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Hello everyone,
This time I am going to mostly cover the FIDE World Cup with a couple of games from the FIDE Grand Swiss on the Isle of Man. Top-level chess at its best, as usual, and including many interesting new opening ideas.

Download PGN of October ’19 1 e4 e5 games

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Marshall Gambit 12.d3 Bd6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Qh4 15.g3 Qh3 16.Be3 Bxd3 17.Nd2 [C89]

The game Radjabov, T - Ding Liren 2019 World Cup Khanty Mansiysk (Final game 3), saw a topical line of the 12.d3 system.

In the diagram position, after 20...Rac8, Radjabov tried to surprise his opponent with 21.Qxf5 (instead of the 21.axb5 from So,W (2799)-Ding Liren (2769) Berlin GER 2018). Black’s 22...Bf8 wasn’t yet a mistake, although 22...c5!, mentioned by Radjabov in the after-the-game interview, was more accurate. Nevertheless, Black retained drawing chances and his 29...Rxc8 could be improved by means of 29...Nc2! Ding erred later, first when he played 33...Kg8?! instead of 33...Be5 and then 34...Bf8! was necessary instead of 34...Ke7? A convincing win for the Azeri GM, but his novelty doesn't seem to set serious problems as Black has at least a few ways to hold a draw, starting with 22...c5.

Spanish, Chigorin Mainline 12.Nbd2 cxd4 13.cxd4 Nc6 14.Nb3 a5 [C99]

In the game Vachier Lagrave, M - Svidler, P 2019 World Cup Khanty Mansiysk, the players followed the game Vachier Lagrave,M -Akopian,V, Paris 2009, for the first 18 move before Svidler deviated in the diagram position given below:

Here Peter played 18...Qb7, instead of the much more common 18...Qb8. After 19.Qe2 h6 20.a3 Black simplified the position by means of 20...exd4 and after 21.Nxd4 Nxd4 22.Bxd4 introduced a novelty, 22...Rxc1! and retained equal chances for a long time before erring with 31...Rc8?! when 31...Bd6 was better. His next few moves (32...Qc1?! and 34...Qxe4?) only helped White and soon the Russian player was unable to defend. Svidler's novelty 22...Rxc1! seems to equalise and so this entire Chigorin System looks playable for Black.

Spanish Open Variation 9.c3 Bc5 10.Qd3 0-0 11.Be3 Bxe3 12.Qxe3 f5 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Nbd2 Nxd2 15.Qxd2 [C82]

The game Xiong, J - Adhiban, B FIDE Grand Swiss 2019, featured an important position in the 10.Qd3 Open Spanish, after 15.Qxd2:

In this important diagram position Black has two options: 15...Kh8 and 15...Rad8. The latter is the main line, but Adhiban chose the former and after 16.Rfe1 Rad8 Xiong made the first inaccurate move 17.Nd4, which allowed Black to equalize with 17...Bg8 18.Bc2 Ne5. Overall, a convincing win for the Indian GM. First he equalised after the opening and then he exploited White's only mistake, 22.Qg3?? 17.Qg5 looks like an attempt to set some more problems, while Black can deviate from the game with the main line 15...Rad8.

Giuoco Piano 5...a6 6.0-0 d6 7.a4 0-0 8.Re1 Ba7 9.h3 h6 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.b4 Be6 12.Bxe6 Qxe6 13.Nf1 [C54]

An important line of the Giuoco Piano was seen in the game Vachier Lagrave, M - Aronian, L 2019 World Cup Khanty Mansiysk (Quaterfinal).

Aronian introduced a novelty in the diagram position, 13...Qd7 instead of 13...d5 or 13...Ne7. Play developed logically with 14.Be3 Bxe3 15.Nxe3 d5 16.b5 Ne7 and chances were equal. Soon MVL erred with 22.Qc1?! and first yielded Black the upper hand and then a winning advantage. When the Armenian GM was close to his goal he started to err and lost a winning game. A very unfortunate loss for Aronian, who missed a good chance to qualify for the semifinals. 13...Qd7 is a reasonable novelty and promises roughly equal chances.

Guioco Piano 9...Ne7 10.Nbd2 Ng6 11.Nf1 c6 12.Ng3 [C54]

The game Svidler, P - Parligras, M FIDE Grand Swiss 2019, saw the same position as in the preceding game, but the Romanian GM preferred the unfortunate line for Black with 9...Ne7, instead of the 9...h6 which was played by Aronian.

Surprisingly, Black’s mistake came as early as move 12. After 12.Ng3 (Diagram) he played 12...Re8?!, possibly mixing up two lines, and was under pressure after 13.Bb3! d5?! 14.Bg5! and the Russian GM converted his advantage comfortably. A well-played game by Svidler, who proved the incorrectness of 12...Re8?!. 12...d5 is necessary and seems to lead to equality.

Giuoco Piano 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 a6 8.a4 Ba7 9.Nbd2 Qe7 10.0-0 [C54]

In the game Dominguez, L - Grischuk, A 2019 World Cup Khanty Mansiysk, the players discussed an important branch of the Giuoco Piano with 6.Bg5.

Grischuk answered 10.0-0 with the main line, 10...g5, which is a double-edged move, and after 11.Bg3 Nd7! which has already been seen a few times. Next, Dominguez introduced the logical novelty 12.b4 and after 12...Nf8 pushed 13.b5. This seems to be an important junction, and the Russian player preferred 13...Nd8, when 13...Na5 looks like a strong alternative. After very complicated play Black was the one to commit a mistake 28...Nxg2?, which become decisive. A very complicated game from a strategical point of view. 13...Na5 looks like a possible improvement on Black's play in the game and it promises at least equal chances.

Four Knights 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 bxc3 7.bxc3 d6 8.Bg5 Qe7 9.Re1 Nd8 10.d4 Ne6 11.Bc1 Rd8 [C49]

The game Nepomniachtchi, I - Tomashevsky, E 2019 World Cup Khanty Mansiysk, saw a symmetric line of the Four Knights Opening.

Black has just played 11...Rd8, which is the main alternative to 11...c5, and White answered with the extremely rare 12.Qe2, instead of the much more popular 12.Bf1. After the logical 12...Nf8 13.Nh4 Black had to continue with 13...d5. Instead he played 13...h6 and after 14.a4! c5 15.h3 erred with 15...cxd4?! when 15...d5 was still necessary. Ian returned the favour by playing 19.Qd2?!, but Evgeny committed an even bigger mistake, 19...Rac8?, and eventually lost the game. 12.Qe2 doesn't seem to set serious problems, but may serve as a surprise weapon, and 13...d5 is an important improvement on 13...h6.

Petroff Defence 3.d4 exd4 4.e5 Ne4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.exd6 Nxd6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Qf4 Nf5 [C43]

In Vitugov, N - Yu Yangyi 2019 World Cup Khanty Mansiysk, the Russian GM tried an aggressive approach in a quiet position.

White continued 9.Nb5 Bb4 10.c3 Ba5 11.Be2 0-0 12.0-0 and the Chinese player was the first to deviate from the previous games with 12...a6. Surprisingly, after 13.Na3 he was also the first to play an inaccurate move, 13...Bb6, although it wasn’t yet a mistake. This came after 14.Nc4 Ba7 15.Rd1, when Black had to play 15...Qf6, but instead played 15...Qe7?! and came under pressure. The players exchanged mistakes, but the Chinese player was the last to err. The line with 9.Nb5 is not as innocent as it may look. Despite a symmetric pawn structure Black has to be very accurate to retain the balance. 12...h6 and 13...Re8 are possible improvements on Black's play.


See you next month, Victor.

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