Dallying with the Dilworth

Recently I had an opportunity to analyze to the Dilworth variation of the Open Ruy Lopez.

 

To begin, let us look up the moves that lead up the Dilworth.

 

 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 (This move defines the Ruy Lopez, named after the 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura.) 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 (The Open Variation of the RL. Black’s objective is to get good piece play by advancing his d-pawn and giving his pieces the freedom to roam across the board as well as pushing and protecting his d-pawn.) 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 (9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5 leads to interesting Karpov Gambit. I’ve researched this line and IMHO, White’s attack is almost worth the pawn he sacrificed.) 9…Bc5 (Black can also play 9…Be7, which will give him a more closed game.) 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2!? (With this move Black gives up a knight for White’s f2-pawn and in return, gets a pinned White Rook and misplaced White King. And the Dilworth fight is on!) 12.Rxf2 (A forced move. The real analysis begins here.)

 

Black can certainly play 12…Bxf2+ at this point. But better is delaying this capture as not only is rook pinned, but it’s fixed position temporarily hinders the movement of White’s pieces.

 
Bobby Fischer-W. Stevens
US Open
Oklahoma City, July 24 1956
[White gets a small advantage but can’t do anything with it.]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 13.Kxf2 f6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8!? (15…Bg4 16.Nf1 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qxf3 18.gxf3 Rxf3 19.Be3 Ne7 20.Bg5! +/- ECO.) 16.Nf1 Ne5 17.Ne3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd1 Rf7 1/2-1/2

 
Black must play 12…f6, or at least transpose into it.

 

We now continue.

 

12.Rxf2 f6

 
Two moves White should now avoid are 13.Nb3 and 13.Qe2. Again, not necessarily bad, but he has a better alternative.

 

Hennie Daniels-T. Farrell
England, 1943
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Nb3 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 fxe5 15.Nc5 Bg4 16.Bb3 Ne7 17.h3 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Qd6 19.Ne4 Qd7 20.Ng5 h6 21.Ne4 c6 22.Be3 Qxh3 23.Bc5 Qh4+ 24.Ke2 Rxf3 25.Nf2 Raf8 26.Qg1 e4 27.Qg2 Ng6 28.Qf1 Nf4+ 29.Kd2 Nd3 30.Nxd3 Rxf1 31.Rxf1 Rxf1 0-1

 

Gyula Kluger (2250)-Laszlo Szabo
Hungary Ch.
Budapest, 1946
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Qe2 fxe5 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Qxf2 e4 16.Qe1 Bg4 17.Nfd4 Ne5 18.Nc5 Qf6 19.Be3 Rae8 20.Qg3 h5 21.Bb3 Kh8 22.h3 Qd6 23.Qh4 Ng6 24.Qe1 Bc8 25.Ne2 Bxh3 26.Rd1 c6 27.gxh3 Rf3 28.Bd4 Rxh3 29.Qf2 Nh4 30.Nf4 Nf3+ 31.Kf1 Qxf4 32.Be3 Qg4 0-1

 

13.exf6! And now Black has to play 13…Qxf6 or 13…Bxf2+ .

 
We’ll look at 13…Qxf6 first.

 
White’s best is 14.Nb3! He wins most of the games as his knight move solidifies his position.

 

Ramon Ardid Rey-Jan Kleczynski X25
Paris Ol.
France, 1924
[This game appears to be the first time the Dilworth variation was played in a master game.]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6

 

2020_06_11_A

13…Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5 16.Nc5 Bg4 17.Qxd5+ Kh8 18.Qe4 Qh4+ 19.Kg1 Nxf3+ 20.gxf3 Rae8 21.Bg5 Rxe4 22.Bxh4 Re5 23.fxg4 g5 24.Ne6 1-0

 

M. Paragua (2521)-C. Acor (2246)
Foxwoods Open
Ledyard, US, Mar. 20 2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5 16.Kg1 c6 17.Be3 Bg4 18.Nbd2 Rae8 19.Bc5 Rf7 20.a4 Qh6 21.axb5 axb5 22.Kh1 Nd7 23.Bg1 Qh5 24.Qf1 Nf6 25.Re1 Rfe7 26.Rxe7 Rxe7 27.h3 Bf5 28.Bd1 Qe8 29.Bc5 Re6 30.Qf2 Ne4 31.Nxe4 Bxe4 32.Qg3 h6 33.Qc7 Kh7 34.b4 Rg6 35.Bd4 Qe6 36.Be5 Qf5 37.Kh2 Qf8 38.Bg3 Qf6 39.Qe5 Qf7 40.Nd4 Rg5 41.Qe6 Qa7 42.Bg4 Qa1 43.Qf7 Qb2 44.Nf3 1-0

 

Z. Abdumalik (2428)-N. Khomeriki (2347) X25
World Junior Girls Ch.
Tarvisio, Italy, Nov. 20 2017
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5

 
2020_06_11_B

 

16.Kg3!? (A brave king! The usual move is 16.Kg1.) 16…g5 17.Qd4 h5 18.Bxg5 h4+ 19.Qxh4 Qg7 20.Nbd4 Nxf3 21.gxf3 1-0

 

White also can experiment with: 14.Qf1.

 

Smilov-Botvinnik
USSR Ch.
Moscow, 1943
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Qf1 Bg4 (14…g5 15.h3 h5 16.Nb3 Bxf2+ 17.Qxf2 g4 18.hxg4 hxg4 19.Qg3 +- ECO ; 14…Ne5 15.Nd4 Qh4 16.N2f3 Nxf3+ 17.Rxf3 Bg4 18.Rf2 Rae8 19.Bf4! +- Suetin.) 15.Kh1 Bxf2 16.Qxf2 Rae8 17.Qg3 Ne5 18.Bd1 Nd3 19.h3 Bh5 20.Bc2 Nf4 21.Ng1 c5 22.Ndf3 Ne2 23.Nxe2 Rxe2 24.Bd1 Re6 25.Bd2 h6 26.Kh2 Re4 27.Ng5 hxg5 28.Bxh5 Re5 29.Bf3 Qe7 30.a4 Kh7 31.axb5 axb5 32.Ra7 Qd6 33.Bg4 Rd8 34.Kh1 d4 35.cxd4 cxd4 36.Bf4 Re1+ 37.Qxe1 Qxf4 38.Rd7 Rxd7 39.Bxd7 d3 40.Bg4 d2 41.Qe2 b4 42.Qd3+ g6 43.Kg1 Kh6 44.b3 Kg7 45.Bf3 Qf7 46.Kf2 Qe6 47.Qe3 Qd6 48.Bd1 Qd5 49.g4 Kh7 50.Ke2 1-0

 

So Black almost has to play 13…Bxf2+ and come up with a plan after 14.Kxf2

 
He can try 14… fxe5!?

 

Edward Sergeant-George Thomas
Guildford, England, 1944
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Nf1 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 fxe5!? 15.Kg1 e4! (The point of Black’s last move. More testing is needed for this line.) 16.Bg5 Qd7 17.Nd4 Bg4 18.Qd2 Ne5 19.Ne3 c6 20.Nxg4 Qxg4 21.Bd1 Qd7 22.Be2 Rf7 23.Bf4 Nc4 24.Bxc4 bxc4 25.Be3 Raf8 26.h3 h6 27.Ne2 Rf6 28.Kh2 g5 29.Ng3 Qd6 30.Bd4 Rf5 31.Qe3 R8f7 32.Kh1 Rf3 33.gxf3 Qxg3 34.fxe4 Rf3 35.Qg1 Qh4 36.Be5 Rxh3+ 37.Bh2 g4 38.Re1 Rxh2+ 0-1

 

But more common is 14…Qxf6.

 
White can go totally wrong after 15.Kg1

 
GM Ljubojevic-GM Yusupov
Interpolis
Tilburg, Sept. 27 1987
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Qf1 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Qxf5 18.b3 d4 19.cxd4 Nxd4 20.Nxd4 Qc5 21.Bb2 Rxf1+ 22.Rxf1 Re2 23.Rf2 Rxf2 24.Kxf2 Qd5 25.Ke3 Qe5+ 0-1

 

GM E. Matsuura-FM Guilherme De Borba
Floripa Open
Florianopolis, Brazil, Jan. 25 2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Bc5 10.c3 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Qf1 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Qxf5 18.Nb3 Ne5 19.Nbd4 Nxf3+ 20.Nxf3 Qc2 21.h3 Re2 22.b3 Qxc3 23.Qxe2 Qxa1 24.Qe6+ Kh8 25.Qc6 Qxa2 26.Qxd5 Qb1 27.Qc5 Re8 28.Qc6 Rf8 1/2-1/2

 

But 15.Kf1 Ne5 keeps the game going. It is doubled-edged and White just has to find the correct 16th move. He didn’t in this game.

 

Lee-Hanley
La Palma C.C., 1982
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Ng3?! (Too slow.) 16…Rae8! (Taking advantage of the extra tempo.) 17.Kg1 Bg4 18.Qxd5+?! (It is not a good idea to open lines when your opponent is the one doing the attacking, even if it is a check.) 18…Kh8

2020_06_11_C

19.Be4 (Not 19.Qe4? Nxf3+! -+) 19…Rd8 20.Qc5 Rd1+ 21.Kf2 Bxf3 22.gxf3 Nd3+! 0-1

 

 
16.Kg1 is flashy and may not be the best for White. But it does lead to lots of excitement and can be a real crowd pleaser.

 

 
IM Nelson Mariano-IM Sophia Polgar
World Jr. Ch.
Matinhos, Oct. 1994
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Bc2 O-O 11.Nbd2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Nf1 Ne5 17.Be3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd4

 
2020_06_11_D

 

20…Bh3 21.Ng3 Re6 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bb3 c6 24.Nxh5 Bg4 25.Nxg7 Rg6 26.Kg2 Rf7 27.Re1 c5 28.Be5 c4 29.Bc2 Bf5+ 30.Bg3 Bxc2 31.Ne8 Be4+ 32.Kg1 Rf3 33.a3 Kf8 34.Nc7 Rf7 35.Rf1 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 Ke7 0-1

 

Milan Babula (2323)-Jesper Skjoldborg (2274)
Czech Republic Open
Marianske Lazne, Jan. 29 2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Kg1 Rae8 17.Be3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd4 Bh3 21.Ng3 Re6 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bd3 h4 24.Nh1 c5 25.Bxc5 Re5 26.Bd6 Rg5+ 27.Ng3 hxg3 28.hxg3 Rf6 29.Bb8 Bf5 30.Bf4 Rgg6 31.Be2 Bg4 32.Kf2 Bxe2 33.Kxe2 Rf5 34.Kd3 Rc6 35.Re1 Kf7 36.Rh1 g5 37.Bb8 Rf2 38.g4 Rxb2 39.Be5 Rxa2 40.Rh7+ Kg6 41.Rg7+ Kh6 42.Rg8 Ra3 43.Rh8+ Kg6 44.Rg8+ Kf7 45.Rg7+ Ke6 46.Rg6+ Kxe5 47.Rxc6 b4 48.Rg6 Kf4 49.Kd4 bxc3 50.Kxd5 Kxg4 0-1

 

 

16.Be3 is better. White’s defences are improved with a flexible bishop.

 
Balashov-Tukmakov
USSR Ch., 1977
[ECO]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bd4 Bg4 18.N1d2 Qf4 19.Kg1 Nxf3+ 20.Nxf3 c6 21.Bd3 Bxf3 22.Qxf3 Qxf3 23.gxf3 Rxf3 24.Rd1 a5 25.Kg2 Rf4 26.Kg3 +/-

 

Kupreichik-Shereshevski
Sokolsky Memorial
Minsk, 1978
[ECO?]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Kg2 h5 20.Qd3 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Bf5 22.Qxd5 c6 23.Qxc6 Bd7 24.Qg6 Qxc5 25.Bb3 +/- Ree7 26.Ng3 Qe3 27.Qxh5 Be6 28.Nf5 Rxf5 29.Qxf5 Bxb3 30.axb3 Qe2 31.Qd5+ Kh7 32.Qh5+ Kg8 33.Qd5+ Kh7 34.Rg1 Re5 35.Qf7 1-0

 

Kupreichik-Stoica
Kirovakan, Armenia, 1978
[ECO]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Qh4+ (16…Bg4? 17.Qxd5+ Kh8 18.Qe4 g6 19.Bd4 +-) 17.Kg1 Nxf3+ 18.gxf3 Rf6 19.Bd4 Qg5+ 20.Kh1 Bh3 21.Ne3 Rf7 22.Qg1 +/- Qf4 23.Qg3 Qxg3 24.hxg3 Rxf3 25.Bb3 Be6 26.Kg2 Rf7 27.Nxd5 Rd8 28.Nf4 Bxb3 29.axb3 c5 30.Ne6 Re8 31.Nxc5 Re2+ 32.Kh3 h5 33.Rxa6 Rf1 34.Kh4 Rf5 35.g4 hxg4 36.Ra7 Rf7 37.Rb7 Rxb2 38.Rxb5 Rh2+ 39.Kg3 Rh3+ 40.Kxg4 Rhf3 41.Ne6 1-0

 

GM Vassily Ivanchuk-GM Artur Yusupov
Linares, Feb. 21 1990
[Inside Chess?]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Ng3 Bg4 20.Kg1 Qxf3 21.Qxf3 Bxf3? 22.Rf1! +/- Rf6 23.b4! c6 24.Bf5? (>24.Bd4 Rf4 25.Bf5 with the idea of Bd7 +-) 24…Be2 25.Re1 Bh5 26.Rxe8+ Bxe8 27.Be7 Rh6 28.Bg5 Rd6 29.Be7 Rh6 30.Bc8 Bf7 31.Bc5 Be6 32.Bxa6 Bd7 33.Bb7 Kf7 34.Ne2 Ke6 35.Nd4+ Ke5 36.Nb3 Ke4 37.Bf2 Bh3 38.Nd4 Rg6+ 39.Bg3 Rf6 40.Bf2 Rg6+ 41.Bg3 Rf6 42.Bf2 Rg6+ 1/2-1/2

 

FM C. Olivares Olivares-FM W. Cuevas Araya (2187)
Chile Ch.
Santiago, Feb. 20 2019
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Qh4+ 18.Kg1 Rxf3 19.gxf3 Qh5 20.Nd2 Bh3 21.Kh1 Nc4 22.Bb3 Nxd2 23.Qxd2 Qxf3+ 24.Kg1 Qg4+ 25.Kh1 Qe4+ 26.Kg1 Qg4+ 27.Kh1 Qe4+ 28.Kg1 Qg6+ 29.Kh1 Qe4+ 30.Kg1 Re5 31.Be3 Qg4+ 32.Kh1 Qf3+ 33.Kg1 Qg4+ 34.Kh1 Qe4+ 35.Kg1 Qg6+ 36.Kh1 Qe4+ 37.Kg1 Qg4+ 38.Kh1 c6 1-0

 
And that’s where we stand. More analysis is needed!