Obliterate ’em with the Owen’s

The Owen’s Defence with 1…b6 is a popular choice at club level because it throws White out of ‘book’ (well probably) and needs little theory to play. Some years back I did a DVD on this opening and decided that the line with 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nd2 was difficult for Black, who could at best get a dodgy version of the French Defence (1.e4 e6) via 3…e6 4.Ngf3 c5 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bd3 Nc6 followed shortly by …d7-d5. On the other hand I thought it was quite playable and interesting after 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6, 1.c4 b6 or even 1.Nf3 b6.

The Owens came into the limelight when Viktor Korchnoi used it in his Candidates match semi-final against Lev Polugaevsky in 1977, shortly after his defection from the Soviet Union. This win with Black was one of the cornerstones of his victory:

There are a lot of tricks in the Owen’s which would catch White out even after its initial blaze of glory. This often happens when an opening line is not considered ‘respectable’, people do not bother to study it.

Nigel Davies

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Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer living in St. Helens in the UK. He works as a chess coach and author and Nigel runs the Tiger Chess Academy which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos, courses and a regular blog. His students include his 18 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: View all posts by NigelD

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