Lifetime Repertoires: 1. c4 / 1. Nf3 Part 1 is hot off the press and today we take a look at what the new course has to offer.
International Master Christof Sielecki is one of our most popular authors and he has joined forces with FIDE Master Carsten Hansen to present a repertoire for White which is suitable for all levels of play from club players upwards.
Choice of Moves
The option of a choice of first moves (1 d4 or 1 Nf3) is unusual. One obvious advantage is it that it will make it more difficult for opponents to prepare for games against anyone using this repertoire.
The material in Part 1 of the course covers the following openings.
The English Opening. There is coverage of 1 c4 e5, which is dubbed the Reverse Sicilian. There are plenty of repertories on the market in which White plays 2 g3 in most English scenarios, but here authors prefer 2 Nc3 and an early d2-d4. This is a very challenging way to play and it gives the repertoire plenty of bite.
The King’s Indian Defense and The Grunfeld Defense are popular openings and it is very important that White knows how to deal with both of them. This course recommends a fianchetto approach in both cases.
There is also coverage of 1 …d6, ‘The Tricky 1 …g6‘ and The Dutch Defense.
The pairing of highly popular Chessable author International Master Christof Sielecki with FIDE Master Carsten Hansen – one of the hardest working authors of all – was an inspired choice. Carsten is a noted expert on the English Opening. His expertise is evident in the challenging lines covered in this course.
When playing the English Opening, one needs a strong line in the Four Knights Variation. It is a popular and solid way for Black to play. I was therefore particularly interested to see how her authors would tackle this variation.
After 1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Nf3 Nc6 this course recommends 4 e3.
Black often responds with:
5 Qc2 0-0
‘The main line which has been played by World Champion Magnus Carlsen and countless other strong players. Nevertheless, it allows White the opportunity to enter a position where Black has to settle for a rather rigid pawn structure that is difficult for Black to play.’
6 Nd5 Re8
White now plays a move which looks artificial, but it asks some testing questions of Black’s position.
The idea is to double Black’s pawns after trading the knights.
One line is:
8 Nxf6+ gxf6
‘With White being behind in development, it makes sense for Black to avoid the exchange of Queens. Furthermore, White has to send the Queen to h5 if he wants to play for an advantage.’
‘The Queen retreat to c2 is harmless for Black; after the text move, Black has to find the careful balance between playing aggressively to use his lead in development without allowing White threats against his vulnerable King.’
Indeed, finding that ‘careful balance’ is not an easy task for anyone new to this position. This variation is typical of the repertoire as a whole, which is not only very sound but also sure to test how well opponents understand the resulting positions.
Part 2 of the course, mooted for a December release, covers 1 c4 c5, 1 c4 e6, 1 c4 c6 and rounds up the other options, such as 1 …b6.
Head here for further details on Lifetime Repertoires: 1. c4 / 1. Nf3 Part 1.