Watson on Davies: The English Opening

11/10/2012 – "GM Nigel Davies has done more ChessBase videos than any other presenter," writes John Watson, "and his delivery shows why: this is a well-paced and highly instructive DVD which presents 40 games to cover a repertoire based upon 2.g3." As a sample Watson shows how Davies confronts the Reversed Dragon problem. He does so by cleverly avoiding the main line.

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Nigel Davies: The English Opening

Review by John Watson

I'll take a look at one more English Opening DVD: Nigel Davies' English Opening, which presents a repertoire but may still be viewed as a general discussion of English Opening ideas.

Davies has done more videos than any other presenter besides Andrew Martin, and his delivery shows why: this is a well-paced and highly instructive DVD which presents 40 games to cover a repertoire based upon 2 g3 (everyone's favorite order, it seems, following the footsteps of Tony Kosten's classic The Dynamic English). Being from 2008, his theory isn't quite as up-to-date as the Mihail Marin's book or the other videos; but he picks some unique lines.

I'll do a quick comparison with theory. First, let's once again see how Davies confronts the Reversed Dragon problem. He does so cleverly, avoiding the main line with a special move order.

[Event "Lloyds Bank op 18th"] [Site "London"] [Date "1994.??.??"] [Round "3"] [White "Davies, Nigel R"] [Black "Thiel, Thomas"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A20"] [WhiteElo "2510"] [BlackElo "2320"] [Annotator "Watson,John"] [PlyCount "35"] [EventDate "1994.08.??"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "ENG"] [SourceDate "2012.08.10"] 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. O-O Be7 ({Davies' solution to} 6... Nb6 {is} 7. b3 {, which has done rather well and I tends to favour White slightly in theory. The main line is} Bd6 8. Bb2 O-O 9. d3 {, and now} Bg4 10. Nbd2 {has been featured in some top-flight GM games, with good results for White.}) 7. d4 $5 (7. Nc3 Nb6 {is the main-line reversed Dragon again.}) 7... exd4 ({One problem with delaying Nc3 is that Black can play} 7... e4 8. Ne5 f5 $1 (8... Nxe5 9. dxe5 Bf5 10. Bxe4 Bxe4 11. Qa4+ {is Davies' line} ) 9. Nxc6 bxc6 {. Then 10 Nd2 and 10 Nc3 were played in games in which Gelfand and Topalov were Black, and both should have led to equality. Otherwise the most obvious move is} 10. Qc2 {, e.g.,} Qd7 11. Nc3 O-O 12. Na4 (12. Nxd5 cxd5 $11) 12... Ba6 13. Re1 Nb4 14. Qd1 c5 $11) 8. Nxd4 Nxd4 9. Qxd4 {and White stands a little better. The game is a disaster for Black:} Nb4 $2 (9... Nf6 10. Qxd8+ Bxd8 11. Nc3 {with a small pull, in part because White can later expand in the centre.}) 10. Qxg7 $1 Bf6 11. Qh6 Nc2 12. Nc3 Nxa1 13. Rd1 {White is winning, for example,} Bd7 14. Nd5 Be5 15. Bg5 Qc8 16. Nf6+ Bxf6 17. Qxf6 O-O 18. Bh6 1-0


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