The B69 Rauzer
In Search of a new Main Line
While opening theory is changing all the time, there are some lines that change very little, if at all. The Rauzer B69 is one such line:
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.O-O-O Bd7 9.f4 Be7 10.Nf3 b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6
B69 has been popular in grandmaster praxis since the 1950’s and is still relatively popular today. Amazing games with famous names such as Tal, Larsen, Spassky and Geller can be found in this line. At the 1972 Fischer-Spassky Reykjavik World Championship not less than 2 games were disputed in this line!
Curiously, way back then the opening theoreticians were not really certain what White move order was infact the main line, but that all changed in 1977 when then World Champion Karpov introduced a certain move order ( against grandmaster Liberzon at Bad Lauterberg ) and that would then define what would be considered the main line for White for the next 40 years!
It is very rare that main lines remain main lines for that long a period of time, but that is exactly what happened here! A good idea is always helpful, I suppose…
As is natural with any popular variation, small refinements were discovered for both sides over the next decades, but without really changing the dynamic balance. The theoreticians still continued to consider Karpov’s move order to be the main line…
Finally, a breath of fresh air! Last year, Sergei Karjakin decided to vary from the Karpov move order and in an impressive game with grandmaster Demchenko (at Douglas, Isle of Man) he introduced a new idea that I think will very likely soon become the new B69 main line!
Here in this theoretical article I want to discuss this line in a bit of detail. I have decided to divide the work into two parts: (I) to present the ‘Karpov’ move order, and then (II), to present the new ‘Karjakin’ move order.
Part I: Karpov’s move order
Part II: Karjakin’s move order