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Hello everyone,
The autumn was rich with world-class events and so I had a large choice of interesting and theoretically important games. In this update I decided to cover a wide variety of openings.

Download PGN of November '15 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish. The Marshall with 10.d3 [C89]

The game Karjakin, S - Svidler, P World Cup Final, Baku 2015, saw a pretty rare line of the Marshall with 14...Re8.

In the critical diagram position given above after 17...Bg6 White committed a decisive mistake, 18.Bc2??, which wasn't exploited by Black. Instead, both 18.g3 and 18.h3 are worth practical tests, but the line with 14...Re8 deserves attention.

Spanish. The Berlin Wall with 9...Ke8 [C67]

In Grischuk, A - Caruana, F 31st ECC open 2015, White decided to surprise his opponent with the rare 11.Ne2, which was recently played by Adams. Grischuk deviated from that game with 12.Bg5 and after 12...Bb7 we reach the diagram position:

Here White introduced 13.Rad1 instead of the 13.Nf4 played in Volokitin, A - Hovhannisyan, R/Plovdiv 2012, where Black comfortably equalised. Later on 16...Rh6 was inaccurate and Fabiano came under pressure and eventually lost the game. A nice technical win from Grischuk, who proved that 11 Ne2 is an interesting choice. However, 13...c5 seems to retain equality.

Scotch Four Knights with 5...Bb4 and delayed ...d5 [C47]

An interesting line with 8...Re8 occurred in the game Karjakin, S - Aronian, S World Blitz Berlin 2015.

Here White introduced the logical novelty 11.Rb1, but the position remained roughly equal up to the point Karjakin started to weaken his position with 17.g3?! and 18.f4?!, Black took advantage of White's inaccuracies and won the game. The line chosen by Aronian is an interesting alternative to the main line and it promises equal chances. I expect to see more tests of this line at a high level and not only in blitz games.

Scotch with 4...Nf6 5.Nxc6 [C45]

Another game in the Scotch saw a very rare and pretty dubious line in Nepomniachtchi, I - Kramnik, V World rapid Berlin 2015.

In this well-known diagram position White played 6.Qe2 in order to surprise his opponent, but then surprised himself with 7.g3? Kramnik took advantage of White's slow play in the opening and obtained a clear edge after only 9 moves! However, later Kramnik started to play inaccurately and allowed White to escape with a draw. Nevertheless, 7.g3, as well as the entire line with 6.Qe2 is dubious and can't be recommended. Black has several good options to deal with it.

Italian. Giuoco Piano with 5.d3 [C54]

The game Ivanchuk, V - Kramnik, V 31st ECC open 2015, saw a slow fight between heavy-weights.

The players reached the diagram position after Black played the line with 7...Be6 and 9...h6, which Vladimir has employed at least a few times in the Berlin. After White's 15.Nh2, which has been seen in two games from the Russian GM Alekseev, Vladimir introduced the logical novelty 15...c6. Vassily managed to set him some small problems, but they were solvable if the ex-champ hadn't played 26...Re5?! and 30...a5?! However, Ivanchuk failed to exploit Black's inaccuracies and committed a couple of mistakes of his own (31.Nxd5?, 32.c4?), which eventually cost him the game. The line with 7...Be6 looks like a solid opening choice, though Black has to play precisely to retain equal chances, as the game proved.

Symmetric Four Knights with 6...Bxc3 [C49]

Clever opening play was seen in the game Andreikin, D - Carlsen, M World Blitz Berlin 2015. The world Champion avoided the popular 7.Ne2 line and eventually the players reached the following diagram position after 12.Bg5:

Here Carlsen introduced the logical novelty 12...Ng6, and after the inaccurate 14.a4?! he took the initiative and won the game in good style. A great game from the World Champion, and especially impressive taking into account that it was a blitz game. 13.a4 seems to be the only way to fight for the opening advantage.

Vienna Game with 4...Na5 [C28]

The game Rublevsky, S - Adams, M 31st ECC open 2015, featured Rublevsky's pet-line with 5.Qf3.

Here, after 8.h3, Adams introduced the strong novelty 8...d5, but White was up to the task and after the slightly inaccurate 15...Qe6 managed to set Black some problems. Micky kept his cool and waited for White's mistake, which came on the 38th move and then there was no way back. An interesting and strategically complicated game. White seemed to be in the driving seat for most of the game, but the only serious mistake 38.h4 turned out to be decisive. The opening line which occurred in the game looks equal, but more practical tests are necessary.

Petroff with 3.Nxe5 [C42]

In the game Kryvoruchko,Y-Wang Yue 31st ECC open 2015, White employed a rather rare idea in the following position after 7...Be7:

The Ukrainian GM played 8.Nc3, instead of the more common 8.c4 or 8.Re1. Wang Yue defended accurately, but eventually succumbed to the pressure when playing 28...Bf8?, and after exchanging inaccuracies White won the game. A nice positional squeeze from the Ukrainian player. The line which was tried by Kryvoruchko is interesting, but Black seems to keep equality by means of 17...Na5.


See you next month, Victor.

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