September '00 Update
This update we'll focus on recent games in the Alekhine, Center Counter and the entertaining 3...c5 in the Caro-Kann Advance.
I'll also continue answering your email questions. In particular I'd like to consider some sharp lines in the Alekhine's Four Pawns attack as requested by Douglas Schwetke from the USA and the relatively rare and interesting 3...c5!? against the Caro Kann Advance variation as asked for by Stephen Wead.
I have also included a theoretically important game in the Center Counter Gambit which I played last month, in which my opponent grandmaster Gausel prepared an interesting novelty in a long theoretical line.
AV211 I received the following email regarding 6 Qf3 vs the Kengis Variation of the Alekhine:
"Hello, I am interested why the line in the Kengis variation of the Alekhine below is not played more often. It seems logical and powerful but I can only find a few games with it. 1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 dxe5 5 Nxe5 g6 6 Qf3 Be6 7 c4
I won the only game I have played with this line (as Black) but I was lost out of the opening.
This line indeed looks quite interesting and I don't know why it's played so rarely. I'll analyse a line which seems to offer a sufficient defence for Black although I suspect either side may improve here. All these lines need practical tests...
AV209 With reference to another email from Texas regarding ...g6 ideas in the Four Pawns Attack:
"Hello, I am a 1600 player from Texas. I play the Alekhine and am interested in your opinion of a line recommended by Dunworth in his video on the Alekhine. In particular a line in the 4 Pawns Attack, 1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 c4 Nb6 5 f4 dxe5 6 fxe5 g6 7 Nc3 Bg7 8 Be3 0-0 9 Nf3 c5
I have reached a similar position in one of my own games with the following move order: 1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 c4 Nb6 5 f4 dxe5 6 fxe5 g6 7 Nf3 Bg7 8 Be2 c5 9 d5 Bg4 I am interested in your opinion of the Dunworth line and the one from my game...
Many thanks for the interesting questions. The line in the 4 Pawns Attack mentioned is not very often seen in modern practice but it is by no means bad. It leads to sharp and complicated play- exactly what Black aims for by playing the Alekhine's. Moreover Black has some other interesting variations involving flank development of his dark-squared Bishop. I'll consider the one occasion I had to face this line myself, in AV209. By the way, this game has never previously been published.
AV210 Another playable possibility for Black. This line is played rather seldom, but obviously it deserves more attention.
AV207 Black tries out a perhaps somewhat dubious novelty which White counters with a very interesting piece sacrifice leading to a sharp position difficult to evaluate even in home analysis. An exciting game!
AV191 An interesting and theoretically important game which I played last month in the Center Counter Gambit. My opponent grandmaster Gausel prepared a novelty at the end of a long line of known theory.
1 e4 c6 2 d5 d5 3 e5 c5!?
AV212 3...c5 is not as well investigated as the main lines arising after 3...Bf5 and it is a good way to avoid mountains of theory.
AV213 A sharp attempt involving the move Qg4. Blacks reply is natural but the weakening of the K-side is an obvious drawback...
AV214 One of White's main weapons. White firmly protects his extra pawn and that's why for decades this position was thought to be insufficient for Black. But now matters are not so clear as this game proves.
AV215 Black's uncompromising ...g5 is the only way to obtain counterplay here. White's reply, exploiting black's weaknesses on the K-side, was thought to be a refutation of the whole line, but the novelty introduced by GM Igor Khenkin, the leading expert in this line, is prompting White to forget this move once and for all!