[October 16, 2016] Trusted: Opening Survey by GM Aleksandar Kovačević
Sicilian Defense, Rossolimo Variation with 8… c4!?

While Gelfand’s recent plight during the Tal Memorial 2016 still remains fresh in memory of all true chess fans, it has nothing to do with his uniformly great opening preparation. He has always been a golden standard for the Sicilian fans, so this article examines his latest weapon against the ever tricky
Rossolimo Variation that he recently tested on several occasions against Anand, Svidler and Inarkiev (twice).

[Diagram: White to Move] Black has a menacing bishop pair along with some semi-open files that he could use for his rooks. However, White can completely stifle his opponent’s counterplay with a series of accurate moves – can you find them?

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[October 14, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Vadim Zvjaginsev:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Kmoch Variation (incl. Romanovsky Variation)

[Line 174 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3]

The Kmoch Variation is one of the sharpest reactions to the Nimzo-Indian Defense and is frequently employed by many of the world’s top players. Black has a couple of ways to obtain equal chances and most of them require accurate play from both sides.

Move 4… c5 leads to positions resembling the Modern Benoni. After 5. d5 O-O 6. e4 Black has two moves of about the same strength: 6… Re8 and 6… b5, in either case with considerable complications.

The idea behind 4… O-O is to meet 5. e4 with 5… d5 6. e5 Nfd7 and further undermine White’s pawn center with c7-c5. If White opts for 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3, Black’s common choice is 6… Ne8, followed by b7-b6, Nc6-a5 and Ba6, with counterplay against the weak c4-pawn.

Line 4… d5 is probably the most popular among the players of Black. After 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. dxc5 Black has in Romanovsky Variation (8… f5) a viable alternative to the main 8… Qa5.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black’s last move was capturing the sacrificed e-pawn with Nf6xe4. How does White make use of the opponent’s poorly protected King to get more than sufficient compensation?

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[October 9, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
August 2014 Revisited: Queen’s Gambit Declined, Sämisch Variation

Our original key game in this line was R. Kasimdzhanov – V. Kramnik, Tromsø (ol) 2014, but many important theoretical developments have happened since, as this line has become quite a fashionable one at the top level.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position comes from a rapid game K. Piorun – I. Ivanišević, Belgrade 2016 played at a special event during the World Chess Problem Solving Championships. Black knight on d5 has created a double threat, so White has to solve it without slowing down his development. Any ideas?

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[October 2, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
December 2015 Revisited: Neo-Grünfeld, Modern Defense (11. Nxc6)

Our original key game in this line was V. Kramnik – D. Naroditsky, Doha 2015, where Kramnik again displayed the incredible depth of his opening preparation. Life goes on, and this update brings new developments in this topical line, where White hopes to keep the pressure as long as possible, whereas players of Black keep searching for the most accurate move orders that would release them from his opponent’s unpleasant long-term grip.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from a top engine game Fizbo 1.4 – Protector 1.8.0, Internet 2015. This time you need to find two moves: first, Black has to find a way to keep the material balance intact, and after that White has to make sure that his long-term pressure doesn’t go away. Are you up to the task?

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[September 25, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Dragan Paunović:
November 2015 Revisited: English Opening, Bremen System with 7. Nf3

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.

After Giri successfully employed this line in A. Giri – V. Anand, Bilbao 2015, it was only a matter of time before this line returned to the spotlight.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position is critical for the theoretical assessment of this variation: Black has just made an important slight detour from the key game P. Svidler – L. Aronian, Moscow 2016, and has to find a neat resource to hold the balance. Do you see it?

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[September 18, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
January 2016 Revisited: Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation: Bastrikov Variation

Our original main line of this variation stems from A. Morozevich – I. Bukavshin, Moscow (rapid) 2015, a marvelous tactical masterpiece by the former World No. 2. New theoretically important developments have appeared ever since, so it was only natural to update this more or less fashionable line.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position had originally appeared in R. Edouard – A. Neiksans, Drancy 2015, and what followed was probably still a part of the French grandmaster’s deep opening preparation. Can you follow in his footsteps and seize a considerable advantage as White?

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