[May 12, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Caro-Kann Defense, Advance Variation (incl. Botvinnik-Carls Defense and Bronstein & Bayonet Variations)

[Line 315 : 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5]

The main move against the Advance Variation of Caro-Kann is 3… Bf5, where the most popular options for White include 4. Nf3 (Lines 318-320), 4. Nc3 (Line 317), 4. h4 (Line 316) and 4. Nd2 (Line 316). This opening line deals with other, less frequently played, options.

Move 4. Be3 is aimed against Black’s topical reaction c6-c5, and is usually followed by Nd2, Ngf3, Be2 and O-O.

Positions occurring after 4. c4 are sensitive and demand precise play from both sides. Black will, at some point, play dxc4 and gain a pleasant square d5 for one of his Knights. White has more space and often deploys his KN via e2 to g3.

Bayonet Variation (4. g4) and Bronstein Variation (4. Ne2) are rarely seen in modern practice, since here Black gets comfortable positions without difficulties.

Botvinnik-Carls Defense (3… c5) is a solid alternative to 3… Bf5. White can proceed with 4. Nf3, but the more common choice is 4. dxc5, where both 4… e6 and 4… Nc6 are well investigated, and typically give Black sufficient counterplay.

[Diagram: Black to Move] K. Litz – R. Nagel, corr. 2006. White pieces lack coordination which allows Black to gain a big edge. What would you play?

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[May 10, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Gruenfeld Defense, Petrosian System

[Line 147 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bg5]

The main line of the Petrosian System in the Gruenfeld Defense is 5… Ne4, where White usually chooses from the following three options: 6. Bf4, 6. cxd5 and 6. Bh4.

In the first case, Black’s common reaction is 6… Nxc3 7. bxc3, where both 7… c5 and 7… dxc4 give him roughly equal chances.

If White temporarily captures the pawn with 6. cxd5, Black reacts by playing 6… Nxg5 7. Nxg5 e6, followed by the recapture on d5, which typically results in a comfortable play.

A variation appropriate for beginners is 6. Bh4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 dxc4 8. Qa4+, where Black should be fine both after 8… Qd7 9. Qxc4 b6, with the idea Ba6, and 8… c6 9. Qxc4 Qa5, followed by Na6 and Be6.

Black also has an interesting alternative in 5… dxc4 6. e4 c5, with chances for both sides.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White is behind in development which gives his opponent an opportunity to seize the initiative. How should Black continue to gain a longterm edge?

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[May 09, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Trajko Nedev:
Sicilian Defense, Modern Variation – Miscellaneous (incl. Delayed Alapin)

[Line 457 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 without 3. d4, 3. Bb5+, 3. Nc3]

The two most frequently played moves in the stem position are thoroughly dealt with in other opening lines: 3. d4 in Lines 463-500, and 3. Bb5+ in Lines 458-462, while 3. Nc3 transposes to one of the variations covered in Line 415.

Delayed Alapin (3. c3) is the main point of interest of this opening line, where after the usual 3… Nf6, White typically opts for one of the following three moves: 4. Be2, 4. Bd3 and 4. h3. In any case players of Black have a few paths to obtain a comfortable game.

The other popular sideline 3. Bc4 is suitable for the beginners. White’s plan is rather simple: d2-d3, O-O, c2-c3, Bb3 and Re1, with a setup resembling the Ruy Lopez. Black has also several good plans: for instance, Nf6, followed by e7-e6, Nc6, Be7, O-O and later d6-d5, is rather easy to grasp.

Early kingside fianchetto (3. g3) is an interesting alternative to the more investigated Sicilians, where again Black has no problems reaching the equality.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White’s last move was Bc1-g5, missing the opponent’s reply. How can Black get a big advantage in the diagrammed position?

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[May 08, 2017] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Nimzo-English with 4. Qc2

[Line 043 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2]

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.

The Nimzo-English Variation gives some extra flexibility to White, compared to the Nimzo-Indian Defense with 4. Qc2. Though White usually plays d2-d4 at some point, in this particular case development of the Knight to f3 is more useful then the early pawn advance.

The most common continuation is 4… O-O 5. a3 Bxc3 6. Qxc3, with Black frequently choosing between 6… d6 followed by e6-e5, and the topical 6… b6 accompanied with queenside fianchetto. In both cases, White can transpose to the Nimzo-Indian with an early d2-d4, go for the more principal e2-e3, Be2 and O-O, or opt for the kingside fianchetto followed by castling short. White’s position is a bit more pleasant, but Black is without weaknesses, which should give him good chances to equalize.

[Diagram: White to Move] V. Kramnik – J. Ehlvest, Vienna 1996. The diagrammed position is evidently in White’s favor, thanks to his bishop pair. Kramnik found the way to make a tangible edge out of it – can you guess what was his reaction?

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[May 07, 2017] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
April 2013 Revisited: King’s Indian Defense, Bayonet Attack, 12. Bf3 c6

This article was initiated by the Wojtaszek’s nice win against Radjabov in 2012. Since then it has not been tried in many grandmaster games, but it has been tested on more than a few occasions at an even “higher” level – between the strongest computer engines.

One needs to be familiar with many nuances should he decide to enter the variation this is covered in this article. Sharp double-edged positions are at the core of the Bayonet Attack, so it is good to take a look what Stockfish and Komodo had to say about it recently!

[Diagram: White to Move] White is temporary a pawn up, but he can hardly hold the c7-, which should secure him very good prospects. How should White continue to get a big edge, with a little help of the above mentioned passed pawn?

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[May 06, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
King’s Indian Defense, Glek Defense with 8. Be3

[Line 165 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Na6 8. Be3]

Move 8. Be3 is the most frequently played response to the Glek Defense in the King’s Indian. Black’s usual reaction is 8… Ng4, where 9. Bg5 is almost the exclusive choice of the players of White. If Black now opts for 9… f6, White gets a small advantage by retreating his Bishop with 10. Bc1, followed by h2-h3. That is why Black’s preference is 10… Qe8, planning exd4 with later Qe5 or Nxh2. The game often proceeds in one of the following ways: 11. dxe5 dxe5, and then either 12. h3 or 12. Nd2; 11. h3 h6 followed by exd4 and Nf6; or 11. Re1 exd4 12. Nd5 f6. In any case, the arising positions are dynamically balanced.

The other notable option for Black is 8… c6, with flexible, yet a bit passive position. White’s chances are slightly better after 9. Qc2 Qe7 10. c5.

[Diagram: White to Move] A. Diermair – P. Hristodoulou, Legnica 2013. White’s biggest asset is the passed d-pawn, while Black has a bishop pair, and if  White does not accomplish something concrete, Black will be fine. What is the best continuation for White, leading to a big edge for him?

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