[October 04, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation – English Attack (Miscellaneous)

[Line 491 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 without 6… e6, 6… e5]

Move 6… e6 is covered in our Lines 492-494, while 6… e5 can be found in Lines 495-500. From the other possibilities, move 6… Nc6 is also an interesting option, while 6… Ng4 is the main topic of this opening line.

After 6… Ng4 7. Bg5 move 7… Nc6 is an alternative inferior to the main 7… h6, where the game usually proceeds with 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bg7. Now 10. Be2 is a move of equivalent strength as the most frequently played 10. h3. In response to h3 Black can play 10… Nf6, but 10… Ne5 is the principal choice. Against both of these moves players of White have tried several options, but Black seems capable of reaching sufficient counterplay in any of those cases.

[Diagram: White to Move] V. Ivanchuk – A. Shirov, Wijk aan Zee 2001. Black has neglected piece development just to capture the d-pawn. How should White continue to gain a decisive edge?

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2016-02-27 - Update Line 042[October 03, 2017] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Nimzo-English (The Zvjaginsev-Krasenkow Attack) & Queen’s Indian Formation

[Line 042 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3]

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.

This line deals with a variation that occurs when White, by delaying the otherwise topical move d2-d4, wants to avoid both the Nimzo-Indian and the Queen’s Indian Defenses. There are four principal choices for Black: playing the Nimzo-English Variation after 3… Bb4, choosing the Queen’s Indian formation with 3… b6, offering transposition to the Queen’s Gambit with 3… d5, or to the Symmetrical English with 3… c5. Generally speaking, Black’s pick mostly depends on his preferred choice against White’s central setup with d4 and c4.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Position from the World Championship match Kasparov – Anand, New York (m/4) 1995.  White is a pawn up and has a bishop pair, so Black urgently needs something to counterbalance it. Anand managed to draw the game, but here he missed a strong resource to achieve a long term initiative. What was the move that Black should have played?

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2016-02-23 - Update Line 032[October 02, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
English Opening, Asymmetrical & Four Knights Variations

[Line 032 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 without 3… e6]

Line 032 covers various choices for Black on 3rd move. The main variaton arises after 3… d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5, with several popular choices for White – 5. d4, 5. e4, 5. e3 as well as some rare sidelines. It can lead to very different types of positions ranging from sharp (e. g. after 5. e4 Nb4 6. Bc4 Nd3+ 7. Ke2, as played in some recent top games, like Aronian – Topalov, London 2015) to deeply strategical positions (e. g. after 5. d4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 g6 7. Bf4, as seen in Aronian – Caruana, Wijk aan Zee 2014). The fact that Aronian outplayed these two super GMs in very convincing fashion shows that this line can be very tricky!

[Diagram: White to Move] Korobov – Timofeev, Sochi 2015. White missed a great opportunity to gain a significant advantage. Can you find it?

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[October 01, 2017] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
December 2015 Revisited: Anglo-Grünfeld Defense, Stein Attack

Our original key game in this line was E. Bacrot – V. Ivanchuk, Ashdod (rapid) 2015, where White tried a very promising idea, but played it one move too late to achieve something tangible. Fortunately for us, a number of correspondence games took place in the same line where players of White managed to create serious problems to their opponents, which gave us the opportunity to evaluate this variation properly.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position features our improvement on A. Lesiege – V. Mikhalevski, Québec 2017. White has an obvious spatial advantage, but Black has finished all the preparations and is ready to launch a thematic central counterthrust by playing e5. What should White play to secure a tangible advantage?

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2016-02-20 - Update Line 219[September 30, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Nimzowitsch Variation, Timman’s Line

[Line 219 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 without 5. Nbd2, 5. Qc2, 5.Qa4, 5. b3]

This opening line covers the variation with 6. Qb3, named after famous Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman. It’s probably not as ambitious as some other choices, but Black still needs to be careful. For instance, in the game Vachier-Lagrave – Karjakin, Tashkent 2014 Black got into serious trouble straight from the opening.

6. Qb3 Nc6 7. Nbd2 Na5 is the most frequently played line, though both 7…Bb7 and 7… d5 seem to offer Black quite decent chances, too.

[Diagram: White to Move] Van Wely – Dao Thien Hai, Mallorca 2014. Timman’s compatriot missed an excellent opportunity to gain a significant advantage. What is the best way to proceed as White?

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2016-02-18 - Update Line 159[September 29, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
King’s Indian Defense, Petrosian Variation (incl. Stein Defense)

[Line 159 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 without 7. Be3, 7. O-O]

Variation named after 9th World Champion Tigran Petrosian starts with 7. d5, where the most popular choice for Black remains 7… a5, explored many years ago by another famous Soviet chess player – Leonid Stein. This highly complex strategical line was very popular during the 1959 Candidates tournament, played twice in the games between Tal and Fischer, and also in two other games: Petrosian – Gligorić and Olafsson – Gligorić. Even nowadays it can sometimes be seen in top-level encounters, e. g. like in Kramnik – Nakamura, London 2014.

Apart from the Petrosian Variation, Exchange Variation is also covered in this line, as well as some rare sidelines on White’s 7th move.

[Diagram: White to Move] This double-edged position is in White’s favor, mostly because of the open g-file for his rooks. It’s White’s move, and he has a great opportunity to launch a decisive attack!

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