The Ragozin à la Keymer

by ChessBase
9/7/2022 – In the Ragozin Variation of the Queen's Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4) Black takes an active path with 4…Bb4. In his theory article in the current ChessBase magazine, Roven Vogel examines the continuation 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3, which has already been tested many times by Vincent Keymer. Our author has processed no less than eight games of the German number one in his article and shows that "both sides have possibilities to create interesting play in many places" and sees this "as a chance to play an interesting game of chess". Who wouldn't want that? Take a look!

ChessBase Magazine 209 ChessBase Magazine 209

2022 Candidates Tournament with videos by Rogozenco and Ris, "Special" on Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, opening videos by King, Marin and Sokolov. 11 opening articles with new ideas for your repertoire and much more.


Keymer vs. the Ragozin

Roven Vogel examines 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qa4+

One of the reasons why it is worth following Vincent Keymer's games, is that they almost always include cutting-edge opening theory. Vincent doesn't shy away from repeating the same variation several times, knowing that his opponents can sometimes prepare very specifically. One of these variations is 5.Qa4+ against the Ragozin, which I would like to introduce in this opening article. My aim is not so much to discuss concrete, current theory, but rather to show what interesting types of positions this variation can lead to, and to point out where there is room for further investigation.

After 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3 0-0 the first major fork arises:

White can play 7.Qc2 immediately or develop the bishop to d2 first. Until a few years ago, if White chose the first option, scholars agreed that Black should play with 7...Re8, 8...Bf8 and 9...e5. In recent years, however, other moves have been offered, such as 7...b6!?

(see Keymer,V - Bindrich,F 0-1) or 7...Ne7!? have come up which show the disadvantage of 7.Qc2, namely that the Bb4 no longer has to be covered by the Nc6 and the latter no longer by the b7-pawn. Moves like ...b6!? and ...Ne7!? I will refer to as 'white-squared strategy' more often in the article.

The most modern alternative to 7...Re8 is probably 7...Qe7!?, recently introduced at the top level by the two Armenians: Aronian and Ter-Sahakyan, but basically very logical,

which is considered in more detail in Keymer,V - Aronian,L 0-1. But even after 7...Re8 8.Bd2 Black doesn't have to go straight back to f8 with the bishop, but can also make useful 'dog-ears' first, with 8...h6

(Keymer,V - Alekseenko,K 1-0) or with 8...a6

(Keymer,V - Giri,A 1-0). The latter is one of the main variations nowadays.

In order not to give Black so much room for their own ideas, White can also resort to 7.Bd2.

The advantage over 7.Qc2 is that options like ...b6 or ...Ne7 become impossible, however, after 7...dxc4 8.Bxc4 Bd6 9.Qc2 e5

White can no longer hold the tension in the centre well, so the position flattens out somewhat after the exchange on e5.

However, as can be seen in Keymer,V - Sargissian,G ½-½ or Keymer,V - Bjerre,J 1-0, Black has to know what they are doing to actually have equal play. Although this main continuation should be very tempting for most Black players, there are others who start experimenting already after 7.Bd2. Jan Werle's experiment with 7...Re8 and 8...Bd6 without ....a6 should probably be considered a failure, as Vincent convincingly showed in Keymer,V - Werle,J 1-0. Another experiment with 7...a5! in the style of the 'white-squared strategy' by a young Azeri, on the other hand, might be considered very interesting and still open in its evaluation, as seen in Keymer,V - Shahaliyev,I 1-0.

In general, I think that the fact that both sides have several possibilities to create interesting play in many places should be seen as a chance to play an interesting game of chess. Even strong theoreticians, like Kirill Alekseenko or Jan Werle, sometimes get lost in the forest of move changes, which quite often leads to a direct point from the opening, as can be seen in some of the selected games. And even if a Black player manages to put their preparation on the board once, in this variation it does not lead to an immediate handshake for lack of winning potential, but rather just marks the starting point of a very pleasant game. Or White still wins right after the opening, as in Keymer,V - Giri,A 1-0.

To sum up, after 5.Qa4+ against Ragozin, without too much theoretical knowledge - concrete knowledge never hurts, of course - you can arrive at fascinating positions that are definitely worth studying further and testing out in practice.

You can find the complete article with all games and analyses by IM Ropven Vogel in ChessBase Magazine #209!

ChessBase Magazine #209


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Highlights of ChessBase Magazine #209

The start page of ChessBase Magazine #209 gives you direct access to the editors' recommendations: the highlights of the issue!


"Special": Anna and Mariya Muzychuk

CBM authors analyse their favourite games of Anna and Mariya Muzychuk. Look forward to an exclusive collection of 21 annotated games!

Top games and master analyses

FIDE Candidates Tournament 2022: Dorian Rogozenco shows two games of the clear winner, Ian Nepomniachtchi, in the video. Anish Giri analyses two selected games.

Prague Chess Festival 2022: The winners of the Masters, Pentala Harikrishna, and of the Challenger, Vincent Keymer, comment on one of their games. Plus analyses by David Navara, Vidit Gujrathi and Sam Shankland.

More annotated games: Anish Giri analyses two brilliant games from Norway Chess 2022.

Pracitical tips for the tournament player (II): Must-win-situations

Jan Markos devotes Part II of his video series to the topic of how to play in a "must-win situation" - a task that arises time and again not only in individual tournaments but also in team matches. To complement the video, our new author provides a small collection of five training exercises that you should go through after the video lecture!

All in one

Renato Quintiliano explores a provocative idea for Black in the Queen's Gambit Accepted, while Yuriy Kuzubov presents "a crazy Alekhine" with 5.Ba3!

Opening videos

Daniel King shows "a shocker": the gambit 4.e4 in the Jobava London System, often tested by GM Hans Niemann. Ivan Sokolov in the second part of his video analysis of the Queen's Gambit Ragozin Variation with 8...h5 deals with the main move 9.h4. And Mihail Marin presents new developments in the English Opening based on the game Ding Liren-Nepomniachtchi from the Candidates Tournament.

Daniel King: Jobava London System
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e4!?
Mihail Marin: English
1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.Nf3 e4 4.Nd4 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6.Nc2 Nf6 7.Nc3 Qe5
Ivan Sokolov: QG Ragozin Variation 8...h5 (II)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Bb46.e3 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 h5 9.h4

New ideas for your Ideen for your repertoire

CBM #209 covers a broad spectrum of opening systems with 11 opening articles:

Evgeny Postny: English Four Knights 4.e4 Bb4 5.d3 d6
Petra Papp: Trompowsky 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.d5 Ne4
Martin Lorenzini: Scandinavian 3...Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3
Alexey Kuzmin: Sic. Moscow Variation 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4
Yago Santiago: Sic. Najdorf Variation 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0
Krisztian Szabo: Centre Game 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Nf6 5.Nc3
Sergei Grigoriants: Spanish 3...a6 4.Ba4 Nge7 5.0-0 Ng6
Roven Vogel: QG Ragozin Variation 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3
Christian Braun: Gruenfeld Fianchetto 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Nc3 d5
Andrey Sumets: Catalan 8.a4 Nc6 9.Qxc4 Na5 10.Qc2
Spyridon Kapnisis: King's Indian Petrosian Variation

Topcial opening traps

"From Sicilians to the Queen's Gambit" - Rainer Knaak takes a close look at eight traps from current tournament practice, three of which he also presents in video format. 1.e4 players beware: In the French Advance our expert has come across "a very promising, completely new trap"!

Move by Move

Ian Nepomniachtchi is a master of the Petroff. His victory against Alireza Firouzja with the black pieces is the topic of Robert Ris' interactive training session. Can you find the moves of the winner of the 2022 Candidates Tournament?

Strategy: The Muzychuk sisters

Mihail Marin highlights a few typical aspects of the positional play of Maria and Anna Muzychuk. The material is classified in the categories "Positional attacks", "Positional sacrifices", "Static play" and "Dynamic decisions".

The Classic

Dorian Rogozenco presents Pillsbury-Lasker (St. Petersburg 1896) - "a beautiful game" by the then world champion, Emanuel Lasker, with a number of sacrificial motifs worth seeing.

Tactics: Queen sacrifices of all kinds

Oliver Reeh's tactics contribution consists of 39 games with many training questions. Don't miss solving his favourite combinations in interactive format with video feedback!

Endgame: Endgame highlights from Prague

Hamburg endgame expert Karsten Müller has again found plenty of illustrative and training material. Do you already know the "Troitzky endgame"? In addition, Mueller provides a selection of the most beautiful endgames of Anna and Mariya Muzychuk (incl. video)! 

ChessBase Magazine #209

 Order now in the ChessBase Shop !

Subscribe to ChessBase Magazin and win twice over

Single issue: 19,95€ or annual subscription (6 issues) 99,70€. You can find the ChessBase Magazine subscription (incl. ChessBase USB stick for new subscribers) on the CBM homepage! Or subscribe to ChessBase Magazine in the ChessBase Shop right away! 




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