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Hello everyone,
This month there were a number of strong tournaments including an elite tournament in Shamkir, the 10th Worlds Team Championship and The Russian league. So plenty of fascinating high level games and interesting novelties to examine.

Download PGN of May '15 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - Anti-Berlin with 4.d3 [C65]

In the top level game Carlsen, M - Kramnik, V Vugar Gashimov memorial 2015, Kramnik followed a rare idea of Karjakin, 9...d5 in the already pretty rare line with 9.Bd3.

The players followed the game Duda,J (2603)-Vallejo Pons,F (2705)/Wroclaw POL 2014, and reached the diagram position given above. The World Champion was the first to deviate with the extremely well-prepared novelty 13.Qc2. Kramnik defended well, but his 19...Bc7? was wrong. A great win from the World Champion. Who says that Carlsen's opening preparation isn't up to the rest of his high standards? Black's play can be improved either by means of 14...Nc6 or 19...Bb7.

Spanish. Open Variation with 9.Nbd2 [C83]

The game Sengupta,D- Wey Yi, 10th World Teams 2015, saw an important line in the system with 11...d4.

White played the rare 15.Bf4 in the diagram position, but Black reacted well and White was the first to go astray with 19.Qf3?!, when instead 19.Qe2 was necessary. After this inaccuracy the position started to go downhill and Black won quite comfortably. A well-played game from the 15-year-old Chinese superstar.

Closed Spanish with 6.d3 [C84]

In the game Anand, V - So, W Vugar Gashimov memorial 2015, the players followed a recent game of the latter and reached the following diagram position:

This extremely rare move occurred in the recent game Caruana, F - So, W Wijk aan Zee 2015. Vishy prepared a surprise, 10.Ng5 instead of Caruana's 10.a4, and then both players were at their best before Black committed a mistake with 16...Bg5? Anand took advantage of this mistake and won the game in good style. A good game despite some small inaccuracies, 9...Nb8 requires more practical tests, while 16...Nh6 is a necessary improvement.

Closed Spanish, Central Attack with 9.d4 Bg4 10.Be3 exd4 [C91]

An interesting topical line of the 9.d4 system took place in the game Mamedov, R - Caruana, F Vugar Gashimov memorial 2015.

Here White introduced the novelty 15.Rc1, and this led to a very interesting game with just a couple of inaccuracies! However, White's novelty doesn't promise any opening advantage, so one should stick with 15.a3.

Spanish Bird's Defence with 3...Nd4 [C61]

The games of the young Hungarian Rapport are always fun to watch and Akopian, V - Rapport, R 10th World Teams 2015, certainly wasn't an exception.

In the rare Bird's Defence system with 3...Nd4 White tried the uncommon 5.Bc4 reaching the following diagram position:

Faithful to his style Rapport chose the extremely rare and aggressive side line 5...Qh4. However, his 8...Nxd5 was inaccurate and he could have found himself in trouble had White not returned the favour with 14.Qf3. Then both players played well and the game reached a draw by repetition. An interesting fighting draw, although the opening line with 5...Qh4 looks risky.

Giuoco Piano with 5.d4 [C54]

The games of Baadur Jobava are no less fascinating than those of Rapport. So the game Jobava, B - Jakovenko, D TCh-RUS 2015, is yours to enjoy.

The Georgian player likes to surprise his opponents in the opening and in the current game he surprised his opponent with the offbeat 9.h3, which had first been seen back in 1840! After 9...Bd7, which is less critical than 9...0-0, White introduced the good novelty 10.Ba4 and outplayed his opponent to reach a better position. However, Jakovenko defended well and the game was about to end in a draw, when Baadur committed an inexplicable blunder and had to stop the clocks. The rare line with 9.h3 is not as innocent as it may appear, but Black can at least equalise if he plays correctly.

Giuoco Piano with 5.d3 [C54]

The game Naroditsky, D - Jakovenko, D 10th World Teams 2015, saw the out-of-fashion 13.Qe2 instead of the more popular 13.exd5.

Here White introduced a new move, 14.Rd1, which Black answered with the slightly premature 14...d4. After 21...Qe8?! Daniel managed to put his strong opponent under pressure and, not without some help from the latter, led the game to a well deserved win. 14...Qd6! seems to be a better way to equality.

Four Knights Rubinstein's line with 4....Nd4 [C48]

An important line of the Four Knights system with 5...c6 occurred in the game Wei Yi-Rodshtein,M 10th World Teams 2015.

The players reached the important, but insufficiently studied position of the diagram. However, the Chinese player was well-prepared and introduced the strong novelty 11.h3 (instead of the 11.Kf1 from Berbatov,K (2454)-Mikhalevski,V (2584)/Aix-les-Bains 2011). The ensuing position is very sharp and each move is of a high importance. Black reacted well, but committed a not very obvious mistake, 17...Qf8?, and came under pressure. Rodshtein retained drawing chances for a long time thanks to some inaccuracies from his opponent, but his mistake 51...Rh3? became decisive and White finished the game flawlessly. A very interesting fighting game, the opening line hasn't been studied enough and so I expect more practical tests. Black's play can be improved by means of 17...Bb6, while 9...Nxd5 is also worth attention.

See you next month, Victor.

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