[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?

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[November 02, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
King’s Indian Defense, King’s Knight Variation

[Line 125 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3]

The King’s Knight Variation 3. Nf3 is often an introduction to the fianchetto lines of the Indian Defenses. After 3… Bg7, move 4. Nc3 transposes to Line 150, and against 4. g3 the most popular lines are examined elsewhere: the King’s Indian Defense 4… O-O in our Lines 126-130, the solid 4… c6 in Lines 131-132, and the  Gruenfeld Defense 4… d5 in Lines 133-135.

After 4… c5 White usually continues with 5. Bg2. Besides 5… cxd4, Black has an interesting sideline in 5… Qa5+, trying to disrupt White’s common setup. The logical follow-ups after the three most logical replies are: 6. Nc3 Ne4 7. Qd3 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nc5, 6. Bd2 Qb6 7. dxc5 Qxc5 8. Qb3 Nc6 and 6. Qd2 Qxd2+ 7. Nbxd2 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nc6. Regardless of the chosen variation, Black should have sufficient resources to get even positions. If White plays 5. d5, Black also has a promising option: 5… b5 6. cxb5 Qa5+ 7. Bd2 Qxb5.

Another possible setup for Black is the double fianchetto: 4… b6 5. Bg2 Bb7. Though White has a slight space advantage, it’s hard for him to gain a tangible plus.

[Diagram: White to Move] What is the best way for White to make use of the h-file and launch a decisive attack?

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2016-03-01 - Update Line 245[November 01, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Semi-Slav, Vienna Variation

[Line 245 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 without 5. e4]

Line 245 mainly covers the following three branches of the Vienna Variation: 5. Qa4+5. e3 and 5. Bg5, while the main move 5. e4 is the topic of our Lines 246-247. The arising positions are usually quite dynamic, where both sides have their chances. These lines are not particularly fashionable nowadays, but one can still hardly call them innocuous.

In case of the Queen’s early check 5. Qa4+, Black gets decent positions with any of the following three moves: 5… c6, 5… Nbd7 and 5… Nc6.

After 5. e3 a6 6. Bxc4 b5 7. Bb3 c5 occurs a position similar to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, which is rather promising for Black.

Black also has several good replies to 5. Bg5, such as 5… a6, 5… Bb4 (transposing to Line 249) and 5… c5, with roughly equal game in all instances.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black King is stuck in the center, but the central lines aren’t open yet.  In an engine game White failed to find the best way to proceed, but in such positions human intuition can sometimes be stronger than the brute force of computer calculation – do you feel tempted enough to give it a shot?

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[October 31, 2017] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
Queen’s Gambit Accepted, McDonnell Defense

[Line 060 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 e5]

In the last couple of years, the Queen’s Gambit Accepted has been losing its popularity, and the main reason behind that trend is the dangerous Central Variation with 3. e4.

Line 060 covers the McDonnell Defense (3. e4 e5), which is one of the most topical responses to the Central Variation. After the principal reply 4. Nf3 Black has tried 4… Bb4+, but White gets better prospects here with 5. Nc3 exd4 6. Nxd4.

For that reason, Black usually continues with 4… exd4, and against 5. Bxc4 players of Black have recently found resources to obtain roughly equal chances in the 5… Nc6 line. The other option 5… Bb4+ does not look as promising, since White gets more than sufficient compensation for the pawn after 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. O-O

[Diagram: White to Move] Goldin – Rublevsky, Niksic 1997. Goldin missed a golden opportunity to launch a promising attack. What was the proper way to proceed as White?

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[October 30, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation – Taimanov Variation without 5. Nc3 (incl. Szen Variation)

[Line 449 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 without 5. Nc3]

Line 449 deals with White’s various choices on move five (excluding 5. Nc3, which leads to our Line 450). The Szen Variation (5. Nb5) is covered as the main line, and usually one of the following two types of the positions occurs:

[Diagram: Black to Move] White is a pawn up, and Black needs to act fast to make use of the fact that White is underdeveloped. How should Black continue?

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[October 29, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
October 2013 Revisited: Rossolimo Sicilian, 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. d4!?

Two 4-yaer-old articles on the Rossolimo Sicilian have been updated. Meanwhile, a considerable number of interesting games have been played. The first of these two articles deals with various choices for Black after 5… cxd4 6. Nxd4, and among them 6… Qb6, 6… Nxd4 and 6… a6 are the most reasonable ones. The second article covers 6… Ng6, which is the most popular move in the position among the top grandmasters.

Our overall evaluation of this line starting with 5. d4 is that Black is able to obtain roughly equal chances, though it is a bit easier to play it as White.

[Diagram: White to Move] E. Najer – A. Moiseenko, Olginka 2011. White has a chance to gain a decisive edge with an active play. How would you proceed?

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