[December 22, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Four Knights Game, Spanish Variation without 4… Nd4 (incl. Double Ruy Lopez)

[Line 374 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 without 4… Nd4]

The Spanish Variation, though nominally a part of the Four Knights Game, is typically reached by transposition as an Anti-Berlin reaction from White (at least in recent years).

The so-called Double Ruy Lopez, starting with 4… Bb4, is covered as the main variation in Line 374. As a viable alternative, there is also 4… Bc5, which generally leads to satisfactory positions for Black.

[Diagram: White to Move] In an engine game White failed to find the best way to re-ignite his attack. What was the best way to proceed?

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[December 21, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Two Knights Attack, Alapin Variation

[Line 104 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4]

Line 104 deals with the Two Knights Attack with 4… dxc4, including both some topical sidelines like 5. e3, and some less promising ones, such as 5. Ne5 or 5. e4.

The Alapin Variation (5. a4) is covered as the main line here, with one exception: the most frequently played 5… Bf5 is analyzed elsewhere (Lines 106-111). One of the sharpest variations (5… e6 6. e4 Bb4) makes for the largest part of this line, and we think that it should give Black just enough play to equalize.

[Diagram: White to Move] White’s development advantage combined with the poor placement of Black King gives White an opportunity to launch a practically decisive attack.

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[December 20, 2017] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Kramnik-Shirov Counterattack

[Line 006 : 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 without 2… Nc6, 2… Nf6]

Kramnik-Shirov Counterattack (2… Bb4) is, in our opinion, an interesting alternative to the usual 2… Nf6 (Lines 011-017) and 2… Nc6 (Lines 006 and 007). Players of White have tried many plans, and among them 3. Nd5 seems to be the most ambitious. Apart form 3… Bc5, Black gets satisfactory positions both after 3… Be7 and 3… a5.

The other heavily examined variation in Line 006 is 2… d6, followed by f7-f5, Nf6, g7-g6 and Bg7. An illustrative line could follow: 3. g3 f5 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. e3 g6 6. Nge2 Bg7, and Black’s flexible setup should give him enough for equalization.

[Diagram: Black to Move] B. Gulko – J. Granda Zúñiga, Moscow 1994. Last White’s move was g2-g4, missing Black’s strong response. How did Granda Zúñiga get an almost winning advantage?

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[December 19, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation – Kan Variation with 5… Qc7

[Line 444 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7]

The Kan Variation is a very flexible defense for players of Black, yet they need to have a very precise knowledge of some aggressive responses from White. Among them it’s probably 6. Bd3 that causes the most problems for Black. In our opinion, the best way to react is 6… Nf6, and after 7. O-O Black has at least two good options: the main 7… Bc5, or an equally playable sideline with 7… Bd6.

[Diagram: White to Move] E. Jensen – K. Varberg, corr 2010. White pieces are all over the board, and Black’s last line of defense and his only hope are his knights. How should White initiate a decisive breakthrough?

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[December 18, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
King’s Indian Defense, Yugoslav System & Larsen, Kavalek & Benjamin Defenses

[Line 127 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6]

The Yugoslav System, starting with 6. O-O c5, is a very sensitive option for the players of Black, but those familiar with all the nuances should reach satisfactory positions.

The Larsen Defense (6… c6 7. Nc3 Bf5) is a flexible way of meeting the fianchetto lines, though it often leaves Black with somewhat passive positions.

The Kavalek Defense (7… Qa5), typically followed by e5, is another legitimate approach, though it also leads to slightly more pleasant positions for White.

The Benjamin Defense (7… Qb6) is an unorthodox sideline, and if White plays accurately against it, he should end up with a long-term advantage.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black has sacrificed a piece for a promising attack, and the time has come for a decisive punch. What should he do?

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