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How to destroy the Maroczy Bind

Pretty cool! Feel like White's 15th , Rab1 is a little weird. Why not 15.Rac1 , following natural rook placement on c1 and d1?
example 15...e6 16.Rfd1 Be5 17.Bf1 which indirectly stops the g3 sac by allowing Queen access to second row.

It's cute that Black has a really strong attacking idea (and thumbs up for showing it!) but still have questions about long-term if White just develops naturally, continuing the bind ^_^

like general ideas -- if white goes Nb5, does black usually take it? etc
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@icytease said in #2:
> Pretty cool! Feel like White's 15th , Rab1 is a little weird. Why not 15.Rac1 , following natural rook placement on c1 and d1?
> example 15...e6 16.Rfd1 Be5 17.Bf1 which indirectly stops the g3 sac by allowing Queen access to second row.
>
> It's cute that Black has a really strong attacking idea (and thumbs up for showing it!) but still have questions about long-term if White just develops naturally, continuing the bind ^_^
>
> like general ideas -- if white goes Nb5, does black usually take it? etc

To my recollection, Rab1 is much more common than Rac1. This might be because White wants to prepare for a3-b4. Rac1 followed by Rfd1 also seems like a completely natural plan, but I'm not sure from which line White will be able to profit. Against Nb5, Rfd8 typically follows, maintaining the position.

Your observation is excellent and thank you! Unfortunately, this setup is not the "philosopher's stone". I just think it has much more active potential than the classic setup, where I always felt I was struggling for a draw from an inferior position without winning chances.
If White plays precisely, Black has plans like an immediate f5, which is particularly good if White plays g3 (we can force this with Qh4-Qe7/f6). Another typical plan is occasionally playing g5, further strengthening the bishop's e5 outpost. This can be followed by Kh8, then Rg8, and possibly h5 to push forward. This latter is more characteristic when White retreats the bishop to f2 instead of e3.

In the Bf1 plan you mentioned, for instance, White must be careful because Bf1 only works with Rac1. If you play Rab1 - Rfd1, and then the Bf1, the Qh4 maneuver almost wins since g3 cannot be played due to the Qf6 double attack (the f3 pawn and the c3 knight are hanging). If White follows the plan you mentioned, Black's plan is typically the f5 breakthrough, which we will naturally recapture with the rook followed by doubling the f-file. After this, White must be cautious, because if the knight moves from c3, Be4 sacrifices can often follow in some lines.
This indeed looks like a fun way to play it. I gotta remember not to put the bishop on b7, then rotate the knight and then centralize the bishop. Seems easy enough, Thanks!
There are two moves, 14.Bf2 and 16.Rbd1 which are better in my opinion.

Especially 14.Bf2 is what I would play. I see no disadvantages compared to 14.Be3, but it prevents Qh4 and overprotects g3.

16.Rbd1 is better because there is a line where black can not sacrifice his d6 pawn, see analysis.

@Kawummski said in #8:
> There are two moves, 14.Bf2 and 16.Rbd1 which are better in my opinion.
>
> Especially 14.Bf2 is what I would play. I see no disadvantages compared to 14.Be3, but it prevents Qh4 and overprotects g3.
>
> 16.Rbd1 is better because there is a line where black can not sacrifice his d6 pawn, see analysis.

Regarding Bf2, I agree with you, I would choose that as well! Even if 10 times more people play Be3, including Carlsen and Firouzja who prefer the latter.

I can't make sense of Rbd1, it’s a pure engine move. In the second analysis, I can start with 15...Be5, and I don't think there's anyone on earth who would play 16.Rbd1 after 15.Rab1 :) A human wouldn't play such a move because, from a human perspective, it’s incomprehensible to move a rook to b1 and then move it to d1 one or two moves later. It's not surprising that there are only a few games with this move in the database. The analyses you provided are "fairy tale" lines typical of engines and don’t have much to do with real chess.

Your idea with a3 is good, it's also in my notes. I would play 16...e6, so after 17.b4, I can respond with 17...ab4: and after 18.ab4: - Ra3 where Black at least equalizes. Therefore, 17.b4 is not really playable. Instead, g3 is recommended, in this case, however, the a3 plan slows down a bit.
> Regarding Bf2, I agree with you, I would choose that as well! Even if 10 times more people play Be3, including Carlsen and Firouzja who prefer the latter.

Yes, no idea why so many strong GMs play 14.Be3. 14.Bf2 is also better against the line 14...Nc5 15.Rb1 Qb6 - white can immediately play 16.a3.

> I can't make sense of Rbd1, it’s a pure engine move. (...)
Yes, you are right. Rbd1 is not better and Rfd1 makes more sense. I guess I trusted Stockfish too much.

> Your idea with a3 is good, it's also in my notes. (...)

Are you referring to 15...Be5 16.a3 e6? Ok, but this equalizes for black. And 15...e6 16.a3 a4 gives white less than nothing.

The difference between 15...Be5 and 15...e6 is 16.Nb5.

Against 15...e6, 16.Nb5 just equalizes, black plays 16...Bxb5, sacrifices d6, plays b6 and has a fortress - e.g. 16...Bxb5 17.cxb5 Qe7 (idea d5) 18.Rfc1 b6 19.Bg5 Bd4+ 20.Kh1 Bf6! 21.Bxf6 Qxf6 22.Qxd6 Rb8 followed by Rfd8.

Against 15...Be5, 16.Nb5 is good. Above fortress does not work - 16...Bxb5?! 17.cxb5 b6 18.Rbc1!. On 16...e6, white can choose between 17.g3 and 17.Bg5 Qb6 (17...f6 or 17...Bf6 does not work here) 18.Kh1.

Another unmentioned line is 3.c4 and then d4, when white can avoid f3, which prevents lines with Nh5, e.g. 9...Nh5!? in your game.