ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
I'm flying off to Poland this afternoon for the European Seniors event, my first chess tournament for old people! It will be nice not having to play against under-rated kids with lots of energy and ambition for a change! Anyway, I thought I'd get my July update online first. I had several interesting emails from subscribers recently and I hope to cover these in more detail next time.

Download PGN of July ’23 1 e4 e5 games

>> Previous Update >>

Danish Gambit Accepted 4 c3 dxc3 5 Bc4 [C44]

I had this as Black in a blitz game and wondered whether I should grab the second pawn or not:

When I looked at the PGN Archive I couldn't find any games, so I thought I'd better annotate one myself! My conclusion is that Black can certainly take the second pawn, but it's certainly risky and I wouldn't do it myself! Have a look at Graif, W - Gerbelli Neto, E.

Scotch Game 4...Qf6 5 Nxc6 dxc6 [C45]

Rather than play 5...Bc5 and transpose into the 4...Bc5 mainlines Black played the unusual 5...dxc6, and after 6 Bd3 the interesting 6...Ne7!? in Krishnan, V - Bartel, M:

His plan was to castle long and then fight for the kingside dark squares, which worked well. Later he played a fine positional exchange sacrifice and went on to win easily.

Scotch Four Knights 7 Bd3 0-0 8 0-0 Re8 9 Bg5 [C47]

Following 9...h6 10 Bh4 I noticed that Gawain Jones played 10...d5 and looking at it further I realised it's actually quite playable for Black. In Nurgaliyev, S - Mohammad Fahad, R I cover two alternative ways to play this, both perfectly reasonable.

On top of that, a game in the notes shows that Black can also grab the pawn on e4, give it back to exchange queens, and then play for a win in the opposite-coloured bishop ending.

Scotch Four Knights 4 d4 Bb4 5 Nxe5 [C47]

I have been aware that quite a lot of strong players, in particular Mamedyarov, have been playing 5...Qe7 and getting good results recently. Nearly two decades ago French GM Olivier Renet covered this in some detail on ChessPublishing and showed that White was better after 6 Qd3!;

So, I wondered if anything had changed in the intervening time. However, it seems that, despite being somewhat before Stockfish, Renet's annotations and analysis are still totally relevant - White is better, see Xu, Y - Fedoseev, V.

Two Knights 4 d4 exd4 5 e5 Ne4 [C56]

Following 6 Qe2 Nc5 7 0-0 Ne6 8 c3 d5 9 exd6 Bxd6 I looked at 10 cxd4 0-0 a few months ago and mentioned that 10 Bg5 is better:

So, in Aditya, M - Sargsyan, S I had a look at this. With correct play Black is fine, although it's a bit drawish. However, look at the note to Black's move 10 for an alternative that keeps more tension in the position. Anyway, the conclusion is that 5...Ne4 is a good sound alternative to the 5...d5 mainlines.

Spanish 3...Nge7 4 Nc3 Ng6 [C60]

This line has been played a lot since I last looked at it, less than a year ago. The mainline continues 5 d4 exd4 6 Nxd4 Nxd4 7 Qxd4 c6 8 Be2 Qb6 9 Qd3 Be7 10 0-0 0-0:

In Sokolovsky, Y - Safarli, E I have a deeper look at the various recent developments in this line, which is a good choice for Black and scores well.

Incidentally, a subscriber asked a very interesting question about the various move orders in the 'Demchenko Vairation', more specifically when is the optimal time to play ...a7-a6? While looking through his thoughts I realised that I would have to spend quite a bit of time on this, so it will have to wait untill next month, I'm afraid.

Also, I noticed that an old thread on the Modern Steinitz has flared up again on the Forum, and so I hope to look at this in more detail next month, too.

Closed Spanish 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 a5 10 a4 [C92]

Time to have a look at the interesting move 9...a5 again, but this time White played my personal preference 10 a4, stopping the black a-pawn from advancing to a4:

I was intrigued when I first played through Niemann, H - Kovalev, V as White seemed to gain some advantage but then Black suddenly sacrificed a piece to open the white kingside, 'out of the blue'. However, White then forced the exchange of queens and played lots of sharp computer-like tactics, but just when he seemed to be coming out on top he made one slip and the game was drawn.

Spanish, Breyer Variation 10 d4 Nbd7 11 Nbd2 Bb7 12 Bc2 Re8 13 a4 [C95]

A subscriber asked me about the status of the Breyer variation today, and whether it is too risky to play it as black in correspondence chess. My view is that the Breyer is one of the soundest variations for Black so it should be a good choice. However, regarding the critical variations that White might choose, I'm not a correspondence player and I don't know how players go about picking variations to win as White in this day and age.

Anyway, in Grandelius, N - Amin, B White cleverly took an improvement from a correspondence game to get an advantage as white OTB. He then transposed into an endgame with a pawn more which probably should be drawn, and eventually was, but not before various ups and downs.

Until next month, Tony.

>> Previous Update >>

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