No time to study opening theory? Shock your opponent with an SOS!
With an SOS you deviate early (usually before move 6!) from regular lines in mainstream openings. So you will reach positions you have actually studied without having memorized tons of stuffy theory, while gaining time on the clock! And you will have fun watching the horror on your opponent's face...
SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW AN SOS CAN SHOCK AND CONFUSE!
Every month, the editor of the SOS Secrets of Opening Surprises book series, IM Jeroen Bosch, annotates a game which was recently played with an SOS-variation.
SOS Game of the Month: July 2013
See also Yearbook 100, pp 108-112
While the Tal Memorial hadn't even finished the Russian higher league already started. Chess fans can certainly enjoy a lot of high level chess these days. The present game was played in the Russian higher league. White plays a tricky Caro-Kann SOS line. I previously wrote on this line some two years ago. Strictly speaking the article wasn't published in the SOS series but as a special Survey for Yearbook 100. Clearly this line has all the features of a SOS though.
Here's the complete text of this game analysis:
1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Qe2
The main idea of 3.Qe2 is that after 3...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5, White has 5.d3 (keeping control over the light squares) when White can follow up with g4.
As I indicated in the survey for Yearbook 100 you can play this line if you are not averse to the positions that arise after 3...d4 4.Nd1. Play then resembles the King's Indian with colours reversed.
The main alternative is 3...dxe4 4.Nxe4, and now:
A) 4...Bf5 5.d3 e6 6.g4 (a new idea is 6.h4!? h6 7.g4 Bxe4 8.dxe4 e5?! 9.Nf3 Nd7 10.Bh3 Qc7 11.g5 0-0-0 12.Be3 Kb8 13.0-0-0 hxg5? 14.Nxg5 Nh6 15.Qd3, winning, Lu Shanglei-Krishna Teja, Chennai 2013) 6...Bg6 (6...Bxe4 7.dxe4 with a slight edge), and now:
A1) 7.f4 Be7 (7...Bxe4!? 8.dxe4 Qh4+) 8.Nf3 h5 9.f5 (9.g5) 9...exf5 10.gxf5 Bxf5 11.Bf4?! (11.Bd2 with compensation) 11...Bxe4! 12.Qxe4?! (12.dxe4 Nf6) 12...Nf6 13.Qe2 Nd5 14.Be5 0-0, Black slightly better, Pridorozhni-Dreev, Khanty-Mansiysk blitz 2013.
A2) 7.Bg2 Be7 8.Bd2 h5 9.h3 Nd7 10.0-0-0 Qc7 11.f4 (11.g5!) 11...hxg4 12.hxg4 Rxh1 13.Bxh1 0-0-0 14.Nh3?! Nc5 15.Nxc5 Bxc5 16.Ng5 Nf6 equal play, Voitsekhovsky-Faizrakhmanov, Kazan 2013.
B) 4...g6!? 5.d4 Bg7 (5...Qxd4? 6.Nf3 Qd8 7.Bd2 Bg7 8.0-0-0 with compensation) 6.Bf4 Be6 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.Nfg5 Bd5 9.Nd6+ (9.Nxf6+!? Bxf6 10.0-0-0 Bxa2 11.Ne4 Be6 12.Nc5 Bc8 and White has some compensation for the pawn) 9...Kf8 10.Nc4 (10.Nxb7 Qb6 11.Nc5 Qxb2 12.Rd1 Qc3+ 13.Qd2 and Black has no problems) 10...Nbd7 11.Nf3 c5 12.dxc5 Rc8 13.0-0-0?! (13.c3 Rxc5 14.Ne3 Bc6, unclear position) 13...Rxc5 14.Nfe5 b5?! (14...Nxe5!) 15.Ne3 Nb6 16.Nd3 Rc8 17.Nb4 a5 18.Nbxd5 Nfxd5 19.Nxd5 Nxd5 20.Qxb5, White better, Fedorov-Lomako, Minsk 2013.
C) 4...Nf6 5.d3 (5.Nxf6+) 5...Nxe4 6.dxe4 g6 7.h4!? (7.Bd2 Bg7 8.0-0-0 Qb6) 7...h5 (7...Bg7 intending 8.h5 Qa5+!) 8.Nh3 Bg4 (8...Bg7) 9.f3 Bxh3 10.Rxh3 Bg7 11.f4 Nd7 12.e5 e6 13.Bd2 Qc7 14.0-0-0, with a slight edge, Armanda-Draganic, Zagreb 2013.
White should obtain an edge after 3...Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 for example: 5...e6 6.Nf3 b6?! 7.g3 Bb4 8.Bh3 Ba6 9.d3 c5 10.0-0 (White better) 10...Bxc3 11.bxc3 Qe7? (11...g6) 12.f5 0-0 13.Bg5, winning, Petenyi-Stajner, Meissen 2013.
Not so bad is going for 'the French' with 3...e6 The pawn on c6 looks out of place, but so does White's queen: 4.f4!? (4.d4; 4.g3) 4...dxe4 5.Nxe4 Nd7 6.Nf3 Ngf6 7.d3 Nxe4 8.dxe4 Bc5 9.Bd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 e5 11.f5 b5 12.g4 a5 13.g5 Ba6 14.Qg2 a4 (both sides are attacking, but White's attack is stronger) 15.f6 b4 16.fxg7 Re8 17.Nh4 b3 18.cxb3 axb3 19.axb3 Qb6 20.Qf3 Reb8 21.Nf5 Qxb3 22.Bc3 Bd4
23.Nh6+? (a blunder in a winning position, but this was a blitz game! 23.Rxd4! exd4 24.Bxd4 intending 24...Qxf3? 25.Nh6 mate) 23...Kxg7 24.Rxd4 exd4 25.Bxd4+ Kf8 26.Qf5?? Bxf1 27.Bc5+ Ke8 0–1, Kabanov-Popov, Khanty-Mansiysk blitz 2013.
After 3...g6 White can win a pawn, although Black obtains compensation: 4.exd5 (4.d4) 4...cxd5 (4...Nf6!?) 5.Qb5+ Nc6 6.Qxd5 Bd7 7.Bc4 e6 8.Qf3 Ne5 9.Qe2 Nxc4 10.Qxc4 Bc6 11.Nf3 Bg7 12.Qe2 Ne7 13.0-0 Qc7 14.Ne4 0-0 15.d4 h6 16.c3 b6 17.Re1, with a slight edge, Pridorozhni-Kamsky, Khanty-Mansiysk blitz 2013.
Gaining space and going for a King's Indian with reversed colours.
4...Nf6 5.g3 Na6 6.d3 Bg4 7.f3 Bd7 8.Bg2 Qb6 9.f4 0-0-0 10.Nf3 Bg4 11.0-0 e6 12.h3 (12.Nf2) 12...Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nd7 14.a3 favoured White in Petenyi-Goluch, Legnica 2013.
Very ambitious, but it also makes sense (perhaps more so) to continue 'normally' with 5...Bd6 6.d3 c5 7.Bg2 Nc6
8.Nh3!? (this is Voitsekhovsky's preferred move. The white knight does not get in the way of the f-pawn. 8.Nf3 Nge7 9.0-0 f6 10.Nh4 Be6 11.f4 Qd7 12.Nf2 0-0-0 13.Nf3 Kb8 was a little better for Black in Satyapragyan-Mohammad, Lille 2013):
- 8...f6 (Voitsekhovsky was confronted with this set-up a few rounds earlier. Apparently he was displeased by the result of the opening) 9.f4 Be6 10.0-0 Qd7 11.fxe5 (11.Ndf2) 11...Nxe5 12.Nf4 Bg4 13.Qe1 Ne7 14.h3 Be6 15.Qe2 0-0-0 16.Nf2 Bf7 17.h4 Kb8 18.Bh3 Qc6 19.Ne6 Bxe6 20.Bxe6 Bc7 21.Bb3 f5 22.Bf4 Rhe8 23.Rae1 N5g6 24.Bxc7+ Qxc7 25.Nh1 f4 26.h5 f3! 27.Qxf3 Ne5 28.Qf4 N7c6 29.Ba4 Re6 30.Bxc6 Rxc6 and even though White is a sound pawn up, Black is better here. Voitsekhovsky-Tomashevsky, Yekaterinburg 2013.
- 8...Nge7 9.0-0 Bd7 10.f4 Qc7 11.Qh5!? (preventing Black from castling queenside now. And if he insists then he has to weaken his position) 11...g6 (11...0-0 12.f5 f6) 12.Qh6 0-0-0 13.Ng5 Rdf8 14.f5 f6?! (14...gxf5 15.exf5 Nxf5 16.Qh5 Kb8) 15.Ne6 Bxe6 16.fxe6 Nd8 17.Bh3 unclear, Voitsekhovsky-Zenzera, Kazan 2013.
Less good is 5...g6 6.d3 Bg7 7.f4 Nd7 8.Nf3 Ne7 9.Bg2 0-0 10.0-0 c5 11.Nf2 (White slightly better) 11...Nc6 12.f5!? Re8 13.h4 (13.Ng4) 13...h5 14.Bh3 Nf8 15.g4!? hxg4 16.Nxg4 gxf5 17.exf5
White is clearly better here: 17...f6 (17...Bxf5 18.Nh6+ Bxh6 19.Qg2+ Bg7 20.Bxf5 Ne7 21.Be4, White better) 18.Nd2 (18.Qg2; 18.h5) 18...Ne7 19.Ne4 Nh7 20.Nh6+ Bxh6 21.Bxh6 Kh8 22.Qh5 winning, Pancevski-Velikic, Skopje 2013.
It's best to get this in quickly.
7...gxf4 8.gxf4 exf4 9.Bxf4 Bh6 10.Bg3
It also makes sense to investigate 10.Bxh6 Nxh6 11.Nf3 (11.Qh5!?)for example: 11...c5 12.Nf2 Nc6, or 11...Bg4 12.Qf2 (12.Nf2 Bh5!) 12...Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nd7, or 11...Rg8 12.Nf2 Ng4 13.Nxg4 Bxg4 14.0-0-0 Nd7.
10...Qa5+ 11.c3 dxc3 12.bxc3 Nd7 is highly unclear but doesn't look bad for Black.
This is a positional blunder. White now obtains a very favourable structure.
11...Rg8 12.Bxe6 fxe6, unclear.
Or 12...fxe6 13.e5 Ng8, White better.
13.Nf3 c5 14.Nh4
And this is very unpleasant for Black. The knight is extremely well-placed on f5.
White could have postponed castling with 15.Nf5 Bf8 16.Nf2 0-0-0 17.Nh3.
15...Rg8 16.Nf5 Bf8 17.Kh1
17.Nf2 0-0-0 18.Nh3.
17...0-0-0 18.Nf2 Ne7 19.Nh3 Nxf5
White keeps his positional edge with simple means.
20...Bd6 21.Ng5 Qe7
The tactics work for White after 22.Bh4 Nd7 23.Nxf7 Qxh4 24.Nxd6+ Kc7 25.e5.
Keeping it simple, but there are many moves that preserve White's edge here.
The pressure has netted White a pawn.
24...Rdf8 25.Rf1 Qe6 26.a3 a6 27.c3
Opening the position on the queenside, where Black's king is hidden.
27...Kb8 28.cxd4 cxd4 29.Nd6! Qb3?
29...Bxd6 30.exd6 Rxf5 31.Qxf5 Qxf5 32.Rxf5 and the ending is hopeless.
30.e6 Rxf5 31.Qxf5 Nb6
And Black resigned, as 32.e7 (or 32.Qf7 first) wins.