28 August 2016


After five prior losses to one player on Chess.com in five games, I won our game this morning. Of more interest than the game, however, is the choice that I faced in a familiar position.

After his eleventh move, we reached a position that I have had multiple times, including in the game featured in "Beating a National Master".

Black to move

Black can play:

a) 11...Bxd4
b) 11...Nxd4
c) 11...something else.

Which is best? I have tried all three.

Does it matter if White plays 11.h4 instead of 11.g4?


  1. I spent a little time looking at this line. My instinct was that Black's dark-squared bishop is actually not that useful, white White's knight is well centralized and supporting f4-f5. So ...Bxd4 would be my choice.

    Also, I like our knight on c6 where it can keep White pieces out of d4, or maybe join the quenside attack later.

    I checked the Negi chapter on this line; he recommends 11.Qf2 Bxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.Be3 with the plan h4-h5-h6 g4 and f5. I see from your notes on the Balakrishnan game that you're aware of this line. It may be a good one to review now that it's in a popular repertoire book.

    1. Thanks Todd.

      I have played Bxd4 more often than Nxd4. It seems that Black's queenside pawn storm comes a single tempo faster after Bxd4. Sometimes with both players throwing their pawns at the enemy king, a single tempo makes the difference.

      I don't have Negi's book. Would you recommend it?

  2. The Negi books (a many-volume 1.e4 repertoire still being written) are just incredible. He's the best opening author I've ever read. They are lo-o-o-ng and tough, though.