[September 16, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense with 8. h3

[Line 397 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3]

As a response to the Anti-Marshall starting with 8. h3, Black can transpose to Line 404 with 8… d6 9. c3, but Marshall Attack aficionados prefer 8… Bb7, where after 9. d3 there are several possibilities Black can choose from. Move 9… d6 is covered in our Lines 398-399, while 9… Re8 is also a popular alternative.

The main point of interest of this opening line is the gambit variation with 9… d5. After the only principal reply 10. exd5 Nxd5 Black does not experience problems against the mild 11. a4 or 11. Nbd2. For that reason, more ambitious players opt for 11. Nxe5. Here 11… Nxe5 12. Rxe5 Qd6 deserves serious attention, but 11… Nd4 is much more common. Against the latter players of White have tried the following three options: 12. Nd2, 12. Bd2 and 12. Nc3, and in each case Black can get a sufficient compensation for the pawn.

[Diagram: Black to Move] V. Ivanchuk – W. So, Wijk ann Zee 2015. Wesley So’s exceptional opening preparation led to a longterm initiative. Can you find the powerful idea for Black hidden in the diagrammed position?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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