7; B) 14.♖e1 ♘b3 15.♖b1 ♖fe8 16.♗e3 ♗f5 17.♘h4 ♘ed2 18.♘xf5 ♘xb1 19.♗xb7 ♖ad8 20.♗xc5 ♘xc5 21.♗c6 ♖e5 22.♘de3 ♘d2 23.b4 ♘ce4 24.f4 ♖e6 25.♗d5 ♖ee8 26.♗c6 ♖e6 13.bxc3 ♕xd1 14.♖xd1 ♖ad8

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Of course, Black has compensation for the pawn; the question is whether it is sufficient to force a draw.

15.♗b2

The desire to hang onto the pawn is understandable, but here the bishop does not take a very active part in the game.

Later White tried 15.♗f4 ♖xd1+ (also interesting is 15...h6!?) 16.♖xd1 ♗xa3.

Now the ball is in White’s court.

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A) 17.♖b1

Grandmaster Denis Yevseev once won as White with this.

17...♖d8! 18.♘e1 ♖d7 19.♗xc6 bxc6 20.♘d3 f6 21.♖a1 ♗e7 22.♗e3 c5 23.♘xc5 ♗xc5 24.♗xc5 ♖d2 25.e3 ♖c2 26.♗xa7 ♖xc3, and the draw is fairly simple;

B) Another dangerous try is 17.♘d4:

B1) 17...♖d8!?

Again sacrificing a pawn, but this is a very reliable move: 18.♗xc6 bxc6 19.♖a1 ♗c5 20.♘xc6 ♖c8 21.♘xa7 ♗xa7 22.♖xa7 ♖xc3 23.f3 ♖c2 24.♔f2 h6;

B2) A crazy pawn race in the spirit of the Grünfeld does not lose either: 17...♘xd4 18.cxd4 b5 19.♗c6 b4 20.d5 ♗f5 21.♗d6 (or 21.d6 b3 22.d7 b2 23.d8♕ ♖xd8 24.♖xd8+ ♗f8 25.♖d1 b1♕ 26.♖xb1 ♗xb1) 21...♖c8 22.♗c5 a5 23.f3 f6 24.e4 ♗d7 25.♗xb4 axb4 26.♗xd7 ♖c3 27.♗e6+ ♔f8 28.d6 b3 29.d7 ♗e7 30.♖b1 ♖xf3 31.♗xb3 ♗d8 15...♘a5 16.♘d4 ♗b3!

Alexander Delchev’s preparation is excellent.

The black pieces are extremely active, whilst White finds it hard to strengthen his position.

17.♖e1

A simple draw results by force after 17.♘xb3 ♘xb3 18.♖xd8 ♖xd8 19.♖b1 b5 20.e3 ♘d2 21.♖d1 ♖d6! 22.♗c6 ♔f8 23.♔g2 ♘c4 24.♖xd6 ♗xd6 25.♗c1 ♗xa3 26.♗xb5 ♗xc1 27.♗xc4 ♗b2 with a completely equal opposite-coloured bishops ending.

17...♗a4! 18.e3 ♘c4 19.♗c1 b5 20.f4

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20...♗b6

Even more accurate is 20...a6!.

21.♖b1 ♗a5 22.♖b4

An ingenious try, but White cannot hope to win.

22...♗xb4 23.axb4 f5

The enterprising 23...♖fe8! 24.♔f2 ♖c8 25.e4 a5!, and the extra exchange can give Black chances.

24.e4 fxe4 25.♘e6 ♗c2 26.♘xd8 ♖xd8 27.♔f2 a6 28.♖e2 ♗b1 29.♖e1 ♗c2 30.♖e2 ♗b1 31.♖e1 ♗c2 ½-½

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