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Hello everyone,
This time I decided to mostly concentrate on the strong European team championship, as I was myself participating, and therefore had a first-hand opportunity to keep an eye on recent developments there.

Download PGN of November '09 1 e4 e5 games

Breyer Variation [C95]

This system of play is gaining more and more popularity and so I included three games, two of them involving yours truly.

The game Djukic, N - Mikhalevski, V,17th TCh-Eur 2009, featured a popular line with 13.a4 and eventually reached the following position:

Here I made a new move, 20...Nf4. Instead 20...b4! was strong, as in Bezgodov,A (2570)-Balashov,Y (2510)/Perm 1997, keeping the a-file closed. Though I lost the game, the position after the opening can't be considered satisfactory for White, who has to look for an improvement. One of the ideas might be to switch to 16.Ba3 or 16.Qc2.

In Topalov, V - Adams, M, 17th TCh-Eur 2009, White chose a rare move order:

In this initial position of the Breyer system White played 12.a4, instead of the most common 12.Bc2, and suddenly Adams found himself in an old line with an early ...c5. Topalov sacrificed a pawn and soon returned it to obtain a clear positional advantage. A great job from Topalov, as Adams lost without committing any serious mistakes. Possibly Black has to try 12..Re8 instead, which is likely to transpose to the main line after 13.Bc2.

Finally the game Balogh, C - Mikhalevski, V, Austrian Bundesliga 2009, saw another popular line of the Breyer system.

Here I introduced an interesting novelty, 23...bxc4, improving upon the recent game Cheparinov,I (2678)-Koneru,H (2612)/Zafra ESP 2009. On the next move I sacrificed a piece for three pawns, which led to an extremely complicated position. Probably 26.Bb6 was an inaccuracy, which allowed me to obtain good play - the only chance to fight for an advantage seems to be 26.Bc3. A good, almost error-free game. The piece sacrifice requires further practical tests.

Closed Spanish with 9.d4 [C91]

An important position arose in Gashimov, V - Roiz, M, 17th TCh-Eur 2009:

Usually in this position Black refrains from playing 18...Nc4 and even if the knight does come to c4, the move b3 is usually met by means of ...Na5. In the current game Black tried to meet 19.b3 with 19...Nb6?! and suffered the entire game. In positions of this type it's better to keep the knight on a5. So Black has to choose between 18...Bd8 and 18...h6.

Open Variation [C80]

In the game Jakovenko, D - Mikhalevski, V,17th TCh-Eur 2009, I played my favourite Open Variation instead. This time I played a new line with 15...Bxd2 and soon we reached the following important position:

Here Jakovenko introduced the logical novelty 19.Qe4, which promises White a slight edge. Somehow I managed to hold the position, and was even better at some point. Black's position in this line looks tenable, if a little bit passive.

The Exchange Variation [C68]

In the game Hammer, J - Eljanov, P, 17th TCh-Eur 2009, Black applied Romanishin's idea of 8...Bg4 in the following diagram position:

Soon Black obtained a good position, but went wrong at the most unexpected moment (14...Ne7? instead of 14...fxe5). The young Norwegian exploited Black's mistake and won the game in good style. However the opening line doesn't promise much for White.

Scotch [C45]

Radjabov, T - Topalov, V, 2nd Pearl Spring 2009, featured a relatively rare line of the Scotch with 9.Nd2:

Already after 12.0-0-0 it appeared that Radjabov had tricked Topalov. Indeed, Black's position started to look dubious and he finally escaped only thanks to a combination of his tough defence and White's inaccuracies. This game proved that the line with 9.Nd2 has good potential and I expect it to gain more popularity.

Bishop's Opening [C48]

A critical line of the Bishop's Opening occurred in the game Morozevich, A - Smeets, J, 17th TCh-Eur 2009:

This is one of the most important positions in the Bishop's Opening. White has to choose whether to play 10.g4 or 10.Nbd2. Morozevich chose the latter option and got nothing, to say the least. I believe 10.g4 is critical, as otherwise the entire line just looks good for Black.


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.