12 September 2010

Top GMs and Traditional Development Patterns

After writing the post on Traditional Development Patterns, I searched for other examples on the same theme: start positions with 'RNBQK***' or '***QKBNR'. My collection of games from the Chess Classic Mainz series (CCM) yielded only a few examples, most of them from machine vs. machine games, but searching on the twins ('RNBKQ***' or '***KQBNR') yielded many examples.

The first batch of examples consisted of ten games played in CCM9 during the first round of the 8th FiNet Open. Because the event used the Swiss system for pairings, the highest rated players, all GMs, were paired against the top players from the bottom half of the rankings. This was similar to the situation I discussed in GMs vs. 2100-2200 (I) and GMs vs. 2100-2200 (II).

The second batch of games came from the eighth round of the same event, where the GMs played against each other. This reminded me of the post How Top Players Treat the Same Chess960 Position. The games played in the second batch used the start position shown in the following diagram. I featured one of these games in the post Grischuk - Mamedyarov, Mainz 2009.


The initial moves show considerable variety, but are drawn from the most popular moves used in the traditional start position.

( 1.g3 g6 2.e4
    ( 2.c4 e5 3.Nc3 Ne6 4.d3 c6 5.Bh6 g5 {Grischuk - Mamedyarov} )
    ( 2.d3 e5 3.c4 Ne6 4.Nc3 c6 5.b3 Qe7 {Navara - Moiseenko} )
    ( 2...d6 3.Ne3 Nc6 4.f4 Bd4 5.c3 Bb6 {Bologan - Buhmann} )
3.d3 d6 4.Nc3 Ne6 5.Bd2 Nd4 {Kamsky - Grigoriants} )

( 1.Nc3 g6
    ( 1...g5 2.g3 d6 3.b3 Nc6 4.Bb2 f5 {5.O-O-O Bd7; Azarov - Akopian} )
2.g4 e5 3.b3 Nc6 4.Bb2 d6 {5.O-O-O Be6; Movsesian - Sargissian} )

( 1.e4 g6 2.Ne3 b6 3.Nc3 Bb7 4.g3 Nc6 5.b3 e6 {Landa - Malakhov} )

( 1.f4 g6 2.g4 c5 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d3 b6 5.Bd2 Bb7 {Naiditsch - Stevic} )

( 1.d4 g6 2.Be3 e5 3.dxe5 Qxe5 4.Nc3 Ne6 {5.O-O-O O-O; Nielsen - Zvjaginsev} )

( 1.c4 e5 2.g3 d6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Nd7 5.Bg5+ f6 {Gashimov - Sebag} )

Other than releasing the Bishop on h1, I don't see any reason why 1.g3 should have been such an overwhelming favorite. It was chosen by four of the world's best players.

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