4

I'm building my White repertoire.

After 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Ne5 c5 8. dxc5 Qc7 9. Nxc4 Rd8 we reach the following position:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Ne5 c5 8. dxc5 Qc7 9. Nxc4 Rd8

My question is: which move should I choose?

    1. Qc2
    1. Qb3
    1. Qa4

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each one of them?

I would like to choose the move which (on average) leads to the most positional, solid, quiet and strategic positions (not sharp and tactical positions).

There are only 6 games which reached this position in my opening database: White played 10. Qc2 in 3 of them, and White played 10. Qb3 in the other 3 of them.

Komodo 8 says after a depth of 26 plies (2 hours):

    1. Qc2 : +0.22
    1. Qb3 : +0.36
    1. Qa4 : +0.37

Stockfish 5 says after a depth of 31 plies (1 hour):

    1. Qc2 : +0.18
    1. Qb3 : +0.32
    1. Qa4 : +0.32

Gull 3 says after a depth of 25 plies (5 hours):

    1. Qc2 : +0.00
    1. Qb3 : +0.30
    1. Qa4 : +0.22
  • 2
    Sounds like they are all pretty reasonable. Given 1) the rarity of this position, 2) the quietness of this position, and 3) the fact that all three moves have about the same computer evaluation, I think that pretty much any chess-related activity would be more useful than spending a bunch of time trying to find the perfect move here. – dfan Nov 18 '14 at 18:29
  • If you're building your White repertoire, I would strongly suggest you to investigate the dynamic 8.Na3 rather than the dull 8.dc5... – Evargalo Oct 5 '17 at 7:45
3

I play the Catalan in a constant basis, and in this position I would play Qb3 for the following reasons:

  • 10.Qa4 => does not look that great because at any moment black can play Bd7 (gaining a tempo on the queen) and then Bc6, and thus, releasing some of the pressure in the light squares of the queenside.

Line:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Ne5 c5 8. dxc5 Qc7 9. Nxc4 Rd8 10. Qa4 Bd7 11. Qb4 Bc6

  • 10.Qc2 => leave the queen "tactically vulnerable" and, in some lines, disconnect the queen from the knight in c4 (after Nc3, for instance). Two SAMPLES lines to consider:

Example 01:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Ne5 c5 8. dxc5 Qc7 9. Nxc4 Rd8 10. Qc2 Bxc5 11. Nc3 Bxf2+ 12. Rxf2 Qxc4

Example 02:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Ne5 c5 8. dxc5 Qc7 9. Nxc4 Rd8 10. Qc2 Bxc5 11. h3 b5 12. Ncd2 Bxf2+ 13. Rxf2 Qxc2

I'm not saying in any way, shape or form that these lines are good, I'm just trying to point out the tactical themes that could arise from such positions.


  • 10.Qb3 => There is no tempo gaining move on the queen. The knight on c4 would be protected even after the natural move Nc3. And you keep the pressure on b7.

The three moves are good but if you want a quiet, positional game but maintaining long term pressure I would recommend Qb3. The other 2 keep some dynamism in the position and could bring complications in the long run.

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