King's Gambit [C30-39]
Once again Senior Forum member Micawber has gone through all the threads, this time on the King's Gambit, picking out the important ideas and has compiled an excellent database of Forum analysis!
Many thanks to Micawber!
Scotch Game [C45]
I was alerted to the following brilliant game by a post on the Forum. After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nb3 Bb6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 d6 the best move is 9. Qe2, as played by Rublevsky in his match against Grischuk, but 9. a4 also has a fair reputation:
Unfortunately it loses on the spot to a well-known queen sacrifice, and brutal king hunt, see Ahn, M - Ruck, T.
I say 'well-known', but in fact this same combination has only been played from a Centre Counter move order, reaching an almost identical position but with colours reversed!
Belgrade Gambit [C47]
One of the reasons that I am a bit behind this (or rather last!) month is that I spent nearly two weeks coaching at the World Youth Championships, in Kemer, Turkey. In round 8 David Howell won a game as Black in just 13 moves after playing a new move that he had prepared that very morning. Here is the critical position:
In this common Belgrade Gambit position Black normally counters the threat to c7 by capturing on d5, but David found an even stronger move, see Toufighi, H - Howell, D!
Radjabov continues to play the Schliemann, but he might be considering giving it up after losing horribly in the World Cup to the innocuous-looking move 4. d3:
This move is actually more dangerous than it looks. However, I still think that 4. Nc3 is the critical reply, but see Macieja, B - Radjabov, T.
Gajewski Variation 10...d5
Gajewski's line has now become truly mainstream, just a few months after he first played it, and has already been championed by super GMs Carlsen and Leko. So far Black's score is truly amazing even though the surprise value has started wearing off and White players have had time to prepare their reply.
Pretty much all the lines that were brief notes in the first game have now been tried at a high level and so we have a much clearer idea of the future paths, the lines with 12. Ng5 are no longer tried, and instead White has turned to two other possibilities, the pawn grab, and Bacrot's recommendation of 11 d4.
Firstly, after 11. exd5 e4 White can take the pawn by 12. Bxe4 Nxe4 13. Rxe4 Bb7 14. d4, but this does concede the bishop pair and also some development advantage:
Previously I had only considered the obvious immediate recapture 14...Bxd5, and this led to an easy win for Black in Onischuk, V - Drozdovskij, Y, but White's play could easily be improved here.
In actual fact the best move is 14...Re8, as rather than capturing the pawn straight away Black develops and protects the e7-bishop. This gives him the extra option of capturing on d5 with his queen (which connects the rooks and sets up a battery along the h1-a8 diagonal) and also with his offside knight, by ...Nc4-b6xd5, see Adams, M - Carlsen, M.
In the game White outplayed his young opponent and actually achieved a winning endgame by placing all his pawns on the 'wrong' colour squares, and it was only lack of time which prevented him from winning and equalising the match score. Black's play could be improved at several places, though.
The other line which has received serious testing is 11. d4 dxe4 12. Nxe5, when Black gets good play by hitting at the white d-pawn with 12...c5:
Finally, Leon Hoyos, M - Miton, K covers 11. Nxe5, which seems weaker, and Black won this particular game in impressive style. In the notes I have had a brief look at 11. d3 which Shirov used to beat Leko.
In view of its current importance I have decided to devote a new ChessPub Guide just to this line, see the Spanish PDF eBook.
Till next month, Tony