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Hello everyone,
In this update I will focus on the 2011 European Team Championships and some major theoretical developments from this tournament.

Download PGN of November '11 1 e4 e5 games

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Zaitsev Variation [C92]

In the game L'Ami, E - Morozevich, A, 18th European Teams 2011, the opponents repeated no less than the first 23 moves from their previous encounter in Wijk aan Zee 2009. The new move was played in the position of the following diagram, which arose after Gashimov's 24.h4:

Here Black played a new move, 24...Bc8, instead of the 24...Na4 from Gashimov, V - Efimenko, Z Odessa 2009, and soon equalized thanks to White's inaccurate 27.Nb4. Despite many years of investigations, the line which occurred in the game remains highly unclear, although now the ball is in White's court.

Anti-Marshall [C88]

The game Topalov, V - Svidler, P, 18th European Teams 2011, is one of the indications that Topalov is coming back into form.

In the diagram position, from the rare 11.Nbd2 line of the 8.h3 Anti-Marshall, the Bulgarian GM introduced the novelty 13.Ba2 and gained some initiative, Both players committed mistakes, but Svidler was the last to do so. The line with 11.Nbd2 is almost unexplored, but interesting, and so it deserves further practical tests.

Deferred Exchange Variation [C85]

The game Adams, M - Aronian, L, 18th European Teams 2011, saw the Deferred Exchange Variation, which is a rare guest at the top level.

In the diagram position White played 12.Qe2 (instead of Kamsky's 12.Re1), but Black equalized without visible problems. Aronian proved that the line with 7...Qd6 is a reliable weapon against 7.d3. A short, but well-played game by both players.

Berlin with 5.Re1 [C67]

In the game Guseinov, G - Sargissian, G, 18th European Teams 2011, White introduced an early novelty in the diagram position:

Here he played 13.Bd3 instead of the earlier played 13.Bf4. Already two moves later Black committed a serious mistake, 15...Qf6? and found himself in trouble after 16.g4! after which White converted his advantage into a win. A well-played game by the Azerbaijani player! Nevertheless, the opening novelty 13.Bd3 doesn't set Black serious problems.

Berlin with 6.Bg5 [C67]

Shirov, A - Fressinet, L, 18th European Teams 2011, featured a side line of Berlin with 6.Bg5.

When the players reached the diagram position Shirov introduced the natural novelty 11.Nc3, and after a few inaccurate moves from Black he obtained an advantage. A quiet positional game, in which a few inaccuracies in the middle game were punished. However, the opening line with 6.Bg5 is mostly a surprise weapon and is hardly a challenging line for Black.

Scotch 4...Nf6, 6...Ne4 [C45]

Carlsson, P - Sokolov, I, 18th European Teams 2011, saw Zukertort's rare line, 6...Ne4.

In the position given above White introduced the natural novelty 12.Nb3, Black soon equalised, but his mistake 19...h6?! allowed White to set him problems. A well-played game by the Swedish GM, as Black's only attempt to play for a win was exploited in brilliant fashion with a queen sacrifice. Nevertheless, the opening line chosen by Black deserves attention.

Two Knights 4.Ng5 [C58]

In the game Schartz, A - Iordachescu, V, 18th European Teams 2011, White followed the recent blitz game Short-Kasparov, which featured the 8.Bd3 line:

Black met it with the extremely rare 8...g6 and achieved a good position. This move looks like an interesting alternative to the well-known lines and requires more practical tests.

Two Knights 6...Nd7 [C55]

Vaida, L - Sokolov, I, 18th European Teams 2011, saw Black experimenting with the rare line 6...Nd7. Soon the players reached the following diagram position:

Here White erred with 11.Nc3?! allowing Black to obtain the upper hand and only Black's mistakes in the later stage of the game allowed White to take over the advantage and win the game. Although I can't recommend 4...d5, the idea of 6...Nd7 (this position can arise also after 4...Nf6) is worth serious attention.


See you next month, Victor.

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