Games, analysis and discussion

French Winawer Poisoned Pawn Variation

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[Event "??"]
[Site "San Nicolas"]
[Date "1957.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Canoba"]
[Black "Eliskases, E"]
[Result "0-1"]

{Discussion of French Winawer, Poisoned Pawn, Rossetto Variation game:} 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 Qc7 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 cxd4 10.Ne2 dxc3 {The normal move order for the main line Winawer Poisoned Pawn proceeds with 10...Nbc6 11.f4 Bd7 12.Qd3 dxc3; Watson's PTF4 recommends 11...dxc3 12.Qd3 d4 but this allows some drawish positions to eventually arise after 13.Nxd4 if White wishes.} 11.f4 b6!? {A sharp sideline covered by A.C. van der Tak in a NIC article some time ago. This is a move that he thinks originated with Hector Rossetto. On the whole I've done alright when I've played it myself several times. It's liable to catch people by surprise and it may not be so bad as many think. Minev's French Defense 2 punctuates the move the same way.} 12.Nd4 {After 12.Qd3 Ba6 13.Qxc3 Black is doing fine after 13...Qb7 or even swapping queens; besides the game continuation the other critical line is 12.Ng3 Nd7 (12...Ba6? 13.Nh5 Rf8 14.Bxa6 Nxa6 15.Nf6+ Kd8 18.Qg7 Ng6 19.h4 +- van der Tak; 12...Qc5!? is a move van der Tak thinks may be playable, but unfortunately there are forced draws if White wishes: 13.Nh5 Rf8 14.Nf6+ Kd8 15.Qh5 Nd7 [best] 16.Nh7 Rh8 17.Qxf7 Qd4 18.Ng5 Nc5 19.Qf6 [19.Qg7 is riskier] Rg8 and now White can grab a draw right away with 20.Nf7+ Ke8 21.Nd6+ etc. if he wants to.) 13.Nh5 Rf8!? (my punctuation; here 13...Bb7?! [my punctuation] 14.Nf6+ Nxf6 15.exf6 0-0-0 16.fxe7 Qxe7 is an old line that looks +/- after 17.Be3! [my punctuation] Qf6 and now Zapf's 18.Rd1) 14.Bb5 and now instead of Qc5 as in Ivkov-Rosseto, Beograd 1962, my suggestion would be 14...Kd8!?, e.g. 15.Qd3 a6 16.Bxd7 Bxd7 17.a4 b5 is not so clear.} Ba6 13.Be3 {13.Bb5+ Bxb5 14.Nxb5 Qc5 is dangerous for White, who must play accurately to keep equality if Black plays incisively; 13.Bxa6 Nxa6 is considered a more critical line than the game continuation, when best is 14.0-0 [14.Nb5?! Qc5 15.Nd6+ Kd7 is ultimately -/+ van der Tak] Nc5 and after 15.Be3 or 15.a4 van der Tak gives 15...a6 as ultimately being good for White in either case, but maybe matters are not completely clear if 15.Be3 Qd7 or 15.a4 a6 (in spite of van der Tak's ultimate evaluation in case of the latter).} Bxf1 14.Kxf1 Nd7 15.Nb5 {Minev suggests 15.g3 followed by Kg2, while van der Tak suggests 15.Qd3.} Qc4 16.Qd3 Nf5! 17.Bf2?! {Eliskases gives: 17.Bd4 Rc8 18.Nxa7 Qxd3+ 19.cxd3 Ra8 20.Nb5 Nxd4 21.Nxd4 Nc5 = and 17.Kf2 Qxd3 18.cxd3 Ke7 19.g3 a6 20.Nd4 Nc5 =} Qxf4! 18.Nc7 {18.g3 Qxe5 19.Re1 Qf6 20.Nc7 Kd8! 21.Nxa8 Nc5 -/+ with an attack - Eliskases} Ke7 19.Nxa8 Nxe5! 20.Qxc3 d4 {-+ van der Tak} 21.Qc7+ Kf6 22.Rg1 Rc8 23.Qxc8 Ng4 24.Qd8+ Kg7 25.Ke2 Qxf2+ 26.Kd3 Ne5+ {White resigns. Notes by Kevin Pacey.} 0-1

Updated 05-02-2020 at 12:06 AM by Kevin Pacey

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