Developing an Opening Repertoire




Handout Name Instructor Notes
Class #1



With SM Josh Friedel


Reading in IM Kaufman’s book “The Chess Advantage in Black  and White”

  • Introduction, pages v – x

  • White Introduction, pages 1 – 3

  • Chapter 5, Sicilian Moscow, pages 75 – 105

  • Review complete games given in “Sicilian Moscow.pgn” 

Choose any two games from the file “Moscow 2700 white.pgn” and annotate them.  Show where they deviate from IM Kaufman’s recommendations.  These are games where players over 2700 play 3.Bb5+ against the Sicilian.  At times, you should comment on who is better and why.

Please read the "Preparation for Class One.doc" for complete instructions. 

Josh Friedel's PGN of his games that he reviewed during class

Class #2





Preparation for class two.doc

Mark LaRocca's Sicilian games

New - Plamen Krastev's and Ken Ballou's Sicilian games

Class #3



Students should review the Meran Defense beginning with Chapter 23, Semi Slave, pages 377 - 394.  The "Meran Defense.pgn" are the full games and should be reviewed, especially if students don't have the book.

The "Semi-Slav 2700+ Players.pgn" consists of 2700+ players as Black or White, playing the critical position that Kaufman recommends, 1. d4, d5 2, c4, e6 3, Nc3, c6... This position will usually head to standard Meran or anti-meran positions. But, often good players with White will opt for the Marshal gambit... 4. e4, dxe 5. Nxe4, Bb5+ 6.Bd2, Qxd5 and things get wilder from there. Students should check out these games and review chapter 28, The Marshal Gambit, pages 437 - 444. It is interesting to see what top GMs (2700+) play against Kaufman's recommended setup.

I am including a recent game of GM Nakamura's that I thought the class would be interested in... see "Bauer-Nakamura.pgn" and the class preparation for more on this game. GM Hikaru Nakamura was leading the recent 2005 Biel Grandmaster tournament at 4.5 (2 wins, 5 draws) after 7 rounds. He needed a win to just about clinch first place in round 8 against Bauer, who he had beaten with white in round 3. He played the Semi-Slav arriving at a position from Kaufman's first sample game... then disaster struck.

Here are two more files on the Marshall Gambit lines.



Our third class is this Thursday at 7pm. We will have a 5 minute tournament starting, hopefully, at 7pm sharp. Opening lines will be set from the 3.Bb5+ classes.  They are:

  • 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+
  • 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5
  • 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.b3

All games must start with one of the above. Choice is up to the players.  Let's have some fun and see if we can learn and become more comfortable with these lines.

Try to write down the opening moves (or remember them). Once out of the opening, don't worry. We'll discuss questions and review interesting positions later.

The rest of the class will be devoted to the Meran... get ready for a Meran blitz tournament in a future class.

... Mark



I uploaded two files. The "meran defense.pgn" is updated, adding Kaufman's comments and changing an incorrect game. I also attached Nakamura-Beliavsky that we went over in class.

Class #4



For this class we will go over the Marshal Gambit and the Anti_Meran. If anyone has any games with the Meran, please send them to me.
Class #5



Please take a look at the game 2 diagram in the preparation doc.  It's a must know if you are playing this variation.

In class 5 we'll look at a specific anti-Meran variation beginning with 1.d4 d5  2.c4 e6  3.Nc3 c6  4.Nf3 Nf6  5.Bg5...  In reply to White's fifth move Black responds 5... h6,  known as the Moscow variation if White then takes the Knight.  If White retreats with 6.Bh4..., he is playing an Anti-Moscow variation.  In essence an
Anti-Meran -- Anti-Moscow ... seems a bit contrary doesn't it.

Also, don't forget, we will start with a five minute session playing the Anti-Meran 6.Qc2...  The starting moves will be...

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6

White may now choose from the following options:

  • The more conventional...  7.Be2...  or  7.Bd3

  • The unorthodox  7.Bd2...  followed by queen side castling.

  • The wild options of 7.e4...  or wilder 7.g4...

Pick your favorite and come prepared.

Class #6



With IM James Rizzitano

Don't miss IM James Rizzitano's Lecture on "The Queen's Pawn Game", based on his new book,   "How to Beat 1.d4" .

Here is a quote from John Donaldson's review of  Rizzitano's new book "How to Beat 1.d4":

"HOW TO BEAT 1.d4 deserves to find a wide audience from club players looking for a straight forward lifetime answer to 1.d4 to titled players looking to pick up a new defense.  Highly Recommended."