The Fine Art of Move-Ordering

An important aspect of opening repertoire management is making sure your move-orders are consistent with each other and that you do not get tricked into an opening line which you are not intending to play. For example, if you like the QGD Exchange as White, with Nge2, then it is important that after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6, you do not play 3.Nf3, when after 3…d5, you have been tricked into a QGD, where you cannot reach your desired variation.

One player I have scarcely ever seen “move-ordered” like this is Mark Hebden, but last weekend, even he was tricked. Matthew Sadler, after starting off defending a sort of Colle/Queen’s Indian, seized the chance to trick his way back into a main line QGA, whilst avoiding the variations Mark normally plays against that opening. Thus, the position reached after move 11 in the game below usually arises via the move-order 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Qe2 b5 8.Bb3 Bb7 9.Rd1 Nbd7 10.Nc3 Qb6. In the game, each side has lost one tempo: White by playing Bd3 and then Bxc4, Black by playing 3…b6 and then 10…b5.

In the QGA proper, Hebden usually prefers the dynamic gambit line 7.e4, but in the game, he found himself tricked into a line he rarely plays. He reacted relatively poorly, soon losing his e-pawn, and was smoothly despatched by Sadler, who went on to win the event with 5/5.

Steve Giddins