NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 27, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Reti Opening, Miscellaneous

[Line 021 : 1. Nf3 d5 without 2. d4, 2. g3]

In addition to transposing to our Line 056 with 2. d4, and the main line in Reti Opening (2. g3) examined in our Lines 023-024, White has another popular alternative in 2. c4.

The Anglo-Slav, occurring after 2. c4 c6, is covered separately in Line 022, and other choices from Black on the second move (2… d4, 2… e6 and 2… dxc4) are the main point of interest of this opening line.

After 2. c4 d4, moves 3. g3 and 3. b4 seem to pose the most problems to Black, though he is typically able to get equal positions without difficulties.

After 2… e6 3. g3 dxc4 appears a kind of Neo-Catalan Accepted, while in case of 2… dxc4 White has a choice between 3. e3, often transposing to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and the not very ambitious 3. Na3 or 3. Qa4+.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White seems to be fine, but poor coordination of his pieces allows Black to obtain a substantial advantage. Can you find the way to do it?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[November 26, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
May 2017 Revisited: Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation: Bastrikov Variation

Our original main line of this variation still follows A. Morozevich – I. Bukavshin, Moscow (rapid) 2015, a marvelous tactical masterpiece by the former World No. 2. New theoretically important developments have appeared since our last update, so it seemed logical to revisit this double-edged line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position is from a Chess.com blitz game M. Vachier Lagrave – A. Grischuk, Internet (blitz) 2017. Black has a bishop pair, but he wants something more. Is this the right time to try something decisive?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 25, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Harrwitz Attack

[Line 253 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 without 5. Bg5]

The Harrwitz Attack, characterized by the topical 5. Bf4 is, besides 5. Bg5, one of the two most popular systems against the Queen’s Gambit Declined. It’s a frequent guest among the elite so, due to sheer quantity of the information, the remainder of the material is covered in Lines 254-257.

The Fianchetto Variation with 5. g3 has recently gained in popularity, mostly due to Kramnik’s incredible input of original ideas for both sides, like in recent P. Svidler – V. Kramnik, Skopje 2015 and V. Kramnik – V. Topalov, Tromsø (ol) 2014.

We especially recommend that you take a closer look at an incredibly spectacular game P. Svidler – A. Morozevich, Sochi 2012.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position is well-known from many games, ranging from classical B. Ivkov – K. Robatsch, Vinkovci 1968, to some recent correspondence and engine games. After energetic play, White gets a strong attack!

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 24, 2017] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Hedgehog Variation with 7. d4

[Line 045 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4]

Line 045 covers the main line of the Hedgehog Variation of the English Opening. After 7… cxd4, recapturing the pawn with Knight 8. Nxd4 leads to simplified positions, where Black can easily equalize.

On the other hand, 8. Qxd4 poses significantly more problems for Black: in the main 7… cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 9. Bg5 a6 10. Bxf6! he has difficulties reaching equality. Black can get solid, yet passive positions, where he has to wait for White’s action, which may not be to everyone’s taste.

[Diagram: White to Move] This position has occurred in a number of recent computer games. How should White make use of his active pieces, and the weakness of the f5 square?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 23, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Borki Predojević:
Hungarian Defense; Evans Gambit; Italian Game

[Line 363 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 without 3… Nf6]

Line 363 deals with numerous classical openings, like Hungarian Defense (3… Be7)Evans Gambit (3… Bc5 4. b4) and forced lines of Italian Game (3… Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4). Two Knights Defense (3… Nf6) is covered separately in Lines 367-368, and Giouco Pianissimo (3… Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3) in our Lines 364-366.

The Hungarian Defense is rarely seen in modern grandmaster practice, and in our opinion it is suitable for the beginners. Position arising after 3… Be7 4. d4 d6 5. d5 Nb8 6. Bd3 is slightly better for White in view of his small, but stable, space advantage.

The Evans Gambit is occasionally seen even among the top players. After 3… Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Black is able to obtain even chances with 5… Be7 and 5… Ba5, while 5… Bd6 and 5… Bc5, though playable, demand precise play mostly from Black.

Black has a couple of ways to get promising positions in the classical Italian Game 3… Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4, both against 6. e5 d5 7. Bb5 Ne4 8. cxd4 and 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2.

[Diagram: White to Move] J. Del Pozo Hernandez – R. El Messiry, corr. 1997. White is a piece down but has a strong attack that turns out to be decisive. How should he continue and convert the attack to a full point?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[November 22, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Boris Avrukh:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense – Breyer Variation (Main Line with 15. b3)

[Line 410 : 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. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 g6 15. b3]

The Breyer Variation is one of the ever popular choices on the highest level, often employed by the World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Line 410 covers b2-b3, one of the most principal choices for White on 15th move. The idea is either to fianchetto White’s dark-squared Bishop, or to push d4-d5, followed by c3-c4. Black has several ways to equalize, and probably the safest is the main line 15… Bg7 (with the idea d6-d5), and after 16. d5 Rc8, Black has c7-c6 with mutual play.

[Diagram: White to Move] One of the critical positions in Line 410 occurs after 15… d5 16. Bg5 h6. It is necessary for players of White to know the consequences of the topical piece sacrifice 17. Bh4! g5 18. Nxg5, but if they plays precisely, their accuracy pays off – Black has lots of problems to solve!

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