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Hi everyone,
I've looked at a few gambit lines this month, together with the usual Spanish games, while one of our favourite American authors, David Vigorito, analyses a couple of important Petroff games, and there is also an interesting contribution from a subscriber.

Download PGN of February '08 1 e4 e5 games

Petroff Defence [C42-3]

By David Vigorito

Firstly, a look at the critical last round game at Wijk aan Zee between the current and previous World Champions, Anand, V - Kramnik, V, featuring 5 Nc3 Nxc3 6 dxc3:

This variation tends to surface whenever White is struggling to achieve anything in the main lines. Originally, it was a way to avoid theory, but now it has built up a rather large body of theory itself!

The next game involves the 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Bd6 line, and follows Olivier Renet's analysis (on ChessPublishing) for a while before Black springs a big improvement on move 20 and wins with an incisive attack ... that was all preparation. Don't miss Bournival, B - Ippolito, D.

Evans Gambit [C52]

With Black against Nigel Short, after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4, you have a choice: play 3...Nf6, when he will reply 4 Ng5 and grab your d-pawn, or play 3...Bc5 when he will play 4 b4 and instead give you his b-pawn!

So, how to explain this apparent contradiction? Is it just that he considers the b-pawn of less value than the d-pawn, or does he just like having White?!

Anyway, after the further 4...Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 d4 d6 7 Qb3 Qd7 he played the rare 8 Nbd2!? in Short, N - Sargissian, G:

And won convincingly. One day later Tigran Petrosian also tried this line (see the notes), with the same result.

Schliemann Gambit [C63]

It strikes me as odd that Radjabov, who is the World's top King's Indian Defence expert, and who revels in the nuances of those closed positions, should also play the open, risky Schliemann, rather than a closed Chigorin, for instance.

Anyway he tried it again in Polgar, J - Radjabov, T which gives us an opportunity to examine the alternative 10 e6 Ne5:

And he went on to draw rather easily.

Delayed Schliemann [C70]

This variation is anything but theoretical, but was discussed on the Forum after a post by Templare2, and, as it hasn't been covered on ChessPublishing before I thought I'd give it a quick look!

The insertion of ...a6 and Ba4 changes quite a lot for both sides when compared with the normal Schliemann. White's best move is 5 d4! and play continues 5...exd4 6 e5 Bc5:

Next, White normally castles, and then plays Bb3 to stop Black from castling kingside (as in a famous Karpov-Korchnoi game, for instance), but instead, in Almasi, Z - Shirov, A, the Hungarian GM played the interesting 7 Bg5!? followed by c3 and won very quickly. However, both sides can improve, and while this line is a bit uncomfortable to play as Black it does appear quite playable.

I have incorporated the analysis from the Forum in my notes.

Marshall Gambit [C89]

Last month we looked at the trendy 12 d3 Bd6 13 Re1 Bf5 14 Qf3 Qh4 15 g3 Qh3 and now 16 Bxd5, snatching another pawn, but in Polgar, J - Aronian, L White preferred 16 Nd2!? Rae8 17 Ne4 to block the e-file:

No doubt Judit had prepared an improvement in the endgame that arises, but Aronian was the first to improve and drew comfortably, and even played for a win at one point.

Breyer's Variation [C95]

During his successful World Championship run Kamsky twice played a brand new move in the Breyer, 15...a5!?:

And in Leko, P - Carlsen, M Black gave it another try, but this time White was well prepared and soon gained some advantage. Still, we will no doubt see this line again very soon.

Gajewski Variation [C96]

Kevin Goh from Singapore is 'a fervent supporter of', and very kindly sent me an important game in the Gajewski which he had just played, Goh Wei Ming-Timothy Chan Wei Xuan, with his own, excellent, annotations, to which I've added a few short notes.

Many thanks!

Till next month, Tony

Please post your Kingpawn Opening queries on the 1 e4 e5 Forum, or subscribers can write to if you have any questions.