A brief introduction to The Spanish: Closed Defence: Flohr-Zaitsev Variation 9...Bb7
This is arguably the most important line of the whole Spanish and has been thoroughly tested in the Karpov-Kasparov encounters. Unlike many Spanish variations it leads to very sharp tactical play. Black's ambitious plan is to obstruct the classic Spanish manoeuvre Nf1-g3 by exerting rapid pressure on e4. The counterpoint to this plan is that White gains immediate attacking chances, but if Black can defend successfully then his queenside majority is often decisive.
Because the theory is so developed on all aspects of the Spanish it can be hard to learn as there are many ways to deviate to other lines. I have kept this collection very narrow as a taster of my favourite line, with only one example of a relatively popular variation thrown in at the end (12.a3).
<Main Line>: 1.e4,e5 2.Nf3,Nc6 3.Bb5,a6 4.Ba4,Nf6 5.0-0,Be7 6.Re1,b5 7.Bb3,d6 8.c3,0-0 9.h3,Bb7 10.d4,Re8 11.Nbd2,Bf8 12.a4,h6 13.Bc2,exd4 14.cxd4,Nb4 15.Bb1,c5 16.d5,Nd7 17.Ra3,
and here 17...c4
are both popular choices.
(Of course White can force a draw by repetition 11.Ng5,Rf8 12.Nf3,Re8 etc but that is nothing for Black to worry about.)
(ML) is the <Main Line> above.
(15...bxa4*19.f3!,) is (15...bxa4 16.Rxa4,a5 17.Ra3,Ra6 18.Nh2,g6 19.f3!)