Play 1…b6! with IM Bryan Solano Cuya

Topics: Owen Defense Instructor: IM Bryan Solano Cuya Level: Intermediate, Advanced
IM Bryan Solano Cuya give away his brand-new Play 1...b6! - a 4.5+ hour video-based training where the first segment focuses on the analyses of different lines in this opening and the second segment covers real-life games in 10 modules.


What You Will Get in this Course

Video Lessons

Video Lessons

This Course contains video lessons to guide you through its content.
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Repertoire Trainer

Repertoire Trainer

Study, analyze or drill the repertoire in the course. Play one side while the computer replies with the moves on the theory.
Chess Games

Games Database

This course includes a database of chess games played by masters to see the theory "in action".

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20 Lessons
4.5 Hours of video
119 Variations to learn
10 Games in database

Course Outline

  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 English opening sidelines
  • Chapter 3 English opening mainlines
  • Chapter 4 Queen pawn sidelines
  • Chapter 5 Queen pawn 3.Nf3 & 4.Nc3
  • Chapter 6 Queen pawn 3.Nc3 & 4.Bg5
  • Chapter 7 Queen pawn 3.Nc3 & 4.f3
  • Chapter 8 Queen pawn 3.Nc3 & 4.Qc2 or 4.d5
  • Chapter 9 King pawn Lines
  • Chapter 10 1.b3 Lines
  • Chapter 11 Model Game 1: Esipenko, Andrey - Nabaty, Tamir
  • Chapter 12 Model Game 2: Naiditsch, Arkadij - Meier, Georg
  • Chapter 13 Model Game 3: Dragun, Kamil - Bachmann, Axel
  • Chapter 14 Model Game 4: Jirka, Jiri - Kunte, Abhijit
  • Chapter 15 Model Game 5: Godart, Francois - Edouard, Romain
  • Chapter 16 Model Game 6: Vovk, Yuri - Navara, David
  • Chapter 17 Model Game 7: Dreev, Alexey - Anand, Viswanathan
  • Chapter 18 Model Game 8: Karpov, Anatoly - Timman, Jan H
  • Chapter 19 Model Game 9: Klekowski, Maciej - Bortnyk, Olexandr
  • Chapter 20 Model Game 10: So, Wesley - Artemiev, Vladislav

Play 1…b6! with IM Bryan Solano Cuya

Two key factors that determine success in games with faster time controls:

  1. Less opening theory to study.
  2. Make it a complex positional battle.

What if your opponent plays 1.e4…1.d4…1.Nf3 or any other opening for that matter? You surely don’t want to spend hours studying chess just to keep up with the latest developments for a simple 10-minute game, right?

Also, if you play a regular opening like the Sicilian or the French, he probably has already studied it beforehand and knows exactly how to answer to it. (Repeat after me, you don’t want to play against a prepared opponent in a rapid, blitz, or bullet game).

You need to take him into uncharted positional territory instead where he would not be able to sit back and rely on their opening theory knowledge.

And that’s why IM Bryan Solano Cuya suggests playing 1…b6 against whatever White plays.

Play 1…b6! is a 4.5+ hour video-based training where the first segment focuses on the analyses of different lines in this opening and the second segment covers real-life games in 10 modules.

This is an unexplored opening, and Bryan did a great job covering the MOST IMPORTANT lines that you will commonly face in this opening.

Here’s what you are going to learn:

  • Doubled pawns. When White’s king’s knight comes out on f3, Black’s fianchettoed bishop on b7 can capture it to destroy White’s pawn structure… weakening the kingside. Check out how Nabaty employed this tactic against Esipenko in a 2020 Titled Tuesday match.
  • Overstretched position. One of White’s mistakes against a 1…b6 player is to overextend his pawns to control the white squares. Black waits for the right chance here—once the center opens up, the long-diagonal bishop usually takes over.
  • “King’s Pawn, be gone!” The 1.e4 opening is sharp and aims to take a big chunk of the center. No worries. Black challenges it with a quick c7-c5, controlling d5 with Nc6, and brings the queen to c7. Black has an active development eyeing White’s kingside—scary for White!
  • Symmetrically equalized. What if White goes for 1.b3? That’s tricky. As Black, go for a symmetrical pawn structure, leading to positional imbalances, and try to gain control of the dark square complex with your pawns. Your minor pieces control light squares anyway.
  • Bishop’s loss, White’s gain. White would occasionally end up trying to block the a8-h1 bishop with a pawn chain. Black should usually attack the base of the chain and provoke weaknesses in White’s position. See the modules on the English Opening for more.
  • Pawn majority. Games with 1…b6 require a lot of piece manipulation before any tactical opportunity arises. Do take advantage of such exchanges, especially in sharp, dynamic positions. Play it right, and you might end up with a pawn majority and a winning endgame.

The real beauty of 1…b6 is that it can be played against virtually every single first move by White. It is a perfect choice for Black players with neither the time nor inclination to memorize a multitude of different defenses.

Despite being relatively unexplored, 1…b6 has been the weapon of some dynamic and uncompromising world-class players, including Britain’s first Grandmaster, Tony Miles.

About the author:

IM Bryan Solano Cuya is an International Master from Costa Rica. Bryan won multiple national and international tournaments including Centroamericano del Caribe 2016, National Games in 2012, and Costa Rica Blitz Championship in 2017.

He has been a part of the Salou Team in Spain. Bryan is a full-time chess player, coach, and streamer.