Move 9. Nd2 has gained a lot of attention in the recent couple of years. The best way for Black to respond is either 9… O-O-O 10. b3 f6 or 9… g6 10. Nf3 Qb4. In both of these cases Black should obtain even chances without difficulties, while alternatives 9… Nb6 and 9… Nb4 lead to positions that are generally more promising for White.
The old move 9. b3 is not very popular nowadays since Black has a couple of ways to get pleasant positions. The most natural reply is 9… g6, where White usually continues with 10. f4, 10. g3 or 10. Ba3. Moves 9… g5 and 9… O-O-O are equally fine for Black, while 9… Qh4 and 9… f6, although playable, are easier to handle with white pieces.
[Diagram: White to Move] P. Hultquist – J. Staal, corr 1972. Black’s extra pawn is a poor consolation for a very bad piece development. How should White proceed to get a decisive advantage?
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