2016-02-12 - Update Line 246[October 09, 2017] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
Semi-Slav, Vienna Variation with 5. e4

[Line 246 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4]

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.

Positions occurring after 5… c5 6. d5 are covered in Line 056, while the more popular 5… Bb4 is the topic of this opening line.

Players of White that prefer complications often go for a gambit line 6. Bxc4 Nxe4 7. O-O, where after 7… Nxc3 8. bxc3 both 8… Be7 and 7… Bd6 lead to dynamically balanced positions. A less obligatory continuation is 6. Bg5, where 6… h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. Bxc4 c5 is a variation occasionally employed by some of the World’s top players. The other option for Black is 6… c5, where, apart from 7. Bxc4 that is covered separately in Line 247, White has the sharp 7. e5 with roughly equal chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] White pieces are aiming for the poorly protected black King. If you look carefully, you will find a way to carry out a decisive attack…

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[October 08, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Scotch Game, Classical Variation with 7. Bc4 Ne5 8. Bb3 Qg6

Garry Kimovich played the Scotch Game against all his opponents at The Ultimate Blitz Challenge 2016 in Saint Louis, and his success gives us an opportunity to re-examine the theoretical value of this opening that has mostly gone out of fashion in recent years. This article particularly focuses on Kasparov’s final game against Nakamura, the tournament winner, as it seems to prove that this opening still contains some venom and cannot be easily dismissed.

This update brings improvements on several theoretically important games, most notably on K. Piorun – E. Inarkiev, Gjakova 2016, but a few more are also deserving of your attention, so we recommend that you consider them carefully.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black knight is under attack, but White’s pieces are awkwardly placed. How can Black disrupt his opponent’s plans and secure a tangible advantage?

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[October 07, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
French Defense, Tarrasch Variation – Open System (Chistyakov Defense)

[Line 328 : 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 without 4… exd5]

Move 4… exd5 is covered in our Lines 329-330, while the alternative option 4… Qxd5 (Chistyakov Defense) is the topic of this opening line. In response to 4… Qxd5, move 5. dxc5, usually followed by Ngf3, Bc4 and O-O, is our recommendation for club level players.

The main line goes 4… Qxd5 5. Ngf3 cxd4 6. Bc4 where Black has three interesting options – 6… Qd6, 6… Qd8 and 6… Qd7. After the most frequent choice 6… Qd6, White sometimes opts for 7. Qe2 with the idea to continue with Nb3, Bg5 and O-O-O. More solid is 7. O-O Nf6 8. Nb3 Nc6 9. Nbxd4 Nxd4, where in the endgame occurring after 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Nxd4 Black generally has no difficulties equalizing. More ambitious is 10. Nxd4, where after 10… a6 11. Re1 Qc7 12. Qe2 move 12… h6 (preparing Bd6, while preventing White from playing Bg5) gives Black good prospects.

[Diagram: White to Move] M. Adams – L.-D. Nisipeanu, Sofia 2007. Both white Bishops are under attack, so White needs to make a few concrete moves and ultimately claim a substantial edge. Any thoughts?

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[October 06, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slavisa Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense – Flohr-Zaitsev Variation (Main Line with 12. a4)

[Line 407 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Re8 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. a4]

Line 407 deals with one of the main lines in the Flohr-Zaitsev Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Black has three notable alternatives to the main 12… h6, namely: 12… exd4, 12… Qd7 and 12… Na5. As a response to 12… h6, White has the rare 13. d5, though 13. Bc2 is seen much more often; as a response to this plan, 13… Qd7 deserves serious attention.

The main line goes 13. Bc2 exd4 14. cxd4 Nb4 15. Bb1 c5 16. d5 Nd7 17. Ra3, where Black has a choice among 17… c4, 17… g6 and 17… f5, and in any of these cases he should be able to obtain sufficient counterplay.

[Diagram: White to Move] White pieces are exerting strong pressure on the kingside. How should White continue to launch a decisive attack?

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[October 05, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Trajko Nedev:
Petroff Defense, Classical Attack (incl. Berger, Chigorin & Mason-Showalter Variations)

[Line 355 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6]

From the initial position of this opening line, know as the Mason-Showalter Variation, move 7. Nc3 is a sideline and our recommendation for club level players, while 7. O-O is by far the main choice of the players of White. Variation 7. O-O Bg4 8. c4 is considered to be more promising for White, so 7. O-O Be7 is much more common. 8. c4 is covered in our Lines 356-357, while its three interesting alternatives – 8. Nc3, 8. Re1 and 8. Nbd2, are covered here.

In case of 8. Nc3 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Bg4 Black reaches roughly equal position with a few accuracies.

The best response to the Chigorin Variation (8. Re1) is 8… Bg4, where after 9. c4 Black gets good prospects with 9… Nf6, while in Berger Variation (9. c3 f5) the ensuing position is double-edged.

A rare line 8. Nbd2 has recently become popular on a very high level and is our recommendation for beginners, since it is rather easy to handle with White pieces.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White Queen and Bishop on c6 have gone astray, and Black has a chance to finish the game in style. Can you find the way for Black to deliver the mate in a couple of moves?

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[October 04, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation – English Attack (Miscellaneous)

[Line 491 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 without 6… e6, 6… e5]

Move 6… e6 is covered in our Lines 492-494, while 6… e5 can be found in Lines 495-500. From the other possibilities, move 6… Nc6 is also an interesting option, while 6… Ng4 is the main topic of this opening line.

After 6… Ng4 7. Bg5 move 7… Nc6 is an alternative inferior to the main 7… h6, where the game usually proceeds with 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bg7. Now 10. Be2 is a move of equivalent strength as the most frequently played 10. h3. In response to h3 Black can play 10… Nf6, but 10… Ne5 is the principal choice. Against both of these moves players of White have tried several options, but Black seems capable of reaching sufficient counterplay in any of those cases.

[Diagram: White to Move] V. Ivanchuk – A. Shirov, Wijk aan Zee 2001. Black has neglected piece development just to capture the d-pawn. How should White continue to gain a decisive edge?

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