[October 31, 2017] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
Queen’s Gambit Accepted, McDonnell Defense

[Line 060 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 e5]

In the last couple of years, the Queen’s Gambit Accepted has been losing its popularity, and the main reason behind that trend is the dangerous Central Variation with 3. e4.

Line 060 covers the McDonnell Defense (3. e4 e5), which is one of the most topical responses to the Central Variation. After the principal reply 4. Nf3 Black has tried 4… Bb4+, but White gets better prospects here with 5. Nc3 exd4 6. Nxd4.

For that reason, Black usually continues with 4… exd4, and against 5. Bxc4 players of Black have recently found resources to obtain roughly equal chances in the 5… Nc6 line. The other option 5… Bb4+ does not look as promising, since White gets more than sufficient compensation for the pawn after 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. O-O

[Diagram: White to Move] Goldin – Rublevsky, Niksic 1997. Goldin missed a golden opportunity to launch a promising attack. What was the proper way to proceed as White?

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[October 30, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation – Taimanov Variation without 5. Nc3 (incl. Szen Variation)

[Line 449 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 without 5. Nc3]

Line 449 deals with White’s various choices on move five (excluding 5. Nc3, which leads to our Line 450). The Szen Variation (5. Nb5) is covered as the main line, and usually one of the following two types of the positions occurs:

[Diagram: Black to Move] White is a pawn up, and Black needs to act fast to make use of the fact that White is underdeveloped. How should Black continue?

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[October 29, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
October 2013 Revisited: Rossolimo Sicilian, 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. d4!?

Two 4-yaer-old articles on the Rossolimo Sicilian have been updated. Meanwhile, a considerable number of interesting games have been played. The first of these two articles deals with various choices for Black after 5… cxd4 6. Nxd4, and among them 6… Qb6, 6… Nxd4 and 6… a6 are the most reasonable ones. The second article covers 6… Ng6, which is the most popular move in the position among the top grandmasters.

Our overall evaluation of this line starting with 5. d4 is that Black is able to obtain roughly equal chances, though it is a bit easier to play it as White.

[Diagram: White to Move] E. Najer – A. Moiseenko, Olginka 2011. White has a chance to gain a decisive edge with an active play. How would you proceed?

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[October 28, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Colle System; Queen’s Gambit Accepted (Mannheim & Showalter Variations)

[Line 080 : 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6]

Line 080 mostly deals with some not particularly ambitious variations, such as 3. Bf4 & 3. Bg5, and other rarely employed sidelines. 3. Bf4 is a very popular “blitz” line even on the highest level, and its most famous aficionados are Kramnik and Kamsky. Apart from his numerous successes with White pieces in this line, Kramnik also lost an important game with Black against Karjakin at the Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2014.

The main variation in this line is the Queen’s Gambit Accepted (3. c4 dxc4) without 4. e3, most specifically the Showalter Variation with 4. Nc3 and the Mannheim Variation with 4. Qa4+. In our opinion, none of these variations should pose real problems for the players of Black.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black’s play on the queenside looks threatening, but it’s White’s turn to move and a tactical blow decides the game in his favor.

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[October 27, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Rossolimo Variation (Miscellaneous)

[Line 424 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 without 3… d6, 3… g6]

Line 424 covers various sidelines on Black’s third move, like 3… Nf6, 3… a6 and 3… Qc7 – just to name a few, while the main topic of this opening line is 3… e6. Lines without 4. O-O are also examined here (variations with the short castling belong to Line 425), and the main line is 3… e6 4. Bxc6.

It’s a very popular line where mostly strategic battles arise – White can typically count on his better pawn structure, whereas Black relies on his bishop pair.

[Diagram: White to Move] In the old game J.Timman – N. Short, Hilversum 1989, White had an excellent opportunity to gain a strong initiative. Hint: White should try to make use of Black’s horribly misplaced Queen.

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[October 26, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Orthodox Variation (incl. Botvinnik & Rauser Variations)

[Line 258 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 without 5… c6, 5… h6]

The main line of the Orthodox Variation, when Black plays 5… h6, is covered in our Lines 259-264, while this opening line deals with the alternatives.

After the quite common 5… O-O 6. e3 Nbd7, White has a choice between the Botvinnik Variation (8. Bd3), Rauser Variation (8. Qb3), and the following three popular options – 7. Rc1, 7. Qc2 and 7. cxd5. In most of these lines, Black’s best reaction is to transpose to the corresponding lines with h7-h6, since otherwise White gets slightly better prospects.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black is behind in development and his King is weakened. White Rook on h1 is the only inactive piece, so White plays an unexpected maneuver to launch a decisive attack!

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