[November 13, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Scotch Game, Classical Variation with 5. Nxc6

[Line 362 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nxc6]

The most frequent choice of players of Black is the intermediate move 5… Qf6. White’s reply 6. Qd2 has lost a lot in popularity since Black has found the way to get a comfortable position after 6… dxc6 7. Nc3 Bd4.

Because of that fact, players of White typically opt for 6. Qf3 nowadays. Continuations 6… dxc6 and 6… bxc6 are of about the same strength, both leading to roughly equal positions.

Move 5… bxc6 seams like a reasonable alternative for Black. After the usual 6. Bd3 Black gets good counterplay with the aggressive 6… Qh4 7. Qe2 Nf6 8. h3 d5.

[Diagram: White to Move] After 16. c4 Black gets sufficient compensation for the pawn with 16… Nxd5 17. cxd5 Qd4. However, there is another path for White, leading to his advantage…

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[November 12, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Quiet Line with 5… Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. Bc3 d5 9. Ne5 Nfd7

[Line 228 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. Bc3 d5 9. Ne5 Nfd7]

Line 228 deals with one of the main variations of the Queen’s Indian Defense. The idea of 9… Nfd7 is to exchange an active white Knight from d5 for the less active one from b8. After the usual 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. O-O Black has a choice between the following moves of about the same strength: 12… Rc8, 12… f5 and 12… b5.

In the first case, position often gets a forced character, like in 12… Rc8 13. e4 c5 14. exd5 exd5 15. dxc5 dxc4 where, both after 16. cxb6 and 16. c6, Black is able to equalize with accurate play.

By playing 12… f5 Black prevents his opponent from executing the main idea e2-e4. Black’s plan is frequently connected with transferring the Knight from d7 to e4, or preparing f5-f4.

After 12… b5 13. c5 e5 Black also has sufficient counterplay, for example 14. dxe5 Nxc5 15. a3 Bb7 16. Qc2 Ne6.

[Diagram: White to Move] J. Ballow – J. Viberg, corr. 2010. White has a clear compensation for the sacrificed pawn, and he can even get a substantial advantage, primarily thanks to the passed d-pawn!

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[November 11, 2018] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
November 2016 Revisited: Réti Opening with 6. Qa4+

Our original version of this article featured A. Demuth – W. So, Montpellier 2015 as the line’s key game, where Black had little problems reaching full equality, where S. Mareco – Ni Hua, Baku 2015 only confirmed our assessment. It didn’t take long and Caruana got the opportunity to try the same line as White: he actually did it twice – against Anand and Topalov. This is an extremely double-edged line, and we believe there is still plenty of room for improvement for both sides.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from a deviation from the main line on the seventh move. At first glance, it seems that Black has major difficulty solving the problems coming from his light square weaknesses. However, White’s cramped queenside, as well as the awkward placement of his knight give Black an incredible possibility to completely turn the tables… Well, how can he do that?

Click here to see the updated article in our viewer.


[November 10, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Reti Opening, Miscellaneous

[Line 021 : 1. Nf3 d5 without 2. d4, 2. g3]

In addition to transposing to our Line 056 with 2. d4, and the main line in Reti Opening (2. g3) examined in our Lines 023-024, White has another popular alternative in 2. c4.

The Anglo-Slav, occurring after 2. c4 c6, is covered separately in Line 022, and other choices from Black on the second move (2… d4, 2… e6 and 2… dxc4) are the main point of interest of this opening line.

After 2. c4 d4, moves 3. g3 and 3. b4 seem to pose the most problems to Black, though he is typically able to get equal positions without difficulties.

After 2… e6 3. g3 dxc4 appears a kind of Neo-Catalan Accepted, while in case of 2… dxc4 White has a choice between 3. e3, often transposing to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and the not very ambitious 3. Na3 or 3. Qa4+.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White seems to be fine, but poor coordination of his pieces allows Black to obtain a substantial advantage. Can you find the way to do it?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[November 09, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Slav Defense – Stoltz Variation with 6… Bd6 7. b3

[Line 282 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. b3]

Topic of our Line 282 is a positional plan beginning with 7. b3, often leading to mostly symmetrical setups. After 7… O-O the most principal response from White is 8. Be2, since Black gets comfortable positions both after 8. Bb2 e5 and 8. Bd3 e5. Move e6-e5 is possible even against 8. Be2, but the position arising after 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. Nb5 is easier to play with white pieces.

Black most often opts for a queenside fianchetto 8. Be2 b6 9. O-O Bb7 10. Bb2, where there are at least two paths that lead to balanced positions. One is 10… Rc8 with the idea c6-c5, and the other is 10… Qe7, connecting the Rooks and later deploying them on two of the following lines – c, d or e, for example 11. Rad1 Rad8 12. Rfe1 Rfe8.

[Diagram: Black to Move] M. Simantsev – I. Yagupov, Police 2014. Bishop sacrifice 16… Bxh2+ is an obvious idea, but can you see how can Black continue the attack after the forces 17. Kxh2?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…


[November 08, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Dragan Barlov:
Slav Defense, Modern Line

[Line 087 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qc2 dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bf5]

Modern Line of the Slav Defense, covered in this opening line, resembles the Catalan Defense. The biggest difference is that black bishop is here placed on f5, compared to c8 or b7 in the Catalan. After the usual follow-up 6. g3 e6 7. Bg2 Nbd7 8. O-O Be7, beside the most frequently played 9. Nc3, White has an alternative in 9. e3, and on 9… O-O, either 10. Rd1 or 10. Qe2.

The main line goes 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Re1, planning the e2-e4 push on the next move. Though 10… Bg6 11. e4 b5 is an interesting option, players of Black more often go for 10… Ne4, where in the position arising after 11. Qb3 Qb6 12. Nh4 Black can equalize either with 12… Bh4 13. gxh4 Ndf6, or 12… Qxb3 13. axb3 Bb4 14. Nxf5 exf5.

[Diagram: White to Move] This one is pretty easy – White wins the game in just a couple of moves, by using Black’s poor control of the dark squares!

Click here to see the line in our viewer…