2016-03-07 - Update Line 389[Mar 07, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Ruy Lopez, Open Variation (Miscellaneous)

[Line 389 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4]

Line 389 belongs to “old-school” lines that have recently been revamped quite successfully. Even some rarely employed sidelines have returned to spotlight, e. g. line from R. Fischer – F. Ólafsson, Havana (ol) 1966, which saw its revival at the top level fifty years after the original game was played: first in F. Caruana – Wei Yi, Wijk aan Zee 2016, and less than two months later in Hou Yifan – M. Muzychuk, Lviv (m/4) 2016.

Diagram: Black’s attack seems to have reached a point of impasse, but the reigning Women’s World Champion Mariya Muzychuk finds an attractive way to inject some fresh life into it.

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[Mar 06, 2016] New Opening Survey by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
A Great Find by Gelfand: Sicilian Najdorf, Adams Attack with 8. g5

It’s always good to see a great player of Gelfand’s caliber back into action. After his win in a mini-match against Morozevich, we can now follow his games from the Aeroflot Open in Moscow, where he currently stands at “plus two” after five rounds. Our featured game A. Demchenko – B. Gelfand, Moscow 2016 puts his great strengths on display: supreme analytical work combined with deep understanding of the game.

[Diagram] White dispels all Black’s hopes of survival with a brilliant tactical idea…

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2016-03-05 - Update Line 080[Mar 05, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Colle System; Queen’s Gambit Accepted (Mannheim & Showalter Variations)

[Line 080 : 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6]

Line 080 mostly deals with some not particularly ambitious variations, such as 3. Bf4 & 3. Bg5, and other rarely employed sidelines. 3. Bf4 is a very popular “blitz” line even on the highest level, and its most famous aficionados are Kramnik and Kamsky. Apart from his numerous successes with White pieces in this line, Kramnik also lost an important game with Black against Karjakin at the Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2014.

The main variation in this line is the Queen’s Gambit Accepted (3. c4 dxc4) without 4. e3, most specifically the Showalter Variation with 4. Nc3 and the Mannheim Variation with 4. Qa4+. In our opinion, none of these variations should pose real problems for the players of Black.

Diagram: Black’s play on the queenside looks threatening, but it’s White’s turn to move and a tactical blow decides the game in his favor.

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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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