NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[May 31, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
King’s Indian Defense, Aronin-Taimanov/Mar del Plata Defense – Bayonet Attack without 9… Nh5

[Line 168 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 without 9… Nh5]

The main line of the Bayonet Attack – 9… Nh5 is covered in Line 169, while this opening line deals with other possibilities of Black on the 9th move.

Move 9… a5 gives Black a sufficient counterplay, where Black fights the opponent’s topical c4-c5 advance. Two illustrative variations are 10. bxa5 Rxa5 11. a4 c5 12. Bd2 Ra6 and 10. Ba3 b6 11. bxa5 Rxa5 12. Bb4 Ra8 13. a4 Nh5, in both cases with mutual play.

Though after 9… Ne8 White’s position should generally be preferable after 10. a4 f5 11. Nd2 Nf6 12. c5, Black still has good practical chances in the attack on the white King.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black has a hidden motive in the diagrammed position, leading to a strong attack. Any ideas?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[May 30, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Petrosian Variation without 4… Bb7

[Line 206 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. a3 without 4… Bb7]

The most frequently played 4… Bb7 is covered in our Lines 208-212, while 4… Ba6 is a worthy alternative. White can defend the c4-pawn in several ways: 5. Qc2 (Line 207), 5. Qb3 (the main line here) and 5. e3 are the most natural choices.

From viable options against 5. Qb3, we recommend either solid 5… Be7 6. Nc3 d5, or the Benoni-type positions that occur after 5… c5 6. d5 exd5 7. cxd5 d6 8. Nc3 g6. In both cases Black should equalize without difficulties.

Move 5. e3 is a less ambitious option, where Black gets good prospects after 5… d5 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. b4 O-O.

From other interesting possibilities for Black on the 4th move, we will mention the sharp 4… c5, though Black needs to be careful here after 5. d5 Ba6 6. Qc2. There is also the less ordinary 4… Ne4, where after 5. g3 Bb7 6. Bg2 g6 7. O-O Bg7, Black can to equalize with a few accuracies.

[Diagram: White to Move] A. Gupta – A. Fier, Reykjavik 2015. Gupta carried out an original, and as it turned out, a very strong attack in the diagrammed position. What continuation would you propose for White?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[May 29, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Aleksandar Kovačević:
Caro-Kann Defense, Panov-Botvinnik Attack – Main Line with 8. Qc2

[Line 306 : 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qc2]

Black’s most common choice on the 8th move is 8… Nc6 where, apart from 9. Bd3, White frequently employs 9. Be2, 9. Bc4 and 9. a3.

Black has a couple of options against 9. Bd3, and 9… Be7 appears to be inferior to 9… Ba5. Thus, after 9. Bd3 Ba5 10. a3, Black can accept the pawn sacrifice with 10… Nxc3 11. bxc3 Nxd4 11. Nxd4 Qxd4, but needs to be very cautious there. The alternative 10… h6 11. O-O O-O seems easier to handle, and Black should equalize without difficulties.

An interesting sideline for Black is 8… Bd7, with the idea of playing Bc6 and Nd7. The position arising after 9. a3 Bd6 10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Bd3 h6 12. O-O is a bit easier to play with White, but it is hard for him to make something concrete out of it.

[Diagram: White to Move] L. Salas Morera – R. Sherwood, corr. 2004. It looks like White fell into an unpleasant pin along the a2-g8 diagonal, since Black threatens to play Be6. Can you find the best continuation for White, which even gives him a huge advantage?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[May 28, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
September 2016 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 the analysis that follows our improvement on M. Admiraal – K. Leenhouts, Belgium 2017. White is a pawn up and his advanced central pawns are getting ready to storm Black’s king that got stuck in the center. However, Black has a hidden resource that saves the day – can you find it?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[May 25, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
French Defense, Normal Variation – Rubinstein Variation (Blackburne Defense)

[Line 332 : 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7]

Blackburne Defense (4… Nd7) is the most promising option for Black in the Rubinstein Variation. White usually replies with 5. Nf3, where after 5… Ngf6 move 6. Nxf6+ is covered in Line 333, while 6. Bg5 can be found in our Lines 334-335.

Another notable option for White is 6. Bd3. If Black reacts with 6… Nxe4 7. Bxe4 Nf6, White gets somewhat better prospects with 8. Bg5. That is the reason why the players of Black choose 6… c5 more often. On the other hand, White typically opts between the following two continuations: 7. O-O Nxe4 8. Bxe4 Nf6 9. Bg5, and 7. Qe2 cxd4 8. O-O Nxe4 9. Bxe4. The overall evaluation is that Black gets even chances with a few accuracies.

Our recommendation for beginners is 5. g3, and after 5… Ngf6, they can proceed with 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Bg2, with a simple game.

[Diagram: White to Move] E. Najer – I. Lysyj, Ulan Ude 2009. White has a better piece development, and he needs to act quickly to make use of that fact. What would you propose?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[May 22, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Rubinstein Variation – Huebner Variation

[Line 187 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 without 5. Nge2]

White’s main choice on the fifth move is 5. Nge2, which is covered separately in our Line 188.

From other notable options, move 5. Bd3 is the most popular one. Black can now transpose to our Line 190 with 5… O-O, or to Line 191 by playing 5… d5 6. Nf3 O-O. Black often opts for 5… Nc6, where the position arising after 6. Nf3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 d6 is the one that defines the Huebner Variation. White gets to keep the bishop pair, but his pawn structure becomes a bit weakened in the process. Black’s plan is to place his pawns on the black squares, which is highly effective in neutralizing his opponent’s dark-squared Bishop. An exemplary line would follow 8. O-O e5 9. Nd2 O-O 10. Rb1 b6, with a dynamically balanced position.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black has sacrificed a pawn and now is the time to show what he had in mind. What would you propose?

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