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Whilst preparing a DVD on tricks and traps in the Flank Openings I came across a number of important ideas which had not appeared on the site. So I thought I'd update you on the most important of these.
I also have a look at an important line against the Botvinnik System and I found a few interesting games illustrating current developments there.

Download PGN of June '11 Flank Openings games

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King's English, 1 c4 e5 2 g3, Reversed Dragon [A20]

The first trap was sprung in one of my own games though I must confess that it was not prepared. In Davies - Thiel my opponent played 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 exd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Nb4 and after some thought I realised that 10. Qxg7 was good:

This was subsequently repeated and constitutes an important piece of English Opening theory.

Symmetrical English 3...d5 [A34]

When I discovered that after 1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 e6 6. Nxd5 exd5:

the move 7. Qb3 simply wins a pawn for White I was gobsmacked, as Kramnik must have been when he fell into it against Gelfand (Gelfand - Kramnik).

After 5...e6 it really looks like there will be a harmless transposition into a Semi-Tarrasch Defence but that is simply not the case.

Hedgehog [A30]

It's worth knowing that after 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O e6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 9. Bg5 a6 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. Qd3 the natural 11...O-O? is a serious, and in fact well nigh fatal mistake:

See Vaganian - Huebner for the details.

This is the last of the four important traps, after 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. Nf3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. Re1 d6 8. e4 e5 it appears that Black is preventing d4:

though in Ribli - Vertetics (and other games) White did it anyway.

3...e5 4 e3 with 5 Be2 [A34]

Current fashion has moved away from the formerly popular 4.e3 Nf6 5.d4 with White players tending either to transpose into a Botvinnik system with 4.g3 or play 4.e3 Nf6 5.Be2. It is this latter line that represents the territory which I want to cover this time:

Black's standard answer is 5...d5 after which 6.d4 exd4 (or 6...cxd4) 7.exd4 cxd4 or 7...Be6 seems to give Black something close to equality. But it does look like White has what play is going with relatively few winning chances for Black unless White goes badly astray (Sulskis - Nabaty). Accordingly Black has been looking for ways to unbalance things.

In the game Roiz - Khenkin Black tried the rarer 6...e4 but after 7.Ne5 dxc4 8.Qa4 Be7 found himself in difficulties that lasted for the entire game:

Tregubov has played some interesting games in this line and after Nanu got a nice game with 6.cxd5 against him (Nanu - Tregubov) he tried the exotic 5...h6 in a rapid play game against Lushenkov (Lushenkov - Tregubov). This actually looked quite interesting but we will have to see if he repeats it in a game with a slower time limit.

That's all for this time! Nigel Davies

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