Robert Ris: Attacking the Semi-Slav with g3

by Nisha Mohota
11/6/2015 – Ever been to a tournament all by yourself? Players often feel handicapped when there is no coach to guide them at times of crisis. However, help is at hand! IM Nisha Mohota explains how Robert Ris's 60 Minutes lesson, Attacking the Semi-Slav with g3, bailed her out in a difficult situation. Casually watching it before an important game left ideas in her mind and helped her find killer moves.

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Attacking the Semi-Slav with g3


Having a coach during a tournament is a luxury which cannot be enjoyed by most chess players. It is very useful to get last-minute tips from our trainers who can sometimes show us some unusual lines which can take our opponents out of their comfort zones. I have often found myself uncomfortable during a tournament with my opponent’s repertoire. In the absence of a coach to help me in such situations, I use ready-to-follow DVDs to come out of my confused state of mind. The short duration of these one hour videos help me prepare a new variation overnight. I have a very positive result whenever I consult such easy-to-use material.

Last year, I was playing a strong international open in my own city, Kolkata. The tournament was a nightmare which I would really like to forget. In the first eight rounds, I did not win a single game! In the ninth round, I was paired against a young boy whom I had drawn a couple of months back. I had no good weapon against his Semi-Slav at that time. That morning I remembered that I had a ChessBase 60 Minutes: Attacking the Semi-Slav with g3 by Robert Ris, which I had yet to watch! Although I did not even pay full attention to the one-hour video during my preparation due to a bad mood, its audio-visual effect did leave behind ideas in my mind and helped me win a nice game! Thanks to Ris, this game was a silver lining in an otherwise difficult tournament!

I was white against KS Raghunandan and it was the right time for me to give the final blow.
When I spotted this sweet little move, it did bring a satisfaction within! Can you spot it?

[Event "Kolkata GM"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.03.26"] [Round "9"] [White "Mohota, N."] [Black "Raghunandan, KS."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E01"] [WhiteElo "2261"] [BlackElo "2200"] [Annotator "Nisha Mohota"] [PlyCount "69"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. g3 {My new weapon! Thanks to Robert Ris!} Nbd7 6. Bg2 dxc4 7. e4 (7. O-O {This was there on the DVD but I confused the move order.}) 7... b5 8. e5 Nd5 9. Ng5 {I remembered some ideas but I did not know any exact position, so I was thinking and playing.} Be7 10. Qh5 g6 11. Qh6 {I had seen this idea in the morning but somehow remembered that 0-0 and Bb7 were already somewhere inserted, when and how I was not sure...} Bf8 12. Qh3 Be7 13. Qh6 Bf8 14. Qh3 Be7 15. Nce4 Bb7 16. O-O {Now I transposed to the position in the DVD!} Qb6 17. Nd6+ Bxd6 18. exd6 Qxd4 {This was the first deviation from Robert's analysis, but White is already winning! This itself speaks highly of the analysis provided by Ris.} 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. Qxe6+ Kd8 { Here I had to think which move first: Bg5 or Bh3.} 21. Bg5+ {Finally, I decided to make this developing move.} Kc8 22. Bh3 {This is also good for White but not completely winning.} (22. Rfe1 $142 {I didn't find a win here but Houdini shows that this was completely winning.} Ba6 (22... N5f6) 23. Rad1 $1 Qg7 (23... Qb6 24. Bh3 Qb7 25. Qe8+ Rxe8 26. Rxe8#) 24. Bxd5 cxd5 25. Qxd5 { The black king is too weak.} Bb7 26. Qxb5 $18) 22... Kb8 $1 {I think this was a nice move.} (22... Qg7 23. Rfe1 Ba6 24. Be7 N5b6 25. Bf6 $18) (22... N5b6 23. Bf6 $18) 23. Qxd7 Bc8 24. Qxc6 Bxh3 25. Rfd1 Qe4 26. Qxd5 Qxd5 27. Rxd5 $16 { The last few moves were forced.} Kc8 $2 {I really enjoyed the end.} (27... Bd7 $142 $16 {I would have had to work very hard to win this.}) 28. Rc5+ Kd7 $2 ( 28... Kb7 29. Rc7+ Ka6 $18) 29. Rc7+ Kxd6 30. Bf4+ Ke6 31. Re1+ Kd5 32. Rd1+ Ke6 33. Rd6+ Kf5 {[#] Making the next move really did make me happy!} 34. f3 $1 {What a nice position to get in one's own game, (especially when a win is evading a person throughout a tourney)! Now White threatens double mate with Rc5 and Rf7!} Rac8 35. Rf7# {It always feels so nice to checkmate the opponent! } 1-0

To date, I have a score of 3.0/3 using Robert’s DVD on the Semi-Slav! All I had to do was to invest an hour watching what the author had to say. This also explains my faith in him and his recommended lines. I feel these one-hour videos are very useful in general and we should keep such handy DVDs with us. We never know when they might be useful! The 60 Minute video lessons are my friends in need, and therefore they are my friends, indeed!

Robert Ris, in an attacking mode! This picture taken by Alina L'Ami in the 2014 Cafe Batavia International tournament shows Robert "congratulating" his friend Jorden van Foreest for his first IM norm.
In only one and a half year, Jorden is already a full-fledged GM!

Robert Ris:
Attacking the Semi-Slav with g3

The Semi-Slav with 5.g3 offers White a simple but dangerous weapon to fight one of Black's most popular options against 1.d4. Rather than emphasizing the loads of theory, the 60 min DVD thoroughly explains typical plans for White to develop his pieces effectively while keeping an eye on tactical traps. The first part features a comprehensive overview on setups where Black declines the challenge by not taking on c4. The second part shows how to successfully deal with the sharp variations after ...dxc4. All in all, it should be understood that by approaching the Semi-Slav in Catalan style, White has all the chances to play for the initiative from the very beginning. Let your bishop on g2 do the job!

  • Video running time: 60 min (English)
  • Delivery: download
  • Price: €9.90

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Nisha Mohota became India’s youngest WIM in 1995 and India’s fourth WGM in 2003. Since February 2011 she has been a full IM – her highest ever Elo rating was 2416. She has represented India in 25 countries, playing for India in the 2004, 2008 and 2010 Olympiads. Her first love, chess, helps her continue her other passion: writing, photography and travelling.


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