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Hello everyone,
The spring of 2013 was probably one of the busiest periods for the top players in their lives. The tournaments changed straight from one to another, while some of them ran on the same dates. Nevertheless, the most important and fascinating one was without any doubt the Candidates tournament in London. So, I decided to focus mostly on this event, while adding some games from the other top tournaments.

Download PGN of April '13 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish with 6.d3 [C84]

As usual, I would like to start with the Spanish, when our first game is Svidler, P - Carlsen, M Candidates 2013.

In a rather popular line of the Spanish the players reached the diagram position with logical moves, and here Svidler came up with a novelty, 15.Bc2. However, White's 17.Ne3 was already inaccurate and allowed Black to seize the initiative and eventually win the game. A nice positional squeeze from the World's number one player! The line which occurred in the game leads to roughly equal positions, but 17.h3 looks like a clear improvement over 17.Ne3?! I'm expecting more practical tests of this line.

Spanish with 5.d3 [C78]

I have decided to include a recent game of mine from the Israeli championships as the game may serve as an example of how to play these type of positions. Soffer, R - Mikhalevski, V ISR-ch 2013, featured the line with 6...Bc5, which I recommended in my new Spanish repertoire book.

In the diagram position I was the first to deviate from a preceding game with 17...Qc7 and soon White started to make slight positional mistakes, which eventually led to Black's advantage. The opening line which occurred in the game leads to a roughly equal position, although understanding the subtleties is very important.

Berlin with 4.d3 Bc5 [C65]

Two branches of this system are presented in the current update. Let me start with the game Anand, V - Kramnik, V, Zurich Chess Challenge 2013, which featured 5.Bxc6. The World Champ was the first to deviate from their December game with the slightly surprising. but nevertheless interesting 9.Kh1:

Kramnik reacted in a logical way and was close to equalizing, when he blundered with 21...Qb8?? There was no way back and soon White won the game. Despite White's win, the opening line looks pretty safe for Black.

In the game Carlsen, M - Grischuk, A Candidates 2013, Magnus tried the 5.c3 line and played an early novelty in the diagram position:

Here Magnus surprised his opponent with 9.Re1, which provoked the aggressive reaction 10...d5. Grischuk clearly underestimated White's play on the queenside, while 10...d5 might be the source of Black's problems in this game. At least, it was easier to play with the white pieces in the position which arose.

The Archangel Variation [C78]

The game Anand, V - Caruana, F, Zurich Chess Challenge 2013, featured the rather popular line with 9.Be3.

In the diagram position the World Champion introduced a novelty, 14.Rc1, but Caruana found a good reaction and soon equalized. White's novelty doesn't change the evaluation of the position as equal, and so the ball remains in White's court.

Berlin Wall [C67]

In the game Grischuk, A - Kramnik, V, Candidates 2013, Vladimir played his favourite Berlin system.

Here Grischuk deviated from the known theory very early with 12.a4, which failed to set any problems. Moreover, he even had to be accurate to maintain the balance. He was up to the task before going astray in time trouble with 30.Bxd4??, which led to a lost pawn endgame. I doubt White's opening novelty will find any followers.

Scotch with 4...Nf6 [C45]

A well-known endgame position occurred in the game Ivanchuk, V - Svidler, P, Candidates 2013:

Here Peter introduced quite a logical novelty, 21...Kc7. Since neither side could find any reasonable plan a draw was soon agreed. This game confirmed the evaluation of this endgame as equal.

Italian Game 7.Be2 [C53]

The game Jobava, B - Karjakin, S saw a pretty rare line with 7.Be2, which Baadur had already tried in a game against Kamsky last year.

Here Jobava introduced a strong improvement, 12.Rc1, upon Vallejo Pons, F - Ponomariov, R/Melilla ESP 2011, which featured 12.a3. Black's reaction was dubious and his position collapsed surprisingly fast. A fantastic win from Jobava, who exploited Black's inaccuracies in great style! 12...a6 looks like an improvement upon 12...Kh8?!, while 8...Bb6 is also a reasonable way to deviate from the game.


See you next month, Victor.

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