NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[December 11, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Boris Avrukh:
September 2015 Revisited: Grünfeld Defense, Russian Variation with 7… Be6 8. Qd3

In the original article our game of the week was a clash between two Grünfeld Defense titans of the modern era: P. Svidler – Wei Yi, Baku (m/3) 2015, where we suggested an interesting improvement for Black. We have now updated the survey with several theoretically important over-the-board games, but our verdict basically remains the same: Black has reasonable counterplay, yet it typically requires very accurate responses to various opponent’s plans.  

[Diagram: Black to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis of a recent game S. Manush – P. Vishnu, Abu Dhabi 2016. White is only a castling away from securing his material advantage, so Black has to act quickly. Any thoughts?

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[December 04, 2016] Updated Opening Article by GM Borki Predojević:
February 2016 Revisited: Italian Game, Giuoco Pianissimo with 8. a4!?

Well, this line is obviously so important for the modern opening theory that this is its third update after it was originally published in February 2016. This update has it all: top-tier games (A. Giri – E. Tomashevsky, Moscow (blitz) 2016), elite battles from the Olympiad (R. Mamedov – C. Balogh, Baku (ol) 2016) and, as usual, theoretically important engine games (Komodo 10 – Stockfish 210616, Internet (blitz) 2016).

[Diagram: Black to Move] It is quite clear that the diagrammed position is about equal, but it’s Black who’s on the suffering side due to his weakened pawn structure. How can he avoid a long-term grind and equalize in a convincing manner?

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NEW UPDATED OPENING LINE

[December 02, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Aleksandar Kovačević:
Queen’s Indian Defense, Quiet Line with 5… Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6

[Line 227 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6]

Black wants, after 8… d5 9. cxd5, to be able to recapture with cxd5 and keep the symmetrical pawn structure. The position is quite complex with various plans for both sides.

8. O-O d5 9. Qc2 Nbd7 10. Rd1 O-O 11. a4 is one of the common follow-ups, where after immediate 11… c5, as well as 11… Qc8, Black gets roughly equal chances.

The other popular plan is to move the dark-squared Bishop to c3: 8. Bc3, intending to meet 8… d5 with either 9. Ne5 or 9. Nbd2. In both cases Black is able to obtain comfortable positions with relative ease.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black is eager to play Rg1+ and a1=Q, but it’s White’s move and the exposed black King gets caught in the mating net!

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NEW OPENING ARTICLE

[November 27, 2016] Busted: Opening Survey by GM Slaviša Brenjo
Ruy Lopez, Keres Variation with 15… Rb8

The World Chess Championship Match certainly casts a big shadow, but that doesn’t mean that interesting games are not played elsewhere. German Bundesliga usually brings highly combative encounters, and Inarkiev’s revenge for his loss against Svidler at the Russian Individual Superfinal has brought the game line to our editor’s attention.

While it’s generally surprising to see a super-GM of Svidler’s caliber forget his preparation and misplay the post-opening phase so badly, the truth is that the entire variation is extremely dangerous for Black.

[Diagram: Black to Move] Y. Solodovnichenko – A. Delchev, Mulhouse 2011. Black has to act quickly, or White will storm his kingside after g5. Any ideas?

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[November 20, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
April 2015 Revisited: Queen’s Gambit Declined/Catalan Crossover with 10… O-O

Our previous installment of this article mainly focused on over-the-board and correspondence games, but this time computer engines have all the fun – not unlike comparing the rather uneventful World Chess Championship Match between Carlsen and Karjakin with the concurrent TCEC Stockfish 8 – Houdini 5 slugfest with 9 decisive games so far.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position comes from an analysis of recent engine game between two Stockfish clones. At first glance, it seems that White’s initiative is long gone and that his position is falling apart. However, White has one last trick up his sleeve…

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NEW UPDATED ARTICLE

[November 13, 2016] Updated Opening Article by Boris Avrukh:
June 2015 Revisited: Réti Opening with 6. Qa4+

Our previous installment of this article featured A. Demuth – W. So, Montpellier 2015 as the line’s key game, where Black had little problems reaching full equality, and the more recent game S. Mareco – Ni Hua, Baku 2015 only confirms 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 an analysis of A. Ramirez – R. Edouard, Arlington 2015. At first glance, it seems that Black has to solve the problems coming from his light square weaknesses. However, white queen’s awkward placement gives Black an opportunity to turn the tables completely…

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