NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[September 25, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Dragan Paunović:
November 2015 Revisited: English Opening, Bremen System with 7. Nf3

This update is a small tribute to our late colleague GM Dragan Paunović. In memory of our dear friend, our Editorial Board will continue updating his lines and articles.

After Giri successfully employed this line in A. Giri – V. Anand, Bilbao 2015, it was only a matter of time before this line returned to the spotlight.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position is critical for the theoretical assessment of this variation: Black has just made an important slight detour from the key game P. Svidler – L. Aronian, Moscow 2016, and has to find a neat resource to hold the balance. Do you see it?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[September 24, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Boris Avrukh:
Gruenfeld Defense, Brinckmann Attack

[Line 138 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4]

The Brinckman Attack (4. Bf4) against the Grunfeld Defense is, in our opinion, a variation that’s suitable mostly for club level players.

After 4… Bg7 move 5. Nf3 transposes to our Line 146, whereas this opening line deals with move 5. e3, which is another major option for White. The usual reply from Black is 5… c5 6. dxc5 Qa5, and after 7. Qa4+ Qxa4 8. Nxa4 Bd7 9. Nc3 Ne4 he obtains sufficient compensation.

More ambitious possibility for White is 7. Rc1 dxc4 8. Bxc4 O-O where White plays either 9. Nf3 or 9. Nge2. After a few precise moves, Black is able to obtain equal chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] White gains an almost decisive advantage with a nice trick. Can you find it?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[September 23, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
French Defense – Exchange Variation

[Line 322 : 1. e4 e6 2. d4]

Moves like 2… b6 or 2… c5 typically allow White to gain advantage quite easily so, on move two, the French Defense (2… d5) is the preference of most of the players of Black.

Advance Variation (3. e5) of the French Defense is covered in our Lines 323-324, Tarrasch Variation (3. Nd2) in Lines 325-330, and move 3. Nc3 in Lines 331-346.

Exchange Variation 3. exd5 is the simplest way to play against the French Defense, since it usually leads to quiet and symmetrical positions. Generally, after 3…exd5, there are two approaches that White can try – to play a straightforward plan by simply developing his kingside, e. i. 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Be7 6. O-O, or a more committal c2-c4, which leads to positions with an isolated d-pawn for White, like in 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. c4 Be7 6. Nc3 O-O 7. cxd5 Nxd5.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White has just captured the Knight on c6, and Black needs to play energetically to hold the game. How can he reach an equal position?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[September 22, 2016] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
Semi-Slav, Vienna Variation with 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. Bxc4

[Line 247 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. Bxc4]

This update is a small tribute to our late colleague GM Dragan Paunović. In memory of our dear friend, our Editorial Board will continue updating his lines and articles.

The Vienna Variation is generally regarded as a reliable choice for the players of Black, and Line 247 deals with the most critical lines in this variation.

After 7… cxd4 8. Nxd4 Black usually plays Qa5, with or without exchanging the Bishop for the Knight on c3.

After the immediate 8… Qa5 White can return the dark-squared Bishop to d2: 9. Bd2, where the game typically continues with 9… Qc5 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Nb3 Qe7 12. Bd3 Nc6, and Black’s position remains solid.

On the other hand, after 8… Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Qa5 White has the following options: 10. Nb5 Nxe4 11. Bf4, 10. Bxf6 Qxc3+ 11. Kf1 gxf6 12. Rc1 and 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Bxd7+ Nxd7 13. O-O. In any case, both sides have their trumps – Black King is slightly exposed and White is either a pawn down or stays with the weak c-pawn.

[Diagram: White to Move] G. Blask – A. Grube, corr. 2009. White is obviously trying to exploit the poor placement of Black King. How can he create direct threats, and launch a strong attack?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[September 21, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation – English Attack (incl. Delayed Keres Attack & Perenyi Gambit)

[Line 492 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 without 7. Be2, 7. f3]

Variation with 7. f3 is covered in Lines 493-494, and 7. Be2 leads to the Classical Scheveningen (Line 484-487).

Sharp Delayed Keres Attack (7. g4) is the main point of interest of this opening line, where Black has two viable replies: 7… e5 and 7… h6.

8. Qf3 has been recently tested in a few grandmasters games against the latter Black’s option. He needs to play carefully to gain reasonable counterplay.

After 7… e5 8. Nf5 g6 White is practically forced to sacrifice material by leaving the attacked Knight on f5. Both the Perenyi Gambit (9. g5 gxf5 10. exf5) and 9. Bg2 lead to extensively examined and forced lines, with approximately even chances.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White is an exchange up but Black can make use of his bishop pair to save the game. What is the best continuation for him?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[September 20, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
King’s Indian Defense, Gligorić-Taimanov Variation without 7… Ng4

[Line 160 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 without 7… Ng4]

Black’s most frequent choice on 7th move is 7… Ng4, which is covered in our Line 161.

The other popular option is 7… exd4 8. Nxd4 Re8 9. f3 c6, followed by d6-d5. Since moves like 10. Qd2 or 10. O-O leave Black with comfortable play, White usually opts for 10. Bf2. The game often continues 10… d5 11. exd5 cxd5 12. O-O Nc6 13. c5, when Black has two interesting possibilities: 13… Re5 and 13… Bf8.

For club level players we recommend either 7… Qe8 or 7… h6, in both cases connected with the idea Ng4, where with Bg5 White no longer gets an important tempo.

[Diagram: Black to Move] E. Inarkiev – R. Mamedov, Moscow 2015. Inarkiev’s last move was f2-f4, missing Black’s strong reply. Can you see what White failed to notice, thus giving his opponent a big advantage?

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