[September 13, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
English Opening, Anglo-Slav

[Line 022 : 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 without 3. d4]

Apart from the main 3. d4, transposing to the Line 071, there are also two other plans that players of White frequently employ: one is the kingside fianchetto with 3. g3, and the other is 3. e3, followed by Nc3, b2-b3 and Bb2.

The first plan allows Black to transpose to the Reti Opening with 3… Nf6, though he can also accept the offer and capture the pawn with 3… dxc4. After 3… dxc4 4. Bg2 Nd7 5. O-O White has sufficient compensation for the sacrificed pawn, which usually leads to its recapture. In the meantime, Black should develop his pieces, which should lead to approximately even chances.

Against the alternative 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3, depending on whether Black wants to play the Semi-Slav, Slav Defense or the Schlechter Variation, he typically opts for one of the following moves: 4… e6, 4… a6, 4… Bg4 or 4… g6. White most often responds with b2-b3 and Bb2, which often eventually transposes to the main lines with d2-d4.

[Diagram: White to Move] White’s dark-squared Bishop and Rook on d1 are prepared for active roles, so how can White cash in his chips?

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[September 12, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Scheveningen Variation without 6. g4

[Line 467 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 without 6. g4]

Apart from the very promising Keres Attack (6. g4), covered in Line 468, White has a couple of reasonably interesting possibilities as well.

After 6. Be3, the best option for Black is transposing to the English Attack of the Najdorf Defense with 6… a6. In case of the alternative 6… Nc6, White is able to get better chances with 7. f3 Be7 8. Qd2.

The idea of 6. f4 is Qf3, Be3 and O-O-O, though Black is doing fine after any of the following moves: 6… a6, 6… Be7 and 6… Nc6.

For those preferring a more positional approach, we recommend either 6. Be2 with transposition to the Classical Scheveningen, or 6. g3, which leads to the Fianchetto Variation of either Najdorf or Classical Sicilian Defense.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black pieces have a terrible coordination, and the final blow from White is to be expected!

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CO24-7_logo_black_background[September 01-30, 2018] Back to School 2018 Special Offer & Summer Break

Dear users and chess friends,

Late summer holiday season is about to begin for the members of Chess Openings 24/7 Editorial Board: our team will be enjoying a well-deserved break between September 2, 2018 and September 11, 2018, though most of us will actually be playing for our clubs participating in national league competitions. We will not publish new content during that period, and we shall return with a new uploaded opening line on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Until then – enjoy our special offer on our annual package: get 14+1 months* for 99 EUR/109 USD. This offer is valid from September 1 until September 30, 2018.

* Purchasing our subscription during the Special Offer period will activate a 14-month subscription. To extend your subscription to 15 months, just enter our Back to School 2018 Coupon Code after the purchase and log-in. As a logged user all you have to do is enter the code given below & confirm the captcha sequence at then click on the button “Claim the Coupon” just below the Captcha field. You can claim the coupon only once up to 30 days after the purchase.

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[September 01, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
English Opening – Symmetrical Defense (Mecking Variation)

[Line 126 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O]

Mecking Variation (5. Bg2 c5 6. O-O cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nc6 8. Nc3 Qa5) has become highly popular in the recent years. Black’s plan typically includes Qc5 (attacking the Knight on d4 and the c4-pawn) or Qa5, followed by either Ng4 or d7-d6, Bh3 and Ng4. If White fights the Black Queen’s maneuver with 9. e3, Black gets a comfortable position after 9… Ne5 10. Qe2 d6. The usual continuation for White is 9. Nb3, where after 9… Qh5 the players of White have tried to create problems to his opponent with 10. e4, 10. Nd5, 10. c5 and 10. h3, but Black has sufficient resources to obtain balanced positions in either case.

Black also has some other possibilities on the 8th move: 8… Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d6, 8… Ng4 9. e3 d6 and 8… d6 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bxc6 Rb8, but only the first of them offers promise of positions that are roughly equal.

[Diagram: Black to Move] In this highly complicated position Black has a hidden means to get a draw, but it demands a very accurate play!

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[August 31, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Ruy Lopez, Morphy Defense – Normal Variation (Miscellaneous)

[Line 386 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O without 5… Nxe4, 5… Be7]

In addition to the Closed Defense 5… Be7 (Lines 391-413) and the Open Variation 5… Nxe4 (Lines 389-390), Black has two more viable choices, namely 5… b5 and 5… Bc5.

After 5… b5 6. Bb3 move 6… Bc5 (Lines 387-388) is the most frequently played option, while 6… Bb7 is an alternative of about the same strength.

The idea of 6… Bb7 is to react against 7. c3 with 7… Nxe4, where White has sufficient compensation for the pawn, but Black should not be worse. In the case of calm 7. d3 Black is fine both after 7… Be7 and 7… Bc5, while after 7. Re1 Bc5 8. c3 he can equalize with 8… d6 9. d4 Bb6, as well as with 8… O-O 9. d4 Bb6.

Move 5… Bc5 is a sideline, where Black’s position after 6. c3 O-O 7. d4 Bb6 should be roughly equal.

[Diagram: White to Move] P. Negi – W. Spoelman, Wijk aan Zee 2007. White Knight on g5 is under attack and Black can meet 16. Nxe4 with 16… Qxh4. Is there a better continuation for White in the diagrammed position?

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[August 30, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Dragan Barlov:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Slav Defense – Stoltz Variation (Main Line with 9… b5)

[Line 285 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5]

By playing 9… b5 Black has attacked the Bishop on c4, intends to play Bb7, and later either c6-c5, or e6-e5. White has two replies of about the same strength: 10. Be2 and 10. Bd3.

In the first case, after 10. Be2 Bb7, the two most common continuations are 11. e4 e5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nd4 Neg4 and 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. e4 e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nd4 Neg4, both with immense complications.

If White retreats the Bishop to d3, Black replies the same, i. e. 10… Bb7. Black is again ready to meet 11. e4 with 11… e5. The most popular choice of the players of White is 11. a3, preventing b5-b4, and in some cases planning b2-b4, thus keeping the Bishop on b7 passive. After 11… a5 White switches to the abovementioned plan: 12. e4 e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Bxe5 15. h3, and again Black is fine after 15… Re8. The alternative is 11… a6, and since he is now ready to play c6-c5, White prevents it with 12. b4. Black’s idea is 12… a5 13. Rb1 axb4 14. axb4 Qe7, pressing the b4-pawn.

[Diagram: White to Move] White Rook on a1 and Bishop on e5 are hanging, and so is the black Queen. In such a complicated position there is a path for White that leads to an almost decisive advantage, can you see it?

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