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Hello everyone,
At the end of August and the beginning of September the attention of the entire chess world was focussed on the 40th Chess Olympiad. I also followed this great event closely, although unfortunately not as personally as last time when I actually participated in it :). Nonetheless, it gave us a lot of food for thought.

Download PGN of September '12 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish Marshall Attack [C89]

In the game Harikrishna, P - Beliavsky, A 40th Olympiad Open 2012, Black applied a rare idea of Leonid Stein's.

In the diagram position given above he played 15...Bd7 instead of 15...g5 and soon introduced a novelty, 17...Bf5. However, his mistake came as early as two moves later with 19...Qd7?! and then already in a worse position he committed a decisive mistake, 23...g5?, and soon lost the game. An easy win for the Indian GM. Probably the 15...Bd7 line will not earn followers, even though the ensuing positions are playable. The reason is simple: Black is doing fine in the main lines after 15...g5.

Anti-Marshall 8.a4 [C88]

The game Harikrishna, P - Kamsky, G 40th Olympiad Open 2012, featured Sargissian's aggressive idea, 12...Bc5.

Here White introduced a logical novelty, 14.a5!?, put Black under some pressure and eventually won. A nice technical win from the Indian GM, and now the ball is in Black's court.

Closed Spanish with 6.d3 [C84]

Grischuk, A - Almasi, Z 40th Olympiad Open 2012, saw another rare line from Black.

Here, instead of the common 8...b5, Black played 8...Re8, but was slowly outplayed, White finishing the fight with a direct attack. A well played game by Grischuk despite some mistakes in his time trouble. Black should look for equality with the help of 14...c5.

Exchange Variation 5...Bg4 [C68]

In the game Filippov, A - Saric, Iv Olympiad Open 2012, Black played the aggressive system with 5...Bg4. However, as often happens with sharp opening lines the game went into a rather slow theoretical endgame:

In the diagram position White introduced a small novelty, 15.Nc4. Black's inaccuracies 18...Rhb8?! and 19...gxh4?! allowed White to seize a pleasant advantage and, not without the help of his opponent, to convert it into a full point. A nice technical win from Filippov, but nevertheless, Black should be able to hold the balance with some accurate moves. So the system which occurred in the game looks perfectly playable.

Scotch with 4...Nf6 [C45]

Nakamura,H-Sasikiran Olympiad Open 2012, saw 10.Bf4 in the 9...Bb7 line which is becoming fashionable:

Black answered with 10...0-0-0, which had never been tested at the GM level yet. An interesting fight which saw an explosive attack from Nakamura!

The 10.Bf4 line deserves further practical tests, while Kramnik's 10...g6 looks safer than 10...0-0-0.

Giuoco Piano Mainline with 5.d3 [C54]

In Radjabov, T - Naiditsch, A Olympiad Open 2012, the players transposed into the main line of Giuoco Piano with d3. After no less than three transpositions the players reached a position from the game Radjabov, T - Aronian, L Dresden Olympiad 2008. See below:

Naiditsch deviated from that game with 15...Qd7 (instead of 15...Bc5), which Radjabov met with the new idea 16.Be3. Black's subsequent 17...Nd5 was inaccurate and allowed White to seize the initiative. A well played game by Radjabov, who prepared an innocent-looking, but strong idea. 17...Bd5 would have been better.

Evans Gambit [C51]

In the game Brkic, A - Tkachiev, V Olympiad Open 2012, Black played the solid 7...d6 line in the Evans Gambit Accepted.

In the diagram position given above White introduced a novelty, 15.Nbd2, which shouldn't have promised any advantage. After exchanging mistakes Black equalised and eventually the game was drawn. The novelty 15.Nbd2 doesn't seem to change the evaluation of the position, so this line with 7...d6 is perfectly playable.

Petroff Defence [C42]

The game Akopian, V - Volokitin, A Olympiad Open 2012, featured the Armenian player's pet line with 17.Qc1. After a long theoretical line the players reached the following position:

Here Volokitin introduced a novelty, 21...Qd8, instead of the 21...d5 which featured in Akopian,V-Wang Yue Astrakhan 2010. White managed to obtain a slight edge, but it wasn't enough for a win. A well played game from both players, Akopian's line deserves more practical tests, while Volokitin's 20...Qd8 is also interesting.


See you next month, Victor.

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