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07/03/2012 - C.Sreeves vs A.Burnett
Beginning game...

Clement Sreeves:

Arsenal 3-0 AC Milan
Benfica 2-0 Zenit St P'sbg

Guess this means I go first.


[Image: 5ebhkx0rbanx.png]

Spoiler here>> I've played Andy 4 times over the board, and the score is 2-2 so far. I had an interesting decision on move 1 already! Normally I am a 1.e4 player, but in that case he would likely play the Sicilian Dragon. And I figured 25 moves of theory wouldn't make a very interesting game... I have experimented a bit in the past with 1.c4 and 1.Nf3, so it's not a total bluff! <<Spoiler here
[pgn]1. c4 e5[/pgn]

Spoiler here>> Well, that was an unexpected first move from Clement - I really expected him to take me on in a main-line Sicilian Dragon.

1.c4 caused me lots of problems many years ago, but possibly because it was mainly played by the likes of Colin McNab and Jonathan Grant against me! I have since found a couple of systems/variations which I am perfectly happy to play, and have had excellent results with over the last few years.

So, 1...e5 is the move I like best, and let's see what approach Clement takes. I'm hoping for him to play a Botvinnik set-up (pawns on c4/d3/e4) but he has many other, more flexible options
<<Spoiler here
1.c4 e5

[Image: 4lliiuiswg87.png]

Spoiler here>> No transposing back into my old 1.Nf3 lines apparently. Anyway the only way of playing that I have some clue about is based on Mihail Marin's excellent 3 volume work on the English, (of which I have only read about 3 chapters!) which involves going 2.g3 against everything. <<Spoiler here
[pgn]1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6[/pgn]

Spoiler here>> Ok, I recall Eddie Dearing annotating a game once where he said this 2nd move is a mistake, but I can't for the life of me think why it would be?! Hmmm...very strange. Maybe there are more flexible set-ups for black here involving ...c6, but as I tend not to play ...c6 lines anyway it doesn't matter.

My plan is to play ...d6, ...g6 and ...Bg7 against most anything. White has to choose his central pawn structure at some point (e3/d3, e4/d3, d3 alone/etc) and this might affect my move order, but not much else.

I usually delay my king's knight's development until I see more of white's development plans (I can go ...Nf6 ...or Ne7 or '...Nf6 after ...f5' or even ...Nh6 in some lines. I have a lot of moves I can play before committing it.
<<Spoiler here
1.c4 e5
2.g3 Nc6

[Image: lmu7qdwr9od.png]

Spoiler here>> Here there is a small move order trick. Luckily it is one of the first things Marin mentions in volume 1!
The point is that if 3.Bg2 then 3...f5 would give Black a nice position. It would basically be a Grand Prix attack a tempo down, but that doesn't mean he has any problems.
The idea of 3.Nc3 is to meet 3...f5 with 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4! fighting for central control

I'm going to refrain from making general comments at the moment about my plan or strategy over the next few moves, until I get a clearer idea of where the game is headed- there are still a number of ways to play for Black from here, depending mainly on where he develops his dark-squared bishop (g7,c5 and b4 are all possible) and whether he plays f5 or not.
<<Spoiler here
[pgn]1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6[/pgn]

Spoiler here>> Not a great deal to report here, just following the development plan outlined last move. Still waiting to see which pawn structure white wants to adopt. <<Spoiler here
1.c4 e5
2.g3 Nc6
3.Nc3 g6

[Image: 2oppok8p0yecg.png]

Spoiler here>> OK, now my plan is to set-up my pieces according to the Botvinnik system: Bg2,d3,e4,Nge2,0-0 will probably be my next 5 moves, and we'll see what happens when we get there.

A brief comment about my experience in these systems- I made my debut with 1.c4 against Abhijeet Gupta (rated around 2650 now) at the London Classic in 2010, but gave it up a few months later. However I have played it a couple of times since then, specifically against Dutch Defence players Smile For that reason if he goes f5 soon, then we will be in one of the chapters of Marin's book that I have read. Otherwise I will be pretty much on my own.
<<Spoiler here
[pgn]1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7[/pgn]

Spoiler here>> Again, simply following the development plan.

There are a few move order issues if I want to reach certain exact positions - if white wants to play the Botvinnik set-up (c4/d3/e4 pawn structure) he should probably play 5.e4 immediately. If he prefaces it with 5.d3 instead, then 5...d6 6. e4 h5!? is an interesting idea which I have used successfully many, many times (including a recent club championship game so the ideas are still fresh in my mind, useful as we are playing without aids)

White should respond 7. h4 (best) and I then play 7....Nd4. Now white can't really play the obvious 8.Nge2 because after 8...Bg4 he is in an awkward position as the f3 square is very weak. He can try 9. Qa4+ but after 9...Bd7 he has nothing better than to retreat to d1, whereupon ....Bg4 would invite a draw (a theoretical victory for black) or I can try to prove the tempo gained by ...Bd7 is useful (it is!). Joe Redpath played exactly this as white aganist me years ago and he had a very difficult position before turning it around to win.

Anyway, I don't know if Clement knows any of this (or agrees with my assessments if he does!) but I would be VERY happy to see this line appear on the board.

He has many other options though, so I'll have to wait and hope Smile I any event, I expect him to be troubled by the fact this 'spoiler' is so long-winded!
<<Spoiler here
1.c4 e5
2.g3 Nc6
3.Nc3 g6
4.Bg2 Bg7

[Image: 2tz7a3ekhjggo.png]

Spoiler here>> not much to add here, so it seems like an appropriate moment to use my 'fake spoiler' bluff and make him think I am theorising very deeply about the position

<<Spoiler here
[pgn]1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6[/pgn]

Spoiler here>> Drats! Clement has matched if not exceeded my spoiler chat! Anyway, 6. d3 as I descrobed above is possibly not best if he wants to follow-up with 7.e4, but that's one move away. My reply is simple, 6...d6 <<Spoiler here

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