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Hi everyone,
I have had a fairly busy summer, chess-wise, finishing with the UK-China match (where I was trying to help the juniors with their opening preparation) at Liverpool (the first time I had ever been there, so I found time to visit the Cavern Club and the Beatles museum, etc.) and then a 4NCL weekend.
As I am writing this the World Championship is in full swing, so there are a couple of games from that event, but most of the rest of the games are from the UK-China match.

Download PGN of September '07 1 e4 e5 games

Petroff Defence [C42]

The Petroff has been one of the success stories of the World Championship so far, having been played by Gelfand and Kramnik with a very solid score.

So far White has been preferring 5 Nc3, but I wanted to take a look at the long mainline of Anand, V - Kramnik, V, which starts 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Nb4 9. Be2 O-O 10. Nc3 Bf5 11. a3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nc6 13. Re1 Re8 14. cxd5 Qxd5 15. Bf4 Rac8:

I think the best move here might be 16. h3 (see the extensive notes, and the ChessPub Guide), but instead Anand tried to surprise his opponent by 16. Qa4!? Bd7 17 Qc2, a new move. He then embarked on a combination to obtain a passed pawn on e7 but it seems his judgement was a bit awry as he soon lost the pawn and had to defend a long rook and pawn ending.

Incidentally, as both players must have known from the beginning that this ending was a simple theoretical draw, I wonder why they bothered to play it on? Was it for the spectators' benefit?

Staunton's line, 6...Bd6, was the only variation that attracted me to Black's cause when I was young, as Black often gets to sacrifice a pawn for some attack. However, in Navara, D - Timman, J it is White who goes for the sacrifice after 7. O-O O-O 8. c4 c6 9. Qc2 Na6! 10. a3 Bg4 11. Ne5 Bxe5 12. dxe5 Nac5 13. f3 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 Nc5 15. Qd4 Nb3 16. Qxg4 Nxa1 17. Bh6:

This line is very dangerous for Black (see the analysis), but probably not mortal.

I actually spent many hours analysing the end part of this game as it features an interesting rook and pawn ending, and I wanted to get to the truth of whether it was winning or drawing. I suspect both players were fairly short of time (those 30 second increments again, no doubt?!) as there were a few serious errors, the last and decisive one coming from Black!

Scotch Game [C45]

I was curious to see how the Scotch would shape up after Grischuk's demolition of Rublevsky with 4...Bc5 in the rapid games for their match (see the June '07 Update), and it seems that players have simply avoided this particular line.

In Ni Hua-Rowson,J the Chinese specialist played 7. Nd2 (instead of Rublevsky's 7. Qg3), aiming for an edge in the coming endgame:

This worked to perfection in this particular game, but an antidote was suggested during the post mortem, and was then successfully played that very same day! Check the notes.

In Morozevich, A - Svidler, P, after 4...Bc5, Moro played 5. Be3 (rather than 5. Nxc6, above) 5...Qf6 6. c3 Nge7 7. Bc4 O-O 8. O-O Ne5 9. Bb3!? (instead of the usual 9. Be2) 9...d6 10. f3:

However, only a few moves later Peter had managed to play the freeing ...d5, and was even a little bit better, so it looks like this idea will have to be discarded.

Four Knights [C47]

The Chinese GMs are noted for their tactical skill and good preparation and this may explain why Nigel Short played the surprising 4 a3 against Wang Yue. However, his opponent wasn't at all phased and simply replied with the critical 4...d5:

This takes play into a reversed Scotch Four Knights where the a3-move is of very limited value. The interesting line White used did actually make some small use of the extra move, but Black simply headed into a Petroff-style endgame where he had easy equality.

Curiously I couldn't find any mention of 4. a3 in either of my, fairly recent, Black repertoire books, and so I have had a particularly deep look at 5. Bb5 in the notes, so that subscribers should feel confident playing 4...d5 in their own games, see Short,N-Wang Yue.

Spanish [C60-C99]

While preparing for Gawain Jones' game against Ni Hua, a Berlin Defence expert, I suggested he try the 5. Re1 and 7. Bf1 line I also covered a little in the June '07 Update:

I only managed to show him about 2 minutes' worth of analysis but with this he happily set off to lock swords with a player close to breaking the 2700 barrier! Although Black played very purposefully Gawain still had a small advantage right up until both players started getting short of time, which perhaps shows just how unpleasant this line is for Black, see Jones,G-Ni Hua.

Marshall Attack

Shirov, A - Akopian, V gave me an opportunity to have a look at the current state of the 15. Re4 line, and to be frank not much has changed since Glenn looked at this in May.

Gajewski Variation

Gawain is habitually a Dragon Sicilian player, but when I suggested the Gajewski Variation might cause his well-prepared opponent a nasty surprise he was happy to give it a go! In fact, the surprise was so great that his opponent first wrote 10...c5 on his scoresheet!

Play followed the stem game for 17 moves before White innovated, and after that Black played very sharply, and well, to reach the following diagram:

Can you see how Black, to play, could have won brilliantly? If you want to play this line as Black be sure to study Wang Hao-Jones,G as I have covered two unplayed, yet critical White tries in some depth in the notes.

Till next month, Tony

Please post your Kingpawn Opening queries on the 1 e4 e5 Forum, or subscribers can write to if you have any questions.