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This month we take a look at some interesting new ideas, plus a couple of quirky openings involving a quick g4 thrust.

Download PGN of January '14 Flank Openings games

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Grob's Opening - 1 g4 d5 [A00]

It's always interesting to see how the top players react against exotic lines. In Pridorozhni - Jakovenko Pridorozhni tried 1.g4 and Jakovenko didn't try to refute it, but just played a solid and sound idea with 2...e6:

It's important to appreciate that White needed to win this game to continue in the Cup.

Réti Opening Capablanca System without c4 & ...c6 [A07]

Dubov - Shirov was a blitz game, so with a few seconds on the clock both players missed some moves in the middlegame complications, but the opening is still quite sharp since Shirov tries to immediately punish Dubov's thematic 7.g4 and 8.Nh4 by 8...Nxg4:

Sacrificing a piece to open the h-file.

Shirov tried the setup with a quick 5...e5 one more time in the blitz game Dubov - Shirov. And one more time sharp complications arrived quickly.

Réti 2 c4 d4 3 b4 f6 [A09]

Of all the games from this month, Hillarp Persson-Hector is the one which most impressed me. Black tries the most ambitious setup with 5...a5:

and White comes with a really strong idea.

I have no idea quite how much of this was home preparation - this 3...f6 line was analysed in Delchev's book and much discussed on the Forum. 8...dxe3 and 10...exf3 are probably better alternatives.

King's English 2...d6, 3...f5 [A21]

One of our subscribers asked about the other lines without 6.f4 in the Erdos - Stevic game from the October update, so in Cheparinov - Stevic I give an overview of the options in these positions when Black plays a setup with ...e5, ...f5 and ...Be7:

Symmetric 3 g4 [A34]

Rapport used the Tata tournament to try some unusual openings. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't! In Rapport - Dominguez Perez he tried the exotic move 3.g4!?:

and even if the position went wrong afterwards, probably it was not because of this move, as 8. gxh6 would have made more sense.

Symmetric Rubinstein's Variation 8 Ne1 [A34]

The idea of bringing the knight to d5 via d2-c4-e3 in the Symmetrical English is quite common, but bringing the knight via e1-d3-f4-d5 is considered a little exotic:

In Reinderman - Bok Black quickly went wrong and White got a really good position.

Pure Symmetrical Mainline 8...Qa5 [A39]

In Hammer - Goganov Black tries a line which is back in fashion lately but with different intentions, 10...a5!?:

In reply White sacrificed two pawns to get a nice grip and then entered a winning position by taking a bishop that never managed to leave its initial square.

Till next time, Alex.

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