Symmetrical Defense:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.10.09"] [Round "?"] [White "Symmetrical Defense"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D06"] [Annotator "kestenberg,tal"] [PlyCount "16"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c5 {the Symmetrical defense. Black plays copycat chess, this of course slightly favors the player who goes first} 3. cxd5 $1 {This is most challenging, white breaks the symmetry. If black recaptures ...Qxd5 white will gain some tempi against the exposed queen. black can instead try ...Nf6 aiming to play ...Nxd5 but then white has an interesting idea in e4!?, offering the e pawn to maintain the space providing d pawn} (3. dxc5 d4 $1) 3... Nf6 {This is the main move, black looks to reacpture their pawn with ...Nxd5 rather than bringing their queen out so early} (3... Qxd5 {white will gain further time against the queen, atop the first move advantage, thus maintaining an initiative dispite black's solid structure} 4. Nf3 {developing and defending the center} cxd4 5. Nc3 $1 {a key move, this is the point of white's play, taking advantage of the pinned d pawn white gains a tempo} Qa5 {this is the best square for black's queen} (5... Qd8 {is the alternative, but here white gets pressure in the endgame} 6. Qxd4 $1 {not Nxd4 ...e5!} Qxd4 {if ...Bd7 avoiding the exchange of queens, Ne5! is strong, looking to meet ...Nc6 with Qxd7.} 7. Nxd4 Nf6 {instead, ...a6?! loses to Nd5!} 8. Ndb5 Na6 9. g3 $16 { [%cal Gg2b7] and white's pieces will seriously pressurize the queenside}) 6. Nxd4 Nf6 {here white has a couple resonable plans, the most popular being a kingside fianchetto, to put pressure on the queenside and tie the enemy pieces to it's defense, with good play white is usually maintians an edge} (6... e5 7. Nb3 Qc7 8. Nb5 {followed by a quick bishop move and Rc1 is un pleasant for black, their queen is a problem here}) 7. g3 (7. Nb3 $5 Qc7 8. e4 Nc6 9. Be2 e6 10. O-O Bb4 11. Nb5 Qb8 12. a3 Be7 13. Nc3 O-O 14. Be3 Rd8 15. Qc2 e5 16. Rad1 Be6 17. Rxd8+ Qxd8 18. Rd1 Qe8 19. Nc5 Bxc5 20. Bxc5 $14 {0-1 (56) Le,Q (2712) -Mamedyarov,S (2753) Khanty-Mansiysk 2013}) 7... e5 8. Nb3 Qc7 9. Bg5 $5 (9. Bg2 Bb4 10. Bd2 O-O) 9... Bb4 (9... Qc6 10. Bxf6 $1 gxf6 11. Nd5 Bb4+ 12. Nxb4 Qxh1 13. Qd6 $1 $18) 10. Rc1 $5 (10. Bxf6 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 gxf6 12. Qd3 Qc6 13. e4 b6 $13 {0-1 (44) Gelfand,B (2755)-Mamedyarov,S (2753) Moscow 2013}) 10... Ne4 11. Bd2 Nxd2 12. Nxd2 Nc6 13. Bg2 {/\ a3, 0-0, Nd5}) (3... cxd4 { continuing to copy is dubious} 4. Qa4+ $1 Qd7 5. Qxd4 $16 {1-0 (28) Mikhalevski,V (2584)-Landa,K (2678) Ajaccio 2007}) 4. e4 $1 {the most testing vatiation, white gives the pawn back on their terms, offering the e pawn and preferring to keep the restricting d5 pawn and a space advantage} (4. Nc3 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 {is also playable and looks like a semi-tarrasch defense at first sight, but black hasn't played ...e6 and therefore can try some additional ideas e.g.} cxd4 7. cxd4 e5 $5 (7... e6 {would transpose into semi-tarrash positions, which are considered to be more reliable than the symmetrical defense})) 4... Nxe4 5. dxc5 {defending the d pawn} Nxc5 ({the attempt to recapture the c pawn with the queen only exposes her to danger} 5... Qa5+ 6. Bd2 $1 {white has a plan for quick development} Nxd2 {this is forced} ( 6... Qxc5 {loses to a fork} 7. Qa4+ $1) 7. Qxd2 Qxc5 8. Na3 $1 $16 {the point behind white's play! the rook will quickly come to the c file, and the knight is only sidelined momentarily} Bd7 9. Rc1 $1 Qb6 10. Nc4 $1 Qh6 (10... Qf6 11. Nf3 g5 12. Nce5 Bh6 13. g4 {Qb4!? also looks good} Qd6 14. h4 {white ruined their serious initiative and lost, but not as a result of their advantageous opening play, in 0-1 (42) Goossens,E (2224)-Zaitsev,M (2463) Belgium 2006}) 11. f4 $5 (11. Qxh6 {exchanging queens is also better for white} gxh6 12. Ne5 $16) 11... Na6 12. Ne5 Qd6 13. Nxd7 Qxd7 14. Nf3 e6 15. Bxa6 bxa6 16. O-O {and black is struggling to complete development ½-½ (42) Olafsson,H (2505) -Westerinen,H (2410) Reykjavik 1997}) 6. Nf3 {aimed against ...e5} (6. Nc3 { gives black the additional option to play} e5 $5) 6... e6 {black must develop and challenge the center, other moves are too slow} ({on} 6... e5 {white can now take the pawn on account of} 7. Nxe5 Qe7 8. Bb5+ $1 Bd7 9. O-O $1 $18 { winning with the threat Re1!}) 7. Nc3 exd5 8. Qxd5 {A tabiya for the symmetrical defense, black has tried many moves here, none of them fully equalizing as white maintains better mobilization and an initiative, see the following example games.} -- (8... Be7 {this is the most played, black intends to recapture their queen with ...Bxd8} 9. Qxd8+ Bxd8 {dispite the fact that the structure is symmetrical, black has no pawn weaknesses, and queens are traded white stands much better. Their development is natural and faster, the rooks will quickly occupy the central files, and the minors are better than their counterparts} 10. Be3 Nba6 (10... Ne6 11. O-O-O O-O $14 {1-0 (64) Psakhis,L (2545)-Gershkowich,D (2185) Ashdod 2004}) 11. Bb5+ Bd7 12. Bxd7+ Nxd7 13. O-O-O Ndc5 14. Bxc5 Nxc5 15. Rhe1+ {all the pieces are developed with tempo! black has hardly managed to improve their position} Ne6 16. Nd4 O-O 17. Nxe6 fxe6 18. f3 $16 {with a healthy advantage for white in 1-0 (49) Gleizerov, E (2581)-Berkell,P (2310) Stockholm 2002}) (8... Nc6 {looking to recapture the queen with ...Nxd8} 9. Qxd8+ Nxd8 10. Nd5 {an active post for the white knight, keeping an eye on squares deep in the enemy camp} (10. Be3 $5 Nde6 11. O-O-O $16) 10... Nde6 11. Be3 Bd7 12. Ne5 $14 {and white's advantage, with their knights dominating the board, was clear in the old game 1-0 (55) Donner, J-O'Kelly de Galway,A Havana 1965}) (8... Qxd5 {speeds up white's development, even after the queen exchange black's problems remain} 9. Nxd5 {now black must take time to defend c7} Nba6 ({or} 9... Ne6 10. Be3 $5 $146 Nc6 11. Bb5 Bd7 12. O-O O-O-O 13. Rfd1 $16 {when white is still in charge}) 10. Bb5+ {and white continues developing quickly, ready to castle and centralize the rooks long before the opponent} Bd7 11. Bxd7+ Nxd7 12. O-O f6 13. Be3 Kf7 14. Rfd1 Bc5 15. Nc7 $1 Rad8 16. Nxa6 Bxe3 17. fxe3 bxa6 18. Rac1 Nb6 19. Rc7+ $18 {with a clear advantage for white which was later converted in 1-0 (39) Gleizerov,E (2520)-Westerinen,H (2382) Stockholm 2000}) (8... Qe7+ {was tried in the upcoming game between two great players, but it is not totally logical, black black's their own pieces and avoids a queen exchange when they are already behind in development, white won a quick game...} 9. Be3 Nc6 $6 10. Bb5 Bd7 11. O-O $18 {white's initiative is winning already! The rooks are ready to come to the open files and black hasn't gotten the king out of the center yet.} Ne6 ( 11... O-O-O {isnt safe for black, white can win a pawn with Bxc5 followed by Qxf7, but there maybe even stronger}) 12. Ne5 (12. Rad1 $5) (12. Rfd1 $5) 12... Nxe5 13. Qxe5 Bxb5 14. Nxb5 a6 15. Rad1 $1 Rd8 16. Bb6 $1 Rxd1 17. Rxd1 f6 18. Qf5 g6 19. Nc7+ Kf7 20. Qd5 {and black had enough in 1-0 (20) Portisch, L-Bronstein,D Monte Carlo 1969}) *
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "?"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] [SourceDate "2016.03.19"] {WEBSITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION} 1. g4 e5 2. f3 Qh4# {PLEASE EXCUSE MY BLUNDERS!} *