[March 21, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Borki Predojević:
Catalan Defense, Open Defense with 5… a6

[Line 242 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 a6]

Open Defense with 5… a6 is one of the sharpest lines in the Catalan Defense.

Move 6. O-O is the main choice of the players of White where 6… b5, although interesting, is generally considered preferable for White. For example, 7. Ne5 Nd5 8. a4 Bb7 9. axb5 axb5 10. Rxa8 Bxa8 11. e4 Nf6 12. Nc3, with the initiative. Somewhat better option for Black is 6… Nc6, where players of White have tried numerous replies. Among them 7. e3 poses the most problems to Black. After 7… Bd7 as an alternative to the main 8. Nc3 White sometimes opts for 8. Qe2 b5 9. b3 cxb3 10. axb3, with sufficient compensation for the sacrificed pawn.

There is another popular option for White – 6. Ne5, where Black has two possibilities that should be enough to equalize: 6… c5 and 6… Bb4+.

[Diagram: White to Move] D. Refalo – R. Sanchez Ortega, corr. 2010. Black is a pawn up but his King is poorly protected. What is the best way for White to launch an attack and get a big advantage?

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