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Hello everyone,
This update features a big variety of opening lines from the top players, with some old openings such as the King's Gambit, Evans Gambit and Two Knights opening, receiving a modern treatment. Also, and as usual when I play in tournaments, I will share with you one of my own games, which is of some theoretical interest.

Download PGN of January '15 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - Open, Keres Variation with 9.Qe2 [C81]

I would like to start with my own game, Hammar, B - Mikhalevski, V Rilton Cup Stockholm 2014/15. It featured a mix of the 9.Be3 and 9.Qe2 lines.

We soon reached the pretty rare diagram position, and here I played an over the board novelty, 13...c6!? After a couple of mistakes from my opponent I obtained an advantage and led the game to a win. Mixing two systems with 9.Qe2 and 9.Be3 doesn't promise any advantage.

Spanish with 4...Nge7 and ...g6, Aronian Variation [C70]

In the game Vachier Lagrave, M - Mamedyarov, S SportAccord 2014 (rapid), Black implemented a rather rare and aggressive setup against the Spanish.

In this critical position MVL decided to go for 13.Bxe7, a move which doesn't promise any advantage, in my opinion. After the strong 15...Bb7! (as suggested by Tony Kosten in DW - Ruy Lopez) Black would have been better, and so I doubt White's 13th move will be repeated.

Scotch with 4...Nf6 5.Nxc6 [C45]

The game Napomniachtchi, I - Bacrot, E SportAccord 2014 (Basque rapid), followed a relatively recent game Yu Yangyi-Xiu Deshun/Xinghua CHN 2014 for the first 10 moves and reached the diagram position:

The Frenchman was the first to deviate with 10...Qe6, which is a reasonable alternative to 10...Qg5, and this was met by 11.g3, which is a novelty. However, it seems that with 11...Bb4+! instead of 11...a4?! Black could fight for an advantage and so Ian's novelty is hardly challenging.

The Evans Gambit Accepted with 5...Ba5 [C52]

In the game Nakamura, H - Anand, V 6th London Classics 2014, White played the entertaining Evans gambit with Morphy's 7.Qb3.

Hikaru introduced an interesting novelty in the position given above, 9.a4, but Vishy was up to the task and equalised rather convincingly. The Evans gambit might be a dangerous weapon if one doesn't know how to deal with it, but Anand showed that if Black plays correctly he is the side with the chances.

Giuoco Piano with 5.d4, 7...Nxe4 [C54]

A well-known old line of the Italian occurred in the game Bortnik,A-Vallejo Paco,F European rapid 2014.

Here the Spaniard played the rather rare 14...Nf6, instead of the more popular 14...Nd6, and despite coming under some pressure equalised the game. A rather logical draw, which proved that Black doesn't experience problems in this line.

Giuoco Piano with 5.d3 [C54]

This quiet line took place in the game Harikrishna,P-Radjabov, T SportAccord 2014 (Basque rapid).

The Indian GM introduced a new idea in the diagram position, 10.Nc4. However, Radjabov fully equalised and then took advantage of White's deadly slip 21.Rfd1?? to finish the game with a brilliant, although thematic attack. Black solved his opening problems easily, so Harikrishna's novelty 10.Nc4 doesn't promise any opening advantage.

Two Knights with 8.Bd3 [C58]

The game Kurmann, O - Naiditsch, A 38th Zurich Christmas 2014, saw an important line of the Two Knights with 8.Bd3.

The diagram position has been known for over a century. Here Naiditsch played the extremely rare, but critical 11...Bg4 with the consequent 12...Bxf3! White's early mistake 18.Bf3?? was crucial, as he then faced a devastating attack. The sequence 11...Bg4, 12...Bxf3, 13...f5, 14...Qe7 is very interesting and leads to big complications, which definitely require more practical tests.

King's Gambit with 3.Bc4 d5 [C33]

The game Ivanchuk, V - Bacrot, E SportAccord 2014 (Basque rapid), featured a dubious line of the King's Gambit for White.

In this important position Black could play 9...Nd7, obtaining a clear advantage, but the actual move played didn't spoil much and Black soon seized an edge with the strong 11...b5. Despite some inaccuracies this was a good win for the Frenchman, who proved that the King's Gambit in general, and the line chosen by Ivanchuk in particular, is dubious if one knows how to deal with it.


See you next month, Victor.

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