ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello everyone,
After the extensive coverage of the Ruy Lopez in the previous updates I decided to widen the spectrum of openings. So this time we'll also look at the Vienna Game, the Bishop's Opening, the Evans Gambit, the Scotch and the Philidor Defense.

Download PGN of May '09 1 e4 e5 games

Marshall Gambit [C89]

The 15.Qe2 line is becoming more and more popular, with no less than two games played in the recent FIDE GP tournament in Nalchik 2009.

I will start with Alekseev, E - Aronian, L, FIDE GP Nalchik 2009.

It's funny, in my annotations to the recent game Volokitin-Inarkiev, Budva 2009, I wrote that nobody had tested 16...Qf5 in the diagram position yet, and then, less than one month later, we see one of the main Marshall experts give it a try! After each player committed one inaccuracy the game reached a drawish endgame. An interesting game, which indicates that 16...Qf5 definitely deserves attention.

Just a few days earlier this same position occurred in the game Kamsky, G - Bacrot, E, FIDE GP Nalchik 2009, and Black went for the 16...Rae8 line instead. After White's 24.Nc5 the following position arose on the board:

Here Black introduced the novelty 24...Bh3, instead of the 24...Bf5 of Caruana, F - Sargissian, G, Merida 2008. However, just a few moves later his inaccuracy allowed White to take the initiative, obtaining chances for a win. Although Black finally managed to hold the draw I doubt many players will want to suffer like this. So I believe Black's play in the line with 15...Bd7 has to be improved, and 27...f6 is a possible answer. The ball is in Black's court.

Anti-Marshall [C88]

In the game Karjakin, S - Aronian, L, FIDE GP Nalchik 2009, White avoided the Marshall Gambit with 8.a4. An important junction was reached after White's 12.Nbd2:

Here Black deviated from his recent game against Carlsen and introduced 12...Bd6. However, his provocative move 15...Ke7?! was very risky and led to some complications, and though Black had chances for a draw I think it would be safer to play 15...Bb7. Despite Aronian's loss 12...Bd6 will certainly be tested again.

Scotch [C45]

The game Llaneza Vega, M - Sokolov, I, II Gedeon Barcza Mem, featured the rare line 4...Bb4+ in a tournament which was already cancelled on only its second day!

In the diagram position Sokolov came up with the surprising novelty 8...Qh4, instead of the 8...Nf6 or 8...Qg5 which were played earlier. With aggressive play Black first achieved an equal position, and then, thanks to White's mistakes, took hold of the initiative and, despite some inaccuracies in time trouble, won the game. Sokolov's opening idea definitely deserves more practical tests.

Evans Gambit [C51]

Though the Evans Gambit is a rare guest at the GM level it can still lead to fascinating play, as in the game Petrosian, T - Volokitin, A, 10th EICC Budva 2009.

Just as in the previous game Black's novelty came early. Here Volokitin protected the f7-pawn with his rook, by 10...Re7, instead of 10...Qe7, and this provoked White's mistake 11.Nh4.

Petrosian played this game below his usual level and committed a number of mistakes which were exploited by Volokitin and brought him a full point after a long fight. 11.Bd3 looks like an improvement upon 11.Nh4.

Vienna Game [C28]

The game Mamedyarov, S - Aronian, L featured the Vienna Game, which doesn't appear very much at the top level these days either. After 10...c6 the following position was reached:

Here Mamedyarov introduced the novelty 11.a6, but this is hardly likely to be repeated after the brilliant play of Levon Aronian, who won the game in impressive style.

Bishop's Opening [C24]

Kurnosov, I - Volokitin, A saw an important line of Bishop's Opening. The critical position arose after the provocative 13.Nc4:

Here Black correctly accepted the challenge with 13...g5 and won a pawn, which led to immense complications, but he later went astray with 18...Nxf2?!, when instead 18...Rb8 allowed him to retain the better chances. Both players then took risks to win but Black was the last to err, which allowed White to win the game. Despite White's win, the opening line doesn't seem to cause Black any serious problems.

Philidor's Defense [C41]

This opening is also rather unusual at the GM level, but Anand's recent visit to Chile provided us with an important game. Anand,V-Morovic Fernandez,I, Santiago 2009, featured an interesting novelty in the line with 6.g3:

Here Vishy played the logical 9.f4!? instead of 9.0-0 or 9.Nd5. Starting with 15...Ng6 Black committed a number of mistakes, which allowed White to win without any visible difficulties. An easy win for the World Champion, though the opening line deserves further tests. The key for Black is to find the right moment for ...Be6.

See you next month, Victor.

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