[November 20, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Pin Defense with 5… Bxf3

[Line 092 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4 5. h3 Bxf3]

In the Exchange Variation in the Pin Defense Black usually tries to simplify the position in the early stage of the game. His plan typically includes giving away his light-squared Bishop for the opponent’s Knight, followed by placing his pawns on white squares, thus making his position tough to penetrate.

On the other hand, White mostly resorts to a slow build-up, intending to use his bishop pair in a long term battle. The other plan is to make a kingside pawn push, like in the main line – 6. Qxf3 e6 7. Nc3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 Bd6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. g4!?, which would make the position significantly more dynamic. Either way, we think that Black has sufficient resources to keep the position balanced in this line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] I. Lysyj – N. Vitiugov, Serpukhov 2008. Black has an opportunity to make use of White’s weakened kingside, but it requires a very energetic play…

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[November 19, 2017] Dusted Off: Updated Article by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
July 2015 Revisited: Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack (10. Qe1 e6 11. Kb1)

There have been some new interesting developments in this variation, mostly coming from computer engine games. In addition to Wei Yi’s 12. Bg5, move 12. Nb3 now also seems like a promising choice for the players of White.

D. Howell – G. Jones, London 2016 is probably the most theoretically relevant over-the-board game among the new additions, while our improvement on Zurichess Grabuenden – Pawny 1.2, Internet 2016 seems to offer opening advantage to the players of White in one of the key lines in this variation.


[Diagram: Black to Move] While the pin looks unpleasant, Black has more than enough resources to completely turn the tables and seize the initiative. Any ideas?

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[November 18, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Modern Defense, incl. Rossolimo Variation & Geller’s System

[Line 291 : 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3]

Modern Defense is the name for a setup where Black plays early King’s fianchetto followed by d7-d6. It has one major drawback in that it allows White to develop freely and gain a very strong pawn center.

The Rossolimo Variation with 3… d6 4. c4 Bg4 is also covered in Line 291, and this option should give Black quite reasonable positions.

Geller’s System with 3… d6 4. c3 is a very flexible setup, which leads to positions similar to Ruy Lopez, but we think that 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 is probably the best way for White to fight for opening advantage.

[Diagram: White to Move] G. Sargissian – A. Morozevich, Turin (ol) 2006. Sargissian found an excellent way to seize a very strong initiative – can you find it, too?

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[November 17, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Boris Avrukh:
Gruenfeld Defense, Exchange Variation (Modern Main Line)

[Line 141 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3]

After the introductory moves of this opening line Black’s principal continuation is 7… c5, where 8. h3 and 8. Bb5+ are interesting sidelines.

The main variation of Line 142 goes 8. Be3 Qa5, where as the main continuation we recommend 9. Nd2!?, which was introduced at the elite level by Aronian in his games against Sutovsky and Grischuk. It is an interesting alternative to the heavily-researched lines, and it often leads to non-standard positions. On the other hand, it is safe to say that 9. Bd2 hardly poses any problems to Black.

Another frequently played move 9. Qd2 is the topic of our Line 142, while the well-investigated 8. Rb1 is covered in our Line 143.

[Diagram: Black to Move] S. Zilka – I. Rausis, Ledec nad Sazavou 2013. It looks like Black is forced to move his Queen, but is that really the case?

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[November 16, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
Open Games (Early Deviations); Vienna Game; King’s Gambit; Center Game

[Line 347 : 1. e4 e5 without 2. Nf3, 2. Bc4]

Early Deviations in Open Games include quite a lot of different openings, and since 2. Nf3 is extensively examined in our Lines 349-413, and 2. Bc4 in Line 348, other sensible moves can be found in Line 347.

King’s Gambit (2. f4) is a romantic opening, and though it is not quite refuted, its reputation is very shaky from a modern chess theory point of view. Black has quite a few ways to obtain at least equal chances, but complications that very often occur in this opening are the reason that King’s Gambit is occasionally seen even in grandmaster games.

Center Game (2. d4) is another opening without many followers these days, since White is the one that has to be careful.

Vienna Game (2. Nc3), on the other hand, can still be seen, even on the highest level. White is typically not particularly ambitious in the early opening phase, but Black still does need to exercise some caution to overcome small opening problems. After 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3, the main choices for Black include 3… Bc5, 3… d5 and 3… c6.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black’s counterplay is mainly focused on the c4-pawn, and if White can solve it, he will seize a very strong initiative. Any ideas?

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[November 15, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Sicilian Defense, Classical Scheveningen – Maroczy Variation with 7. O-O Be7

[Line 486 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4 O-O 9. Kh1]

Line 486 covers the Classical Scheveningen, frequently employed with black pieces by Kasparov in his matches against Karpov in Moscow, 1985, and against Anand in New York, 1995. It remains a very popular opening at all levels, since it offers plenty of opportunities for both sides.

The main line of our choice in Line 486 is the Maroczy Variation, which occurs after 9… Qc7 10. a4 Nc6.

[Diagram: White to Move] A. Volokitin – S. Rublevsky, Budva 2004. All it takes for White is to strike while it’s hot, and the Black’s position will simply collapse.

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