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I've been busy with work and tournament preparation this month, so Tony has graciously agreed to step in and cover half of this update. Hope you enjoy!

Download PGN of February '13 Flank Openings games

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Réti Capablanca System [A07]

The Réti line featured in Berkes - Spoelman tends to produce finely nuanced middlegames. 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.0-0 Bg4 4.0-0 Bg4 5.d3 Nbd7 6.Qe1 e5 7.e4 dxe4 8.dxe4 Bc5 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.h3 Bh5 11.Nc4 Re8 12.a4 (my database finds 66 games from this position) 12...Nb6 13.Na5 Qc7 14.Nh4:

Here Spoelman played 14...Bf8, though Zoltan Gyimesi's preferred continuation 14...Nfd7 is also worthy of attention.

1.c4 c6 with g3, 4...dxc4 [A11]

In Adams - Kanep we see England's top player trying his hand at the Anti-Slav Gambit: 1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.0-0 Nbd7 6.Na3 Nb6 7.Qc2 Qd5 8.b3 cxb3 9.axb3 g6 10.Nc4 Nxc4 11.bxc4 Qh5:

Here Adams played 12.d3, trusting in the integrity of his position and obtaining full compensation for the pawn. White has tried something different in each of the four games to have reached this position and has thus far scored a perfect 4-0, suggesting that he has a number of acceptable ways to proceed.

(The next four games are from TK).

Curiously we haven't examined 5...Be6 on ChessPub previously, although it is one of Black's most successful moves here. The mainline continues 6.Ng5 Bd5 7.e4 h6 8.exd5 hxg5 9.dxc6 Nxc6 10.Na3:

After the forcing play an interesting position has arisen, White has the bishop pair, but d4 and d3 are weak and Black may be able to make use of the open h-file. I've given my thoughts (TK) in the notes to Mista - Hnydiuk where White tries a completely new approach and wins quickly.

Romanishin Gambit [A13]

Bartel has tried the rare, but logical, 5.Na3 a couple of times now, defending c4 while attacking b5:

White may gain a tempo in certain lines, although the problem is that the knight may be misplaced later on c2. I particularly liked White's powerful positional, then tactical play in the following position:

Don't miss Bartel - Dolzhikova!

Pure Symmetrical - 5.Nf3 Botvinnik System [A37]

Subscribers will have noticed the new Pure Symmetrical - 5.Nf3 Botvinnik System [A37] ChessPub Guide that John and I put together recently, and so I was happy to extend this further with the game Bacrot - Jansa, which features the line where Black plays ...d6, ...Nge7 and ...Be6 before castling, so that he can free his position with ...d5 before the white knight can control this square:

Black seems to be struggling to equalize here.

5.Nf3 e6 [A37]

This is one of Black's best lines, where he often gets the advantage after playing ...d5. But what if White now plays 7.e3, intending d4 himself?

In Bejtovic - Grandelius Black now tried 7...Nf5 to control d4, but was subsequently mangled to a grisly pulp by his lower-rated opponent!

Black plays ...Nh6 [A37]

Dmitry Bocharov curbs Black's play in the 6...Nh6 line with a pawn sacrifice: 1.c4 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 Nh6 7.d4 cxd4:

Here in Bocharov - Neverov White ventured the rare 8.Nxd4!?, to which Black responded with 8...Nxd4 9.Bxh6 Nxe2+!?, nabbing a pawn at the price of the initiative. Analysis shows that Black can get away with this, but Neverov wasn't up to the defensive task.

Pure Symmetrical - 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.0-0 0-0 7.d4 [A39]

In Cruz - Oratovsky we revisit the gambit line 1.Nf3 d6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0-0 c5 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nf6 7.c4 0-0 8.Nc3 Nc6 which can arise from various move orders and is often classified as E65 (Yugoslav King's Indian). This pawn offering has never been shown to be completely reliable, but Khalifman did succeed in reviving a key variation last year. Here the young Peruvian Grandmaster Cristhian Cruz demonstrates a risk-free path to an advantage for White after 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Bxc6 Rb8 11.Bg2 Qa5 12.Nb5!? Bd7 13.Bd2 Qd8:

Here 14.Bc3! Bxb5 15.cxb5 Rxb5 16.Rc1 led to a comfortable advantage for White with the bishop pair and two-to-one pawn majority on the queenside.

Until next time, John

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