TL;DR Has a quick ...e5 in response to the Keres Attack been well-analyzed somewhere?

Kasparov famously ditched the 5...e6 Scheveningen move-order for a 5...a6 Najdorf move-order during his 1984 match with Karpov, primarily so as to avoid problems against the Keres Attack, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.g4 (at least that's how I remember the story being told in various accounts). I don't often see the Scheveningen move-order in top tournaments, but I recalled having seen Hou Yifan do so recently, and having faced the Keres Attack. For instance, in the 2012 Unive tournament, there is the interesting game Nakamura-Hou, won by White:

[fen ""]
[Event "16th Unive Tournament"]
[Site "Hoogeveen NL"]
[Date "2012.10.23"]
[EventDate "2012.10.21"]
[Round "3"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[Black "Yifan Hou"]
[ECO "B81"]
[PlyCount "97"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.g4 h6 7.Rg1
e5 8.Bb5+ Nbd7 9.Nf5 a6 10.Bxd7+ Qxd7 11.g5 Nxe4 12.Nxg7+ Bxg7
13.Nxe4 Qc6 14.Qd3 Ke7 15.gxh6 Bxh6 16.Bxh6 Rxh6 17.Qe3 Rh5
18.Rd1 Bf5 19.Ng3 Bxc2 20.Nxh5 Bxd1 21.Kxd1 Qd5+ 22.Ke2 Qxa2
23.Qg5+ Kd7 24.Qf5+ Ke7 25.Qc2 Qa5 26.Ng3 Qb5+ 27.Kf3 Qc6+
28.Qe4 Rh8 29.Nf5+ Kd7 30.h4 Qb5 31.Rd1 Qxb2 32.Nxd6 Kc7
33.Nc4 Qb5 34.Nxe5 f6 35.Rc1+ Kb8 36.Rb1 f5 37.Qxf5 Qd5+
38.Qe4 Rf8+ 39.Ke3 Qc5+ 40.Qd4 Qxd4+ 41.Kxd4 Rf4+ 42.Ke3 Rxh4
43.f4 Kc7 44.f5 Kd6 45.Ng6 Rh7 46.Rd1+ Kc7 47.Kf4 b5 48.f6 Rf7
49.Ke5 1-0

Despite that loss, at Wijk aan Zee 2013, there was the game Harikrishna-Hou, in which Black was the victor:

[fen ""]
[Event "Tata Steel"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "2013.01.23"]
[EventDate "2013.01.12"]
[Round "10"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Pentala Harikrishna"]
[Black "Yifan Hou"]
[ECO "B81"]
[WhiteElo "2698"]
[BlackElo "2603"]
[PlyCount "110"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 h6
7. h4 e5 8. Nf5 Nc6 9. Bg2 g6 10. Ne3 Be6 11. Ncd5 Bxd5
12. exd5 Ne7 13. Qe2 Bg7 14. Qb5+ Qd7 15. Qxd7+ Nxd7 16. Bd2
Rc8 17. Bb4 Nc5 18. O-O-O O-O 19. h5 Bf6 20. Kb1 Kg7 21. Nf1
Bg5 22. Ng3 b6 23. Bxc5 bxc5 24. Ne4 Rcd8 25. hxg6 fxg6
26. Rh3 Rf4 27. Ra3 Rxg4 28. Bf3 Rf4 29. Rxa7 Rxf3 30. Nxg5
hxg5 31. Rxe7+ Kf6 32. Re6+ Kf5 33. Rd2 g4 34. c3 Kg5 35. Re2
Rdf8 36. Rxd6 Rxf2 37. Rxe5+ R8f5 38. Re3 R5f3 39. Re5+ Rf5
40. Re3 R2f3 41. Ree6 Rf6 42. Re5+ R3f5 43. Rxf6 Rxe5 44. Rf1
Rxd5 45. Kc2 Rf5 46. Rg1 c4 47. Kd2 Rf2+ 48. Ke3 Rxb2 49. Ra1
g3 50. Kf3 g2 51. Kg3 Rxa2 52. Rb1 Kf5 53. Kh2 Ke4 54. Rd1 Kf3
55. Rd6 Ra5 0-1

After both Nakamura's 7.Rg1 and Harikrishna's 7.h4, Hou immediately makes a second move with the e-pawn, turning her Scheveningen small center into more of a Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov structure. I guess this makes sense, despite the slight loss of time, since Black is responding to White's early kingside action by switching gears and staking more of a claim in the center. And as someone who sometimes plays things like the Kalashnikov, I find this approach intriguing.

So finally, my question:

Has this ...e5 approach against the Keres Attack been the subject of any GM-level analysis? If so, where? And what are the basic conclusions?

  • Try putting a powerful engine on the position for 10 hours and check the top three lines! What does it say?
    – user2001
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


Sorry, not precisely a GM analysis of this line, but

I have found chessgames.com to be useful in this regard. Scroll down in the link, there may be some GM analysis in there. :) http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessopening?eco=b81

Also http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1309987842/0

  • The second link leads to a discussion of the more common 6...e5, but Hou's approach is 6...h6 followed by 7...e5. Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 18:25

Here is another game between GM Tukhaev - GM Nisipeanu (2012). After 7...e5, black loses control over d5 and f5, as well as exposing the a2-g8 diagonal for white's light squared bishop. Yet in a practical game, 7...e5 is fully playable. If you want to use it in your own games, my advice is to go ahead and use it as often as you can. The more you do, the better you will know the middlegames and endgames that arise, the better results you will score.

[FEN ""]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. g4 h6 7. h4 e5 8. Nf5 Nc6 9. Bc4 Be6 10. Bb3 Qd7 11. Qf3 h5 12. gxh5 Nxh5 13. Bg5 g6 14. Ng3 Nd4 15. Qd3 Nxb3 16. axb3 Be7 17. Nge2 f6 18. Be3 f5 19. f3 f4 20. Bf2 Nf6 21. Rg1 Kf7 22. O-O-O Rac8 23. Rg5 Rh6 24. Kb1 a6 25. Na4 Qc6 26. Nb6 Rd8 27. Nc3 Nd7 28.Nxd7 Qxd7 29. Rg2 Bxh4 30. Bb6 Rc8 31. Qxd6 Qxd6 32. Rxd6 Be7 33. Rd1 g5 34.Ne2 Rh3 35. Rf1 Rch8 36. Nc1 Rh1 37. Rgg1 Rxg1 38. Rxg1 Rh3 39. Nd3 Kf6 40. Rf1 Bd6 41. Kc1 Ke7 42. Kd2 g4 43. fxg4 Bxg4 44. Nf2 Rh2 45. Rg1 Bf3 46. Kd3 Kd7 47. Rg6 Bh5 48. Rf6 Be7 49. Rf5 Ke6 50. Bc7 Bf6 51. Bb6 Bf3 52. Kc3 Be7 53. Nd3 Bd6 54. Nf2 Rg2 55. b4 Rg8 56. Kb3 Rg6  0-1

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