Queen’s gambit accepted – the Furman variation (part 1)

The subject of this block is the so-called Furman variation in the Queen´s gambit accepted. A bit of history of the opening: This variation takes its name from the well-known Russian theroretocian and grandmaster Semen Furman, who played numerous games with it in the 1950’s and 1960’s. During the eighties Furman had few comrades in arms, but the popularity of the variation rapidly increased when it was adopted by renowned players like: Portish, Timman, Korchnoi, Gelfand and later Anand and Topalov. The most important contributions to the development of the variation have been made by grandmasters I. Sokolov, Yakovich and Malaniuk.

Let’s take you, dear reader, in to the opening moves.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bc4 c5 6.Qe2 a6 (the position with an isolate pawn after 6. … cxd4 7.exd4 will not be considered here, but i will come back to this later on) 7.dxc5 Bxc5 ( see diagram nr.1. ) It is the main position for this variant.

Queen's Gambit Accepted, the Furman variation

Diagram no. 1

In the position here, white has 3 main moves.

White may choose to delay castling (variation 1) by playing: 8. a3, or play for a center move (variation 2) 8.e4 (which may transport the line into the variation nr. 3 ), or play 8.0-0.

Variant 1: 8.a3

8…. 0-0 is not flexible, so it occurs quite rarely.

8….  Qc7 did not justify itself in a game from New York 1992 ( Sagalchik – Bonin. NY.1992 ) saying: 9.Nbd2 Nbd7 10.b4 Bd6 11.Bb2 b5 12.Bd3 Bb7 13.Rc1 Qb8 (here the drawbacks of the early queen development becomes clear) 14.e4 Nh5 15.g3 Nhf6 16.0-0 e5 17.Nb3 Bc7 18.Qc2 Bb6 19.Nc5 and White has a serious advence here ( see diagram nr.2. )

Queen's Gambit Accepted, the Furman variant

Diagram No. 2

8…. b5 9.Bd3 (maintaining control over the e4 square.The retreat 9.Ba2 was seen in Dumitran – Breahna, Bucharest 1995 going a few move in this: 9.Ba2 Bb7 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.b4 Bd6 12.Bb2 Rc8 13.Nbd2 0-0 14.Rac1 Rxc1 15.Rxc1 Qb8 16.Nf1 Qa8 17.Rd1 and White is slightly better. If black would try 13…. Rc2?! (instead of 13…. 0-0 ) eventually turns out well for White: 14.Qd3! (not 14.Bd4?! Bxf3 15. gxf3 Nh5 and Black starts to have an eye on the White’s king position) 14… Rxb2 15.Qxd6 Nb6 (notes that 15…. Qb6 is not good because 16.Qd3 and threating 17.Qc3 ) 16.Qe5 Na4 17.Rfd1 0-0 and White is standing better.)

9…. Nbd7 (notes also that 9…. 0-0 10.b4 Bd6 11.Bb2 Qe7 12.Nbd7 e5?! leads to the loss of a pawn after 13.Ne4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 Ra7 15.0-0 Bb7 16.Qd3 Bxe4 17.Qxe4 Nd7 18.Rfd1 Nb6 19.Bxe5 Nc4 20.Ng5!!) 10.b4 Be7 11.Bb2 Bb7 (in case of 11.e4 Bb7 12.Nbd2 Qc7 13.Bb2 Rc8 14.0-0 (not: 14.e5?! Nd5 15.g3 and Black can play 15….N7b6!) 15.Nb3 e5 16.Rad1 Rfe8 17.Na5 Ba8 17.Bb1 Bf8 19.Rfe1 h6 the chances are equal, Gelfand -Gulko, Linares 1990.) 12.Nbd2 0-0 13.e4 Nb6 14. 0-0 (see the diagram No.3)

Queen's Gambit Accepted, the Furman variant

Diagram No. 3

And after 14…. Na4 15.Bd4 Qd7 16.Nb3 Rac8 17.Ne5 Qd6 18.Rac1 Rfd8 19.Bb1 Ba8.20 Qe3 White has more freedom (Zarubin – Fomin.st.Petersburg 1994).

The end of part 1.

Author: Bent Hansen

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