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Hello everyone,
Each summer there are a lot of high level events and so I had no problems choosing games that were both interesting and theoretically important. Moreover, the gamut of openings is again rather wide.

Download PGN of August '09 1 e4 e5 games

Marshall Attack [C89]

Leko, P - Jakovenko, D Sparkassen GM 2009, featured a popular line of the Marshall Attack:

In the diagram position White introduced an interesting novelty, 24.a4!? when 24.Bxd5 would transpose into Kamsky, G - Bacrot, E, Nalchik 2009, which I annotated for you earlier this year. Already Black's 27...Bf8 was dubious and White took the initiative. Soon White's advantage was clearly visible to the naked eye and only a mistake on the 40th move prevented Leko from retaining a clear advantage, and White could also improve on the next move. After all, Leko introduced an interesting novelty and obtained a serious advantage. Black will have to seek improvements, and I have offered some possibilities in my annotations.

Breyer Variation [C95]

Polgar, J - Avrukh, B Richard Riordan GM Rapid 2009, was part of the Maccabiah games. Judith played Spassky's line with 15.Bg5 which is not very fashionable, and in the diagram position below chose a very rare continuation:

Here she played 18.Qc1, provoking a weakening of the kingside, but Black reacted correctly and equalised. Despite further inaccuracies from both sides the game ended in a draw, though in the final position Black could play on. As usually happens in the Breyer Variation, the play is slow and the player with the better nerves and positional understanding should prevail.

Chigorin Variation [C98]

The game Robson, R - Gareev, T World Open 2009, featured a rare line of the Chigorin Variation with 12...Be6:

In this position, which arose after 15.g4, Black introduced the novelty 15...g6. Black started to outplay his young opponent and after 23.Bxg5?! the advantage was already on his side. Another mistake and Black obtained a clear advantage and led the game to a win. Though the line chosen by Black is pretty rare the positions arising are typical for the Chigorin system, and so a good understanding of these type of positions is more important than concrete knowledge.

Petroff Defence [C43]

The game Bacrot,E-Kramnik saw a very sharp line which is becoming popular. In the July update I annotated the rare 19.Kh1 for you (See Jakovenko-Kramnik), and now it's time for the main line with 19.Rf2. The position below occurred after Black's 24...Qxd8:

Here Bacrot improved upon 25.Re3 with 25.cxd5 but only equalised. An important game from the theoretical point of view. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the game was home preparation from both players. It seems that Black holds in all lines, though the position remain complicated and new tests can be expected.

Scotch [C45]

In Kolev,At-Postny,E 37th Greek Teams, the players went for a long theoretical line in a fresh branch of the 10...g5 line:

In the above position White introduced a good novelty, 20.Rf1!, but already his next move was wrong. Black obtained sufficient play for equality and eventually a draw was agreed. An interesting game from the theoretical point of view. Probably 21.Ref2! is White's best chance to fight for an advantage in this line.

Four Knights [C43]

A very sharp line of the Four Knights occurred in Ivanchuk, V - Caruana, F Biel 2009.

In this almost unexplored position Black introduced the novelty 13...Nd5 (instead of 13...g6) and 13...Rb8 is also interesting. However, 15...d4 was already wrong and White obtained the upper hand and, despite some inaccuracies from both sides, won the game. An interesting line which leads to a very messy position. Definitely it requires further practical tests, though I have a feeling that 8...Nxf3 instead of 8...Bg4 is better.

Bishop's Opening [C24]

Morozevich, A - Gelfand, B saw Boris defending Black's position in two different branches of the line with 3...c6. If against Kamsky Gelfand went for the 6...cxd5 line and obtained a good position (see the July update), this time he was less lucky in the line with 6...Nxd5

Here White played Tiviakov's pet line 9.d4 and three moves later introduced a novelty, 12.Qd3. Black's reaction was wrong and White obtained a slight, but lasting advantage. Later Gelfand blundered a piece, but his position was already difficult. Tiviakov's 9.d4 deserves further investigation, though Black has good chances to equalise if he plays 14...Bd7.

Centre Game [C22]

I left the spectacular game Nepomniachtchi, I - Aronian, L 14th WCh Rapid Final Maintz 2009, for this month's dessert:

White has sacrificed a pawn and now introduced the novelty 11.f3!?, instead of 11.h3. Black sacrificed an exchange and a critical position arose after 15...Qe8!, but then White erred with 16.Bxf6?, which allowed Black to take hold of the initiative. The following position was reached after 24.Kc2:

Here Aronian, who had already secured the title of Rapid World Champion, repeated moves with 24...Qf5. Instead, can you find a winning continuation? Good luck!

A very interesting game. Though the Central Game doesn't look like a correct opening it contains a lot of ideas and Black has to be well prepared to neutralize White's initiative.

See you next month, Victor.

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