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Hello everyone,
This time we are going to examine various different lines of the Ruy Lopez, a short, but very interesting game in the Bishop's Opening and an extremely rare idea in the main line of the Petroff.

Download PGN of April '11 1 e4 e5 games

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The Open Variation [C80]

The Open Variation of the Spanish is not very popular these days, but as the following games show Black is still able to solve all his opening problems.

Adams, M - Golod, V Bundesliga 2010-11.

White has just played the extremely rare 16.Neg5, which drew virtually no followers after its introduction in the Karpov-Korchnoi match in Merano 1981. Probably the best reaction is Korchnoi's 16...Bxg5. In this particular game Adams obtained a slight edge after 16...Nxg5, and so I believe 16.Neg5 will obtain more popularity.

Black has just played 17...h6 in Saric, I - Nielsen, PH 12th European Championships 2011:

and here White introduced the novelty 18.Bxc5, which led to an equal rook endgame by force. The ball remains in White's court and so the line with 11...d4 currently seems to be a rather solid weapon versus the main line of the Open variation.

Breyer Variation [C95]

Compared to the Open Variation the Breyer is currently much more popular. The game Sebag, M - Koneru, H 6th Grand Prix 2011, imitated the recent game Petrosian, T - Khairullin, I until White deviated with 18.Rad1, which is the main line (instead of Petrosian's 18.Bf1), 18...Nh5 19.Bf1, reaching the following diagram position:

Here Black was the one to introduce a novelty, 19...Nf4, instead of the older 19...Qb6, leading to an interesting manoeuvering game. The positions which arise in this line of the Breyer are very complex, and sometimes everything depends on nuances which are hardly visible to the naked eye.

The Exchange Variation [C69]

Vydeslaver, A - Mikhalevski, V Israeli league 2011.

Here I introduced an improvement, 13...Bb4 instead of 13...Rd7, and equalized. The line which occurred in the game leads to a roughly equal position, although some accuracy is required from both sides.

Closed Spanish [C84]

In the following position, from Kobalia, M - Mikhalevski, V 12th European Championships 2011, I unknowingly deviated from another game of Kobalia, where 14...Qe7 was played, and obtained a good position:

Although a later series of inaccuracies and mistakes by me allowed White to obtain an advantage it's White who has to look for improvements at the opening stage.

Berlin Defence [C65]

In Gashimov, V - Kramnik, V 20th Amber Rapid 2011, first White deviated from the Berlin endgame with 4.Qe2 and then played the side line 7.Ba4, which allowed Adams to beat Kramnik in 2007:

Here Vladimir prepared an improvement, 7...d5 instead of 7...Bf8, and seemed to obtain a good position, but some inaccuracies allowed White to seize the initiative, which cost Black an exchange. After this Gashimov didn't allow his opponent any chances to come back into the game. Although the objective strength of 4.Qe2 is not very high, it may serve as a way to avoid the Berlin endgame.

Bishop's Opening [C24]

Karjakin, S - Gashimov, V 20th Amber Rapid 2011.

In this sharp position Gashimov introduced the novelty 13...Ncxe4!, instead of the 13...Nfxe4 played by Svidler (see the Archives), and virtually forced White to take a draw by perpetual. A short but fascinating game, well played by both players. Probably White's only chance to fight for the advantage is 12.exd5.

Petroff [C42]

In the game Ivanchuk, V - Gelfand, B 20th Amber Rapid 2011, instead of the much more popular 16.h3 White has just played the extremely rare 16.g3, which was introduced by Karjakin in Wijk aa Zee 2010:

After 16...Bf6 Ivanchuk introduced the novelty 17.Rc1. Gelfand reacted well, but erred, first on move 22, playing 22...Bxf3 instead of 22...f5, and then on the next move with 23...Bb2?! instead of 23...Bd6, and eventually lost. A very interesting game despite a number of mistakes, which is unavoidable in a rapid game. The line with 16.g3 deserves further practical tests, although it seems that Black doesn't have problems equalizing.


See you next month, Victor.

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