NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[December 04, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Borki Predojević:
February 2016 Revisited: Italian Game, Giuoco Pianissimo with 8. a4!?

Well, this line is obviously so important for the modern opening theory that this is its third update after it was originally published in February 2016. This update has it all: top-tier games (A. Giri – E. Tomashevsky, Moscow (blitz) 2016), elite battles from the Olympiad (R. Mamedov – C. Balogh, Baku (ol) 2016) and, as usual, theoretically important engine games (Komodo 10 – Stockfish 210616, Internet (blitz) 2016).

[Diagram: Black to Move] It is quite clear that the diagrammed position is about equal, but it’s Black who’s on the suffering side due to his weakened pawn structure. How can he avoid a long-term grind and equalize in a convincing manner?

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NEW OPENING ARTICLE

[November 27, 2016] Busted: Opening Survey by GM Slaviša Brenjo
Ruy Lopez, Keres Variation with 15… Rb8

The World Chess Championship Match certainly casts a big shadow, but that doesn’t mean that interesting games are not played elsewhere. German Bundesliga usually brings highly combative encounters, and Inarkiev’s revenge for his loss against Svidler at the Russian Individual Superfinal has brought the game line to our editor’s attention.

While it’s generally surprising to see a super-GM of Svidler’s caliber forget his preparation and misplay the post-opening phase so badly, the truth is that the entire variation is extremely dangerous for Black.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Y. Solodovnichenko – A. Delchev, Mulhouse 2011. Black has to act quickly, or White will storm his kingside after g5. Any ideas?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[November 20, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
April 2015 Revisited: Queen’s Gambit Declined/Catalan Crossover with 10… O-O

Our previous installment of this article mainly focused on over-the-board and correspondence games, but this time computer engines have all the fun – not unlike comparing the rather uneventful World Chess Championship Match between Carlsen and Karjakin with the concurrent TCEC Stockfish 8 – Houdini 5 slugfest with 9 decisive games so far.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis of recent engine game between two Stockfish clones. At first glance, it seems that White’s initiative is long gone and that his position is falling apart. However, White has one last trick up his sleeve…

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[November 13, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
June 2015 Revisited: Réti Opening with 6. Qa4+

Our previous installment of this article featured A. Demuth – W. So, Montpellier 2015 as the line’s key game, where Black had little problems reaching full equality, and the more recent game S. Mareco – Ni Hua, Baku 2015 only confirms our assessment. It didn’t take long and Caruana got the opportunity to try the same line as White: he actually did it twice – against Anand and Topalov. This is an extremely double-edged line, and we believe there is still plenty of room for improvement for both sides.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis of A. Ramirez – R. Edouard, Arlington 2015. At first glance, it seems that Black has to solve the problems coming from his light square weaknesses. However, white queen’s awkward placement gives Black an opportunity to turn the tables completely…

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[November 06, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
March 2015 Revisited: Sicilian Defense, Taimanov-Bastrikov Variation with 7… Bd6

Our previous installment of this article featured V. Kramnik – F. Caruana, Dortmund 2016 as the line’s key game, where Black had problems reaching the full equality. It didn’t take long and Caruana got the opportunity to try the same line as White: his choice proved successful and he scored an important win against Movsesian. This is a very topical and fashionable line, and we believe there is still plenty of room for improvement for both sides.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis of a line that has been played mostly by computer engines. Black has to solve the problems coming from the insecure placement of his uncastled king, and he needs some really extreme measures to survive. Can you find the best mutual play that ends in a perpetual check?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[October 30, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
January 2016 Revisited: Grünfeld Defense, Improved Nadanian Attack

Our original key game in this line was A. Tari – M. Vachier-Lagrave, Gibraltar 2016, where Black managed to equalize comfortably with 9… Qe7, though 9… exd4 seemed to offer Black equally good prospects. The most recent top-level game Li Chao – I. Nepomniachtchi, Moscow 2016 only confirmed our assessment, as the Russian on the rise never really had any problems at all.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from our improvement on D. Haessel – I. Chirila, Chicago 2016. Black has managed to win material, but still has to solve the problems coming from the insecure placement of his uncastled king. How would you secure the opening advantage as Black in this position?

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