[Jun 06, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Chebanenko Variation with 5. c5

[Line 100 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 without 5… Nbd7]

Line 100 deals with 5. c5, which is one of the most critical lines in the Chebanenko Variation of the Slav Defense; it covers all the responses that Black’s has at his disposal at this important theoretical juncture, apart from the main 5… Nbd7, which is covered in our Line 101.

Since 5… g6 and 5… Bg4 allow White to gain opening advantage in a rather simplistic manner, 5… Bf5 is the main focus of this line. The best plan for the players of White is to deploy the dark-squared bishop on the h2-b8 diagonal by playing 6. Bf4, and after 6… Nbd7 they should proceed with 7. e3, since 7… Nh5 8. h3 Nxf4 9. exf4 e6 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 leaves White with a slight pull.

Black can also try either 7… g6 or 7… e6 but, in our opinion, in both cases White can successfully fight for opening advantage, primarily thanks to controlling more space.

[Diagram: White to Move] I. Cheparinov – E. Bacrot, Elista 2008. In the diagrammed position Cheparinov played energetically and gained substantial advantage. How did he proceed?

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[June 05, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
February 2015 Revisited: Queen’s Indian Defense, Nimzowitsch Variation with 7. d5

In the original article our game of the week was H. Nakamura – P. Harikrishna, Caleta 2015, where Black managed to equalize comfortably. We have now updated the survey with several theoretically important over-the-board and engine games, and it seems that this line has become a reliable resource for the Indian super-GM, as he also had no problems in his recent game from the Gashimov Memorial: T. Radjabov – P. Harikrishna, Shamkir 2016.

[Diagram: Black to Move] R. Wojtaszek – P. Lékó, Reykjavík 2015. Black has to do something about his opponent’s pressure on the d5-pawn, before it becomes too late – a great example of Lékó’s deep opening preparation.

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[Jun 04, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Hedgehog Variation & The Double Fianchetto Defense

This update is a small tribute to our late colleague GM Dragan Paunović. In memory of our dear friend, our Editorial Board will continue updating his lines and articles.

[Line 031 : 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. g3 b6 without 4. Nc3]

Line 031 mostly deals with Black’s double fianchetto, which occurs after 3… b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O g6 6. Nc3 Bg7.  This very flexible variation is a pet line of the new World Title Challenger – Sergey Karjakin. White usually continues with 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 followed by Qh4 (usually after Black short castling), thus exerting pressure on the kingside.

In a couple of games from Shamkir 2014, Karjakin with Black managed to neutralize White’s tries in the following line: 8… d6 9. Rd1 Nbd7 10. Be3 Rc8 11. Rac1 O-O 12. Qh4 a6 13. b3 Re8, so we suggest that you check out his games against S. Mamedyarov and H. Nakamura.

The other popular try for Black is 13… Rc7, with the idea Qb8 followed by b6-b5, though after 14. Bh3 Qb8 15. g4 e6 16. g5 Ne8 17. Nd4 the final position still seems more pleasant for White.

[Diagram: White to Move] P. Eljanov – S. Karjakin, Tromso (m/5) 2013. Eljanov didn’t miss his chance, and won the game in just a few moves. Can you find the winning sequence?

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[Jun 03, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Modern Variation – Moscow Variation with 3… Nc6 (Main Line)

[Line 460 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nc6 4. O-O Bd7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. c3]

Since moves 6… g6 and 6… e6 in our opinion lead to White’s advantage, the only ambitious line for Black is 6… a6, where White has two principal continuations: 7. Ba4 and 7. Bf1. If we follow the first option, after 7… b5 8. Bc2 Bg4 we recommend either 9. d3 or 9. h3 for club level players, and 9. a4 for the advanced ones.

After 7. Bf1 Bg4, White again has an interesting choice between the solid 8. h3 and 8. d3, or mostly sharp 8. d4.

Although Black can equalize, highly accurate play is mandatory in most of the abovementioned lines!

[Diagram: White to Move] White has sacrificed both exchanges, and has the possibility to finish his opponent off. Hint: the e6-pawn is your main target!

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[Jun 02, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Schallopp Defense

[Line 094 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5]

For beginners, our recommendation is quite simple: 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3, followed by O-O, Nbd2, b3 and Bb2 – that plan can hardly go wrong!

The main focus of Line 094 is the 5. Nc3 variation of the Schallopp Defense, since all other White’s moves at that juncture are rather unambitious.

5… a6 is an interesting possibility for Black, especially for club level players. It should give the players of Black good prospects, and there is not as much theory as in the main 5… e6 line.

Variation 5… e6 6. Nh4 is covered in our Lines 095-097, and the remaining options for White on 6th move are covered here.

6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 hardly poses any problems to Black, since it simplifies the position, which is clearly in his favor.

[Diagram: Black to Move] This is an opening trick that could be seen even in a few grandmaster games: Black to play and get a substantial advantage!

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[Jun 01, 2016] Updated Opening Line from GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense – Main Line with 9… Ne7

[Line 378 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 Ne7]

Early Knight maneuver Ne7-g6 in the Berlin Defense is the main area of interest that is covered in our Line 378. Similar to most Berlin lines, white has numerous possibilities, yet none of them offer tangible advantage.

10. h3 Ne7 is the most frequently played variation, and now White has two substantially different plans: queenside fianchetto of the dark-squared bishop or its deployment on the c1-h6 diagonal. An illustration of the former plan is 11. Ne4 h6 12. b3 a5 13. a4 c5 14. Bb2 Bf5, whereas an example of the latter could be 11. Be3 Ke8 12. Rad1 Be7 13. a3 Bd7 14. Rfe1 Rd8, like in a recent game A. Shirov – V. Kramnik, Zurich 2016.

Having an endgame on the board can be misleading, as both sides have to be careful not to miss tactical blows.

[Diagram: Black to Move] If Black plays 18… Ng5, White has 19. Bc1 with clear advantage, so Black has to find a different path to equalization.

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