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Hello everyone,
This time I decided to mix five top level games with three of my own recent efforts to give you some first hand feedback. As usual you shall see interesting novelties and fighting chess in a wide range of openings.

Download PGN of November '12 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - Marshall [C89]

The game Karjakin, S - Aronian, L 5th Final Masters 2012, saw an interesting novelty from the World number two.

In the diagram position given above Aronian played 20...Bf4, instead of the previously played 20...Nf6. Soon the game reached an endgame with an extra pawn for White, but opposite colour bishops, which Levon held without any problems. After Black's novelty the ball is again back in White's court.

Anti-Marshall with 8.d4 [C88]

In Short, N - Fressinet, L 16th Corsica Masters KO Rapid 2012, Black deviated from the game Timofeev, A - Khalifman, A Sochi 2005, without any serious reason:

In the diagram position he played 15...Bd6?! instead of 15...b4! and allowed White to set him some problems, though Short soon returned the favour with 17.Bxf6. A few additional inaccuracies handed the initiative back to Black, who led the game to a surprisingly fast win. The line with 8.d4 doesn't look like a promising way to avoid the Marshall Attack.

Anti-Marshall with 8.d3 [C88]

Another Anti-Marshall system occurred in the game Caruana, F - Aronian, L 5th Final Masters 2012.

Here Caruana played the extremely rare 13.d4, which Aronian met with the double-edged 13...exd4, instead of going for easy equality by means of 13...cxd4. 16.d5?! was inaccurate, but Levon continued in entertaining style (21...Nxg4) and soon found himself in trouble. In spite of White's win his opening choice can hardly cause problems, while Tseshkovsky's 13...cxd4 looks like an easy improvement.

Central Attack 9.d4 [C91]

The game Sutovsky, E - Mikhalevski, V Givatayim Rapid 2012, featured one of my opponent's favourite systems. In reply I chose a rare line with 10...Bd7 11.Nbd2 Ng4:

In the diagram position Emil played the rare 12.Bd5 instead of the more popular 12.Nf1, and I met this with the novelty 12...Nxe3, although the previously played 12...Rb8 is probably more accurate. Nevertheless, I managed to equalize and after 22.Qb3?! I seized the initiative. 10...Bd7 is an interesting option to meet 10.Be3 and requires further practical tests.

Berlin Wall [C67]

In the game Caruana, F - Karjakin, S, White deviated from the main line of a popular Berlin line on move 14:

Here Fabiano played the rare 14.Rfe1 instead of the more popular moves 14.g3 and 14.Nxe6. However, Karjakin was well-prepared and met it with a good novelty, 14...Bb4, and after a well-played game by both players a draw was agreed in a completely drawn position. Still, from the opening point of view the ball is in White's court.

Scotch with 4...Nf6 [C45]

In Nepomniachtchi, I - Bacrot, E 28th European Club Cup Eilat 2012, an important position from the game Shirov, A - Kramnik, V, Wijk aan Zee, was discussed:

The Russian GM deviated from that game by 13.Qf3, which Black countered with the strong novelty 13...Re8!, though he erred just two moves later (15...Bg7) and eventually lost. A surprisingly easy win for Nepomniachtchi, though the 13.Qf3 line requires further practical tests as Black can improve upon his play on move 15 with 15...Bh6!

Italian Game [C54]

My game Kudrin, S - Mikhalevski, V Michigan Festival 2012, featured an important line of the Italian.

My first mistake came in the above diagram position, where I played 15...Rxe5?! instead of 15...Nxe4! The latter seems to equalize easily as the game Kudrin, S - Vescovi, G/Cali 2007 proved. As it turned out I followed another recent game of Kudrin's and introduced the good novelty 18...Ng5!, instead of the 18...Nf8 of Kudrin, S - Gustafsson, J/New York 2011. After mutual inaccuracies a drawish position arose on the board, but I was the last to err and lost the game. The opening line I chose for the game looks roughly equal, but 15...Nxe4! has to be preferred to 15...Rxe5?!

Four Knights [C49]

The game Herredia, C - Mikhalevski, V Michigan Festival 2012, saw an old line of the Four Knights with 7...Ne7, but one which is now becoming popular.

White came to the board with a new idea, 10.Qf3 instead of 10.Ne2, but I had no problems finding a good reply. Soon Black seized the initiative and led the game to a win. In my opinion Black won rather convincingly, which questions the value of 10.Qf3, so 10.Ne2 seems to be the only attempt to fight for an opening advantage.


See you next month, Victor.

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