NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 19, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Reti Opening – King’s Indian Attack without 4… Bg4

[Line 027 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O]

Move 4… Bg4 is considered to be the main variation of the Reti Opening, and it is covered in our Line 028. Though 4… g6 and 4… Nbd7 are also quite reasonable, 4… Bf5 is the main alternative.

One of the popular plans for White against 4… Bf5 is 5. d3 followed by Nbd2, and either Qe1 with e2-e4, or b2-b3 with Bb2 and c2-c4. In both cases, Black gets comfortable positions after a couple of natural moves.

Early 5. c4 is the most ambitious reaction to 4… Bf5. If Black goes for 5… dxc4, White gets a better development with 6. Na3, where after 6… b5 7. b3 White gets a strong initiative. The more usual is 5… e6 6. cxd5 exd5, where after 7. d3, with the idea of Nc3 and e2-e4, Black needs to be careful to neutralize White’s plan.

[Diagram: Black to Move] P. Svidler – A. Morozevich, Sochi (blitz) 2014. Morozevich missed the chance, though in a blitz game, to capitalize on his opponent’s mistake. What is the best continuation for Black?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[November 18, 2018] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
August 2017 Revisited: Grünfeld Defense, Improved Nadanian Attack

Our original key game in this line was A. Tari – M. Vachier-Lagrave, Gibraltar 2016, where Black managed to equalize comfortably with 9… Qe7, though 9… exd4 seemed to offer Black equally good prospects. For instance, Li Chao – I. Nepomniachtchi, Moscow 2016 only confirmed our assessment, as the incredible Russian star never really had any problems at all.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position follows our analysis where White played inaccurately, which left him behind in development. However, things are far from easy as White only needs to castle and everything would be just fine for him. What should Black do to make the best of his developmental advantage and queenside pressure?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 17, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Modern Variation – Moscow Variation (Miscellaneous)

[Line 458 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ without 3… Nc6, 3… Bd7]

Two of the three meaningful replies to the Bb5+ check are covered in other opening lines – 3… Nc6 in Lines 459-460, and 3… Bd7 in Lines 461-462. Move 3… Nd7 is the point of interest of this opening line, where White’s frequently employed options are 4. d4, 4. O-O and 4. c3, while for beginners we recommend 4. a4.

In case of 4. d4 two highly investigated variations are 4… cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 and 4… Ngf6 5. O-O cxd4 6. Qxd4 a6 7. Bxd7+ Bxd7. Though very similar, they have some important differences, and both lead to positions with mutual chances.

Furthermore, variations 4. O-O and4. c3 are often connected with the same type of the position, resembling the Closed Defense in Ruy Lopez. The exemplary lines could be 4. O-O a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. c3 b5 7. Bc2 Bb7 and 4. c3 Ngf6 5. Qe2 a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. Bc2 Bb7, with strategically complex play.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black is severely underdeveloped, and it is the right time for White to start a crushing attack. What would be the winning continuation for him?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 16, 2018] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Flohr-Mikenas-Carls Variation

[Line 010 : 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 with 2… e6, 2… g6]

Two popular, yet substantially different, variations are examined in this line: 2… e6, aiming for the Nimzo-Indian/Queen’s Gambit Declined, or 2… g6, which is the choice of the King’s Indian Defense aficionados.

After 2… e6 3. e4 (Mikenas-Carls Variation) two moves are dominant choices of the players of Black, namely 3… d5 and 3… c5. Common continuations in these lines are the Flohr Variation 3… d5 4. e5 d4 5. exf6 dxc3 6. bxc3 Qxf6 7. Nf3 e5 and 3… c5 4. e5 Ng8 5. Nf3 Nc6, in both cases with mutual play.

If Black chooses 2… g6, White can either force the King’s Indian with 3. e4 d6 4. d4 or opt for the independent 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. e4, followed by Nge2 and short castling.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position occurred in several grandmaster games. Black has better pawn structure and he would be satisfied to develop his dark-squared Bishop and castle short. How should White fight his opponent’s plan and obtain a substantial advantage?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 15, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Aleksandar Kovačević:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical Variation – Keres Defense without 7. Bg5

[Line 183 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 without 7. Bg5]

In addition to 7. Bg5 (covered in Line 184) White can also play 7. Nf3, which is an option of approximately the same strength. Though after 7. Nf3 Bb7 he can opt for 8. Bg5 or 8. g3, move 8. e3 is the most common choice of White. Here, Black has two substantially different plans.

The idea of 8… d5 is connected with Nbd7, and either dxc4 or c7-c5. An illustrative line could be 9. b3 Nbd7 10. Be2 c5 11. O-O Rc8, with roughly equal game.

The more typical setup is 8… d6, followed by Nbd7, Ne4, and f7-f5, creating a counterplay on the kingside. After the frequently seen 9. Be2 Nbd7 10. O-O Ne4 11. Qc2 f5 12. b4 move 12… Rf6 clearly indicates Black’s intentions. Black should not accept pawn sacrifice after 13. d5; instead, he should carry on with the initial plan with 13… Rg6, with good prospects.

[Diagram: Black to Move] A. Karpov – J. Polgar, Zuerich (rapid) 2009. Judit failed to find the way to make use of White’s undeveloped kingside, which would have given her a clear edge. Can you see it?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 14, 2018] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Korchnoi’s Variation

[Line 038 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. g3]

After the usual follow-up 5… Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O occurs a major branching of this opening variation. If Black continues with 7… c5, notable choices of White include 8. Qa4 and 8. d4, yet 8. Nxd5 Qxd5 9. d3 Nc6 10. Be3 is the most frequently played one. Black can obtain equality without difficulties, often including simplification of the position, like in 10… Bd7 11. Nd4 Qd6 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. Bxc6 Qxc6.

Other possibilities are 7… Nc6 8. d4 e5!?, 7… e5 (known as the Kortchnoi’s Variation) and 7… Nxc3 8. bxc3 c5, that should also be fine for Black.

For club level players we recommend an interesting sideline – 5… Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. h4, trying to provoke Black to weaken the kingside with 7… h6, where positions arising after 8. O-O Nc6 9. d4 typically favor White.

[Diagram: White to Move] A. Adorjan – P. Popovic, Vrbas 1980. Black Bishop went astray on a4, which gives White motives connected with double attack. How can White win material in the diagrammed position?

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