DDG 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 c5

5...c5 leads to the most famous and perhaps the most critical line of the DDG. I believe that in addition to this move, only 5...Bb4 can cause serious problems for White.

6.Be3 is an oddity. I always thought that the simple rule is: if c5, then d5 because c4 supports it. Brause, an oddity itself, prefers Be3, though -- for a curiosity, it plays d5 in several other occasions, like after b6. 6...cxd4 7.Qxd4 Qxd4 8.Bxd4 Nc6 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nxe4 is a typical line, but exchanging pieces, especially queens, looks like a strange plan. Obviously, White should try to avoid endgame. Jim Arden has played 7.Bxd4 Nc6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.fxe4, but I do not like the resulting position. Instead of trying to regain the pawn, White should try to win time, get more space, take the initiative.

6.d5 exf3 7.Nxf3

6...Be7?! 7.fxe4 exd5 8.exd5 O-O 9.Bd3 Re8 10.Nge2 Ng4 11.O-O Bd6 12.Nf4 Ne3 13.Bxh7+ Kxh7 14.Qh5+ Kg8 15.Bxe3 Rxe3 16.Ne6 Qe7?? (16...fxe6 17.Qf7+ =) 17.Ng5 Bxh2+ 18.Kh1 Qxg5 19.Qxg5 Bc7 20.Qxe3 1-0, Heikkinen - demosthnes, Zone 1996.

6...exd5 7.cxd5 is the main line.


7...exf3 8.Nxf3


But seriously, Black should forget the dubious moves above, and play the one that is the real test for the DDG: 8...Bd6 and Black has clear advantage [Keres]. Period. This assessment is copied to all the few books that even mention the DDG, but not a single move is ever given after that. My conclusion is that masters can probably defend against White's threats quite easily, and eventually win with the extra pawn. But most of us (95 % of the rated players are non-masters) surely do not believe that the game is now over.

At first, I thought that the following lines looked promising for White. I asked IM John Watson what is wrong with them, and he suggested simple improvements for Black. His bust for 9.Bb5+, which I had not tried by then, is still to be seen...

A) 9.Bd3

B) 9.Bc4 O-O 10.O-O Bg4 11.Bg5

C) 9.Bb5+

9...Bd7 10.O-O (Brause has repeatedly played 10.Qe2+ Qe7 11.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 12.Qxe7+ Kxe7 13.O-O with good success.) 10...O-O


D) 9.Bg5

E) 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O h6 11.Nb5 Nxd5 12.Qb3 Bf4 13.Rfd1 Bxc1 14.Raxc1 Be6 15.Nc3 Nxc3 16.Qxc3 Qb6 17.Qxc5 Qxb2 18.Rd2 Qb6 19.Qxb6 axb6 20.Rc7 Rxa2 21.Rxa2 Bxa2 22.Rxb7 Bd5 23.Rxb6 Nd7 24.Rb5 Nf6 25.Rc5 draw, Maciulewicz - Visser, DDGA 1996.

F) 9.Qe2+!? Qe7 10.Nb5


7...Bd6 8.fxe4 O-O looks somewhat better for Black [Watson]. 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.Qa4+ Qd7? 10.Bb5, 1-0 in 20, Brause - ramya, FICS 1996.


7...Bf5? can be handled too easily.

A) 8.fxe4 Bg4 +/=, or Black could even fall into one of these traps:

B) 8.g4!?