ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Dear friends,
The last month was very eventful for me with over 50 official games in classical, rapid and blitz chess, and so I decided to share no less than six of my own games with you. The game So-Carlsen in the Spanish and a beautiful win of Vitiugov's in the Italian will add to the full picture.

Download PGN of January ’16 1 e4 e5 games

>> Previous Update >>

Spanish. The Chigorin System with 12...Bd7 and 13...Nc4 [C97]

The old, but still relevant Chigorin system was tested in the game So, W - Carlsen, M Qatar Masters 2015.

The players followed a recent game of MVL and then transposed into an old game Bannik, A - Lilienthal, A/Yerevan 1954, eventually reaching the diagram position above. Here White deviated from that game with 21.Rxb8. Black shouldn't experience problems if he plays precisely and an exchange of slight inaccuracies soon led to a position where both players had to repeat moves. 24...Be6 and 25.Qe3 are possible improvements.

The Worrall System with 5...b5, 6...Bc5 [C77]

Peter Svidler decided to avoid a long theoretical battle with me and cleverly played 5.Qe2 in Svidler, P - Mikhalevski, V The 25th Keres memorial 2016. I couldn't remember my lines and soon we achieved the following diagram position:

Here I deviated from the game Nevednichy, V - Erdos, V/Hungary 2014, where Black played 9...d5, and instead introduced the novelty 9...Bb7. The move is reasonable, but 15...Nxe4 was a serious mistake, which led to a bad position and the eventual loss of the game.15...Nxc4 yields Black at least equal chances. 8...d5 is also a good way to solve the opening problems.

Spanish with 5.d4 [C84]

A pretty rare line, which has a drawish reputation, occurred in the game Kovalev, V - Mikhalevski, V European Rapid championship Minsk 2015.

I'd already faced the diagram position before and knew that although the position is equal one needs to play accurately to retain the balance. I managed to defend the position for most of the game, but started to go astray while low on time. Fortunately, White didn't have much time either and returned the favour. This game demonstrated that, despite the highly drawish tendencies of the position, there is still place for mistakes and so players who like dry technical positions can find something in this line.

The Aronian Variation with 9.Bb3 [C70]

The game Meribanov, V - Mikhalevski, V European Blitz championship Minsk 2015, saw a rather popular line of the Aronian Variation:

Here Meribanov played 17.Rc1 instead of the more popular 17.Bd3. My 18...f5 was slightly inaccurate, but White returned the favour with 21.fxg3. In case of the correct 18...Rc8! Black shouldn't have problems equalising. So White should deviate from 9.Bb3 in favour of 9.Bc2, which yields more chances for an opening edge.

Four Knights with 4...Bb4 and 7...Ne7 [C49]

In the game Andrejevs, A - Mikhalevski, V European Rapid championship Minsk 2015, the old line with 7...Ne7, which has been regaining popularity recently, was discussed.

In the diagram position White committed the positional mistake 11.Nxg6, which yields Black the upper hand. Instead White should try 11.Nf5.

The final position of the game also deserves a diagram:

Even though White's play can be improved by 11.Nf5 it promises only equal chances. Since finding an edge in this old line with 7...Ne7 isn't easy, the ball remains in White's court.

Italian with 5.d4 [C54]

The game Banawa, J - Mikhalevski, V 25th North American Open 2015, featured another old line, this time in the Italian.

Here I deviated from the main line with 10...d5 in favour of 10...Kf8 and managed to outplay my opponent from an equal endgame. This game proved once again that 10...Kf8 is a reasonable alternative to 10...d5.

Giuoco Piano with 9...Be6 [C54]

One of the most spectacular games I have seen recently is the game Vitiugov, N - Sasikiran, K Qatar Masters 2015. After a long theoretical line the players reached the following diagram position:

Here Sasikiran introduced the novelty 20...c5, which I recommended in my analysis of the game Ivanchuk, V - Kramnik, V Skopje 2015, which saw 20...Qc8. In this game Black deviated from my analysis with 24...g6?, which turned out to be a serious mistake. After the correct 24...Re5 Black equalises. 20...c5 is a good novelty, but Black has to follow it with the precise 24...Re5!

Scotch with 4...Bc5 5.Nb3 Bb4 [C45]

In my recent game Mordechai, H - Mikhalevski, V ISR-Tch 2016, I decided to experiment with the rather rare line with 5...Bb4 and it turned out to be a success.

Here White started to go astray with 9.Qf3. His next couple of moves were also inaccurate and allowed me to seize the initiative with a pawn sacrifice. Despite the slight inaccuracy 18...f5?! I'm satisfied with the game, which included a spectacular move in the following position:

Try to find the winning move.

Black's rare opening setup is interesting, while White should meet it with 9.0-0.


See you next month, Victor.

>> Previous Update >>

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