[March 10, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Accelerated Meran

[Line 274 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 without 5… Nbd7]

As an alternative to the main line 5… Nbd7 (Lines 275-285) Black has a viable sideline in 5… a6. White has tried a numerous moves in response and, beside 6. Qc2 (transposing to Line 070) and 6. a4 (Line 099), moves 6. b3 and 6. c5 can also be seen very frequently.

Protecting the c-pawn with 6. b3 is connected with a plan that includes Bf1-d3 and short castling. Black usually replies with 6… Bb4, forcing White to occupy with 7. Bd2 a not so good square for the Bishop. After 7… Nbd7 8. Bd3 O-O 9. O-O Bd6 occurs one of the critical positions of this opening line, where White often opts for an early e3-e4. Black on his behalf typically reacts with e6-e5, with good chances to equalize.

In case of 6. c5 Black has two plans that should provide him with sufficient counterplay. One is the immediate 6… b6, where after 7. cxb6 Qxb6 he often proceeds with a6-a5 and Ba6. The other plan is 6… Nbd7, with the idea e6-e5. For example, 7. Bd3 e5 8. dxe5 Ng4, and Black is fine.

[Diagram: White to Move] White’s intentions are clear – attacking the black King. He needs to increase the pressure, so white Queen has to find the way to join the attacking pieces. Any ideas?

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[March 05, 2017] Pick of the Week by GM Boris Avrukh:
August 2014 Revisited: Advance Caro-Kann, Short Variation with 5… c5 (12. Ndb5!?)

Our latest update consists mainly of computer engine games, which seem to leave no stone unturned. While this line is no longer fashionable as it used to be, some recent over-the-board grandmaster games still deserve serious attention, and one of the theoretically most important additions is certainly P. Ponkratov – I. Rozum, Khanty-Mansiysk 2016.

[Diagram: White to Move] Everything is hanging and both kings are feeling unsafe, so everything is at stake at the moment. White’s greatest asset is his turn to move, so use it wisely!

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[February 26, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Borki Predojević:
February 2016 Revisited: Italian Game, Giuoco Pianissimo with 8. a4!?

The fourth update of this opening article after it was originally published in February 2016 does not boast some super-sexy names (though R. Mamedov – L. Dominguez Perez, Doha (rapid) 2016 is a serious affair by any standard), but it makes up for the lack of big faces by bringing some extremely promising tactical ideas that can give the players of Black some very dangerous counterplay.

[Diagram: Black to Move] White has seemingly unpinned himself quite neatly by attacking the bishop on c5, but his opponent has a hidden ace up his sleeve. Can you play the winning card for Black?

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[February 19, 2017] Busted: Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Central Variation, Kramnik’s Huge Preparation

March 2014 Revisited: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. Bxc4 Nb6 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. Be3 Nb4 8. Be4 f5 9. a3

There were some new interesting developments in the line 9. a3! since it was introduced by Kramnik against Karjakin in Khanty-Mansiysk 2014.

A couple of fresh grandmaster games continued with 9… Nd5, where our recommendation remains the same – 10. Bf3, with more pleasant position for White.

The main extension of this opening article is after 9… fxe4 10. axb4 e6 11. Nc3 Nd5, where in the last 2-3 years a plenty of engine games have been played. Though Black  gets some counterchances, move 12. Qg4! still gives White better prospects.

[Diagram: White to Move] The end of the combination conducted by White; how can he finish the attack in great style?

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[February 12, 2017] Trusted: Opening Survey by GM Aleksandar Kovačević
Catalan Defense, Closed Variation with 7… b6 (12. Rd1)

Nakamura’s three-peat at the Gibraltar Tradewise Open was nothing short of impressive, so examining his weapon of choice in the decisive game of the first leg of the play-offs seems quite logical. In addition to two high-profile grandmaster games – R. Kasimdzhanov – A. Kovalyov, Baku 2015 and M. Rodshtein – A. Franco Alonso, Linares 2014, our examination of this variation will also include a number of theoretically important engine games, which will surely broaden our understanding of this rather fashionable line.

[Diagram: Black to Move] H. Nakamura – Yu Yangyi, Caleta (rapid, m/3) 2017. Moves like Nd6 or Ne3 typically annoy Black, so he has to act quickly before his opponent’s pressure becomes unpleasant. Any ideas?

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[February 05, 2017] Updated Opening Article by GM Aleksandar Kovačević:
May & October 2015 Revisited: Sicilian Najdorf, Grischuk’s Verbeterde List

While capturing on f6 instead of Bh4 has recently been in vogue among grandmasters, our latest update proves that at least two options on the 13th move contain so much venom that it makes them highly playable at any level for the players of White.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position appears in our analysis of S. Lomasov – D. Khismatullin, Moscow 2017. It seems that White can hardly make any improvement, but he has a very subtle maneuver that exposes the fact that Black king is stick in the center. Can you find that neat idea?

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