[May 30, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Trajko Nedev:
Gruenfeld Defense, Russian Variation

[Line 148 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3]

After the almost obligatory 5… dxc4 6. Qxc4, Black has an interesting gambit continuation in 6… Be6 7. Qb5+ Bd7 7. Qxb7 Nc6, that could be unpleasant to meet for the unprepared players of White.

In the main 6… O-O 7. e4 Black has a few promising possibilities:

Hungarian Variation 7… a6 is covered in our Line 149.

Smyslov Variation 7… Bg4 8. Be3 Nfd7 has generally lost its popularity in the last decades, but it can still be occasionally seen nowadays on top level.

Somewhat similar to the Smyslov Variation is 7… Nc6 8. Be2 Bg4, where Black pieces exert pressure on White’s pawn center.

Prins Variation 7… Na6, popularized by Kasparov, is the most frequently employed variation among those covered in Line 148. White gets a passed pawn after 8. Be2 c5 9. d5 e6 10. O-O exd5 11. exd5, and Black usually continues with 11… Bf5, followed by Re8 and Ne4, with sufficient counterplay.

[Diagram: Black to Move] R. Wojtaszek – J. Tomczak, Wroclaw 2013. White is a pawn up and it seems that his position is solid, but Black has a way to get a lasting initiative!

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[May 30, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Modern Benoni, Uhlmann & Knight’s Tour Variations

[Line 118 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3]

Modern Benoni is one of the openings that chess players can’t be indifferent about – they  either love it or dislike it!

After 6… g6, one of the simplest set-ups for White is 7. Bf4, with the idea to meet the logical 7… Bg7 with an unpleasant check: 8. Qa4+. For that reason, Black usually proceeds with 7… a6 8. a4 Bg7, knowing that White’s main idea is 9. h3, followed by e2-e3, Be2 and O-O.

Uhlmann Variation (7. Bg5) is rarely seen nowadays, since Black can easily get a very comfortable play.

Knight Tour Variation (7. Nd2) is definitely one of the best options for White, and though it’s slightly preferable for him, it’s not without its venom. This line, just like many others in Modern Benoni, require not only good opening knowledge, but also a very accurate treatment from both sides.

We should also mention that the Fianchetto Line (7. g3) is covered in our Line 119, and Classical Variation (7. e4) in Line 120.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black knight on g4 is under attack, but fearless Benoni players know that such pieces could sometimes be left hanging. So, Black to play and launch a strong attack!

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[May 29, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
August 2015 Revisited: English Opening, Four Knights Variation with 4… Bb4 (12… d6)

In the original article our game of the week was D. Khismatullin – E. Tomashevsky, Chita 2015, featuring an important theoretical novelty. We have now updated the survey with several theoretically important correspondence and engine games, and there is also a highly relevant top-level game from the Chess World Cup 2015 with important improvements for both sides: J. Granda Zúñiga – A. Fier, Baku (m/2) 2015.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black wants to get rid of his opponent’s knight on f5, but perhaps White wants to sacrifice it himself 😉

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[May 27, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical Variation with 4… O-O

[Line 180 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O without 5. a3]

Line 180 deals with White’s various choices on the fifth move, except for 5. a3, which is covered in Lines 181-185.

After the fairly popular 5. Nf35… c5 is an independent line for Black, whereas most other moves transpose to some other lines.

6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8. Bg2 has become a modern tabiya and many theoretical discussions take place in this line. Black has two interesting choices that should be sufficient for equalization: 8… b6 and 8… Nce4.

Line 5. e4 is the most straightforward approach for the players of White, with lots of forced lines, like in the main 5… d5 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nge2.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position is theoretically important for this line: White can get a long-term initiative, but great accuracy is needed!

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[May 26, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense (incl. Yates & Suetin Variations)

[Line 402 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6]

The Suetin Variation 8. c3 O-O 9. a3 is one of the sidelines of the Closed Defense of Ruy Lopez. It leads to less explored positions, and is probably an interesting choice for club level players.

The Yates Variation, which occurs after 8. c3 O-O 9. d4, has been extensively explored in recent years. After the principled 9… Bg4, Line 402 deals with all ensuing variations, except for 10. d5, which is covered in our Line 403.

After 10. Be3, Black has 10… Bh5 as an interesting alternative to the main 10… exd4 11. cxd4 Na5 12. Bc2 Nc4 13. Bc1 c5.

Though Black’s position is equal, it requires quite precise treatment.

[Diagram: White to Move] Finish of the game A. Sznapik – P. Van der Sterren, Copenhagen. White to play and win!

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[May 25, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Three Knights Variation (Suchting, Schlechter and Chebanenko Variations)

[Line 098 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 without 4… dxc4, 4… e6]

Suchting Variation (4… Qb6) is one of the Slav Defense sidelines that is rarely seen nowadays, since White can easily get a long-term advantage, though, in our opinion, 5. Qc2 is the most unpleasant reaction for Black.

Even against the Schlechter Variation (4… g6) White can claim advantage in a few different ways, for instance by playing 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Bf4 g6 7. e3.

The main area of interest in our Line 098 is the Chebanenko Variation (4… a6), i. e. its numerous sidelines for White, since the main moves are covered in our Lines 099-103.

The Modern Gambit line 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 usually makes things difficult for Black, while 5. Qb3 e6 6. Bg5 is a calm alternative, recommendable to club level players.

[Diagram: Black to Move] G. Haika – G. Bartsch, corr. 2007. White is threatening to take the Rook on h8, and also to give check on b8. Black probably didn’t have too many problems to find the best idea in a correspondence game, but it’s definitely not that easy to find it at the chess board!

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