In the last game I played as Black against my regular opponent, he opened with 1. e4 and I replied with my repertoire move, 1… d6. A few moves later we found ourselves with a situation that seemed familiar!

  1. e4 d6
  2. d4 Nf3
  3. Nc3 e5

We arrive at the Maróczy Defence by transposition. (The pure Maróczy Defence is 1. e4 d6, 2. d4 e5…)

Next, my opponent decided to advance his Queen’s pawn, which the engine rates as “good,” which really means just “okay.” Clearly, the chess engine prefers to exchange pawns, which often leads to an early exchange of queens (4. dxe5 dxe5, 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8).

I responded with 4… Be7 and realized that if my opponent were to play 5. Bg5 the “Maróczy Defence Pawn Grab” (as I call it) would be in play…

Back in April I completely missed the opportunity (see my previous blog post and video) when the exact same situation occurred. This time around, my opponent had completely forgotten about that game and conveniently played 5. Bg5? again, just as he did in April!

In our previous game, back in April, I blithely continued to develop with 5… Nbd7 and 6… c6, which are perfectly good repertoire moves but playing them immediately in this situation is simply evidence that the Black player is blind to what’s on offer on the board… As I explained in my previous blog post Black’s Knight on f6 can simply grab the d5 pawn!

This Time, I Take Advantage!

I’m pleased to report that this time I did not miss the “Maróczy Defence Pawn Grab” and was able to gain an early advantage in this game. I must admit that I almost threw it away in the middle game, but recovered quickly – or should I say that my opponent failed to punish me – and went on to win the game without ever feeling threatened. Here’s my video analysis of the “Maróczy Defence Pawn Grab” and the game as it played out after that:

The game was played on over Skype with 30 minutes each and no increments on the clock.

These basic chess training videos are suitable for anybody below 1700 or so.

David Hurley


P. S. Challenge me to a game on Gameknot: (Search for “hirohurl” when you join, and challenge me to a game! It’s free!)

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FURTHER READING: Erik Zude and Jörg Hickl, Play 1…d6 Against Everything: A Compact and Ready-to-use Black Repertoire for Club Players