[June 12, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
July 2015 Revisited: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation with 6. h3 e5

In the original article our game of the week was F. Caruana – W. So, Dortmund 2015, where Black managed to create excellent counterplay. We have now updated the survey with several theoretically important over-the-board, correspondence and engine games, and it seems that this variation remains a reliable choice for the players of Black, as they generally don’t seem to have many problems equalizing in this line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis from the game P. Karthikeyan – P. Darini, Al Ain 2015. Black has to do something about his opponent’s pressure on the queenside, and save his hanging pieces before it becomes too late.

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[Jun 11, 2016] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
Richter-Veresov Opening & Trompowsky Attack without 2… e6 & 2… 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.

[Line 073 : 1. d4 Nf6 without 2. Nf3, 2. c4]

The Richter-Veresov Opening, occurring after 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5 is our recommendation for beginners. This line is rarely seen in grandmaster practice, since it’s considered to give Black comfortable play in many ways, for example with 3… Nbd7 4. Nf3 g6.

One of the lines that have recently gained in popularity (especially in blitz games) is the London System 2. Bf4. Our Line 073 are covers its lines where White does not play Nf3: this setup is almost universal for the players of White – the fact that they can implement it regardless of Black’s plan makes it easily adoptable among beginner and club level players.

Major part of the Line 073 deals with the Trompovsky Attack 2. Bg5 without 2… e6 (Line 074) and 2… Ne4 (Line 075). There are two particularly important lines that we cover here: the dynamic 2… c5, and the more strategic choice – 2… d5.

[Diagram: White to Move] It’s “to be or not to be”! Black has just taken a knight on d4 and his opponent cannot recapture it. However, there is another promising option, which even leads to a substantial advantage for White.

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[Jun 10, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
English Opening, Symmetrical Variation (Anti-Benoni Variation & Spielmann Defense)

[Line 116 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 without 3. d5]

For the players of White who want to avoid both Benoni and the Benko Gambit, 3. Nf3 is a very solid choice. Besides 3… e6 and 3… g6, which both transpose to other lines, Black can also continue with 3… cxd4, and after 4. Nxd4 he has a few good possibilities, depending on the taste.

An interesting way to simplify the position is 4… g6 5. Nc3 d5, which was tried in several games by Nepomniachtchi, Zvjagincev and Bok.

Moves like 4… Nc6, 4… a6 or 4… Qc7 lead to transpositions to different lines, and the so-called Kasparov Gambit 4… e5 5. Nb5 d5 6. cxd5 leads to White’s lasting advantage in the critical lines.

The main focus of the Line 116 is Spielmann Defense 4… e6, often connected with White’s pawn sacrifice, like in the main 5. g3 Qc7 6. Nc3 a6 7. Bg2 Qxc4. This position is quite sharp and White gets better development for the sacrificed pawn, but Black has sufficient resources to reach positions with equal chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] R. Dzindzichashvili – E. Lobron, New York 1988. White knight is under attack, but black pieces are uncoordinated, and White has an opportunity to launch a decisive attack.

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[Jun 09, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Trajko Nedev:
Caro-Kann Defense, Advance Variation – Van der Wiel Attack

[Line 317 : 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nc3]

The idea of the Van der Wiel Attack (4. Nc3) in the Caro-Kann Defense is to react to the most natural 4… e6 with an immediate pawn advance 5. g4 Bg6 6. Nge2, followed by going after the Black Bishop on g6 with h2-h4 and Nf4. In the occurring position, Black has a few ways to achieve decent counterplay, and the most direct reactions are 6… c5 and 6… f6, both leading to very sharp positions.

As an alternative to these demanding lines, Black can also choose a waiting move like 4… a6, in order to meet 5. g4 with 5… Bd7. White could carry on with 5. Be3 e6 6. g4 Bg6 7. Nge2 c5, where Black typically obtains satisfactory positons.

[Diagram: White to Move] In this double-edged position White has a way of launching a strong attack, though it demands major sacrifices!

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[Jun 08, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
King’s Indian Defense, Orthodox Variation (incl. Kazakh Variation)

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.

[Line 158 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 without 6… e5]

The Orthodox Variation (6. Be2) is the most popular variation in the entire King’s Indian Defense, and our Line 158 covers various reactions from Black, apart from 6… e5, which is covered in Lines 159-169.

Against the Kazakh Variation (6… Na6) White has an interesting choice in 7. Bf4, which prevents e7-e5. That leaves Black with the idea c7-c5, like in 7… Bg4 8. O-O c5, but after 9. d5 White has a lasting spatial advantage.

Poking the center with 6… c5 has recently been tried by a few strong grandmasters, with a modern idea in mind. While 7. d5 transposes to Benoni, which is covered in our Line 117, White can also play 7. O-O. Players of Black can then opt for the abovementioned novel idea by playing 7… Re8, but even there White can fight for opening advantage in a number of different ways.

Black’s main alternative to 6… e6 is 6… Bg4, with the idea to trade his light-squared bishop for the knight on f3, followed by exerting pressure on the d4-pawn. The game then typically continues with 7. Be3 Nfd7 8. O-O Nc6 9. d5 Bxf3 10. gxf3 Ncb8, and after 11. f4 White has a slight edge.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Today’s preview brings a nice trick that is well-known from several grandmaster games. How can Black immediately seize significant advantage? Hint: black pawn on e7 is not as pinned as it seems!

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[Jun 06, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Chebanenko Variation with 5. c5

[Line 100 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 without 5… Nbd7]

Line 100 deals with 5. c5, which is one of the most critical lines in the Chebanenko Variation of the Slav Defense; it covers all the responses that Black’s has at his disposal at this important theoretical juncture, apart from the main 5… Nbd7, which is covered in our Line 101.

Since 5… g6 and 5… Bg4 allow White to gain opening advantage in a rather simplistic manner, 5… Bf5 is the main focus of this line. The best plan for the players of White is to deploy the dark-squared bishop on the h2-b8 diagonal by playing 6. Bf4, and after 6… Nbd7 they should proceed with 7. e3, since 7… Nh5 8. h3 Nxf4 9. exf4 e6 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 leaves White with a slight pull.

Black can also try either 7… g6 or 7… e6 but, in our opinion, in both cases White can successfully fight for opening advantage, primarily thanks to controlling more space.

[Diagram: White to Move] I. Cheparinov – E. Bacrot, Elista 2008. In the diagrammed position Cheparinov played energetically and gained substantial advantage. How did he proceed?

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