[May 27, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
Nimzo-Indian Defense, Classical Variation with 4… O-O

[Line 180 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O without 5. a3]

Line 180 deals with White’s various choices on the fifth move, except for 5. a3, which is covered in Lines 181-185.

After the fairly popular 5. Nf35… c5 is an independent line for Black, whereas most other moves transpose to some other lines.

6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8. Bg2 has become a modern tabiya and many theoretical discussions take place in this line. Black has two interesting choices that should be sufficient for equalization: 8… b6 and 8… Nce4.

Line 5. e4 is the most straightforward approach for the players of White, with lots of forced lines, like in the main 5… d5 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nge2.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position is theoretically important for this line: White can get a long-term initiative, but great accuracy is needed!

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[May 26, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense (incl. Yates & Suetin Variations)

[Line 402 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6]

The Suetin Variation 8. c3 O-O 9. a3 is one of the sidelines of the Closed Defense of Ruy Lopez. It leads to less explored positions, and is probably an interesting choice for club level players.

The Yates Variation, which occurs after 8. c3 O-O 9. d4, has been extensively explored in recent years. After the principled 9… Bg4, Line 402 deals with all ensuing variations, except for 10. d5, which is covered in our Line 403.

After 10. Be3, Black has 10… Bh5 as an interesting alternative to the main 10… exd4 11. cxd4 Na5 12. Bc2 Nc4 13. Bc1 c5.

Though Black’s position is equal, it requires quite precise treatment.

[Diagram: White to Move] Finish of the game A. Sznapik – P. Van der Sterren, Copenhagen. White to play and win!

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[May 25, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Borki Predojević:
Slav Defense, Three Knights Variation (Suchting, Schlechter and Chebanenko Variations)

[Line 098 : 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 without 4… dxc4, 4… e6]

Suchting Variation (4… Qb6) is one of the Slav Defense sidelines that is rarely seen nowadays, since White can easily get a long-term advantage, though, in our opinion, 5. Qc2 is the most unpleasant reaction for Black.

Even against the Schlechter Variation (4… g6) White can claim advantage in a few different ways, for instance by playing 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Bf4 g6 7. e3.

The main area of interest in our Line 098 is the Chebanenko Variation (4… a6), i. e. its numerous sidelines for White, since the main moves are covered in our Lines 099-103.

The Modern Gambit line 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 usually makes things difficult for Black, while 5. Qb3 e6 6. Bg5 is a calm alternative, recommendable to club level players.

[Diagram: Black to Move] G. Haika – G. Bartsch, corr. 2007. White is threatening to take the Rook on h8, and also to give check on b8. Black probably didn’t have too many problems to find the best idea in a correspondence game, but it’s definitely not that easy to find it at the chess board!

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[May 24, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Modern Variation – Moscow Variation (Canal Attack) – Main Line with 5. c4

[Line 462 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c4]

The Moscow Variation (also known as the Canal Attack) is one of the most popular choices for the players of White that want to avoid heavily investigated positions in the Sicilian Defense, and 3… Bd7 is the simplest reaction from Black.

With 5. c4, followed by Nc3 and d2-d4, White wants to gain spatial advantage, and this is generally considered the most ambitious try for White. The game usually continues 5… Nf6 6. Nc3 g6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bg7.

For advanced players we recommend 9. f3 O-O 10. Be3 Nc6 11. O-O, while for club level players an interesting sideline could be more suitable: 9. b3 Nc6 10. Bb2.

White can, at best, get a slight spatail advantage out of the opening, but Black can equalize comfortably if he plays correctly.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Black can get a serious advantage if he finds the best moves. How should he continue?

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[May 23, 2016] Updated Opening Line by GM Dragan Barlov:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Slav Defense – Meran (Reynolds Variation)

[Line 277 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 a6]

8… a6 is a classical continuation in the Meran Defense, that was played in a few games during the Meran 1924 tournament, where this defense was officially born!

After 9. e4 c5, the Reynolds Variation 10. d5 is not considered particularly dangerous, as it gives Black comfortable play after 10… c4.

The main variation in this line is 10. e5 cxd4, where White’s only serious try is 11. Nxb5. Black now has two interesting choices: the most popular is 11… axb5 12. exf6 gxf6, and the equally interesting alternative is  11… Nxe5 12. Nxe5 axb5 13. Bb5+ Bd7. In our opinion, line 11… Ng4 12. Qa4 Bb7 13. Nbxd4 is an inferior choice that leads to favorable positions for White.

The most memorable game in these lines is V. Kramnik – V. Anand, Bonn (m/5) 2008, played in the World Championship match, where Anand scored an important victory.

This line should give Black sufficient resources to get satisfactory play, though some accuracies are certainly required.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position stems from an engine game. Our silicon friends are merciless when some tactics occur. Without further ado, White to play and win!

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[May 22, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
May 2015 Revisited: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation – Verbeterde List

In the original article our featured games were D. Frolyanov – L. Dominguez Perez, Sochi 2015 and M. Cornette – P. Idani, Reykjavik 2015. We have now updated the survey with several theoretically important correspondence games, and it seems that the verdict remains the same: Black usually gets rich piece play after the pawn sacrifice, but he can hardly reach complete equality if White plays all the accurate moves.

[Diagram: White to Move] 15. Nd5 looks very much like one of those Sicilian-killers, but can you see what comes next?

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