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Hello everyone,
If the previous update was based on the Chess Olympiad in Tromso, in this one I couldn't possibly ignore the strongest ever tournament in the entire history of chess. 1 e4 e5 specialist Caruana's brilliant result makes it even more interesting for us.

Download PGN of September '14 1 e4 e5 games

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Spanish - The Archangel variation with 8.a4 [C78]

Our first game in this system is Topalov, V - Nakamura, H 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014. The players followed the game Kulaots,K (2577)-Caruana,F (2721)/Caleta 201,1 for the first 18 moves before they reached the following diagram position:

Topalov introduced a new idea here, 19.e5?!, which is dubious in my opinion and led to a Black edge. Only Nakamura's later mistake allowed Topalov to win the game, and despite White's win the opening line is hardly setting Black any problems. Anyway 18.Bd3 has to be preferred over 18.Bb1.

Spanish -The Archangel variation with 8.d4 Bb6 9.Be3 [C78]

Nakamura played the system again in the game Vachier - Lagrave, M - Nakamura, H, 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014.

Hikaru played the rare line with 13...Na5 and introduced a new, but pretty logical idea two moves later (15...Nc4! in the diagram position) and equalised. Nakamura's plan with 13...Na5 and 15...Nc4 is interesting and deserves further practical tests.

Closed Spanish with 6.d3 [C84]

The game Caruana, F - Aronian, L, 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014, featured a rather popular deviation from the Marshall Attack, 6.d3.

The players followed the game Dominguez Perez,L (2754)-Karjakin,S (2756)/Beijing CHN 2013, for the first 14 moves and reached the diagram position given above. Here Caruana introduced a logical novelty, 15.Na2 and outplayed Aronian in a long manoeuvring game. This game is one of the best achievements of the Italian GM in Saint Louis, a very well played game by Caruana despite some serious resistance from the former number 2. The opening line looks roughly equal, although there is still a lot of play ahead, 21...Bxg5 was necessary and allowed Black to retain the balance.

Berlin with 5.Re1 [C67]

None of the top tournaments miss the Berlin endgame, and Saint Louis wasn't an exception. We'll start with the game Nakamura, H - Aronian, L, 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014. The American GM played the rare line with 11.Re2, which is gaining popularity after it was introduced by Vachier-Lagrave earlier this year.

Aronian was the first to surprise his opponent with 12...Be7 here, instead of the 12...Bc7 which was played in Vachier Lagrave,M (2766)-Giri,A (2750)/Biel SUI 2014. The idea of the French GM, 11.Re2, hasn't been explored enough and so I'm expecting to see more practical tests. The question of where to retreat with the dark-squared bishop remains open, while 13.c4!? is an interesting way to set more problems.

The Berlin Wall with 9.h3 Ke8 [C67]

This line saw Nakamura on the other side of the Berlin in the game Caruana, F - Nakamura, H, 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014. The players followed a long theoretical line, which had been known since Caruana,F (2773)-Karjakin,S (2778)/Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012, and reached the following position:

Here Nakamura introduced the interesting novelty 18...Rd8, and despite some small inaccuracies was close to equalising, He started to go astray with 29...Ne7?! and then 31...Ke6? and got into trouble. Only Caruana's time-trouble allowed him to avoid a loss. A well-played game by both players despite some unavoidable inaccuracies, it once again proves the complexity of the Berlin endgame. Nakamura's novelty 18...Rd8 is pretty good and promises equal play.

Scotch with 4...Bc5 5.Nb3 [C45]

The game Vachier - Lagrave, M - Carlsen, M 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014, saw the World Champion attempt to surprise his opponent with the rare 7...a5, instead of the more common 7...0-0. However, the French GM was well-prepared.

Instead of Volokitin's 8.a4, MVL introduced the interesting novelty 8.e5, which initiated big complications. However, both players were up to the task and the position remained equal for most of the game. High-level play from both players - bravo! The rare line with ...a5 seems to lead to an equal position despite all the complications, and so the ball is now in White's court.

Bishop's Opening with 2...Nf6 3.d3 c6 [C24]

One of the critical games of the tournament occurred in the third round and opened the way for the Italian GM. So, Carlsen, M - Caruana, F 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014, is yours to enjoy. The World Champion played the opening inaccurately (11.Bg3?!) and decided to look for chances with a piece sacrifice in the following diagram position:

Carlsen came up with 15.Bxf7+ here, but his next move 16.Nxe5+ was wrong. Caruana played very precisely and didn't leave the Champ a single chance to survive. This game is a rare case of the World Champ getting a worse position from the opening with the white pieces. The entire line looks fine for Black and so White has to look for an improvement early in the opening.

Philidor Defence - Hanham variation with 5.g4 [C41]

The game Aronian,L-Vachier-Lagrave,M, 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014, saw the Armenian GM in an aggressive mood.

Already here on the seventh move Levon introduced the new idea 7.Bh3. Black's inaccuracies 10...Be7 and 12...c6 allowed White to seize a clear edge and only his later unconvincing play allowed the French GM to escape with a draw. White's novelty 7.Bh3 doesn't look too dangerous for Black, although he has to play precisely. So I'll not be surprised to see more practical tests of this line even though I prefer 7.Be3.


See you next month, Victor.

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