[May 22, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Rubinstein Variation – Huebner Variation

[Line 187 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 without 5. Nge2]

White’s main choice on the fifth move is 5. Nge2, which is covered separately in our Line 188.

From other notable options, move 5. Bd3 is the most popular one. Black can now transpose to our Line 190 with 5… O-O, or to Line 191 by playing 5… d5 6. Nf3 O-O. Black often opts for 5… Nc6, where the position arising after 6. Nf3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 d6 is the one that defines the Huebner Variation. White gets to keep the bishop pair, but his pawn structure becomes a bit weakened in the process. Black’s plan is to place his pawns on the black squares, which is highly effective in neutralizing his opponent’s dark-squared Bishop. An exemplary line would follow 8. O-O e5 9. Nd2 O-O 10. Rb1 b6, with a dynamically balanced position.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black has sacrificed a pawn and now is the time to show what he had in mind. What would you propose?

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[May 21, 2017] Trusted: Opening Survey by GM Aleksandar Kovačević
Sicilian Defense, Accelerated Dragon with 8… d5!? (10. Qd2)

The Moscow FIDE Grand Prix is under way, and so is the battle for precious points. The stakes are high, and so is the quality of the games played, but it also comes at a price as many games tend to end up in draws. When safety is at a premium, not losing as Black becomes of paramount importance, and this article deals with Gelfand’s recipe against 1. e4 that he tried both versus Giri and Vachier-Lagrave.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black is a pawn down, and it seems that he is also going to lose an exchange. How can he make an improbable escape from this precarious position?

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[May 20, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Reti Opening – King’s Indian Attack with 4… Bg4

[Line 028 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bg4]

Reti Opening has become a mainstream opening in the recent years, and it is frequently played by many world’s top grandmasters. Line 028 deals with one of the main lines in the Reti, where both sides have a few topical plans.

The easiest setup to master with White is d2-d3, Nbd2, e2-e4, Qe1, often accompanied with h2-h3 and Nh4. On the other side, Black usually responds with Nbd7 and either e7-e5 with a possible dxe4, or somewhat less ambitious though very solid e7-e6, followed by Be7 and O-O.

The immediate 5. c4 is another popular choice, where after 5… e6, a common setup begins with 6. b3, followed by Bb2, d2-d3 and Nbd2, and another frequently employed plan is 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. Nc3. Although Black is the one that needs to be more cautious, he should generally not have difficulties reaching the equality.

[Diagram: White to Move] The Knight on d4 is under attack, so White needs to respond to the treat. What is the best continuation for him, leading to a big advantage?

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[May 19, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Trajko Nedev:
Sicilian Defense, Fischer-Sozin Attack (incl. Velimirović Attack)

[Line 471 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bc4]

The two most principal reactions to the Fischer-Sozin Attack are 6… e6 and 6… Qb6, while 6… Bd7 is a sideline that also deserves attention.

In the first case, the game usually proceeds 6… e6 7. Be3 Be7, where as an alternative to the very sharp Velimirovic Attack (8. Qe2) followed by long castling and the kingside pawn advance, White also has a less demanding 8. Bb3 often followed by f2-f4 and O-O.

Move 6… Qb6 is of about the same strength, where White can choose among the following four options: 7. Nb3, 7. Ndb57. Nxc6 and 7. Nde2. In any case the ensuing positions are dynamically balanced.

[Diagram: White to Move] J. Kelbl – C. Moreira, corr. 2009. White has just sacrificed his Knight on d5, which is highly topical for the Velimirović Attack, with the idea to gain the f5-square for another Knight. How should White continue his attack to obtain a winning position?

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[May 18, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Rubinstein Variation (incl. Taimanov & Keres Variations)

[Line 186 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 without 4… c5, 4… O-O]

The most frequent choice of the players of Black against this classical setup is 4… O-O, and it is covered in our Lines 189-194, while the other popular option 4… c5 can be found in Lines 187-188.

Move 4… b6 is also seen quite often in grandmaster practice. If White opts for 5. Nge2 Black has Fischer (5… Ba6), Romanishin-Psakhis (5… c5) and American Variations (5… Ne4) at his disposal. In case of 5. Nf3 the game usually continues with 5… Bb7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O, where apart from the transposition to our Line 191 with 7… d5, Black also has a perfectly fine alternative in the Keres Variation (7… c5).

Taimanov Variation (4… Nc6) is a less investigated possibility since White is here typically able to obtain a small advantage. For example 5. Bd3 e5 6. Nge2 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. e4 Nb6 9. d5, and White has more space for his pieces.

[Diagram: White to Move] M. Drobka – K. Shoup, corr. 1997. Black’s position is without weaknesses, yet his King is vulnerable at the moment, allowing White to gain a big edge. How would you proceed as White?

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[May 17, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense with 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 d6 (without 10.a3 Na5)

[Line 398 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 d6]

The most frequent choice of the players of White in the stem position of this line is 10. a3, where apart from 10… Na5, covered in our Line 399, Black has two options of about the same strength: one is 10… Qd7 with the idea Nd8-e6, Re8 and Bf8, and the other is 10… Nb8, followed by Nbd7 and later Nc5-e6. In any case, Black should have no difficulties reaching the equality.

Move 10. c3 is more suitable for beginners, and it is often connected with the Nb1-d2-f1-g3 maneuver, followed by the d3-d4 advance.

Another interesting possibility for White is 10. a4, with a quiet strategic battle. For example 10… Na5 11. Ba2 b4 12. Nbd2 c5 13. c3 Rc8, with a roughly equal game.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black intends to transfer the Knight from b8 to d4, while if White takes twice on f4, Black gets sufficient compensation in his bishop pair. What is the best continuation for White in the diagrammed position, which secures him a long-term advantage?

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