2016-03-04 - Update Line 400[Mar 04, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Marshall Attack (Miscellaneous)

[Line 400 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 without 8… d6]

Line 400 covers the biggest part of the Marshall Attack, apart from the lines that arise after 8… d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d4, which can be found in our Line 401.

Fashionable 12. d3 occurs very often on the highest level, e. g. like in Wei Yi – Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee 2016 or Vachier Lagrave – Adams, Biel 2015. Black needs to play accurately to equalize, though great experts, like Aronian or Svidler, rarely have any problems to maintain the balance.

Besides the Marshall Attack, a modern gambit starting with 8… Na5!? is also covered here, but proper play should guarantee White at least a slight opening edge.

Diagram: Everything is ready for White’s final blow, though it’s not too easy as some precise calculation is required!

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2016-03-03 - Update Line 295[Mar 03, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Philidor Defense, Shirov Gambit

[Line 295 : 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5]

Though slightly underestimated, Philidor Defense is a highly dynamic opening that gives Black reasonable counterplay. In recent years, the Philidor fans have usually opted for the move order starting with 1…. d6, 2… Nf6 and 3… e5 (instead of the old 1… e5 followed by 2… d6), thus avoiding some rather unpleasant lines. In our Line 295 users can find most of the Philidor lines, apart from 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O, which is covered in Line 296.

The Exchange Variation 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 doesn’t give Black much to worry about, while the Shirov Gambit 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. g4 leads to sharp positions, where it’s necessary to know the lines very precisely. The main variation in this line is the modern 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O Nb6!?, which can be used as a surprise weapon, though if White plays the most critical lines, the middlegame should be more comfortable for him.

Diagram: White has only a bishop for the queen, and there is only one way to secure a draw. Can you see it?

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2016-03-02 - Update Line 074[Mar 02, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Dragan Paunović:
Trompowsky Attack with 2… e6

[Line 074 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6]

Reacting with 2… e6 against the Trompowsky Attack is one of the soundest ways to play it with Black, since it doesn’t allow White to double his opponent’s pawns after capturing on f6, and it also does not expose the knight by moving it to e4. White usually gets more space, but Black gets a bishop pair, like in the main line after 3. e4 h6 4. Bxf6 Qxf6. This line is often a choice that many top players opt for when faced with the Trompowsky Attack.

Position on the diagram is an important one to know, because it keeps appearing in so many games. Sometimes even some very strong grandmasters were on the receiving end of an elegant tactical blow that brings White quite close to winning a full point. Do you know this opening trap?

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2016-03-01 - Update Line 245[Mar 01, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Semi-Slav, Vienna Variation

[Line 245 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 without 5. e4]

Line 245 mainly covers the following three variations: 5. Qa4+5. e3 and 5. Bg5. The arising positions are usually quite dynamic, where both sides have their chances. These lines are not particularly fashionable nowadays, but one can still hardly call them innocuous.

Diagram: Black king is stuck in the center, but the central lines aren’t open yet.  In an engine game White failed to find the best way to proceed, but in such position human intuition can sometimes be stronger than the brute force of computer calculation – do you feel tempted enough to give it a shot?

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2016-02-29 - Update Line 060[Feb 29, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Dragan Paunović:
Queen’s Gambit Accepted, McDonnell Defense

[Line 060 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 e5]

In recent years, Queen’s Gambit Accepted has been losing its popularity, and the main reason behind that trend is the dangerous Central Variation with 3. e4.

Line 060 covers the McDonnell Defense (3. e4 e5), which is one of the most topical responses to the Central Variation. In our opinion, White can get the upper hand if he plays the most critical lines.

Diagram: Goldin – Rublevsky, Niksic 1997. Goldin missed a golden opportunity to launch a promising attack. What was the proper way to proceed as White?

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[Feb 28, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
March 2015 Revisited: The King’s Indian Defense, Petrosian Variation

The Petrosian Variation of the King’s Indian Defense has that evergreen feel that never seems to lose its appeal among chess players of all strength levels. GM Brenjo had originally decided to explore some fashionable lines in this opening using E. Tomashevsky – T. Radjabov, Tbilisi 2015 as the key game, but new developments kept appearing on regular basis, so it was as good time as any to update this opening survey once again.

[Diagram] It’s traditional wisdom to go after your opponent’s king in positions with opposite castling, but sometimes it pays off to literally look both ways.

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