[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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[October 25, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Ruy Lopez, Open Variation (Miscellaneous)

[Line 389 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4]

Line 389 belongs to “old-school” lines that have recently been revamped quite successfully. Even some rarely employed sidelines have returned to spotlight, e. g. the line from R. Fischer – F. Ólafsson, Havana (ol) 1966, which saw its revival at the top level fifty years after the original game was played: first in F. Caruana – Wei Yi, Wijk aan Zee 2016, and less than two months later in Hou Yifan – M. Muzychuk, Lviv (m/4) 2016.

After the most commonly played 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 White has a choice between 9. Nbd2 covered in our Line 390, and several alternatives, including 9. Be3, 9. c3 and 9. Qe2. The overall evaluation of these lines is that Black is able to equalize with precise play.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Hou Yifan – M. Muzychuk, Lviv (m/4) 2016. Black’s attack seems to have reached a point of impasse, but former Women’s World Champion Mariya Muzychuk finds an attractive way to inject some fresh life into it.

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[October 24, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical Variation – Keres Defense with 7. Bg5

[Line 184 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 7. Bg5]

The Keres Defense, starting with 6… b6, is one of the main lines in the Nimzo-Indian. Except for 7… Bb7 8. e3, which can be seen in our Line 185, Line 184 covers all other lines beginning with 7. Bg5. Most positions in these variations are typically quiet, and the main line 7… Bb7 8. f3 h6 9. Bh4 d5 10. e3 Nbd7 11. cxd5 often leads straight to endgame after 11… Nxd5 12. Bxd8 Nxc3, where White has a bishop pair, but Black’s advantage in development gives him good chances to equalize.

[Diagram: White to Move] If White retreats his Bishop with 13. Bf2, Black will play 13… Nxd5, followed by Nc6 and very quick development. However, it’s White’s turn to move, and he has a promising chance to exploit the fact that black King is a bit exposed.

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[October 23, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Nimzowitsch, St. George & Basman Defenses; Alekhine Defense without 4. Nf3

[Line 286 : 1. e4 without 1… c5, 1… e5, 1… e6, 1… c6, 1… d6, 1… d5, 1… g6]

Line 286 covers several offbeat openings, such as Nimzowitsch (1… Nc6), Owen (1… b6) & St. George (1… a6) defenses, as well as a significant part of the Alekhine Defense (lines that arise in the Alekhin Defense after 1… Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 are covered in our Line 287). Here you can find the Four Pawns Attack (1… Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. f4), which attacking players find particularly appealing. For those more positionally oriented we recommend the Exchange Variation (1… Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. exd6), which we consider quite promising for the players of White.

[Diagram: White to Move] S. Smagin – D. Šahović, Biel 1990. If Black could exchange a couple of minor pieces, he would reach a satisfactory position. To prevent this plan, Smagin came up with a nice way to launch a dangerous attack. What did he play?

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