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Mihail Marin vs Aleksey Dreev
Reggio Emilia (2009), Reggio Emilia ITA, rd 6, Jan-01
English Opening: Anglo-Slav Variation. General (A11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-01-09  shr0pshire: This is interesting for me for a couple of reasons. 1. I play the English sometimes during correspondence chess games and I have had troubles with this gambit that Marin plays. 2. There is some interesting positional play here.

First, let me comment on this opening. 5. 0-0. Just like in some lines in the Catalin and in the Queen's Gambit Accpeted, white gives up his pawn in order to accelerate development. The problem in this game in particular is that white does not get any real compensation for this gambit throughout the opening stage of this game -- some people are served well by this gambit, just not me :).

22. ...f5. All of the pieces are now developed, and I consider this out of the opening stage of the game. Here, black is equal, if not slightly better positionally. The game here comes down to the space advantage by black, the extra pawn that black has, and the minor pieces. White's bishop pair isn't good here. White's light squared bishop has no where to go in the near future and white's dark squared bishop is relegated to a toothless pin.

Jan-01-09  shr0pshire: All of these advantages change quickly with the move 27. ...f4?. This opens up lanes for the bishops, black also eventually loses the pawn he was up. This was the turning point of the game, and a large positional blunder.

Anyway, I think it is an interesting game. I am still not sure about this gambit for white, and I don't think this game is indicative of the strength or weakness of this opening.

Jan-04-13  ejchess: I have to disagree with you shrOpshire. I think you're underestimating White's genaral strategy with this opening. The idea of this early pawn sacrifice is to, like you mentioned, gain speed in development. But I think you forgot about why this works. It works because it puts Black under long term pressure. Notice how throughout the opening/middlegame Black couldn't move his pieces on the queenside because his queenside pawns will fall. Also, his space advantage can't be used effectively because if he pushes either of his center pawns White's bishops will start flying across Black's position putting even more pressure on him. Therefore Black's options are very limited and the only way to make some sort of progress is to give in to White's strategy, which he did.

Now, I'm not a grandmaster, but I still believe this is correct mostly because Marin has a three volume set on the English which I'm going through right now and these are some of the ideas which he expresses. Hopefully this is a good enough explanation for you.

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