Last night at the Marshall Chess Club, I attended a superb lecture by GM Ron Henley on Crushing White: The DZINDZI INDIAN!: An Easy To Learn Chess Opening & Strategy (Volume 1)
, which is an incredibly odd opening on which Henley has just written. The lecture was superb not merely because of the eye opening ideas contained in the opening, but also because the way in which Henley approached variations by pointing out the pluses and minuses of each move along the way.

OK, I’m going to be honest with you, before the lecture I described the opening as “insane,” “scandalous,” and akin to “cursing in church.” However, I’m not sure if this speaks to Henley’s persuasive power or the rich and long term strategic nature of the opening- I’m a convert- this opening rules. The one threshold issue is, most strong players simply wont let you play it against them and will force you into playing a pirc or modern.

That being said- the opening is characterized by the following position, which occurs after the moves 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 Bxc3!? 5.bxc3 f5

If you just take a look at this position- it looks wretched for black in so many ways. First of all, he has ceded the bishop pair out of the opening, and what’s worse, has opened up the dark squares on his kingside only to immediately give away the dark square bishop. What’s more, from this position, it looks very hard to find a reasonable plan for black at first to compensate for the structural weakness of his position.

I assure you, dear readers, all is not so simple.

First of all, white’s doubled pawns are juicy little nibblets which black will threaten to torture for the entire game. Black will in general have excellent play on the light squares, and his knights will be excellently placed and as you will see dance circles around white’s hemmed in bishops. An ideal development scheme for black is Q to a5, the Queenside knight routed to either b6 or e5 via d7, Bd7, the kingside knight wants to go to e4, and finally 0-0-0 putting the king in a bullet proof bunker.

A good thematic piece placement is demonstrated below:

Like many sideline openings recommended by the Georgian visionary, this one involves a long term strategic plan. Blacks goal is to win white’s doubled pawns, and then win the game. With this goal in mind, any exchange of queens will likely favor black, as his minor pieces will be more active and able to quickly gang up on white’s target weaknesses, the doubled pawns.

Another interesting point which you must keep in mind, is that as white contorts his pieces to hold onto the doubled pawns, many tactics will present themselves on the opposite side of the board, such as various pins and classic overloading tactics. Oddly, despite the fact that white has a space advantage in this opening, it is often black who is quickly counterattacking due to his lead in development.

So- here are some thematic ideas. First of all, the white player when confronted with this position will likely react in one of two ways- (1) conservative moves such as e3, g3 etc, or (2) aggressive moves such as h4, g4, e4.

Most likely the vast majority of sub-2000 players when confronted with such a position will play something conservative. These lines all give black great play. First of all, e3 has the obvious drawback that the dark square bishop is now forever a prisoner behind pawns, for this reason alone i would reject the move without first developing the dark square bishop somewhere outside the pawn chain. Our second idea, g3 with the idea of a kingside fianchetto is not ideal either, as it removes one of the few precious defenders of the tender c4 pawn.

Without belaboring the point- passive play will lead to black’s knights dancing happily all over the board.

Therefore, white must seek to blast open the position right away with moves like e4, g4, or h4. As I mentioned above, white has the bishop pair and black is looking for play on the light squares and the e4 square in particular, so a direct challenge to this plan is likely the most correct path for white. Yet even here black’s long term strategic goals are still within reach.