[December 15, 2017] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Anglo-Gruenfeld Defence

[Line 009 : 1. c4 Nf6 without 2. Nf3, 2. d4]

Line 009 covers various variations for both sides, but mostly the Anglo-Grünfeld Defense (2. Nc3 d5). White usually continues with 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. g3 c5 5. Bg2 Nc7 and the Reversed Maroczy Bind occurs. Black gets more space, but White pieces exert considerable pressure on central squares.

The other popular plan for Black is an early kingside fianchetto with 4… g6 5. Bg2 Nb6 6. d3 Bg7. After Black plays Nc6, White can capture the knight and postpone the kingside development, which typically leads to more pleasant positions for White, mostly thanks to his better pawn structure.

[Diagram: White to Move] After a series of forced moves Black has emerged with a pawn up, but White has a chance to use his development advantage. How should he continue?

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[December 14, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense with 4. d3 Bc5 (incl. Kaufmann Variation)

[Line 372 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 without 5. c3]

The main move 5. c3 is covered in Line 373, while among the alternatives 5. Bxc6 and 5. O-O seem most reliable.

After 5. Bxc6 dxc6 move 6. Qe2  has recently became popular. The idea is Nbd2-c4 and Bd2, followed by a pawn advance on the kingside, like e.g. in the game F. Caruana – S. Karjakin, Wijk aan Zee 2016. The more common continuation is 6. Nbd2, where both after 6… O-O 7. Nc4 Nd7 and 6… Be6 7. O-O Nd7, Black should equalize without difficulties.

In case of the 5. O-O, apart from a solid 5… d6, Black can exchange a pair of Knights with 5… Nd4, for example 6. Nxd4 Bxd4 7. Nd2 c6 8. Ba4 d6, and the ensuing position is roughly equal.

[Diagram: Black to Move] S. Movsesian – Z. Hracek, Sibenik 2009. Black has a better development and his opponent’s King is not placed very well. How can Black make use of these facts to seize a longterm initiative?

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[December 13, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Nimzowitsch Variation with 5. Nbd2

[Line 222 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Nbd2]

Line 222 covers 5. Nbd2, which is probably the most quiet way for White to meet the Nimzowitsch Variation of the Queen’s Indian Defense. Though the arising positions should not pose real problems for Black, they lead to complex strategical battle, which is probably a reasonable choice if you are trying to avoid theoretical discussions.

Besides the main 5… d5, continuations like 5… Bb4, 5… Bb7 and 5… c5 should also give Black equal chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] Ki. Georgiev – B. Kurajica, Sarajevo 2001. White has deployed both his knights to very promising outposts, so it’s time for active operations. How should White make the best use of his knights’ placement?

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[December 12, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation – Kan Variation (Miscellaneous)

[Line 443 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 without 5… Nc6, 5… Qc7]

Line 443 deals with the 5. Nc3 line in the Kan Variation of the Sicilian Defense, though reactions with 5… Nc6 and 5… Qc7 belong elsewhere. There are two main options for Black: quite popular 5… b5, and the more solid 5… d6.

The first of the two lost a lot of its popularity in recent years, mainly because 6. Bd3 Qb6 7. Nf3 proved very dangerous, e. g. in a theoretically important game A. Grischuk – P. Svidler, Khanty-Mansiysk 2011.

Depending on one’s taste, White can choose among several promising possibilities against 5… d6. We recommend the following three: the aggressive 6. g4, positional 6. a4 or rather flexible 6. Be3.

[Diagram: White to Move] A typical reaction from White soon gives him a decisive advantage!

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[December 11, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
King’s Indian Defense, Aronin-Taimanov/Mar del Plata Defense

[Line 166 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6]

Mar del Plata Variation is one of the most popular lines in the King’s Indian Defense. Double-edged positions often occur, where White typically opts for queenside advances, while Black attacks on the kingside.

Keeping the tension in the center with 8. Be3, and the Exchange Variation 8. dxe5 are some of the sidelines included in our Line 166. After 8. d5 Ne7 many options for White are covered here, apart from 9. b4 (Lines 168-169) and 9. Ne1 (Line 167), which are covered separately. The main line goes 9. Nd2 a5 10. a3 Nd7 11. Rb1 f5, with plenty of interesting possibilities for both sides.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black has a neat tactical sequence that will secure him a big advantage. How should he continue?

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[December 10, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Borki Predojević:
September 2017 Revisited: Italian Game, Giuoco Pianissimo with 8. a4!?

Highlights from the seveth update of this opening article include V. Anand – W. So, Stavanger 2017, L. Fressinet – M. Adams, Internet 2017 and M. Vachier Lagrave – P. Leko, Baden Baden 2017. Without any doubt, the popularity of this line remains steady among the top-level players, as the Italian Game makes frequent appearances among the world’s best.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position is from a recent theoretically important game. In D. Kanovsky – A. Shirov, Czech Republic 2017, Black has managed to repel White’s attack and hopes to exert some pressure on b2. How can White solve all his problems and even spice it up a bit?

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