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Hello everyone,
This time I decided to look at a wider choice of openings and included one of my own games.

Download PGN of July '10 1 e4 e5 games

Zaitsev Variaton [C92]

An important line of the Zaitsev Variation occurred in the game Shirov, A - Karjakin, S 4th ACP World Rapid Cup 2010. The following position arose after 22...Bg5:

Here Shirov introduced the novelty 23.Bb3 and Karjakin failed to meet it correctly. Shirov returned the favour, however, and soon had to defend, which he didn't do well and eventually lost. Despite Shirov's loss, his idea 23.Bb3 deserves practical tests, when the critical continuation is 23...Bxe4.

Breyer Variation [C95]

In Vaja, A - Mikhalevski, V Chicago Open 2010, White chose a rare line with 12.a4, which later transposed into the main line, 12.Bc2. We reached the following position after another rare move, 19.Nd2:

I played in risky fashion here and White could have won a pawn and obtained the better position, but he started to err and eventually I managed to break through his defenses. Nevertheless, 19.Nd2 is worthy of attention.

Berlin Defense [C65]

A side line of the Berlin defense occurred in the game Karjakin, S - Jakovenko, D 4th ACP World Rapid Cup 2010.

In the diagram position given above White introduced a dubious novelty, 15.exd5?! and soon had to fight for equality. The game saw a lot of mutual mistakes, but Black was the last to err. I doubt the entire line causes Black problems, but I know for sure that White's novelty 15.exd5?! will hardly find followers.

The Exchange Variation [C68]

As usual, Shirov met the Exchange variation with the aggressive 5...Bg4. Two games from the Karjakin,S-Shirov mini-match, 4th ACP World Rapid Cup 2010, reached the following position after 17...Rd8:

In the second game of the match White played 18.Kg2, but failed to obtain an advantage and so in the current game he tested 18.Bc3 and soon came up with the interesting tactical blow 21.Rxd4. Surprisingly Shirov declined the sacrifice and instead went for a bad position a pawn down, which White led to a win. The piece sacrifice was critical and had to be accepted. After 22...Qe6 Black's chances to escape with a draw are small.

Four Knights [C48]

The game Shirov, A - Bacrot, E 4th ACP World Rapid Cup 2010, saw Shirov refuse to play the Berlin endgame and so the game transposed into the Four Knights.

After 5...d6, which also occurred in the recent game Svidler, P - Gelfand, B Astrakhan 2010, White play the dubious line 6.d3?! and after the reply 6...Bg4 Black obtained good play, won a pawn and had a clear advantage. However, Black's play in the endgame was far from perfect and Shirov outplayed his opponent despite the pawn deficit. I doubt White's 6.d3 will find followers.

Two Knights [C55]

Radjabov, T - Ponomariov, R 4th King's tournament 2010, saw an early mistake in the following position:

Here instead of 10.Ba2 White played 10.Nxd4, but Ponomariov wasn't surprised and answered with some great moves: 11...Ra6 and 15...a4 and fully equalised. A short, but interesting game. The strong moves 11...Ra6 and 15...a4 allowed Black to fully neutralize White's novelty.

King's Gambit [C36]

Carlsen definitely surprised his opponent in Carlsen,M-Wang Yue 4th King's tournament 2010, with his choice of opening. Nevertheless, the Chinese player was up to the task for a long time, but eventually he succumbed to the pressure and was outplayed. However the following position, which arose after 24...Qd6, was equal:

Once again Carlsen demonstrated his great technique and managed to squeeze out a win from a virtually equal position. The King's gambit may serve as a surprise weapon even at the highest level!

Petroff [C42]

In the game Radjabov, T - Gelfand, B the Israeli super GM was unable to solve the opening problems in his favourite opening. White played the line with 13.Bf5, and after 15.Qg4 the diagram position given below occurred:

Black played a new move, 15...Nxc3, instead of the 15...0-0 which occurred in the only preceding game, but failed to equalise. 19...Rfe8 was already a decisive mistake. Instead he should have played 19...Rae8 with a slight edge for White. 13...d4, which Gelfand played earlier against Morozevich, might be a better way to fight for equality in this line.


See you next month, Victor.

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