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Hello everyone,
Earlier this year I had an easy job choosing material from super tournaments, but this time there were no super tournaments, only the Anand-Topalov match. However, for some reason they decided to avoid 1.e4, probably considering this move a mistake! :-) Anyway, I believe you won't be disappointed by my choice as arguably the World's most exciting player Shirov is one of the main heroes of this update.

Download PGN of May '10 1 e4 e5 games

Marshall [C89]

Recently, for some mysterious reason, the Marshall Attack appeared to be in decline. So when I saw the game So,Wesley-Megaranto,S 9th Asian Continental, I chose it without any hesitation.

In this important theoretical position Black introduced the novelty 19...Qxh4! (instead of 19...Rae8, Kurnosov-Hebden, Hastings 2008), but Black's next move already turned out to be a serious mistake and after some fireworks White kept his advantage and eventually won. A good game from Wesley So. Probably the piece sacrifice 17...Nf4 doesn't bring full equality.

Breyer Variation [C95]

Polgar, J - Navara, D Cez Trophy Prague 2010, featured a relatively uncommon line of the Breyer, 12.a4, which was, however, tested by Topalov in Novi Sad 2009.

Already in this position, just a few moves later, Judith surprised her opponent with the novelty 15.a5. An interesting fighting game, though White's opening idea doesn't set Black any problems.

Open Variation [C83]

In the 9.Be3 system Black played 11...Nxd2 in Navara, D - Polgar, J Cez Trophy Prague 2010, which is not the most popular line, 12.Qxd2 Na5:

Navara answered this with the very rare 13.Rfd1, but Polgar reacted well and achieved a good position. This game proved that 13.Rfd1 doesn't promise any advantage, so White has to come back to either 13.Bc2 or 13.Nd4.

Exchange Variation [C69]

In the game Vachier Lagrave, M - Shirov, A Black tested an important line in the system with 5...Bg4.

This position was reached after 15.Qf5, which Black correctly answered with Aronian's 15...Qb5. The players followed the Ivanchuk-Aronian game till move 20, when Black introduced a decent novelty, 20...Rd8, and equalised without big problems. In fact there is also nothing wrong with Aronian's 20...0-0.

A well-played game. The entire opening line looks safe for Black, so maybe White should try 11.Kf1, which seems to be an interesting option and deserves practical tests.

The Archangel Variation [C78]

Palac, M - Shirov, A 42nd TCh-ITA 2010, saw a rare, but natural line tested by the Croatian Grandmaster in the following position:

White played 15.Kh1, instead of the main line 15.f4, and after 15...Qf6 introduced the novelty 16.Rg1 (Leko had played 16.Ra4). However, later White committed two mistakes in a row which allowed Shirov to seize an advantage and later win the game. Despite White's loss in this game the opening line deserves further tests.

Zaitsev Variation [C92]

Shirov, A - Rusev, K 42nd TCh-ITA 2010.

Rusev has just played the relatively uncommon line 10...Nd7, which White now answered with the even more uncommon 11.d5. Black played very reasonably and could even have obtained a better position, but erred with 40...Rh8? and lost almost instantly. It seems that Shirov's 11.d5 doesn't promise much and so I would recommend playing 11.Nbd2.

Berlin Defence [C67]

Shirov,A-Vallejo Pons,F 42nd TCh-ITA 2010.

Here, instead of the main line 10...Bd7 Black played the provocative 10...Be6. Shirov introduced a novelty as early as move 13, and after some concrete play he sacrificed an exchange for a pawn and made Black's defense difficult. Vallejo wasn't up to the task and eventually lost. Although the opening line with 10...Be6 is risky, Black still has some ideas to explore.

Four Knights [C48]

Sutovsky, E - Kramnik, V Presidents Cup Baku 2010, saw a very sharp line of the Four Knights:

Here White played 10.Bg5, although probably Vallejo's 10.Be3 was better, but Kramnik returned the favour when he later captured the f3-knight with the wrong piece. An interesting game, despite the big number of mistakes and inaccuracies. However the opening doesn't cause Black any problems, 10.Be3 is White's chance to fight for an advantage in this line.


See you next month, Victor.

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