[October 21, 2018] Updated Opening Article by GM Dragan Paunović:
June 2015 Revisited: Queen’s Gambit Declined with 4… Nbd7 5. Bf4 (10. Bd3!?)

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 is the first update of this article that originally followed E. Postny – I. Sokolov, Montpellier 2015, and a number of engine games. Our trusty silicon friends are still big fans of this line, while the most theoretically relevant over-the-board games include MVL’s encounters against Aronian and Grischuk from Stavanger 2015.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black to move and survive 😉

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[October 20, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Reti Opening – King’s Indian Attack with 4… Bg4

[Line 028 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bg4]

Reti Opening has become a mainstream opening in the recent years, and it is frequently played by many world’s top grandmasters. Line 028 deals with one of the main lines in the Reti, where both sides have a few topical plans.

The easiest setup to master with White is d2-d3, Nbd2, e2-e4, Qe1, often accompanied with h2-h3 and Nh4. On the other side, Black usually responds with Nbd7 and either e7-e5 with a possible dxe4, or somewhat less ambitious though very solid e7-e6, followed by Be7 and O-O.

The immediate 5. c4 is another popular choice, where after 5… e6, a common setup begins with 6. b3, followed by Bb2, d2-d3 and Nbd2, and another frequently employed plan is 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. Nc3. Although Black is the one that needs to be more cautious, he should generally not have difficulties reaching the equality.

[Diagram: White to Move] The Knight on d4 is under attack, so White needs to respond to the treat. What is the best continuation for him, leading to a big advantage?

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[October 19, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense – Yates Variation (Bogoljubow Variation with 10. d5)

[Line 403 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. d4 Bg4 10. d5]

After the almost exclusive continuation 10… Na5 11. Bc2, Black has at his disposal a very solid sideline 11… Qc8, preparing to undermine White’s pawn center with c7-c6. A possible follow-up is 12. h3 Bd7 13. Nbd2 c6 14. dxc6 Qxc6 with mutual play.

Move 11… c6 is played more frequently, where after 12. h3 apart from 12… Bc8, Black has an alternative in 12… Bxf3 13. Qxf3 cxd5 14. exd5 Nc4 where he can equalize with accurate play.

The main variation of this opening lines goes 10… Na5 11. Bc2 c6 12. h3 Bc8 13. dxc6 Qc7 14. Nbd2 Qxc6, where Black has no problems reaching positions with even chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] White is pressing on the kingside, and he can make big problems to his opponent with energetic play!

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[October 18, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Pin Defense

[Line 091 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4]

There are two usual continuations for White of about the same strength – one is immediate 5. Qb3, and the other is attacking the Bishop with 5. h3.

In the first case, the best answer is 5… Qb6, as 5… Qc7 and 5… Bxf3 allow White to get a nice edge. After the most common 5. Qb3 Qb6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Nh4 Bh5 8. h3, Black has a couple of ways to obtain positions that are more or less equal. Among them 8… Be7 9. g4 Bg6 10. Nxg6 hxg6 and 8… Qxb3 9. axb3 Na6 seem to be the easiest to handle.

In case of 5. h3, move 5… Bxf3 is the point of interest of our Line 092, while 5… Bf5 looks like an interesting possibility, especially for beginners; after 6. Nc3 e6 7. Nh4 Black has a good reply in 7… Be4, where the fact that the pawn is on h3 instead on h2, is actually in Black’s favor.

The main variation of this opening line is 5. h3 Bh5, with numerous options for both sides, but the overall evaluation is that Black should have no difficulties reaching the equality.

[Diagram: White to Move] Material is balanced in the diagrammed position, and if Black manages to castle his position would be fine. How can White initiate a strong attack and disturb the black King?

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[October 17, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Slav Defense, Moscow Variation – Main Line

[Line 273 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 Nd7 8. Bd3]

Line 273 covers the main line of the Moscow Variation of the Semi-Slav Defense.

The most common choice of the players of Black is 8… dxc4 9. Bxc4 g6, followed by the kingside fianchetto and short castling. After 10. O-O Bg7 11. e4 Black can prevent e4-e5 with 11… e5, or allow it with 11… O-O 12. e5 Qe7, in either case with a decent game. As an alternative we recommend 9… Bd6 10. O-O Qe7, where Black is ready to meet 11. e4 with 11… e5, and the position is more or less balanced.

If Black delays capturing on c4 with 8… g6 9. O-O Bg7, the position usually transposes to the above mentioned line after 10. e4 dxc4 11. e5 Qe7 12. Bxc4.

Another option worth mentioning is 8… Qd8 9. O-O Be7, where White typically has a slight space advantage, while Black gets to keep his bishop pair.

[Diagram: White to Move] Z. Azmaiparashvili – A. Dreev, Neum 2000. White minor pieces Ne4 and Bf7 are under attack. How should he proceed to get a decisive advantage?

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[October 16, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Trajko Nedev:
Scotch Game, Classical Variation without 5. Nxc6

[Line 361 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 without 5. Nxc6]

Apart from move 5. Nxc6 covered in our Line 362, White also has another two highly popular options: 5. Nb3 and 5. Be3.

Move 5. Nb3 has become a frequent choice among the top players in recent years. Though sidelines 5… Bb4+ and 5… Be7 are perfectly viable, they lead to positions with a small edge for White. After the usual 5… Bb6 6. Nc3 Black has three possibilities of about the same strength: 6… Nf6, 6… d6 and 6… Nge7.

The alternative 5. Be3 was the main move back in Kasparov’s time, and it’s not so strange that Garry tried it last year in s couple of blitz games against Nakamura and Caruana. Games often continue with 5… Qf6 6. c3 Nge7 where 7. Bc4 and 7. g3 are the most common options, both leading to complicated strategic battles.

[Diagram: White to Move] F. Vallejo Pons – V. Tkachiev, Legnica 2013. White’s queenside is a bit shaky, but his Knights have dominating positions in the center of the board, while the black Queen went astray. That being said, how can White get a substantial advantage?

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