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Hello everyone,
The current update is slightly different to previous ones, as it is the first time in many years that I decided to include no less than four of my own games from my recent North American trip. I have also added one game covering an Exchange Spanish line which was requested by several subscribers, and only the rest of the games are taken from a top event.

Download PGN of July '13 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - Exchange Variation 5...Bg4 6 h3 Bh5 [C68]

The game Solak, D - Anton, T 14th Euro Individual 2013, featured an interesting line of the Exchange Spanish.

In the diagram position White introduced a novelty, 15.Qe3 instead of the 15.Qe2 from Maze, S - Naiditsch, A/Montreal 2009. The subsequent 20...Rxh3? was an absolutely unnecessary sacrifice, which immediately led to a bad position for Black, when instead 20...Be5 was necessary A rather convincing win for White, while the opening line requires further practical tests.

Improved Steinitz Defence [C76]

In his debut appearance in an elite tournament the Russian GM Andreikin played the rarely seen (at least at the top level) Improved (or 'Delayed') Steintz Defence in the game Caruana, F - Andreikin, D 8th Tal Memorial 2013.

in the diagram position Caruana played the rare 9.h3 instead of 9.Re1, but Andreikin was up to the task and soon equalized. Moreover, it was White who had to be accurate towards the end of the game. The Improved Steinitz Defence remains a solid weapon against the Spanish, although it's not to everyone's liking to play a slightly passive position.

Open Variation with 9.c3 and 10.Qd3 [C82]

In the game Van Kampen, R - Mikhalevski, V Calgary International 2013, I had to face an opponent who prepared for the game using my own book. We reached the following position rather quickly:

After the game I realized that my opponent only started his preparation here. Already my 23rd move was a mistake, which allowed White to win a pawn. Fortunately White returned the favour and I first equalized and then even gained the upper hand. An interesting fighting game - the opening line requires practical tests, while Black's play has to be improved on the 21st move.

Open Variation with 9.c3 and 10.Nbd2 [C82]

In the game Yuvarajan, P - Mikhalevski, V World Open 2013, White played a dubious line with 11.Qe2?!, which promises him no advantage.

Soon we reached the diagram position given above. Here White played 17.Ng3?!, instead of the 17.Be3 of Horowitz, I - Pilnik, H/Hollywood 1945, and I obtained an advantage, and then a relatively easy win. The game confirmed that the line with 11.Qe2 is dubious.

Open Variation with 9.Nbd2 [C83]

An interesting story occurred in the game Bruzon, L - Mikhalevski, V Edmonton International 2013.

After we reached the diagram position I completely forgot one of the most important lines in my book on the Open Spanish and played 16...Bg6, instead of 16...Qd5. White was the next to err with 22.d5?!, but unfortunately I missed my opponent's idea and my next move, 22...Re4?, already led to a lost position. The unintentional improvisation of this game was unsuccessful, 16...Qd5 should be preferred to 16...Bg6 and that's exactly what I played against the Cuban GM in the following tournament. Stay tuned and you'll find that game in my next update.

Scotch 4...Nf6 [C45]

The game Volokitin, A - Zherebukh, Y French Top 12 2013, featured a rare line in the following position:

The Ukrainian played 10.Bd2, instead of 10.Qe4, and Black soon erred with 14...Nxc4, which let White seize the advantage. A relatively easy win for White in a rare line of the Scotch, but 12...f5! looks like an improvement for Black.

Four Knights - The Glek System 4.g3 [C47]

A rather rare guest at top events was seen in the game Mamedyarov, S - Kramnik, V Geneva Masters KO 2013.

In the diagram position Kramnik played the very uncommon 9...Bb6. Later the Russian ex-Champ first played the inaccurate 12...Bh5?! and then 18...e4?!, which allowed White to seize the advantage. This game proved that the system with 4.g3 isn't as innocent as it may look, and Black should play precisely to maintain the balance.

Bishop's Opening 4...h6 [C55]

The game Ostrovskiy, A - Mikhalevski, V World Open 2013, featured an interesting alternative to the 4...Bc5 system, 4...h6.

Here I introduced a novelty, 11...exd4, that I found over the board and which seems to promise Black good play. After the inaccurate 15.N4b3 I seized the initiative and eventually converted my advantage into a win. The line with 4...h6 is gaining popularity and deservedly so, and the current game is an additional confirmation of this.


See you next month, Victor.

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