2016-03-08 - Update Line 260[November 08, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Lasker Variation (incl. Teichmann & Bernstein Variations)

[Line 260 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4]

Line 260 mostly covers the Lasker Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, which starts with 6… O-O 7. e3 Ne4. Black trades early two pairs of minor pieces, and this line is considered to be a very solid option for him. The Teichmann Variation (8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Qc2) is examined as the main line, but the Bernstein Variation (8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. cxd5) and other White’s choices on 9th move (except 9. Rc1, which is covered in our Line 261) also deserve attention.

Apart from the Lasker Variation, there is an interesting 7… Nbd7 8. Rc1 c5!? line that has become Kramnik’s trademark choice with Black pieces, e. g. in his games against Salem in Doha 2014Wojtaszek in Sochi 2015 and Matlakov in Doha 2015.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The critical position from the key game Topalov – Anand, Nanjing 2010. Anand’s preparation was at an exceptionally high level at the time (and still is). How did he seize a strong initiative in that game?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[November 07, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical Variation with 4… O-O 5. a3 (incl. Vitolinsh-Adorjan Gambit)

[Line 181 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3]

After the forced 5… Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 various sidelines for Black are covered in Line 181.

Vitolinsh-Adorjan Gambit 5… b5 is an interesting try at complications, and probably the best plan for White it is to return the Pawn with 6. cxb5 c6 7. Bg5 cxb5 8. e3. Our assessment is that after precise play White should secure some opening advantage.

As the main line we have examined 6… d6, with the idea to play Re8, followed by Qe7 and e6-e5; we think that Black ought to get quite decent positions in this line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] C. Bogner – A. Naiditsch, Germany 2011. Naiditsch missed the best way to fight for the compensation. White is behind in development, so Black should seek to open lines for his Rooks and find a way to bring his Bishop into play.

Click here to see the article in our viewer…


[November 06, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Marshall Attack (Miscellaneous)

[Line 400 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 without 8… d6]

Line 400 covers the biggest part of the Marshall Attack, apart from the lines that arise after 8… d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d4, which can be found in our Line 401.

Fashionable 12. d3 occurs very often on the highest level, e. g. like in Wei Yi – Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee 2016 or Vachier Lagrave – Adams, Biel 2015. Black needs to play accurately to equalize, though great experts, like Aronian or Svidler, rarely have any problems to maintain the balance.

Besides the Marshall Attack, a modern gambit starting with 8… Na5!? is also covered here, but proper play should guarantee White at least a slight opening edge.

[Diagram: White to Move] Everything is ready for White’s final blow, though it’s not too easy as some precise calculation is required!

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[November 05, 2017] Busted: Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
February 2017 Revisited: QGA, Central Variation, Kramnik’s Huge Preparation

There were some new interesting developments in the line 9. a3! since it was introduced by Kramnik against Karjakin in Khanty-Mansiysk 2014.

The former main line of this opening article arises after 9… fxe4 10. axb4 e6 11. Nc3 Nd5, where in the last 2-3 years a plenty of engine games have been played. Though Black gets some counterchances, move 12. Qg4! still gives White better prospects.

However, a couple of new grandmaster games continued with 9… Nd5, where after 10. Bf3 players of Black introduced 10… Bd7! as the most promising response so far. According to D. Navara – F. Caruana, Saint Louis (rapid) 2017 and S. Volkov – M. Demidov, Sochi 2014, Black has reasonable chances of equalizing in this line.

[Diagram: White to Move] White’s initiative has seemingly reached an impasse. How can he provide an additional spark and proceed his fight for advantage?

Click here to see the article in our viewer…


[November 04, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Philidor Defense, Shirov Gambit

[Line 295 : 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5]

Though slightly underestimated, Philidor Defense is a highly dynamic opening that gives Black reasonable counterplay. In recent years, the Philidor fans have usually opted for the move order starting with 1…. d6, 2… Nf6 and 3… e5 (instead of the old 1… e5 followed by 2… d6), thus avoiding some rather unpleasant lines. In our Line 295 users can find most of the Philidor lines, apart from 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O, which is covered in Line 296.

The Exchange Variation 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 doesn’t give Black much to worry about, while the Shirov Gambit 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. g4 leads to sharp positions, where it’s necessary to know the lines very precisely. The main variation in this line is the modern 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O Nb6!?, which can be used as a surprise weapon, though if White plays the most critical lines, the middlegame should be more comfortable for him.

[Diagram: White to Move] White has only a bishop for the queen, and there is only one way to secure a draw. Can you see it?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[November 03, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense with 4. O-O (incl. Improved Steinitz Defense)

[Line 376 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O]

Line 376 covers problably the most drawish opening variation in modern chess – when after 4… Nxe4 White avoids the main lines of Berlin Defense with 5. d4 (Lines 377-380), and instead keeps symmetrical pawn structure with 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5. Though Black has a few paths to full equality, we offer the easiest way to reach it!

There is an alternative for White on 5th move in 5. Qe2, and yet again Black can smoothly obtain a comfortable position.

Besides the above mentioned variations, this also line deals with the dynamic 4… Bc5, as well as with 4… Be7 and the Improved Steinitz Defense (4… d6), but none of these give Black satisfying play.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position occurred in a few games that Leko played with Black back in 1999, i. e. in the days when computers where not nearly as powerful as today. Nowadays it’s quite easy to determine whether the Knight sacrifice on g5 is defendable for Black or not. What’s your verdict?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…