[March 23, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Trajko Nedev:
Gruenfeld Defense, Exchange Variation (Modern Main Line with 8. Rb1)

[Line 143 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Rb1]

Positions covered in this opening line are generally highly complicated and demand a very accurate approach and knowledge. After the most common 8… O-O 9. Be2 there are two sidelines, 9… b6 10. O-O Bb7 and 9… Nc6 10. d5 Ne5, that are viable for Black.

The main choice of the players of Black is 9… cxd4 10. cxd4 Qa5+ 11. Bd2 Qxa2 12. O-O, where they have tried numerous options; objectively, three of them stand out: 12… Bg4, 12… b6 and 12… Qe6. Move 12… Bg4 is seen the most frequent one, where replies 13. Bg5, 13. Be3 and 13. Rxb7 are well investigated.

[Diagram: White to Move] In this complicated position it is very hard for a human to estimate all the consequences of the unexpected introductory move. What would you propose for White?

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[March 19, 2017] Pick of the Week by GM Boris Avrukh:
August & December 2016 Revisited: Closed Catalan Defense with 7. Ne5, 9. Na3 & 11. Qd2 

After the original key game W. So – H. Nakamura, Saint Louis 2016 many good players had followed suit, so we have decided to update the article with recent developments in this line. Some computer engine games are also not to be missed, and currently the most important one for the modern opening theory is Brainfish 091016 – Raubfisch ME 262, Internet (blitz) 2016.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White’s key threat in the diagrammed position from Y. Kuzmin – H. Langrock, Marianske Lazne 2017 is quite obvious: Ba3, followed by Bc5 if Black moves one of his two major pieces from the a3-f8 diagonal. Is there any way to properly defend against that maneuver?


[March 18, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, English Hybrid

[Line 199 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nc3 c5 5. g3 cxd4]

The position arising after 6. Nxd4 often occurs from the English Opening: 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 e6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bb4 6. g3. The main continuation here is 6… O-O, while from the other options 6… Ne4 seems to be the only one that allows Black to equalize.

After 6… O-O 7. Bg2 d5 there are two interesting sidelines: 8. O-O dxc4 9. Qa4 and 8. Qb3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3. Players of White usually opt for 8. cxd5 where on 8… Nxd5 move 9. Bd2 leads to a balanced and not too complicated position. Move 9. Qb3 is frequently seen on the highest level, where beside 9…. Qa5 10. Bd2 Nc6 Black is also able to get a decent position with 9… Nc6, 9… Qb6 and 9… Na6.

[Diagram: White to Move] V. Zvjaginsev – Z. Almasi, Altensteig 1994. Black pieces lack coordination, while white Bishop on d4 dominates the black squares. Can you see how White can obtain a decisive advantage in just a couple of moves?

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[March 12, 2017] Updated Opening Article from GM Dragan Paunović:
The Fight Club – Reti Opening, King’s Indian Attack with 8… Qxd4 9. Nxc6

[March 2014 Revisited: 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 dxc4 5. O-O Nbd7 6. Qc2 Nb6 7. Na3 Be6 8. Ne5 Qd4 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bxc6+]

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.

Three years have past since the game L. Aronian – D. Andreikin, Khanty-Mansiysk 2014 that initiated this article was played. Some interesting new developments have appeared in this line, but the overall evaluation of this variation stays the same – Black is able to get equal chances with accurate play.

In a recent game by our silicon friends, White has find the way to make things difficult for his opponent in the line 10… Kd8 11. Nb5 Qc5 12. Bxa8 Qxb5 13. Bg2 Bg4 14. d3 cxd3 with the strong 15. Rd1.

For that reason, we recommend 10… Nfd7 as a safer option, leading to balanced positions.

[Diagram: White to Move] In case of 18. Ra5 Black gets a decent position with 18… Qb4. There is a stronger option for White that leads to stable advantage for him. What would you play?

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[March 05, 2017] Pick of the Week by GM Boris Avrukh:
August 2014 Revisited: Advance Caro-Kann, Short Variation with 5… c5 (12. Ndb5!?)

Our latest update consists mainly of computer engine games, which seem to leave no stone unturned. While this line is no longer fashionable as it used to be, some recent over-the-board grandmaster games still deserve serious attention, and one of the theoretically most important additions is certainly P. Ponkratov – I. Rozum, Khanty-Mansiysk 2016.

[Diagram: White to Move] Everything is hanging and both kings are feeling unsafe, so everything is at stake at the moment. White’s greatest asset is his turn to move, so use it wisely!

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[February 26, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Borki Predojević:
February 2016 Revisited: Italian Game, Giuoco Pianissimo with 8. a4!?

The fourth update of this opening article after it was originally published in February 2016 does not boast some super-sexy names (though R. Mamedov – L. Dominguez Perez, Doha (rapid) 2016 is a serious affair by any standard), but it makes up for the lack of big faces by bringing some extremely promising tactical ideas that can give the players of Black some very dangerous counterplay.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White has seemingly unpinned himself quite neatly by attacking the bishop on c5, but his opponent has a hidden ace up his sleeve. Can you play the winning card for Black?

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