Tuesday 22 July 2008

Open Source Openings

It is fair to say that long before Open Source Software came along, chess embraced the open source philosophy. As there was (and is) no copyright over chess games, anyone was free to use the ideas of other players, once they had been made public. Of course players develop new moves in openings, and keep them secret, but they have to be played at some point, at which they become the property of everyone.
Just the other day I was lamenting the fact that I think one of the key lines of the Traxler may well be busted. The line in question is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5 5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Bg4 (This is an alternative to 8. ... Nd4 and is considered just as good) 9.Be2 Bxe2+ 10.Qxe2 Nd4 and now 11.Qd3 seems hard to meet. This occurred in a game I played recently. To my horror I couldn't find a convincing reply, and ideas like 11. ... Qf8 are met by 12.Qa3! So I "rolled the dice" with 11. ... e4 and fortunately my opponent failed to find the follow up and I won fairly quickly. The person I was discussing this with suggested I keep 11.Qd3 a secret, in the hope that no-one else would find it.
There are 2 problems with this. Firstly, every time I played this line I would live in fear that this would be the game where I get found out. And more importantly, maybe someone else has found this move, and the correct follow up for Black. And I guess that is what I am hoping for. Is there any analysis out there on 11.Qd3 and is the variation still playable for Black?

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