[November 12, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Petrosian Variation – Farago Defense (incl. Hedgehog Variation)

[Line 207 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. a3 Ba6 5. Qc2]

After directing the white Queen to c2, Black usually goes back with his light-squared Bishop 5… Bb7 (Farago Defense) and then plays c7-c5, making use of the fact that now White can no longer push his pawn to d5. As a consequence, when Black captures with the pawn on d4, a Hedgehog setup arises.

The most common follow up begins with 5… Bb7 6. Nc3 c5 7. e4 cxd4 8. Nxd4. Now in case of 8… Bc5 White gets a small edge after 9. Nb3 Nc6 10. Nxc5 bxc5 11. Be3. Move 8… Nc6 seems to be the best option for Black, and after 9. Nxc6 Bxc6 White’s logical continuation is 10. Bf4 followed by either Rd1 or O-O-O, controling a little bit more space then the opponent. Black often opts for 10… Bc5, then proceeds with O-O, a7-a5 and e7-e5, deploying his pieces on the Black squares.

[Diagram: Black to Move] W. Schmidt – S. Marjanović, Vrnjačka Banja 1983. White has made a typical sacrifice of d-pawn, counting on the e4-b7 pin. Still, there is an oversight in his calcutation that allows Black to obtain a better position!

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[November 11, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Old Sicilian (Miscellaneous)

[Line 422 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 without 3. Bb5, 3. d4]

In addition to 3. d4 (Lines 428-439) and 3. Bb5 (Lines 424-428), move 3. Nc3 is also quite popular.

Black’s common reaction 3… e5 is covered separately in our Line 423. If Black chooses 3… e6 or 3… a6 the game most often transposes to the Paulsen Variation.

After 3… d6, if White continues with 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Black has a viable alternative to 5… Nf6 (Lines 469-476) in 5… e5.

If Black opts for 3… g6, White can transpose to the Accelerated Dragon with 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 or respond with 4. Bc4 or 4. Bb5.

Move 3… Nf6 is the usual preference of the Lasker-Pelikan Variation aficionados, since it invites the most logical transposition: 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4. After 4. Bb5 probably the best option for Black is 4… Qc7 5. O-O Nd4 with mutual chances.

[Diagram: White to Move] H. Walsh – V. Turicnik, corr. 2005. White Knight and Rook are under attack, but if White plays accurately his kingside initiative will guarantee him an advantage.

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[November 10, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Dragan Barlov:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Slav Defense – Neo-Meran (Wade Variation with 9. O-O)

[Line 279 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O]

The topic of our Line 279 is the Wade Variation of the Neo-Meran with 9. O-O, which is nowadays the main choice of the players of White.

After 9… a6 10. e4 c5 11. d5 occurs a very complicated position, demanding exceptional knowledge from both sides.

The main line is 11… Qc7 12. dxe6 fxe6 13. Bc2. If Black goes for 13… c4 White gets a promising position with 14. Ne2, followed by Ng3 and b2-b3. Therefore, the best option for Black is 13… Bd6 14. Ng5 Nf8 15. f4 where both 15… O-O-O and 15… h6 should lead to dynamically balanced positions.

Black has an interesting sideline in 11… Be7, planing to sacrifice a Knight for two pawns with 12. Bc2 exd5 13. e5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 d4.

Black also has an alternative on the ninth move (9… b4), but White is there able to obtain a small edge with 10. Na4.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black has a possibility to obtain a significant advantage in the diagrammed position. How should he continue?

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[November 09, 2016] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Four Knights Variation – Kingside Fianchetto with 4… d5 (Main Line)

[Line 016 : 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. a3]

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 016 deals with one of the main lines of the Four Knights Variation of the English Opening.

White intends to play b2-b4, gaining some space on the queenside. The game usually continues 8… O-O 9. b4 Be6, where Black wants to play f7-f6, Nd4 and c7-c6. After 10. Rb1 f6 11. d3 Nd4 moves 12. Nd2, 12. Nxd4 and 12. Be3 have all been tried many times and, in any case, Black should have equal chances.

Black has an interesting alternative in 8… O-O 9. b4 Re8, followed by Bf8, a7-a5 and Nd4. In case of 10. b5 Nd4 11. Nxe5 Black gets good prospects with 11… Bf6.

[Diagram: Black to Move] B. Jobava – D. Arutinian, Tbilisi 2007. Unusual position of the black Rook together with an awkward placement of the white Queen give Black motives for a powerful tactical blow!

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[November 06, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
March 2015 Revisited: Sicilian Defense, Taimanov-Bastrikov Variation with 7… Bd6

Our previous installment of this article featured V. Kramnik – F. Caruana, Dortmund 2016 as the line’s key game, where Black had problems reaching the full equality. It didn’t take long and Caruana got the opportunity to try the same line as White: his choice proved successful and he scored an important win against Movsesian. This is a very topical and fashionable line, and we believe there is still plenty of room for improvement for both sides.

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis of a line that has been played mostly by computer engines. Black has to solve the problems coming from the insecure placement of his uncastled king, and he needs some really extreme measures to survive. Can you find the best mutual play that ends in a perpetual check?

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[November 05, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Dragan Barlov:
Slav Defense, Schlechter Variation

[Line 088 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 without 4… a6, 4… Bg4, 4… e6, 4… Bf5]

The most frequent moves in this variation are covered in separate lines: 4… a6 in Line 090, 4… Bg4 in Lines 091-092, 4… e6 in Line 093 and 4… Bf5 in Lines 094-097.

Line 088 mainly deals with the Schlechter Variation (4… g6). The fact that the e-pawn is already on e3 is generally in Black’s favor, because White’s dark-squared Bishop cannot be deployed on f4.

Move 5. Nc3 is the most active reaction for White. After 5… Bg7 the main move 6. Be2 can be found in Line 089. Against the alternative plan that begins with 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O Black can trade his light-squared Bishop for the Knight on f3 with 7… Bg4 8. h3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 e6. White thus gets to keep the bishop pair, but Black has a solid position without weaknesses.

Apart from the abovementioned variation, there are two more interesting options for White on 5th move: 5. Nbd2 followed by Bd3, and 5. Be2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nbd2.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black has sacrificed the e7-pawn, and now the Rook on f8 is under attack; what is the best way for him to continue?

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