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!
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 Chess.com 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!
Here’s the Ginger GM, Simon William’s video account of his victory over Charlie Storey in the third round game of the British Chess Championships in Torquay in the summer of 2019.
I am posting this game because both Simon and Charlie are acquaintances of mind and occasional quaffing partners. I have learnt a lot from both of these professional players. Indeed, Charlie was the first person I met when I participated in my first ever chess tournament at the British Chess Championships in Torquay back in 2013.
If there’s ONE Easy Chess Tip I’d like to impress upon you it is this: When you are playing as Black against a d4 opening, do NOT go for the Marshall Defence!
Just a quick recap… The Marshall Defence occurs when Black moves his Knight to f6 on the second move in this sequence:
It is an inferior defence that poses no problems for White. Indeed, against an experienced player it practically guarantees that Black will never gain parity, will fail to gain control of the centre and will most likely go on to lose the game.
Yet, the Marshall Defence is a relatively common response to the Queen’s Gambit in casual chess games, probably because it seems to make sense to develop a Knight early on, and a Knight on f6 is at least defending the d5 pawn.