[October 01, 2017] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
December 2015 Revisited: Anglo-Grünfeld Defense, Stein Attack

Our original key game in this line was E. Bacrot – V. Ivanchuk, Ashdod (rapid) 2015, where White tried a very promising idea, but played it one move too late to achieve something tangible. Fortunately for us, a number of correspondence games took place in the same line where players of White managed to create serious problems to their opponents, which gave us the opportunity to evaluate this variation properly.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position features our improvement on A. Lesiege – V. Mikhalevski, Québec 2017. White has an obvious spatial advantage, but Black has finished all the preparations and is ready to launch a thematic central counterthrust by playing e5. What should White play to secure a tangible advantage?

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2016-02-20 - Update Line 219[September 30, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Nimzowitsch Variation, Timman’s Line

[Line 219 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 without 5. Nbd2, 5. Qc2, 5.Qa4, 5. b3]

This opening line covers the variation with 6. Qb3, named after famous Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman. It’s probably not as ambitious as some other choices, but Black still needs to be careful. For instance, in the game Vachier-Lagrave – Karjakin, Tashkent 2014 Black got into serious trouble straight from the opening.

6. Qb3 Nc6 7. Nbd2 Na5 is the most frequently played line, though both 7…Bb7 and 7… d5 seem to offer Black quite decent chances, too.

[Diagram: White to Move] Van Wely – Dao Thien Hai, Mallorca 2014. Timman’s compatriot missed an excellent opportunity to gain a significant advantage. What is the best way to proceed as White?

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2016-02-18 - Update Line 159[September 29, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
King’s Indian Defense, Petrosian Variation (incl. Stein Defense)

[Line 159 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 without 7. Be3, 7. O-O]

Variation named after 9th World Champion Tigran Petrosian starts with 7. d5, where the most popular choice for Black remains 7… a5, explored many years ago by another famous Soviet chess player – Leonid Stein. This highly complex strategical line was very popular during the 1959 Candidates tournament, played twice in the games between Tal and Fischer, and also in two other games: Petrosian – Gligorić and Olafsson – Gligorić. Even nowadays it can sometimes be seen in top-level encounters, e. g. like in Kramnik – Nakamura, London 2014.

Apart from the Petrosian Variation, Exchange Variation is also covered in this line, as well as some rare sidelines on White’s 7th move.

[Diagram: White to Move] This double-edged position is in White’s favor, mostly because of the open g-file for his rooks. It’s White’s move, and he has a great opportunity to launch a decisive attack!

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2016-02-17 - Update Line 054[September 28, 2017] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
English Defense

[Line 054 : 1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6]

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.

In English Defense Black allows White to form a strong pawn center, so he could attack it with his pieces. Apart from the most principal 3. e4, there are less ambitious but safer 3. a3, 3. Nc3 and 3. Nf3, as well as some rare sidelines.

If White aspires to get advantage out of the opening, he needs to play some very precise moves. He also has to be ready for forced lines, like the ones occurring after 3. e4 Bb7 4. Bd3 f5.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black’s minor pieces are attacking the d5-pawn, and if White captures on c6, his opponent will quickly develop the remaining forces. Therefore, White’s best choice is to sacrifice some material and postpone Black’s development…

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2016-02-13 - Update 472[September 27, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Richter-Rauzer Variation (Miscellaneous)

[Line 472 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 without 6… e6]

Line 472 deals with the Classical Richter-Rauzer Sicilian, including its rare sidelines: 6… Qb6, 6… Qa5 and 6… h6, as well as the old 6… Bd7 and modern 6… g6, which leads to non-standard positions. However, in spite of its unorthodox nature, the kingside fianchetto holds most promise for the players of Black among all the variations covered in this line.

The diagram on the left shows one of the critical positions in the 6… Bd7 line. It occurs after a highly attractive improvement suggested by our editor, which we believe is a very interesting option for the players of White seeking initiative in this line.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black King is stuck in the center, but White has no open files for his rooks, so it doesn’t look particularly dangerous at first sight. How can White make use of the awkward position of his opponent’s King to get substantial advantage?

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2016-02-24 - Update Line 114[September 26, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Queen’s Pawn Game, Knights Variation – Indian Game with 3. g3

[Line 114 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3]

Black has several possibilities at his disposal to get comfortable positions, after White’s rather unambitious 3. g3. This line mostly covers 3… b5, which prevents White from playing early c2-c4, as well as 3… c5 that can lead to some type of an English Opening, while 3… d5 often transposes to the Catalan Defense. Another important transposition is 3… b6, which leads to Queen’s Indian Defense after 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. c4.

[Diagram: White to Move] Wang Yue – Timofeev, Ningbo (rapid) 2010. Black has a strong pawn center, but is behind in development. There’s no time to waste, so White has to pounce immediately!

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