NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[October 16, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Trajko Nedev:
Petroff Defense, Classical Attack – Jaenisch Variation (Main Line with 8… Nb4)

[Line 357 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Nb4 9. Be2 O-O 10. Nc3 Bf5]

By far the main move for White is 11. a3, where after the forced 11… Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nc6 White usually continues with 13. Re1. Now, if Black opts for 13… Bf6, one of the ways to fight for advantage as White is 14. Bf4 Na5 15. cxd5 Qxd5 16. Qa4, while after 13… dxc4 14. Bxc4 Bd6 White’s position is preferable if he plays 15. Ng5 Qd7 16. Ra2 (followed by Rae2), as well as after 15. Bg5 Qd7 16. Nh4 Na5 17. Ba2.

In view of the variations discussed above, move 13… Re8 seems like the best option for Black, where after both 14. cxd5 Qxd5 15. Bf4 Rac8 and 14. Bf4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Bd6 Black is able to equalize with a couple of accuracies.

[Diagram: White to Move] White has sacrificed an exchange and needs to act vigorously to justify his choice. How would you proceed?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[October 15, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
June 2017 Revisited: Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense with 6. d3 (10. Ng5!?)

This is still a reasonably fashionable line, with several theoretically relevant top-level games and contributions from Karjakin, Wojtaszek, Bacrot, Ragger, Kosteniuk and Paehtz. Positions that appear in this variation vary from deeply strategical to extremely tactical, so there’s definitely something for everyone’s taste. Especially interesting and theoretically important is our latest entry S. Karjakin – M Ragger, Antalya 2017, which requires extreme accuracy and attention to detail by the players of Black who want to try this line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position is from our analysis of V. Onischuk – D. Howell, Doha (rapid) 2016. David Howell was obviously reluctant to exchange his bishop for the knight on f5, but there was a hidden idea that would have justified that positional concession. Can you spot it? NB: This is a very difficult positional exercise.

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

2016-03-14 - Update Line 020[October 14, 2017] Updated Opening Line (originally by GM Dragan Paunović):
English Opening, Symmetrical Variation – Three Knights System

[Line 020 : 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3]

There are three major lines covered in Line 020, and the first one is the highly popular 3… e5 that can lead to very dynamic positions, like in the main line: 3… e5 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 e4 7. Ne5. After 3… g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 a tricky type of the Panov Attack usually occurs. Finally, there is also a not particularly promising line for Black, starting with 3… Nd4.

Moves like 3… Nf6 and 3… e6 lead to positions covered in other opening lines: the former is covered in Line 032, while the latter transposes to Line 033 after 3… e6 4. g3 Nf6.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black has a space advantage and just needs to develop his light-squared Bishop to fortify his position. However, it’s White’s turn to move, and he has an energetic way to seize the initiative!

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[October 13, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
French Defense, Tarrasch Variation – Open System with 4… exd5

[Line 329 : 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5]

Move 5. Bb5+ leads to some simplifications after 5… Bd7 6. Qe2+ Be7, and Black should not have any difficulties to equalize here. The main option is 5. Ngf3, where 5… Nc6 is the topic of our Line 330, while the alternatives are 5… Nf6 (the main variation of this opening line), 5… a6 (our recommendation for club level players) and 5… c4 (in our opinion, this variation is promising for White).

After 5… Nf6 6. Bb5+ Bd7 move 7. Qe2+ is a playable option, but 7. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 8. O-O Be7 9. dxc5 Nxc5 is a more ambitious one. The critical position occurs after 10. Nb3 Nce4 11. Nfd4 Qd7 12. f3 Nd6 13. Nc5, where against both 13… Qc8 and 13… Qc7 White has means to obtain a slight edge.

[Diagram: White to Move] The only real drawback of the Black’s position is that his King is still in the center. So, White needs to act quickly to seize the initiative. What would you play as White?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[October 12, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense – Anti-Marshall Variation with 8. a4 Bb7

[Line 396 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 Bb7]

After 9. d3, which is the only principal choice for White, move 9… Re8 is an appropriate alternative to the most common 9… d6. Players of White have tried several moves against d6, and the following three (10. Nc310. c3 and 10. Nbd2) are the most popular.

In case of 10. Nc3 Black gets even chances with 10… Na5 11. Ba2 b4 12. Ne2 c5, while after 10. c3 the same plan 10… Na5 11. Ba2 c5 also leads to a position that is fine for Black.

There is more than one path to equality for Black after 10. Nbd2. For instance, after 10… Na5 11. Ba2 c5 and 10… Nd7 11. c3 Nc5 Black typically gets comfortable positions.

[Diagram: White to Move] White has just played a provocative move (14. Nh4), to which Black responded with the topical 14… Nxe4. What is the best way for White to continue and attack the poorly protected black King?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[October 11, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Trajko Nedev:
Petroff Defense, Classical Attack – Jaenisch Variation

[Line 356 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4]

The old move 8… Nf6 is rarely seen nowadays since it leads to positions with better prospects for White. Another option 8… Nb4 is employed more often, where 9. cxd5 and 9. Re1 are the alternatives to the main 9. Be2. After 9. Be2 O-O 10. Nc3, the ensuing position represents an important branching in the Petroff Defense.

The most promising 10… Bf5 is examined separately in Line 357, while 10… Be6 represents another highly explored continuation. Now, after 11. Be3, Black is able to obtain roughly equal chances by playing 11… Bf5 with the idea of capturing with Nxc3, followed by Nc2. The critical variation occurs after 11. Ne5 f6 12. Nf3, where White typically gets a slight initiative.

[Diagram: White to Move] How should White proceed from the diagrammed position to gain a decisive advantage?

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