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Dear friends,
This update will differ from all of my previous updates and the reason is very simple. These last few weeks I played an enormous number of games in different chess formats: classical, rapid and blitz. So, I decided to base this update entirely on my own games. I hope that getting information directly from the participant himself will give you a better idea of what really happened.

Download PGN of October '15 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish. The Open variation with 9.Nbd2 and 10...d4 [C80]

The game Mamedov, R - Mikhalevski, V World Rapid Championship 2015, featured an old line of the Open variation with 10...d4.

Here Mamedov tried to improve upon the game Owesson, B - Rubinstein, A/Malmo 1920(!), without actually knowing it, by 18.Ne4 instead of 18.Nf3. I reacted correctly with 18...bxa4 and soon obtained a slight edge. The game proved that the old line with 13.Qf3 can't set Black any opening problems, and moreover, it's White who should play accurately in order to equalise.

Spanish. The Open variation with 9.Nbd2 and 10...Be7 [C80]

It all started the same way in Borisek, J - Mikhalevski, V World Rapid Championship 2015, but after 10...d4 my opponent surprised me with the rare 11.Bc2 and eventually the game transposed into the 10...Be7 line.

However, Black's play in the diagram position can be improved by means of 12...Qd5!, which avoids the 10...Be7 line and equalises the position. Nevertheless, the game is interesting for those playing or facing 10...Be7 and so the second important position occurred after the pretty rare 16.h3:

Here I introduced the new idea 16...a5, instead of 16...Qd7, which may transpose into 16.b4, and even obtained the upper hand thanks to my opponent's inaccurate 17.Be3?! Instead 17.Re3! was critical. 11.Bc2 is an interesting attempt to surprise your opponent, but after the correct 12...Qd5! Black shouldn't have problems.

The Spanish. The Aronian variation with Bc2 [C70]

Sometimes I deviate from 4...Nf6 and that's what happened in the next two games. First, in the game Pap, M - Mikhalevski, V Lev Gutman 70th Birthday Jubilee Tourney 2015.

Here the Serbian GM played 13.Qc1, which is a new idea in this position. I reacted correctly with 13...f5! and after series of strong moves from both sides an equal endgame with heavy pieces ensued.

The second game which featured the diagram position was the blitz game Fedorchuk, S - Mikhalevski, V World Blitz Championship 2015. This time my opponent introduced another new idea 13.Rc1, and I reacted with the interesting 13...Nc4, but missed a chance to sacrifice a piece by means of 16...cxd4!

It seems that Black shouldn't have problems after both 13.Qc1 and 13.Rc1. In the first case 13...f5 is the right way to meet White's idea, in the second 16...cxd4 is an important resource.

Two Knights with 4...h6 [C55]

It's curious that I only meet Viorel Bologan in the World Championships. Our first encounter was back in 1991, in the World Junior Championship. We met again 24 years later in the 2015 World Rapid Championship. So, Bologan, V - Mikhalevski, V World Rapid Championship 2015.

Here I played 10...Nh5, trying to bring the knight to f4, but the idea seems to be wrong. Though I won the game, 10...Rd8 is more accurate, in my opinion.

Italian. Guioco Piano with 5...a6 [C54]

The game Volokitin, A - Mikhalevski, V World Blitz Championship 2015, featured a quiet system of the Italian, but things changed dramatically with White's astonishing move in the diagram position:

Actually, I should have given a diagram position one move earlier, when my opponent played 10.Nc4, but I wanted you to appreciate 12.Nd6+! This sudden tactical blow, out of the blue, secured White a slight edge, though I managed to escape with a draw.

10.Nc4 has to be met by 10...exd4! instead.

Ponziani with 3.g3 [C44]

I have to admit that in the game Bauer, C - Mikhalevski, V Bockingen Rapid Championship, my opponent surprised me as early as the 3rd move.

Christian introduced a strong novelty in the diagram position, 9.Nc3! My reaction 10...e4 was inaccurate and I came under some pressure, without even realising it. Despite winning the game later on by nicely trapping my opponent's rook, Black should prefer 10...Bg4. Nevertheless, the 3.g3 line is interesting and deserves more practical tests.

Vienna Game with 3.g3 [C26]

The game Adihban, B - Mikhalevski, V World Rapid Championship, saw a pretty rare idea 7.Nd5!?, instead of 7.d3 or 7.h3, which led to the following diagram position:

I answered it with the natural 7...Nxd5, but my 13...Bg4 and 14...Bxe2 were at best inaccurate and White obtained an edge. However, Black's play can be improved even earlier, as 7...0-0 seems to be the most accurate way to play in the opening.


See you next month, Victor.

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