Two games versus the Chigorin

On my way to winning the Largs congress this past weekend, I twice faced the Chigorin Defence against the Queen’s Gambit. I haven’t faced this too often, but I could remember the basics of Avrukh’s repertoire in Grandmaster Repertoire 1.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 dxc4

In the first round my opponent played rather passively with: 3…Nf6 4.Nf3 e6?! (4…dxc4 transposes to Greet – Wynarczyk) 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 White has a comfortable version of a QGD, as the knight on c6 is misplaced. 6…h6 7.Bf4!? (7.Bh4) 7…Bd6 8.c5N This logical move is a novelty, although it soon transposes to another game. (8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.c5 Qe7 10.Bb5 Bd7 didn’t seem too bad for Black.) 8…Bxf4 9.exf4 The doubled pawns are not weak, and the f4-pawn helps to clamp down on the centre. 9…Ne4 10.Qc2 f5? A positional blunder. (10…Nxc3 11.Qxc3 leaves White with a pleasant space advantage and the better bishop, but Black is solid.) 11.Bb5 Bd7 12.Bxc6 Bxc6 13.Ne5

White is already strategically winning. 13…0–0 14.f3 Nxc3 (14…Qh4+? 15.g3 Nxg3 16.Qf2+–; 14…Nf6 15.b4 White dominates the entire board.) 15.Qxc3 Be8 16.0–0 g5 17.Qd2 Kh7 18.Kf2 Rg8 19.g3 gxf4 20.Qxf4 Qg5 21.Qxg5 hxg5 22.h4 g4 23.fxg4 fxg4 24.Ke3 Bg6 25.Nxg4 Kg7 26.Ne5 Raf8 27.g4 b6 28.c6 a5 29.Nd7 Rxf1 30.Rxf1 Be8 31.Ne5 b5 32.h5 Kh7 33.Rf6 1–0 Greet – Parks, Largs 2014.

4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5

Avrukh’s recommendation. White makes a useful developing move before taking action in the centre.

After the game my opponent said he knew what to do against 5.d5 and 5.e4, but that he had not encountered the bishop move.


Black immediately goes wrong, but it is easily done, as this is a standard move in the Chigorin.

5…h6 6.Bh4 (Schandorff recommends 6.Bxf6) 6…a6 is the main line, with the point that after 7.e4 Bg4 8.d5 the black knight can go to e5. I couldn’t remember much more of Avrukh’s coverage, other than the fact that White continues with Be2 and takes back on f3 with the g-pawn. I reckon this is about as much theory as you need to know, unless you are facing a real specialist.

6.d5 Bxf3 7.exf3 Ne5 8.f4

Avrukh’s 8.Qd4! is more precise, but the game continuation is also strong.


8…Ned7 9.Bxc4 g6 may be better, but it’s still a tough position for Black.

9.Bxd3 cxd3 10.Qxd3 c6

The best try. White was threatening Qb5+, and if Black defends against it some other way, White plays 0–0–0 and Rhe1, when Black is unlikely to make it through the opening.

11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Rd1

12.0–0–0! was stronger. When you have more than one route to an excellent position, it may be difficult to choose between them. I didn’t want to give Black a tempo for castling with 12…Bh6, but this shouldn’t have bothered me as this is a rubbish square for the bishop, and after 13.Qe4 White is dominating.

12…Bg7 13.Qe4

Again there were a few good alternatives: 13.Qg3 0–0 14.dxc6 or 13.0–0 0–0 14.f5.


Giving up a pawn to activate the bishop is as good a try as any.

14.Qxf5 Qa5 15.0–0 e6

15…Bxc3 16.bxc3 e6 is no good due to 17.Qf6.


I decided to go for something a little bit flashy.

16.Qg5 0–0 17.dxe6 Qxg5 18.exf7+ Rxf7 19.fxg5 should be a fairly straightforward technical conversion.



Sacrificing a piece to catch the black king in the centre.


Black has some other defensive tries, but none of them work. One example is: 17…Bf6 18.exf7+ Kxf7 (18…Kf8 19.Qe6+–) 19.Rd7+ Be7 20.Qe2! Rhe8 21.Re1 White regains the bishop and wins.

18.exf7+ Kf8 19.Qg6 Bb4 20.f5?

In a winning position I got a bit careless. I should have played 20.Rd7 before advancing the f-pawn.


20…Qc7 was better. I was intending 21.a3 when White keeps a big advantage, but Black can play on for a while. After the move played in the game, it is all over.

21.Rd7 Be7 22.f6 Bxf6 23.Qxf6 Rh7 24.Qe7+

1–0 Greet – Wynarczyk, Largs 2014.


4 thoughts on “Two games versus the Chigorin”

  1. John Watson recommended the goofy QGD with Nc6 Nf6 and e6 in his ICC video series on the Chigorin. He admitted that it is goofy but thought that you can play for e5 most of the time.

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