5. Play Pattern Openings!

A simple classification would divide openings into two groups: pattern openings and knowledge openings (or memory openings). A knowledge opening implies strong contact between the two armies, which leads to many sharp and forced variations. There, the value of every move (tempo) is extremely high. One example is the Najdorf Sicilian with 6.Bg5, e.g. the Poisened Pawn-Variation or the Polugaevsky-Variation. If you embark in such an opening, you have to know a lot of lines by heart.

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It goes without saying, that the average hobby player, doesn’t have the time for such an intensive study. He should construct his opening repertoire in a way, that is contains lots of low maintenance pattern openings. These variations would accomodate only a small number of forced lines and rely more on long-term planing and the understanding of the specific strategical principals.

[Event "Wch U20"] [Site "Zagan"] [Date "1997.07.27"] [Round "13"] [White "Henni, Mohamed"] [Black "Malakhatko, Vadim"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B05"] [WhiteElo "2375"] [BlackElo "2445"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "1997.07.14"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "POL"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1997.09.26"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4
d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 c6 {Diagram [#] The Flohr-Variation of the Alekhine
Defense is a very good example for a pattern opening, as I will explain below.
Please note however, that even though it is a good example for explaining the concept of a pattern opening, I don't recommend playing this specific form. It functions well, if White complies, but not if White exerts a lot of pressure right from the beginning, as you will see in the next game. But don't worry. I will present you with enough examples of sound pattern openings later in this blog. Actually, game 1 and game 3 already represent such an example. } 6. h3 $2 {As you can see by White's Elo,
his his not precisely what you would call a patzer and yet he doesn't
understand the spirit of the position (in fact, this mistake was even committed
by a player as strong as Topalov, in a game played in the same year). Also
after 6.0-0 Black would have captured the knight - completely uninvited. Since this
exchange belongs to Black's basic plan anyways, 6.h3 simply loses a tempo.}
Bxf3 7. Bxf3 dxe5 8. dxe5 e6 {Diagram [#] That's what Black wanted to achieve:
He stabilized the situation in the center, which is static now. His remaining
minor pieces harmonize with the pawn structure and have no difficulties in
finding good squares. The most prominent factor of the position, however, is
the pawn on e5. Due to the unfortunate position of the bishop on f3, White's
king pawn lacks support from the f-pawn and tends to be weak. Also note, how
the bishop on f3 completely bites on granite due to the "Flohr-pawn" on c6.
Now it is easy to perceive, why this variation is a good example for a pattern
opening. Play is rather static and slow. Tactical options hardly exist. Black
can peacefully unfold his plans by putting his pieces on their natural squares.
Note, that the exchange on f3 was necessary to force this structure. Without
that interlude, White recaptures on e5 with his knight, thus securing himself
a slightly favorable pawn structure.} 9. O-O Nd7 10. Qe2 Qc7 11. Re1 Bc5 12. c3
(12. Nd2) 12... a5 13. Nd2 (13. a4) 13... a4 {Diagram [#] Black is gaining
space on the queen side and is threatening 14..a3.} (13... O-O) 14. Ne4 $5 ({
White is willing to sacrifice a pawn in order to cope with Black's threat and
activate his bishop pair. If he stops the further advance of the pawn
mechanically with} 14. a3 {Black unfolds his standard play against the target
on e5:} Nf4 15. Qe4 Ng6 16. Nc4 O-O {Now 17..b5 is a threat.} 17. h4 (17. Be3
$2 Bxe3 18. Rxe3 Nc5 (18... b5 $2 19. Qxc6 Qxc6 20. Bxc6 bxc4 21. Bxd7 Rfb8 $11
) 19. Qc2 b5 20. Nd6 (20. Nd2 Nxe5 $17) 20... Nxe5 21. Rxe5 Qxd6 $17) 17... b5
18. h5 (18. Qxc6 $2 Qa7 19. Ne3 Ndxe5 $17) (18. Nd6 $4 Ndxe5 $19) 18... Ne7 19.
Nd2 (19. Nd6 $2 Nxe5 20. Qxe5 Bxd6) 19... Qa7 20. Re2 Bb6 21. Nf1 (21. h6 $2
Ng6) 21... Nc5 (21... Bc7 $6 22. h6 $13) 22. Qc2 h6 (22... Nb3 23. Rb1 h6 24.
Nd2 Nxc1 25. Rxc1 Rfd8 26. Be4 Rd7 27. Nf3 Rad8 $11) 23. Bf4 Rad8 24. Rd1 Rxd1
25. Qxd1 Qc7 26. Qc2 Rd8 27. Rd2 Rxd2 28. Nxd2 Nd7 29. Qe4 Qd8 30. Qe2 Bc7 31.
g3 Qb8 32. Qd3 $1 $11 Qc8 (32... Nxe5 $6 33. Bxe5 Bxe5 34. Qd7) 33. Qe2 Qb8 34.
Qd3 {etc}) 14... Be7 $2 {Black has no choice. He must take the pawn due to 15.
c4 below.} (14... Qxe5 15. c4 N5f6 16. Nxc5 Qxe2 17. Rxe2 Nxc5 18. Be3 Ncd7 19.
Bd4 Kd8 (19... O-O) 20. Rd1 Kc7 {White has enough compensation for the pawn
but not more. Note, that Black always has the option of giving back the pawn
by playing e6-e5, thus getting rid of White's stronger bishop.}) 15. Ng3 $2 ({
Much better is} 15. c4 {I guess, both players underestimated White's tactical
possibilities which would arise after Black takes on e5 in the following lines:
} Nb4 (15... N5b6 $2 16. Bf4 Nxe5 (16... O-O 17. Nd6 $16) 17. Ng3 f6 (17...
Nxf3+ $2 18. Qxf3 Qc8 (18... Bd6 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 20. Nf5 $18) 19. Qe3 Nd7 20. Nf5
$1 $18) 18. Bg4 O-O 19. Bxe6+ Kh8 20. Rad1 $16) 16. a3 Na6 17. Bf4 $14 {White
has a very comfortable edge now, but Black should be still able to draw in the
end, after correct play.} O-O (17... Nxe5 18. Bg4 Qa5 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20. Qh5+ g6
21. Qxe5 Qxe5 22. Bxe5 O-O 23. Bd4 b5 24. Rad1 Rad8) 18. Nd6 Nac5 19. Rad1 Rad8
20. Qe3 Qa5 21. Bg4 Nb6 22. Qg3 Nc8) 15... a3 {Inflicting two isolated pawns
on White.} 16. c4 axb2 17. Bxb2 Nf4 18. Qe4 $6 {Not the best square. Nc5 will
later gain a tempo for Black.} Ng6 {Diagram [#] Black has a very pleasant
position. He has play against White's weak pawns, and can make use of the
semi-open a-file as well as the square c5.} 19. Bg4 $2 {White should rather
change his bishop against the knight with 19.Bh5, thus relieving the pressure
from his pawn on e5. As the games plays out, he is not able to oppose Black's
ambition in the d-file, since his rook is tight to the defense of the king's
pawn.} O-O 20. Re2 $2 (20. Bh5) 20... Rfd8 21. Nh5 Nc5 22. Qc2 Nd3 23. Kh1 $2 (
23. Bc3 Ndxe5 24. Rae1 Nxg4 25. hxg4 Bf8 $16) 23... Bc5 $19 {Diagram [#] The
main threat is 24..Nb2 26.Qb2 Bd4. Unfortunately, White's queen's rook cannot
move due to 24..Ra2.} 24. Bc3 Ra3 $1 25. Rd1 (25. f4 Ngxf4) (25. Bb2 Nxb2 26.
Qxb2 Rad3 27. Rb1 Rd1+ 28. Re1 Rxb1 29. Rxb1 Qxe5 $19) 25... Rxc3 26. Qxc3
Nxf2+ 27. Rxf2 Rxd1+ 28. Bxd1 Bxf2 29. Qd2 Bc5 0-1

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