Various choices of White on 6th move can be found pretty much everywhere in our CHOPIN Encyclopedia: 6. Be3 in Lines 491-500, 6. Be2 in Lines 484-490, 6. Bg5 in Lines 481-483, 6. Bc4 in Line 480, 6. f4 in Line 479, and 6. f3 and 6. g3 in Line 478.
The main topic of Line 477 is 6. h3, a move that has become exceedingly popular among the top players in the recent years. White’s plan includes g2-g4, Bg2 and Be3, hoping to exert pressure on the kingside. Black has tried numerous options in response, but only 6… e6 and 6… e5 seem to be sufficient for getting equal chances. There are many possibilities for both sides, and we will mention here the two currently most popular lines: 6… e6 7. g4 Be7 8. Bg2 Nfd7 9. Be3 Nc6 and 6… e5 7. Nde2 h5. In both cases the ensuing positions are highly complex and, though Black should be the more cautious side, he should typically be able to equalize.
[Diagram: White to Move] K. Sasikiran – Lu Shanglei, Abu Dhabi 2016. Black is threatening to take the b2-pawn, though he would also be quite happy to play Ne3, eliminating the opponent’s important dark-squared Bishop. Sasikiran played a very strong move that allowed him to gain a substantial advantage. Can you find the best continuation for White?
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