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A month full of alternative ideas, and some old lines revisited at a high level! Some long fights that not only featured important opening novelties, but also well played middlegames and endgames, I hope you enjoy them!

Download PGN of October '13 Flank Openings games

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Larsen's Opening 1 b3, 3 g3 [A01]

White tries a solid double fianchetto in Rasulov, V - Mchedlishvili, M, but 7...d5 changes the character of the position and it looks like Black is fine:

One later possible improvement is 10...Bg4!?

Reversed Benoni 3...d5 4 Bg2 d4 [A13]

Bruzon basically plays the same idea as in a Ivanchuk - Alekseev game that impressed me some years ago. Instead of the 14. Nb4 played by Ivanchuk or the 14. Bb4 played recently, he goes for 14.Nh4:

Black answered with the ambitious 14...g5, but soon this move proved to be too committal and Bruzon won in an instructive way, see Bruzon Batista,L-Moreno Ruiz,J.

Pseudo-Grünfeld 5 Qa4+ Nc6 [A16]

The line 5 Qa4+ Nc6 6 Ne5 Qd6 7 Nxc6 Qxc6 8 Qxc6+ bxc6 has been the subject of some recent games:

Black believes the structural disadvantage is not enough to bring any real advantage for White. Still it's a riskless position to play for White and Black can sometimes suffer, as in Turov, M - Hansen, E.

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

In Erdos, V - Stevic, H White plays 6 f4!? before developing the g1-knight with the idea of stopping any attacking ideas for Black:

I like the later 10.exf3 idea and soon White got a tangible space advantage, winning a most instructive game. For Black I would take a look at 12...exf4.

Closed English [A26]

Vachier Lagrave, M - Aronian, L was a great game of prophylaxis in the opening with subtle manoeuvres and unusual ideas compared to the normal English.

In the above diagram position 10...Ne7 is aimed against White's queenside expansion, but to retreat the knight before being attacked allows White to choose plans other than the normal 11.b5.

Four Knights 4 e3 Bb4 5 Qc2 0-0 [A28]

Grischuk goes for an old line that even nowadays doesn't have a clear verdict. Giri played 14...Ng6 instead of the critical 14...a4 and after one superficial idea got into big trouble.

Also interesting is the sub-line with 8...gxf6 - see the note to Grischuk, A - Giri, A.

Symmetric Variation with ...d5 [A34]

Nepomniachtchi, I - Kramnik, V was the decisive game from the Russian Superfinal and after the opening it was clear that both players were trying to win:

I don't believe in White's idea, but nowadays we are seeing h2-h4 being played in basically any position!

Pure Symmetrical 5 Nf3 e6 6 d4 [A37]

6 d4 is an interesting sacrifice that has come back into fashion lately:

It has been extensively analyzed on Chess Publishing before, of course, but still it's always good to re-check what has been going on in this variation. When I was analyzing this game 9.Qa4+ caught my attention and I think it could be a good surprise - don't miss the notes to Harika, D - Lahno, K!

Till next time, Alex.

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