[December 23, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Modern Defense, Bishop & Three Pawns Attack (incl. Gurgenidze Defense)

[Line 290 : 1. e4 g6]

The Modern Defense leaves White with more space, while Black’s biggest gain is that he usually avoids forced lines.

After the most common 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 Black often opts for 3… c6, planning the d7-d5 advance. White can transpose to lines of the Caro-Kann with 4. Nf3 d5, while other independent continuations are the Gurgenidze Defense (4. f4 d5 5. e5) and the Bishop Attack (4. Bc4).

In case of the Gurgenidze Defense, White typically keeps a small edge after 4. f4 d5 5. e5 Nh6 6. Nf3 f6 7. Be3, while Black is able to equalize against the Bishop Attack, both after 4. Bc4 d6 5. Qf3 e6 6. Nge2 b5 and 4. Bc4 d6 5. Bb3 Nf6 6. Nf3 O-O.

[Diagram: White to Move] S. Galdunts – O. Buergi, Zuerich 2004. Black Queen is overburdened. How can White make use of it to get a big advantage?

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[December 21, 2016] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Opocensky Variation

[Line 215 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nc3 Ne4]

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.

Opocensky Variation (7. Bd2) is the most principled continuation for White after the introductory moves of this opening line. White is ready to meet 7… Nxc3 with 8. Bxc3, without disrupting his pawn structure.

On the 7th move Black has a couple of reactions of about the same strength.

With 7… f5 Black takes control of the e4-square and usually puts the black-squared Bishop on f6 sometime later.

The alternative 7… Bf6 is a more solid choice. After 8. Qc2 Nxd2 9. Qxd2 d6 White has a bit more space, while Black keeps his bishop pair.

Move 7… d5 is another way to take hold of the e4-square, and here again Black should not have difficulties reaching equality.

[Diagram: Black to Move] A. Karpov – V. Salov, Rotterdam 1989. Karpov’s last move was Ra1-c1, which turns out to be a big mistake. How can Black punish his opponent’s oversight?

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[December 20, 2016] 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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[December 19, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Dragan Barlov:
Slav Defense, Quiet Variation – Chebanenko Variation

[Line 090 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 a6 without 5. Nc3]

The main move against the Chebanenko Varitation is 5. Nc3 and it’s covered in our Line 102. Among the other White’s choices on 5th move 5. Bd3, 5. Qc2, 5. Nbd2 and 5. Bd2 deserve serious attention. Black’s usual plan is 5… Bg4, or (if allowed) 5… Bf5, followed by e7-e6, Be7 and O-O.

An examplary line could be 5. Bd3 Bg4 6. Nbd2 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. b3 Bd6, where Black has comfortable position.

Move 5. Qc2 seems to pose a bit more problems for Black, though he is again able to obtain roughly equal positions, both with 5… Bg4 6. Ne5 Bh5 and 5… g6 6. Bd3 Bg7 7. O-O O-O.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Z. Azmaiparashvili – G. Kasparov, Crete 2003. Kasparov didn’t miss the chance to take over the initiative and soon gained a decisive advantage. What is the best continuation for Black?

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[December 18, 2016] Pick of the Week by GM Boris Avrukh:
August 2016 Revisited: Closed Catalan Defense with 7. Ne5, 9. Na3 & 11. Qd2 

After the original key game W. So – H. Nakamura, Saint Louis 2016 many good players had followed suit, so we have decided to update the article with recent developments in this line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black had major difficulties defending his pawns in E. Iturrizaga Bonelli – J. Schroeder, London 2016, so passive approach might not have been the best approach for him. Any ideas on how to proceed as Black?


[December 17, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Bogo-Indian Defense with 4. Bd2 (incl. Nimzowitsch Variation)

[Line 201 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 with 4… a5, 4… Qe7]

In the Nimzowitsch Variation (4… Qe7) Black delays trading of the dark-squared Bishops. When White continues with 5. Nc3, Black often captures on c3, followed by Ne4 and exchanging another pair of pieces. White usually opts for 5. g3, where after 5… Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 Black’s best option is 6… Nc6, with the idea of playing Ne4 and Qb4+. The alternative 5… Nc6 allows White to gain a small edge after 6. Nc3 Bxc3 7. Bxc3 Ne4 8. Rc1 O-O 9. Bg2 d6 10. d5.

The other variation covered in this opening line is 4… a5. Two common follow-ups are 5. g3 d5 6. Qc2 c5 and 5. Nc3 b6 6. e3 Bb7 with a roughly equal game.

[Diagram: White to Move] White has more than sufficient compensation for a pawn, and he can even make a decisive advantage with aggressive play. How should he continue?

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