We will start a new chapter today which involves Black's attempt to harass White's bishop on b5. Pay attention.
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4
In this chapter we will look at Black's fourth move alternatives to 4...Nf6, including the Delayed Schliemann (4...f5), the Norwegian Variation (4...b5 5 Bb3 Na5) and, most importantly, the Steinitz Defence Deferred (4...d6).
The last of these options is basically an improved version of the Steinitz Defence. One of the reasons for this is that Black is ready at any moment to escape the pin on the a4-e8 diagonal with a timely ...b5. This can be seen to the full effect if White tries to follow the same recipe as against the Steinitz Defence. After 5 d4 b5! 6 Bb3 Nxd4 7 Nxd4 exd4 the natural 8 Qxd4? is a mistake which falls into what's known as the 'Noah's Ark Trap' . After 8...c5! White cannot avoid a loss of material, e.g. 9 Qd5 Be6 10 Qc6+ Bd7 11 Qd5 c4! and the Lopez bishop is cruelly trapped!
White has a few different choices against the Steinitz Deferred, including 5 0-0, 5 c4 and 5 Bxc6+, but I'm recommending the most popular move, 5 c3, which immediately goes about setting up a pawn-centre with d4. Black can then choose to play adventurously with the risky 5...f5, which leads to sharp play reminiscent of the Schliemann Defence. It's more usual, however, for Black to support the e5-pawn, either with ...Nge7-g6, or ...g6 and ...Bg7. Play in these lines is much slower and of a positional nature. Black's position is usually very solid, if slightly cramped.
White Plays d4-d5
In many variations of the Steinitz Deferred, White has the option of maintaining the tension in the centre or pushing with d4-d5 , reaching this type of closed position.
The strategy then become very similar to lines of the King's Indian Defence. White may seek to attack on the queenside by trying to enforce the c4-c5 advance, while Black will play in a similar way on the other side with ...f5. One major difference from the King's Indian is that the light-squared bishops are normally exchanged quite early after d4-d5 . This difference usually favours White, as the pawn-structure dictates that White has swapped off his traditionally 'bad' bishop, while Black no longer has his 'good' bishop.
Now let's start with Variation A: 4...f5 (Delayed Schliemann)
So White can certainly pull out some advantage with his two bishops, whereas Black's bishop is still to be developed from it's original square! Positionally White is far better than Black.
We will study the Norwegian Variation in our next post.
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