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Hello everyone,
This autumn is full of high level events, although I don't actually remember seeing three events of the very highest level occurring simultaneously before. I'm talking about the already finished FIDE Grand Prix and Pojkovsky, and also the Grand Slam Final, which is still running in Bilbao.
Not too much of a surprise that the current update is based on games from those three tournaments then.

Download PGN of October '12 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - Berlin Defence [C67]

The game Kasimdzhanov, R - Leko, P 1st FIDE GP London 2012, featured an interesting novelty from Leko in a popular line of the Berlin where White has just played 14.Nd5:

Leko met this with 14...c6 (instead of Kramnik's 14...d6, against McShane, Moscow 2012). The novelty soon led to some massive exchanges and a quick draw. An easy draw for Leko, though his novelty requires further practical tests - I think that 17.Rd1 is a reasonable attempt to improve upon White's play in this game.

Closed Spanish with 6.d3 [C84]

Grischuk, A - Mamedyarov, S 1st FIDE GP London 2012, saw White deviating from his recent game against Almasi with 10.d4, which is rather uncommon.

In the diagram position White introduced an interesting novelty, 14.g4 instead of Vallejo's 14.Nf1. The game developed pretty logically before Black committed a mistake, 23...c6?, which Grischuk exploited in style. A well-played game by Grischuk, while the opening line requires further practical tests.

Archangel Variation [C78]

In the game Karjakin, S - Caruana, F 5th Final Masters 2012, Black played his favourite Archangel Variation.

In this rare position White introduced the novelty 13.Qe2, however Black reacted well and obtained a good position. White's mistakes on moves 21 and 23 only worsened the situation and Black finished the game in style after sacrificing two exchanges.

A brilliant win from Caruana and a rarely seen collapse from Karjakin. After this game the ball is clearly in White's court.

Exchange Variation 5...Ne7 [C68]

The game Motylev, A - Ponomariov, R, Poikovsky 2012, featured an interesting line against the Exchange Variation, 5...Ne7. The players followed the game Radjabov, T - Kazhgaleyev, M, Khanty-Mansiysk 2005, for the first 22 moves before Black introduced a novelty in the following diagram position:

Here he played 22...Bf6!? Soon White sacrificed an exchange and after some play the players decided not to take chances and agreed to a draw. The 5...Ne7 system is playable and we're going to see it again in the future.

Exchange Variation 5...f6 [C69]

In the London GP the American player (who had an unfortunate tournament) followed in the footsteps of Fischer and played the Exchange variation in the game Nakamura, H - Ivanchuk, V. In the Classical system with 5...f6 the players quickly arrived at the diagram position after the rare 7.Qxd4:

Here Hikaru introduced the new idea 11.Rfd1 instead of 11.Rad1, but soon had to be accurate to avoid trouble. Eventually he found himself in a worse endgame, which Ivanchuk duly converted into a full point.

A brilliant technical win from Ivanchuk, which may serve as a textbook example of outstanding endgame technique! I doubt anyone will bother to repeat the opening line with 7.Qxd4 in the near future.

Berlin Classical 4.d3 [C65]

In the game Carlsen, M - Aronian, L 5th Final Masters, the players quickly arrived at a very rare position:

In fact, Black's next move here, 8...Nd7, was already new, though a similar idea was once played by Carlsen himself. After some good play from both sides the players reached the following position, which deserves another diagram:

The position is still roughly equal and mutual mistakes like those that happened in this game are extremely rare. Here White played 27.Bf4??, which was losing on the spot to 27...R8xf4!, but instead Aronian answered 27...Bc3?? and the game ended in a draw.

A good fighting game except for the mutual blackout on the 27th move. Black's opening setup seems to yield Black roughly equal chances.

Scotch with 4...Bc5 [C45]

The game Rublevsky, S - Bruzon, L Poikovsky 2012, saw an early novelty from Rublevsky in the position of the following diagram:.

Instead of Carlsen's 10.Nd2 Sergey played 10.Nc3, but quickly had to think of equality. The turning point was 15...Bd7?! which allowed White to seize the initiative. A further inaccuracy led to White's advantage and he managed to convert, although not without some adventures. An interesting game, though the ball remains in the white court since Black didn't have a single problem after the opening.

The Evans Gambit [C51]

Short, N - Bruzon, L Poikovsky 2012, saw the English player choosing one of his typically surprising opening lines, this time the Evans Gambit. In one of the side lines the players reached the following position:

Here the Cuban GM introduced the strong novelty 11...c5 and was soon in good shape. An interesting fighting game despite numerous mistakes, however, the opening line looks pretty good for Black and so the ball is in White's court.


See you next month, Victor.

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