NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[August 21, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
May 2013/September 2015 Revisited: Slav Defense with 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5

This is the second updating of this line, which seems to offer the players of Black nice practical chances, in spite of the theoretical verdict, which is quite clear: White has the upper hand, but proving it requires extremely accurate play deep into the middlegame.

[Diagram: Black to Move] A. Kveynis  – D. Šolak, Reykjavik 2015. Black’s compensation for the sacrificed pawn is obvious, but can he push for more?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[August 14, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Borki Predojević:
February 2016 Revisited: Italian Game, Giuoco Pianissimo with 8. a4!?

This line is so hot that we had to update it just two weeks after the previous update. The most recent theoretically important game in this line is V. Anand – W. So, Saint Louis 2016, but this variation would be incomplete without multiple contributions from our trusty silicon friends. Let’ take a look:

[Diagram: Black to Move] Toltec 2 – Stockfish 310316, Internet (blitz) 2016. In the aforementioned line Black has to use his bishop pair to create some compensation for his opponent’s extra pawn. Exchanging pieces is thus usually in White’s favor, so Black has to quickly do something in the diagrammed position, before his opponent succeeds in his plan. Sacrificing bishop on h2 seems tempting, but after Kh1 there are too many Black pieces left hanging. Is that the right course of action for Black, or he should try something else? 

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NEW OPENING ARTICLE

[August 07, 2016] Pick of the Week by GM Boris Avrukh:
Closed Catalan Defense with 7. Ne5, 9. Na3 & 11. Qd2 

It is hard to resist the temptation to cover a decisive game in the Catalan from the ongoing Sinquefield Cup, especially if the encounter was between two US top guns from the World Top 10: W. So – H. Nakamura, Saint Louis 2016. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as many recent theoretically important games are meticulously analyzed in GM Avrukh’s new article.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black is prepared to seize some serious initiative after Bb7, while his opponent’s similar attempt with Bb2 accomplishes nothing after f6. Any other ideas for White?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[July 31, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Borki Predojević:
February 2016 Revisited: Italian Game, Giuoco Pianissimo with 8. a4!?

Well, this line is obviously so important for the modern opening theory that updating it after half a year felt very much like writing a completely new article all over again. Just take a look at the recent output of top-heavy games, and see it for yourself: V. Anand – W. So, Leuven (blitz) 2016, V. Kramnik – L. Aronian, Paris (rapid) 2016 and A. Giri – L. Aronian, Leuven (blitz) 2016. Moreover, our silicon friends prove that they are more than capable of creating a practically parallel universe of their own opening theory, and this survey has it all! 

[Diagram: Black to Move] Komodo 9.42 – Stockfish 310316, Internet (blitz) 2016. It is quite clear that the diagrammed position is about equal, but White is perfectly satisfied with the prospects of a slow long-term grind based on Black’s slight imperfections in his pawn structure. However, Black begs to differ 😉

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[July 24, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
August 2014 Revisited: Queen’s Gambit Declined, Sämisch Variation

Well, this line is obviously so important for the modern opening theory that it keeps coming back at the highest level. The updated version of this article is top-heavy, and it brings two Nakamura’s recent games against Carlsen and Karjakin. These two guys’ World Championship Match is coming soon, so one would expect them to keep some opening secrets for the big event. However, Karjakin’s improvement from Bilbao is really very important, and his fortress seems like the best choice for Black in this line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Komodo 9.3 – Stockfish 091215, Internet 2015. The diagrammed position shows a somewhat similar scenario to the above mentioned Karjakin’s improvement (Black played a6 to prevent b5), though in this case it’s too late to create a fortress on the queenside. White has already initiated a concrete sequence of captures, so Black has to calculate with great precision the consequences of capturing with his rook on b4, as 23. Bxe6 is a looming threat. What do you think – is 22… Rxb4 a good move for Black?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[July 17, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
March 2015 Revisited: Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation with 7. Qf3 Bd6

The updated version of this article brings several interesting attempts by the players of White. The most serious one comes from a high-profile game between World No. 2 & 3, where Black has to tread carefully to keep the balance: V. Kramnik  – F. Caruana, Dortmund 2016.

[Diagram: Black to Move] G. Jones – P. Garbett, Auckland 2016. The diagrammed position shows a familiar scenario with a very important detail that makes all the difference – after g3 White can no longer move his queen to that square, and his most dangerous piece is left unprotected in some variations. Let’s see what Black can do about it 😉

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