Published on Sep 28, 2012
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Info from Wiki:
Tarrasch Variation: 3 Nd2
a b c d e f g h
a b c d e f g h
After 3.Nd2 Nf6
The Tarrasch Variation is named after Siegbert Tarrasch. This move became particularly popular during the 1970s and early 1980s when Anatoly Karpov used it to great effect. Though more passive than the alternate 3 Nc3, it is still played today by players seeking a small, safe advantage.
Like 3 Nc3, 3 Nd2 protects e4, but is different in several respects: it does not block the path of White's c-pawn, which means he can play c3 at some stage to support the d4-pawn. Hence, it avoids the Winawer Variation because 3...Bb4 lacks the pinning effect, answered readily by 4 c3. On the other hand, 3 Nd2 hems in White's dark-square bishop and it commits White's queen knight to developing to an arguably less active square.
3...c5 4 exd5 and now Black has two ways to recapture:
4...exd5 this was a staple of many old Karpov--Korchnoi battles, including seven games in their 1974 match, usually leads to Black having an isolated queen's pawn (see isolated pawn). The main line continues 5 Ngf3 Nc6 6 Bb5 Bd6 7 O-O Nge7 8 dxc5 Bxc5 9 Nb3 Bb6 with a position where, if White can neutralise the activity of Black's pieces in the middlegame, he will have a slight advantage in the ending. Another possibility for White is 5 Bb5+ Bd7 (5...Nc6 is also possible) 6 Qe2+ Be7 7 dxc5 to trade off the bishops and make it more difficult for Black to regain the pawn.
4...Qxd5 is an important alternative for Black; the idea is to trade his c- and d-pawns for White's d- and e-pawns, leaving Black with an extra centre pawn. This constitutes a slight structural advantage, but in return White gains time for development by harassing Black's queen. This interplay of static and dynamic advantages is the reason why this line has become popular in the last decade. Play usually continues 5 Ngf3 cxd4 6 Bc4 Qd6 7 O-O Nf6 (preventing 8 Ne4) 8 Nb3 Nc6 9 Nbxd4 Nxd4, and here White may stay in the middlegame with 10 Nxd4 or offer the trade of queens with 10 Qxd4, with the former far more commonly played today.
While the objective of 3...c5 was to break open the centre, 3...Nf6 aims to close it. After 4 e5 Nfd7 5 Bd3 c5 6 c3 Nc6 (6...b6 intends ...Ba6 next to get rid of Black's "bad" light-squared bishop, a recurring idea in the French) 7 Ne2 (leaving f3 open for the queen's knight) 7...cxd4 8 cxd4 f6 9 exf6 Nxf6 10 Nf3 Bd6 Black has freed his pieces at the cost of having a backward pawn on e6. White may also choose to preserve his pawn on e5 by playing 4 e5 Nfd7 5 c3 c5 6 f4 Nc6 7 Ndf3, but his development is slowed as a result, and Black will gain dynamic chances if he can open the position to advantage.
3...Nc6 is known as the Guimard Variation: after 4 Ngf3 Nf6 5 e5 Nd7 Black will exchange White's cramping e-pawn next move by ...f6. However, Black does not exert any pressure on d4 because he cannot play ...c5, so White should maintain a slight advantage, with 6 Be2 or 6 Nb3.
3...Be7, a fashionable line among top GMs in recent years,this odd-looking move aims to prove that every White move now has its drawbacks, e.g. after 4 Ngf3 Nf6 5 e5 Nfd7 White cannot play f4, whereas 4 Bd3 c5 5 dxc5 Nf6 and 4 e5 c5 5 Qg4 Kf8!? lead to obscure complications. Amazingly, 3...h6?!, with a similar rationale, has also gained some adventurous followers in recent years, including GM Alexander Morozevich.
Another rare line is 3...a6, which gained some popularity in the 1970s amongst Black players, the idea being to deny White's light-square bishop use of b5 before playing ...c5. ►Subscribe for my regular chess videos: http://goo.gl/zpktUK
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