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Hello everyone,
Obviously the most important event from the last month was the World Cup in Tromso. So I decided to fully base the current update on this extremely strong tournament. You are going to see a number of strong novelties in a large variety of opening systems.

Download PGN of September '13 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - Central Attack 9.d4 [C91]

In the game Christiansen, L - Fressinet, L World Cup Tromso 2013, the players quickly achieved the pretty rare position of the following diagram:

The American GM now played the uncommon 12.Qc1, which seems to set Black certain problems. Despite White's loss in this game the line requires further practical tests.

Open Spanish with 9.Nbd2 [C83]

The game Safarli, S - Nakamura, H World Cup Tromso 2013, saw a critical line of the Open Spanish with 9.Nbd2.

Here White introduced the novelty 17.Bg5, which Hikaru met incorrectly with 17...Rfd8, when Black has to play 17...Bxg5 with equality. White's novelty doesn't seem to set serious problems, although Black has to react correctly.

Spanish with 5.d3 [C77]

A dubious opening line was implemented by White in the game Yu Yangyi-Beliavsky,A World Cup Tromso 2013.

White has just played the dubious 8.a4?!, which Beliavsky correctly answered with 8...Bg4! allowing Black to seize the initiative. After mutual inaccuracies the game reached a drawish harbor. A short, but fighting draw. The line with 8.a4 looks dubious and puts White in the position of defender after the strong reply.

Scotch with 4...Nf6, Mieses Variation [C45]

The young Chinese players were one of the big surprises of the World Cup. Here is one of their games: Wan Yunguo-Adams,M World Cup Tromso 2013.

In this already extremely rare position White played 14.b3?, which allowed Black to seize the initiative after 14...d5. However, already Adams' next move turned out to be inaccurate and after mutual mistakes the game was eventually drawn. A very interesting fighting draw, but White's opening line looks unconvincing. 14.f5 is an improvement, but the entire line doesn't seem to promise any advantage for White anyway.

Four Knights 4.Bb5 Bb4 with 7...Ne7 [C49]

Next is a game from another Chinese youngster. The game Wey Yi-Mamedyarov,S World Cup Tromso 2013, saw the old line with 7...Ne7, which has recently started to regain popularity. The players followed the game Caruana, F - Aronian, L, Moscow RUS 2010 (see the PGN Archive), for the first 15 moves until Black introduced a novelty which I had already proposed in my annotations to the aforementioned game.

Thus, in the diagram position Black played 15...Qxc3! and quickly equalised. 16.Kh1 looks more critical than the 16.Qd6 which was played in the game, but Black seems to be able to maintain the balance anyway. A short but important game, that indicates in which direction the theory of this line has been developing.

Italian Opening 5.d4, 6.e5 [C53]

The World Cup saw a revival of several old lines. In the game Bologan, V - Hracek, Z World Cup Tromso 2013, White played an old Italian line with 5.d4, which was tested in Tromso three times.

After 13.gxf3, which led to the diagram position, Black introduced the strong novelty,13...Nxf2! The latter allows Black to achieve a position of dynamic equality. Generally the old line with 5.d4 doesn't seem to set Black any problems, and he can choose between 10...Bd7 and 10...Bg4.

Two Knights with 4.Ng5, 8.Bd3 [C58]

In the game Popov, I - Ragger, M World Cup Tromso 2013, Black introduced a strong and important novelty in the 8.Bd3 line.

In the position given above Black played 16...Nc6! instead of the 16...Qxd3 from the only preceding game. White's reaction was extremely unfortunate and only two moves later Black was clearly better. An important game for the theory of the 8.Bd3 system, as 16...Nc6! promises Black good compensation for a pawn.

Bishop's Gambit 2...exf4 3.Bc4 d5 [C33]

Shimanov, A - Kamsky, G World Cup Tromso 2013, saw a very rare appearance for the King's Gambit in top grandmaster games.

In this position Black played the main line 5...Bb4, which led to White's advantage. Probably the most accurate is 5...Bd6. An interesting game despite, or maybe thanks to, the numerous mistakes. The opening part of the game is also interesting and shows that Black experiences problems in the line chosen by Kamsky. It seems that Black has to deviate on move six.


See you next month, Victor.

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