[January 8, 2017] Trusted: Opening Survey by GM Slaviša Brenjo
Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense with 6… d5!? (9. Nbd2)

Playing an early d5 in the Open Games has become something of a trend at the highest level: that central response against the Italian Game is now a dominant choice of the players of Black, and it’s also gaining traction in the Berlin Defense, where it has to be followed by the recapture on d5 with the queen instead of the knight.

In addition to two high-profile games (A. Grischuk – P. Eljanov, Novi Sad 2016 and F. Caruana – W. So, London 2016) our examination of this approach will also include a number of engine games played in the past 2-3 years, which will surely broaden our understanding of this soon-to-be-fashionable line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black’s lack of piece coordination and his awkwardly placed Knight on h3 require immediate attention, or White will play Nc5 with devastating consequences. Any ideas?

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[December 25, 2016] Dusted Off: Opening Survey by GM Dragan Paunović:
May 2015 Revisited: Trompowsky Attack with 2… Ne4 3. h4 c5 4. dxc5 Qa5+  

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

From Hodgson to Rapport, the Trompowsky Attack has been a source of inspiration for creative chess minds. This update continues to showcase some, often borderline extravagant, but always innovative ideas for both sides, including the input from our trusty silicon friends.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black has stopped the first wave of White’s attack and is now ready to chase away his opponent’s pieces and seize the initiative. How can White rekindle his attack and create good practical chances?

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[December 18, 2016] Pick of the Week by GM Boris Avrukh:
August 2016 Revisited: Closed Catalan Defense with 7. Ne5, 9. Na3 & 11. Qd2 

After the original key game W. So – H. Nakamura, Saint Louis 2016 many good players had followed suit, so we have decided to update the article with recent developments in this line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black had major difficulties defending his pawns in E. Iturrizaga Bonelli – J. Schroeder, London 2016, so passive approach might not have been the best approach for him. Any ideas on how to proceed as Black?


[December 11, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
September 2015 Revisited: Grünfeld Defense, Russian Variation with 7… Be6 8. Qd3

In the original article our game of the week was a clash between two Grünfeld Defense titans of the modern era: P. Svidler – Wei Yi, Baku (m/3) 2015, where we suggested an interesting improvement for Black. We have now updated the survey with several theoretically important over-the-board games, but our verdict basically remains the same: Black has reasonable counterplay, yet it typically requires very accurate responses to various opponent’s plans.  

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis of a recent game S. Manush – P. Vishnu, Abu Dhabi 2016. White is only a castling away from securing his material advantage, so Black has to act quickly. Any thoughts?

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[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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