Owen's Defence

Owen's Defence
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8  black rook  black knight  black bishop  black queen  black king  black bishop  black knight  black rook 8
7  black pawn  black king  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn 7
6  black king  black pawn  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 6
5  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 5
4  black king  black king  black king  black king  white pawn  black king  black king  black king 4
3  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 3
2  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  black king  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn 2
1  white rook  white knight  white bishop  white queen  white king  white bishop  white knight  white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Moves 1.e4 b6
ECO B00
Origin 1619
Named after Rev. John Owen
Parent King's Pawn Opening
Synonym(s) Queen's Fianchetto Defence
Chessgames.com opening explorer

Owen's Defence (also known as the Queen's Fianchetto Defence[1] or Greek Defense[2]) is an uncommon chess opening defined by the moves:

1. e4 b6

By playing 1...b6, Black prepares to fianchetto the queen's bishop where it will participate in the battle for the centre. The downside of this plan is that White can occupy the centre with pawns and gain a spatial advantage. Moreover, 1...b6 does not prepare kingside castling as 1...g6 does, and it is harder for Black to augment his pressure against the centre with ...f5, which weakens the kingside, than it is to play the corresponding move ...c5 after 1...g6.[3] Owen's Defence accordingly has a dubious reputation.[4][5][6]

Instead of fianchettoing, Black can also play his bishop to the a6–f1 diagonal (the Guatemala Defence).

Owen's Defence is classified as code B00 by the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings.

Contents


History

The opening is named after the English vicar and strong 19th-century amateur chess player John Owen, an early exponent.[1] Howard Staunton wrote in 1847 that 1.e4 b6, "which the Italians call 'Il Fianchetto di Donna,' although disapproved of by the earlier writers, may be made by the second player without harm, if followed speedily by [...e6] and [...c5]."[7]

Using his opening, Owen defeated Paul Morphy in a game in London, 1858.[8]

Theory

The theory of Owen's Defence is less developed than that of other openings. This makes it attractive to some players, since their opponents will often be ill-prepared for it and hence forced to think for themselves.[3] GM Christian Bauer observes:[9]

To be honest, I don't think Black can equalise as quickly with 1...b6 as he sometimes does in standard openings, and he may suffer against a well-prepared opponent. Then again, the well-prepared opponent is rare for such marginal variations as 1...b6, and in any case, with reasonable play I'm sure White can't get more than a slight advantage from the opening – a risk everyone is running as Black, aren't they?

According to MCO-15, after 2.d4 Bb7 White gets the advantage with either:

  • 3. Bd3 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 Nf6 (5...cxd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Qe2 d5 9.e5 Ne4 10.0-0!? Bxc3 11.bxc3 Nxc3 12.Qe3 Nc6 13.Bb2 Ne4 14.Ba3 and White had a large advantage in Adams–van den Waerden, Moscow Olympiad 1994) 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. a3! d5 8. e5 Nfd7 9. b4 Be7 10. 0-0 0-0 11. Re1 "with a clear plus", or
  • 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 Bb4 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Qxf6 9. 0-0 d6 10. Nd2 e5 11. f4 Qe7 12. Qg4, as in David–Bauer, France 2005.[10]

Illustrative game

Speelman vs. Basman, 1984
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black king b8 black king c8 black king d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black king g8 black king h8 black king 8
7 a7 black rook b7 black king c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black bishop f7 black rook g7 black king h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black pawn b6 black pawn c6 black knight d6 black king e6 black king f6 black king g6 black pawn h6 white bishop 6
5 a5 black king b5 black king c5 black king d5 white queen e5 black king f5 black pawn g5 black king h5 white knight 5
4 a4 white pawn b4 black king c4 black king d4 black king e4 black king f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 black king e3 white rook f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 black king b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 black king e2 black king f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 black king b1 black king c1 black king d1 black king e1 white rook f1 black king g1 white king h1 black king 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Final position

Speelman–Basman, British Championship 1984:
1. e4 e6 2. Nc3 b6 3. d4 Bb7 Transposing to a position more commonly reached by 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6. 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. Nge2 c5 6. d5! a6 6...exd5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 Bxd5 9.Nf4 Bc6 (9...Be6? 10.Be4 wins; 9...Qe7+!?)[11] 10.Bc4! "gives White strong pressure".[12] 7. a4 exd5 8. exd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 Bxd5 10. Nf4 Be6 11. Be4 Ra7 12. 0-0 Be7 Watson and Schiller also give 12...g6 13.a5! as favoring White after 13...bxa5 14.Bd2 or 13...b5 14.Be3 d6 15.b4 Be7 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Qg4 Qc8 18.bxc5 dxc5 19.Bh6, intending Rad1, Rfe1, and h4–h5 "with great pressure for just a pawn".[13] 13. Ra3 0-0 14. Rg3 f5 15. Bd5 Rf6? Better is 15...Bxd5!? 16.Qxd5+ Rf7 17.Nh5 with a strong attack.[11] 16. Re1 Bxd5 17. Qxd5+ Rf7 18. Nh5 g6 19. Bh6 Nc6 20. Rge3 1–0[14] (see diagram) White threatens 21.Nf6+! Bxf6 (21...Kh8 22.Qxf7) 22.Re8+. On 20...gxh5, 21.Rg3+ wins; 20...Bf8 21.Re8 gxh5 23.Bxf8!; 20...Ra8 21.Rxe7! Nxe7 and now either 22.Rxe7 Qxe7 23.Qxa8+ or 22.Nf6+ Kh8 23.Qxf7 wins.[11]

Matovinsky Gambit

A pitfall for Black in this opening, the Matovinsky Gambit,[15] dates from a game by the 17th-century Italian chess player and writer Gioachino Greco.

Greco–NN, 1619: 1. e4 b6 2. d4 Bb7 3. Bd3 f5? Bauer calls this move "simply suicidal".[16] Black gravely weakens his kingside in an attempt to gain material, but White can win by falling into Black's "trap". Normal is 3...e6 or 3...Nf6.[17] Also possible is 3...g6 ("!" – Andrew Martin) heading for a Hippopotamus Defense, when Martin considers 4.f4 f5! (as in Serpik–Blatny, U.S. Open 2003)[18] strong for Black.[19] 4. exf5! Bxg2 5. Qh5+ g6 6. fxg6 (see diagram) Nf6?? 7. gxh7+ Nxh5 8. Bg6# 1–0[20]

Greco vs. NN, 1619
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black king d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black knight h8 black rook 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black king c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black king g7 black king h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black king b6 black pawn c6 black king d6 black king e6 black king f6 black king g6 white pawn h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 black king c5 black king d5 black king e5 black king f5 black king g5 black king h5 white queen 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 black king d4 white pawn e4 black king f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 white bishop e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 black king e2 black king f2 white pawn g2 black bishop h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 black king e1 white king f1 black king g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
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Position after 6.fxg6

A better try for Black is 6...Bg7! Staunton wrote in 1847 that White got the advantage with 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 9.Qg4 Bxh1 10.h4 e6 11.h5.[7] Over 120 years later, Black improved on this analysis with both 10...Qf8 ("!" – Soltis) 11.h5 Qf6 12.h6 Rxh6 13.Bxh6 Qxh6 Hendler–Radchenko, Kiev 1970 and 10...Bd5 ("!" – Kapitaniak) 11.h5 Be6 12.Qg2 Rxh5 Schmit–Vitolins, Latvia 1969, winning quickly in both games.[21][22] However, White is winning after 7.Qf5! (instead of 7.hxg8=Q+) Nf6 8.Bh6!! Bxh6 (on 8...Kf8, White wins with 9.Bxg7+ Kxg7 10.gxh7 Bxh1 12.Qg6+ Kf8 13.Qh6+ Kf7 transposing to line b below,[16] or 9.Qg5 Bxh1 10.gxh7[23]) 9.gxh7 and now (a) 9...Kf8 10.Qg6 Bc1 11.Qxg2 Bxb2 12.Ne2 "and Rg1 will prove lethal"[16] or (b) 9...Bxh1 10.Qg6+ Kf8 11.Qxh6+ Kf7 12.Nh3 with a winning attack.[10][16][23] Den Broeder–Wegener, correspondence 1982, concluded 12...Qf8 13.Bg6+ Ke6 14.Qf4 d5 15.Bf5+ Kf7 16.Ng5+ Ke8 17.Qxc7 1–0.[24]

According to both Soltis and Kapitaniak, 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.Nf3! (which Soltis attributes to F. A. Spinhoven of the Netherlands) is also strong: (a) 8...Bxf3? 9.Qxf3+ Nf6 10.Qxa8; (b) 8...Bxh1 9.Ne5 Bxe5 (9...Qe8 10.Ng6+) 10.dxe5 Bd5 11.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 12.Qg6+ Kf8 13.Bh6+; (c) 8...Nf6 9.Qg6 Bxh1 10.Bh6 Rxh7 (10...Bxh6 11.Qxh6+ Kf7 12.Ng5+) 11.Ng5 Bxh6 12.Nxh7+ Nxh7 13.Qxh6+; or (d) 8...Nf6 9.Qg6 Bxf3 10.Rg1 Rxh7 11.Qg3!! Be4 12.Bxe4 Nxe4 13.Qf3+ Kg8 14.Qxe4 Nc6 (14...d5 15.Qe6+ Kh8 16.Nc3) 15.Bf4 with an extra pawn for White.[25][26] Boris Avrukh also recommends this line, and notes that 13...Nf6 (instead of 13...Kg8) 14.Qxa8 Rxh2 15.Bf4 Rh4 16.Qg2 Rg4 17.Qh2 leaves White "an exchange up with an easily winning position".[27] Watson writes that although 7.Qf5! is the "traditional" refutation and does indeed win, "the analysis is complicated", and Spinhoven's 8.Nf3! "is clearer".[28]

Guatemala Defence

Guatemala Defence
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black king d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black knight h8 black rook 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black king c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black bishop b6 black pawn c6 black king d6 black king e6 black king f6 black king g6 black king h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 black king c5 black king d5 black king e5 black king f5 black king g5 black king h5 black king 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 black king d4 white pawn e4 white pawn f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 black king e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 black king e2 black king f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Black's bishop occupies the diagonal a6–f1. Although the Guatemala does not evince high opening ambition, neither does it lose material.

Instead of fianchettoing, Black can proceed differently by playing his queen's bishop to a6, the Guatemala Defense,[29] so named because the Guatemala Chess Club used the line in a 1949 correspondence game.[30] Andrew Soltis writes that it has "no other discernible benefit than to get out of 'book' as quickly as possible."[30] White gets the advantage with 2.d4 Ba6 3.Bxa6 Nxa6 4.Nf3 Qc8!? 5.0-0 Qb7 6.Re1 e6 7.c4.[31]

The Guatemalan bishop deployment can also occur on Black's third move, from various transpositions. For example after 1.e4 b6 2.d4 e6, 1.e4 e6 2.d4 b6, or 1.d4 b6 2.e4 e6, Black will followup in all cases with 3...Ba6.

Notes

  1. ^ a b David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed. 1992), p. 286. ISBN 0-19-866164-9.
  2. ^ ECO codes with names by Bill Wall.
  3. ^ a b Christian Bauer, Play 1...b6, Everyman Chess, 2005, p. 5. ISBN 1-85744-410-8.
  4. ^ Owen's Defence "enjoyed a brief revival at the hands of American IM Regan and Yugoslav GM Sahović. Unfortunately, the attention it received unearthed more accurate lines for White and it is currently considered insufficient." Gary Kasparov and Raymond Keene, Batsford Chess Openings 2, Collier Books, 1989, p. 228. ISBN 0-02-033991-7.
  5. ^ Owen's Defence is "viewed by theory as unreliable". Nick de Firmian, Modern Chess Openings, 15th edition, Random House Puzzles & Games, 2008, p. 385. ISBN 978-0-8129-3682-7.
  6. ^ "Owen's Defence ... is regarded by current theory as suspicious". Bauer 2005, p. 7. The move ...b6 has been played on the first or second move by Grandmasters Jonathan Speelman, Pavel Blatny, Tony Miles, Edvins Kengis, and Normunds Miezis, and International Masters Bricard and Filipovic. Id., p. 6.
  7. ^ a b Howard Staunton, The Chess-Player's Handbook, Henry G. Bohn, 1847, p. 379.
  8. ^ Paul Morphy vs John Owen, London m2 1858 ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2011-08-29.
  9. ^ Bauer 2005, p. 7.
  10. ^ a b de Firmian 2008, p. 385.
  11. ^ a b c Speelman's annotations in Chess Informant, Volume 38, Šahovski Informator, 1985, p. 74.
  12. ^ Watson & Schiller 1995, p. 111.
  13. ^ Watson & Schiller 1995, p. 114.
  14. ^ Speelman–Basman, British Championship 1984. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-07-15.
  15. ^ http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1243022
  16. ^ a b c d Bauer 2005, p. 25.
  17. ^ Bauer 2005, pp. 24–25.
  18. ^ Serpik–Blatny, U.S. Open 2003. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-07-08.
  19. ^ Andrew Martin, The Hippopotamus Rises: The Re-Emergence of a Chess Opening, Batsford, 2005, p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7134-8989-7.
  20. ^ Professor Hoffmann, The Chess Games of Greco, George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1900, p. 84.
  21. ^ Andrew Soltis, The Defense 1...P–QN3 (1977 Edition), Chess Digest, 1977, p. 21.
  22. ^ T. Kapitaniak, b6!, The Chess Player, 1982, p. 44.
  23. ^ a b John Nunn, Graham Burgess, John Emms, and Joe Gallagher, Nunn's Chess Openings, Everyman Chess, 1999, p. 123. ISBN 1-85744-221-0.
  24. ^ Den Broeder–Wegener, corr. 1982. ChessGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-07-02.
  25. ^ Soltis 1977, p. 22.
  26. ^ Kapitaniak 1982, p. 45.
  27. ^ Boris Avrukh, 1.d4 Volume Two, Quality Chess, 2010, p. 551. ISBN 978-1-906552-33-6.
  28. ^ John Watson, Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 4, Gambit Publications, 2010, p. 96. ISBN 978-1-906454-19-7.
  29. ^ John Watson and Eric Schiller, The Big Book of Busts, Hypermodern Press, 1995, p. 111. ISBN 1-886040-13-3.
  30. ^ a b Andrew Soltis, "GM Follies", Chess Life, August 1997, p. 12.
  31. ^ Watson and Schiller 1995, pp. 111–12.

See also

External links


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