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Hello everyone,
The extremely strong World Teams Championship has just finished and so I felt that I should base this update on its games. Of course, as usual you'll find a lot of high calibre games with important novelties, while the most memorable one is Leko's novelty in the Marshall against Ivanchuk.
By the way, no draws this time!

Download PGN of July '11 1 e4 e5 games

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Marshall Gambit [C89]

The diagram position given below, from Ivanchuk, V - Leko, P 8th World Teams 2011, has already been tested at the highest level:

however Leko's 17...f5 has never been considered before and came as a big surprise. Ivanchuk defended pretty well before committing a serious mistake on move 30 (30.Bg2?), and, despite an exchange of inaccuracies, White had to resign only 11 moves later. A very interesting and important game for the theory, Black's novelty will be seriously analysed and tested in practice very soon.

Archangel Variation [C78]

In Hou Yifan-Caruana,F AAI GM New Delhi 2011, the position after 16...Nf4 has been known since Svidler, P - Shirov, A Linares 1998:

White's novelty 17.Bxf4 is hardly a good idea as the dark-squared bishop is very important here. White's 18th move was also inaccurate and could have allowed Black to take the initiative. However, Caruana exploited later mistakes and won the game anyway. Svidler's 17.Be3 still looks like the best choice.

Breyer Variation [C95]

Almasi, Z - Sasikiran, K 8th World Teams 2011, saw the rather popular line with 15...c6, which is the pet variation of the Indian GM:

Later White missed his chance with 23.f4, when instead 23.Bd4! was superior and promised the better chances. In addition to that Black's 20...d5 might be not the best. Anyway, 15...c6 remains a good weapon in the Breyer.

Chigorin Defense [C96]

In Akopian, V - Postny, E 8th World Teams 2011, instead of the Classical 11...Qc7 Black has just played 11...Nd7:

Akopian met this with 12.dxc5, which is much less popular than 12.Nbd2. The critical position arose after 19.Ne3: Black replied with 19...Nf8 and soon came under pressure, when instead 19...Nxe4 was possible and promised roughly equal chances. White has chosen a poisonous line in this game, which Black failed to meet in the correct way. Black's 19th and 20th moves were inaccurate and allowed White to seize the initiative; 19...Nxe4 was critical.

Improved Anti-Marshall 8.a4 [C84]

Kamsky, G - Aronian, L 8th World Teams 2011.

In this well known diagram position Kamsky chose the extremely rare move 9.Bg5. Aronian rejected simplifications on a few occasions and eventually came under pressure after the fantastic 24.Rg2!! Despite blundering in time trouble this was a great technical win for Kamsky! However the opening line doesn't look dangerous for Black.

Berlin Defence 6.Bg5 [C67]

Nabaty, T - Sargissian, G 8th World Teams 2011.

In this well known position from the Berlin White decided to surprise his opponent with the extremely rare, but tricky 6.Bg5. Black avoided complications with 6...Be7 and easily equalized. Later he took advantage of White's inaccurate play and won the game. A good technical win from the Armenian player - the opening line with 6.Bg5 doesn't promise much.

Scotch 4...Nf6, 9...a5 [C45]

Nepomniachtchi, I - Onischuk, A 8th World Teams 2011.

In the diagram position White played 11.Qe3 instead of the more popular 11.Nd2, delaying the development of the knight in order to prevent the penetration of Black's queen to a3. Nevertheless the line doesn't seem to set Black any problems as he could have obtained a good position by means of 13...Qb4! instead of 13...d5.

Italian Game [C50]

Radjabov, T - Harikrishna, P 8th World Teams 2011.

After some natural developing moves Pentala started to play passively here (15...Rfe8, 16...Qd7?!) and soon found himself under serious pressure and eventually lost.

White's opening setup is rather poisonous as after one or two inaccurate moves Black may come under annoying pressure as he did in the current game. Black's counterplay in these type of positions often involves ...c5.


See you next month, Victor.

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