This was a game in our club championship. Ben looked to avoid theory with 1.a3.
Nigel stopped at 9…Qe7 preferring 9…Re8. He suggested that the Queen can become a target on e7 to Nf5 ideas. Re8 may be better to prepare …Nf8-g6 and whether White plays e3-e4 or d3-d4, Black gets some kind of space gaining wedge. If White does neither he is permanently short of space. Nigel showed an example variation 10.e4 Nf8 11.O-O Ng6 12.g3 d4 13.c5 Bc7 14.Nc4 b5 15.Ncd2 a5 which he said starts to look like a Spanish with colours reversed. Black’s space is on the queenside – see Karpov – Unzicker (below) to know how to treat this position.
Nigel didn’t like 11…e4 – “Dissolving the Duo is a big deal!”. My thinking was solely focused on playing e4. To try and get some sort of attack going. Seeing the Karpov game will hopefully open my thinking to more possibilities.
This is 2 minute video of the Karpov – Unzicker. Karpov’s Ba7 is particularly instructive.