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This month we had two of the most important tournaments of the year. First, the European Championship where Motylev dominated from the beginning to the end. Second, the Candidates, where 8 of the best players in the world are fighting for a place in the match for the crown. I have only analyzed games from the first half of this tournament, the second half we are going to see in the next update. Also there is a game from the Chinese Championship where there are always entertaining games!

Download PGN of March '14 Flank Openings games

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Réti Opening 2...b5 [A05]

In Artemiev - Khismatullin Artemiev goes for an interesting idea with 7.c4:

and easily gets a better position. 13.Bc6 was good for an advantage and again I think that this is a nice setup for White against 2...b5.

Réti 2 c4 d4 3 e3 [A09]

Neverov - Balogh was a game with plenty of chances for both players, and probably decided in time trouble. White's way to play with 10.g4 is logical:

and the position will always be full of life. Black can try to avoid this idea with 9...Qd7.

Réti pawn sac, 7...Be6 8 Ne5 [A10]

Aronian - Andreikin was one of the decisive games in the first half of the Candidates tournament. Aronian was trying to catch Anand and he played a good line to put his opponent under pressure:

After some good moves Andreikin could not resist and made a few inaccuracies. And then something strange happened, Aronian lost control in a winning position and went into a drawn endgame.

Gurevich's System 4...Nbd7 5 Qc2 e5 [A11]

We can always expect good opening ideas in the Candidates and Topalov - Anand was no exception. Anand played an unusual idea against Topalov with 5...e5:

and he easily neutralized White's efforts to get an advantage with a correct pawn sacrifice. I think this is a good antidote against the lines without d4.

Réti 4...dxc4 5 0-0 a6 and ...b5 [A13]

In Kuzubov - Neverov Black goes for 5...a6, which is provocative, and Kuzubov proved that he was ready for it. Here is the position after 8 d3!:

Afterwards Black had an interesting alternative on move 11, which would lead to unclear consequences.

Symmetric English Nimzovich's 5 e4, 6 Bb5+ [A34]

In Grigoriants - Volokitin Grigoriants goes for a line which is out of fashion, but full of poison:

Volokitin was apparently not prepared for this variation and soon got punished. 12...f5? cannot be recommended.

Symmetric Rubinstein's Variation 8 a3 [A34]

White tries a triple pawn sacrifice in Xiu Deshun-Zhou Jianchao to keep Black's king in the center:

The idea is interesting, but after a big inaccuracy on move 18 the extra material made all the difference.

Pure Symmetrical Mainline 10 Qd3 Be6 [A39]

Svidler - Kramnik was one of the few games where it's possible to see Kramnik caught without any good preparation. Svidler leaves the opening with the better position:

and later Kramnik had to find some truly amazing resources to hold the game.

Till next time, Alex.

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