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Hello everyone,
The top tournaments follow other at the speed of light and so we get a lot of new material to consider. Therefore, this time I picked games from three top tournaments and mixed them with thee of my own games that I played in the recent Open tournament in Budapest. I would like to bring Carlsen’s win over Grischuk to your attention, a must-see game for any chess lover.

Download PGN of May ’19 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish, Anti-Marshall 8.a4 b4 9.d4 d6 10.dxe5 [C88]

Our first game in this update is Aronian, L - Svidler, P Grenke Chess Classic 2019.

The players followed the game Karjakin, S -Svidler, P Kazan 2014, for the first 16 moves, when Aronian introduced the interesting novelty 17.Bxc5, and after 17...Qxc5 18.Ncd2 Peter committed a mistake, he played 18,,,Rfe8? instead of the correct 18...Bxb3. Levon obtained an advantage and led the game to a win, although not without additional help from his opponent. 17.Bxc5 is an interesting novelty, which Black has to meet with 18...Bxb3.

Spanish 5.Nc3 (5.d3) b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.d3 d6 8.a3 [C77]

The game Ter Sahakyan, S - Mikhalevski, V Budapest Spring 2019, saw the rare 5th move Nc3, which transposed to the more popular 5.d3.

I tried 8...Bg4 here, instead of the main line 8...0-0, which transposes to a rather popular position after 9.0-0. The text turned out to be inaccurate in view of the simple 9.Be3 and now the idea of 9...Nd4 is not as good as with inclusion of castles due to Bc6+ in one of the lines. Nevertheless, it was possible. Instead, I continued to experiment, with 9...Rb8 and after 10.h3 Be6 11.Bxe6?! my idea surprisingly worked. White had to prefer 11.Nd5 with a slight edge, as now I equalised comfortably and after the inaccurate 17.d4?! obtained an edge. 5.Nc3 is undeservedly in the shadow of 5.0-0 and 5.d3... The analysis showed that it was better to transpose to the main line of 5.d3 with 8...0-0, since 8...Bg4 is premature.

Berlin 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nxe5 8.Rxe5 0-0 9.d4 Bf6 10.Re1 Re8 11.c3 [C67]

In the game Anand, V - Caruana, F Grenke Chess Classic 2019, the players discussed an important line of the Berlin with 13.d5, which has scored pretty well recently:

The American GM followed his game against Giri from last year, in which he introduced 13...c6. However, Anand expected it and introduced a novelty of his own, 14.Qd1, instead of the 14.Nd2 in Giri, A -Caruana, F Batumi 2018. It didn’t come as a surprise for Fabiano, who reacted well with 14...b6 15.Bf4 Bb7 16.dxc6 dxc6 17.Nd2 c5 18.Nc4 Qxd1 19.Rxd1 Rd8 and soon an exchange of all the heavy pieces only led to a symbolic advantage for White. 13...c6 looks like an interesting attempt to improve on the 13...b6 of Nepomniachtchi, I – Kramnik, V. In the game White didn't manage to set any problems and Black equalised comfortably, so the ball is in White's court.

Berlin Defence 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Ba4 [C65]

Our next game, Carlsen, M - Grischuk, A Vugar Gashimov memorial, Shamkir 2019, is a positional masterpiece from the World Champion.

Carlsen employed his idea 7.Ba4 from the last World Rapid Championship, and Grischuk decided to deviate from the game Carlsen, M – Andreikin, D St Petersburg RUS 2018 [Mikhalevski,V], which saw 7...Bb6, by 7...Ne7. Magnus introduced a novelty, 8.Bc2, which after 8...Ng6 9.d4 Bb6 10 a4!? led to a junction. The Russian GM played 10...c6 here, but it seems that 10...a5 was safer. Now the Norwegian took some space with 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.Qxd8 Rxd8 14.a5 and soon Alex decided to exchange one of the bishops by 17...Bxb3, but then played the inaccurate 21...Nf6?!, which allowed the World Champ to seize an edge and convert it in great fashion. A great positional achievement from the World Champion, who outplayed one of the top players in his trademark style. Bravo!

Black had to choose between 16...h6 or 18...h6, in both cases retaining roughly equal chances, although the position remains playable and that's the type of position Carlsen excels in.

Aronian System 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 b5 9.Bb3 0-0 10.d5 Na5 [C70]

In the game Raja, Harshit - Mikhalevski, V Budapest Spring 2019, I tried to start with 9...0-0, instead of 9...d6.

Raja played 11.Bd2 in the diagram position, which I knew from a similar position with ...d6 played instead of ...0-0. I reacted correctly with 11...Nxb3 12.Qxb3 c5 13.Bc3 d6, but my 17...h6?! was inaccurate and yielded White the better chances. Black has to prefer either 17...Ba6 or 17...Kg8 with roughly equal chances in both cases. Nevertheless, 11.Bd2 is an interesting resource and requires more practical tests.

Scotch Four Knights 10.Bg5 c6 11.Qf3 Bd6 [C47]

The game Rapport, R - Ding Liren 3rd Du Te Cup Shenzen 2019, saw a Four Knights Scotch, which has strong drawish tendencies.

Rapport went for 12.Rae1 in the position given above, and after the natural 12...Rb8 13.Nd1 h6 14.Bxf6 a typical endgame with weak kingside pawns ensued. Soon the knight was exchanged for one of the black bishops and they obtained a position with rooks and opposite-coloured bishops on the board. Ding equalised without any visible problems and a draw was agreed in a dead-drawn position without rooks on the board. An easy draw for Black. It's difficult to set problems in the endgame with opposite-coloured bishops, even with rooks on the board and so the ball is in White's court.

Giuoco Piano 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 d5 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb6 [C54]

The game Krzyzanowski, M - Mikhalevski, V Budapest Spring 2019, featured a rather popular line of the Italian with 5.d4.

In the diagram position White played the dubious 15.Be2 instead of the main line 15.Bd3. I answered with 15...Nf5 and after 16.Na4 Nxe3 17.Qxe3 Bc7 18.Nc3 f6 Black solved his opening problems. However, White’s next move,19.Nxe4? was a mistake, which allowed me to obtain an advantage. White's 15.Be2 doesn't promise any opening advantage and so one should prefer the main line, 15.Bd3.

Giuoco Piano 5.d3 0-0 6.0-0 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Re1 Bg4 9.Nbd2 Nb6 10.h3 Bh5 [C53]

Our final game in this update, Giri, A - Harikrishna, Pentala 3rd Du Te Cup Shenzen 2019, saw an important line of the Italian with 6...d5.

Giri went for the critical 11.Bb3 in the position given above and after 11...Qxd3 12.Nxe5 Bxd1 13.Nxd3 Bxb3 14.axb3 obtained a better endgame, which he converted into a full point skilfully. A well-played game by Anish Giri, which proved that 12...Bxd1 leads to an unpleasant endgame for Black. White can even choose between 14.Nxc5 and 14.axb3 with an edge for White in both cases. 12...Qf5 looks better and promises more chances for a successful defence.

See you next month, Victor.

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