[June 30, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Vadim Zvjaginsev:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical Variation – Keres Defense with 7. Bg5 Bb7 8. e3

[Line 185 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 7. Bg5 Bb7 8. e3]

The most common plan for Black in this line is 8… d6, with the idea Nbd7, c5 and Rc8.

For club level players we recommend 9. f3, followed by Bd3 and Ne2.

The other frequent choice of players of White is 9. Ne2. White wants, after moving the Queen, to put the Knight on c3, and than to develop his light-squared Bishop. The game usually continues with 9… Nbd7 10. Qc2 c5 11. Rd1, and here Black has a few promising options: 11… Qe7, 11… Qc7 and 11… Rc8.

[Diagram: White to Move] Rook on d4 is under attack, but moving it means losing the Bishop on c4. However, White can make use of the fact that black Queen is far away from the kingside. What is the best way to proceed as White?

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[June 29, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Borki Predojević:
Catalan Defense, Closed Variation; Bogo-Indian/Catalan Hybrid

[Line 230 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 without 4… dxc4, 4… Be7]

Line 230 deals with introductory lines of the Catalan Defense, whereas the variation with 4… dxc4 can be found in Lines 239-242 and 4… Be7 in Lines 235-238.

Another Black’s frequent choice is 4… Bb4+, where besides the most common reply 5. Bd2, White has at his disposal an interesting gambit line starting with 5. Nc3.

Variation arising after 4… Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 is also very popular, and is covered in our Lines 231-234.

Sideline 4… Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bd6 is also a solid alternative, which we recommend to club level players.

In the main focus of this opening line is 4… Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bxd2+, where White has two responses: 6. Qxd2 and 6. Nbxd2. After trading the dark-squared Bishops, White has somewhat better development, but Black has good chances to maintain the balance.

[Diagram: White to Move] Though Black’s position is without obvious weaknesses, his King is poorly protected, which allows White to obtain a strong attack. How should he continue?

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[June 28, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
French Defense, Winawer Variation

[Line 343 : 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4]

Line 343 is an introductory line of the Winawer Variation of the French Defense and, as can be expected, White has many, substantially different, possibilities at his disposal.

Exchange variation (4. exd5) typically leads to quiet positions. After 4… exd5 5. Bd3 a common continuation could be 5… Nc6 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Nge7 with White having a pair of Bishops and his opponent relying on a better pawn structure.

Old move 4. Nge2 doesn’t seem to pose real problems to Black. After 4… dxe4 5. a3 Be7 6. Nxe4 Nf6 occurs a position similar to the Rubinshtein Variation (3… dxe4 4. Nxe4), but the Knight on e2 is here a bit passive.

By choosing 4. a3 White is heading for sharp lines 4… Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 dxe4 6. Qg4 Nf6 7. Qg7 Rg8 8. Qh6, where Black has a few ways to get sufficient counterplay.

By far the main move is 4. e5 and the main option 4… c5 is covered in our Lines 344-346. Other popular variations for Black are 4… b6 and 4… Qd7, while 4… Ne7 usually transposes to positions from 4… c5, for example 4… Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 is the initial position of Line 345.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black has a Bishop+Queen battery aiming towards the White King, and the g2-pawn is under attack. How can White protect his King and activate the pieces to gain a clear advantage?

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[June 27, 2018] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Symmetrical (Rubinstein) & Asymmetrical Variations

[Line 030 : 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 without 3.Nc3, 3.d4]

Move 3. Nc3 is covered in Line 032, 3. d4 in Line 116, and after 3. g3 move 3… b6 is in Line 031, and 3… g6 in Line 036.

The main focus of this opening line is the Rubinstein System (i.e. the Reversed Maroczy Bind): 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nc6. Here 6. d4 allows Black to obtain comfortable play with 6… cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nbd4, so players of White tend to prefer 6. Nc3 Nc7 7. O-O e5.

White has two common plans: one is preparing the b2-b4 advance with a3 and Rb1, like in the line 8. a3 Rb8 9. Rb1 f6 10. d3 Be6 11. Be3 Qd7 12. Nd2 and the other one is transfering the Knight from f3 to c4, followed by f2-f4, e.g. 8. d3 Be7 9. Nd2 Bd7 10. Nc4 f6 11. f4, in both cases with roughly even chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] V. Kramnik – S. Karjakin, Sochi 2016. Kramnik’s preparation is, as usual, at a very high level – White can get a big advantage with aggressive play!

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[June 26, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Boris Avrukh:
Gruenfeld Defense, Brinckmann Attack

[Line 138 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4]

The Brinckman Attack (4. Bf4) against the Grunfeld Defense is, in our opinion, a variation that’s suitable mostly for club level players.

After 4… Bg7 move 5. Nf3 transposes to our Line 146, whereas this opening line deals with move 5. e3, which is another major option for White. The usual reply from Black is 5… c5 6. dxc5 Qa5, and after 7. Qa4+ Qxa4 8. Nxa4 Bd7 9. Nc3 Ne4 he obtains sufficient compensation.

More ambitious possibility for White is 7. Rc1 dxc4 8. Bxc4 O-O where White plays either 9. Nf3 or 9. Nge2. After a few precise moves, Black is able to obtain equal chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] White gains an almost decisive advantage with a nice trick. Can you find it?

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[June 25, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation – English Attack (incl. Delayed Keres Attack & Perenyi Gambit)

[Line 492 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 without 7. Be2, 7. f3]

Variation with 7. f3 is covered in Lines 493-494, and 7. Be2 leads to the Classical Scheveningen (Line 484-487).

Sharp Delayed Keres Attack (7. g4) is the main point of interest of this opening line, where Black has two viable replies: 7… e5 and 7… h6.

8. Qf3 has been recently tested in a few grandmasters games against the latter Black’s option. He needs to play carefully to gain reasonable counterplay.

After 7… e5 8. Nf5 g6 White is practically forced to sacrifice material by leaving the attacked Knight on f5. Both the Perenyi Gambit (9. g5 gxf5 10. exf5) and 9. Bg2 lead to extensively examined and forced lines, with approximately even chances.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White is an exchange up but Black can make use of his bishop pair to save the game. What is the best continuation for him?

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