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Hello everyone,
If the spectrum of openings was rather wide last time, this month I decided to focus on the Ruy Lopez. However, the main lines will be diluted by some offbeat systems, such as the Jaenisch Gambit. I have also included two of my own games and an interesting line from the Petroff.

Download PGN of August '10 1 e4 e5 games

Open Variation [C80]

An interesting game was played in my favourite Open Variation. The game Almasi, Z - Timman, J, 8th Georgy Max mem 2010, saw an appealing novelty from the legendary Dutch player.

In this position, which arose from the relatively rare line with 11.Re1, which was answered by Alekhine's idea of ...Nd3-f4, Black played 16...Ng6! instead of the 16...Bh4 which allowed Almasi to obtain an advantage in a previous game against Erdos. A very good game, despite a tactical oversight from both players.

The line which occurred in the game hasn't been tested enough in my view and deserves more outings.

Jaenisch Gambit [C63]

It's curious that Shirov faces the Jaenisch (or Schliemann) Gambit more often than other top players. In the game Shirov, A - Gozzoli, Y Grenke Rapid Wch 2010, White was the first to introduce a novelty in the following position:

Here Shirov played 15.f4, but Black reacted correctly, although 16... Re8 might be even more precise. Only a mistake on the 24th move allowed White to take the initiative and eventually win the game. Shirov's novelty 15.f4 doesn't seem to set Black many problems, and he should be able to equalise with a few accurate moves.

Chigorin Defence [C96]

The game Karjakin, S - Howell, D Grenke Rapid Wch 2010, featured 11...Nd7, the second most popular line in the Chigorin Defence after the main line 11...Qc7. White chose 12.dxc5, instead of the most popular 12.Nbd2, and after 12...dxc5 he played the extremely rare 13.b3, against instead of 13.Nbd2. The following position arose after White's 13th move:

Black now chose an interesting setup and only a mistake on the 27th move (27...Bd6?) allowed White to seize the initiative. The line which was chosen by White in this game doesn't set Black any problems, so if White wants to play the move 12.dxc5 he should combine it with the subsequent 13.Nbd2.

Closed Ruy Lopez with 9.d4 instead of 9.h3 [C91]

We have two games in this system. Let me start with Kamsky, G - Karjakin, S Grenke Rapid Wch 2010, which featured 10.d5.

In the position given above Kamsky introduced the interesting novelty 17.Ng3, instead of 17.Ne3. Karjakin was up to the task till 22...Nxe4?, when he underestimated White's subsequent queen sacrifice. Kamsky's 17.Ng3 deserves attention, but it seems that Black should be able to equalise with accurate play.

The second game in this system is Ootes, L - Mikhalevski, V Biel Festival 2010. My opponent played the system with 10.Be3, which I answered with the rare line 10...Bd7.

In this critical position, which arose after 12...Bh4, White played 13.g3, when 13.Rf1 seems to be a better alternative. White's play was inaccurate, which allowed me to obtain a good position and to eventually win the game. The line with 10...Bd7 may serve as a surprise weapon, although I'm not sure it would be a good idea to apply it regularly.

Closed Ruy Lopez with 7...d6 [C90]

The game Bologan, V - Karjakin, S Grenke Rapid Wch 2010, started as a Two Knights, but transposed to the Closed Ruy Lopez with 7...d6. Soon they reached the following position:

Here Bologan introduced the novelty 15.b4, trying to improve on his earlier game which featured 15.Ne3. Karjakin's reaction was good and he equalised, but his inaccuracies on moves 22 and 23 allowed White to obtain a slight edge. However, White returned the favour and eventually the game was drawn. White's novelty 15.b4 doesn't seem to cause any problems - the entire line is pretty safe for Black.

Ruy Lopez with 5.d3 instead of 5.0-0 [C77]

Kritz, L - Mikhalevski, V Hanowa Rapid 2010, saw the system with 5.d3.

In this position, which arose after 9...Nd7, White played the extremely rare move 10.Bxc6. Black was already better by move 13 and had an extra pawn after his 19th move.

The line with 10.Bxc6 doesn't promise any advantage and so White has to prefer the main line, 10.Nf1.

Petroff [C41]

Timofeev,A-Wang Yue 7th China-Russia, Ningbo 2010, was a test of a long and interesting line in one of the most popular systems.

Here Black was the first to surprise his opponent with 24...c6, deviating from his earlier game where he played 24...Rc8. However, Black's next move was already inaccurate and allowed White to seize a slight advantage. Nevertheless, Wang Yue defended well and eventually the game was drawn. A well-played game - Black was under some pressure throughout the game, but his position remained solid enough to hold the draw.


See you next month, Victor.

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