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Hello everybody,
This month we take a look at different ways to meet Black's popular ...g5 systems in the advanced Caro-Kann, as well as a few notable games in the Modern Tiger.

Download PGN of August ’16 1 e4 ... games

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Alekhine's Defence 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.h3 Bh5 [B05]

Dubov, D - Sviridov, V shows how White should play when his early 5.h3 (which gives an alternative to the standard Be2) is answered by 5...Bh5.

The pawn sacrifice 6.e6 (diagram) gave White a big development lead, which translated into a strong initiative and queenside attack. Black shouldn't allow this and the critical lines are after 5.Bxf3 which I believe to be playable for both sides.

Modern Tiger Defence: 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.a4!? [B06]

There are three games I will examine in this modern ...a6 system, and I will offer my recommendations to which to choose as White.

Naroditsky, D - Buchal, S offers a good alternative instead of the main lines with 7.e5 which can lead to sharper theoretical positions. The positions are solid but have decent attacking chances.

Black was able to equalise during the game but went on to lose in the resulting complications. However, White could have improved on move 15 with Bf4 with the idea of an exchange sacrifice, creating serious problems for his opponent.

6.Be3 Nd7 7.e5 [B06]

Wei, Yi - Carlsen, M is one of the main lines of this opening system featuring a new move for us, 11...dxe5 (instead of the well analysed 11...Ng4):

White achieved his position with the pawn on c7 supported by the bishop on a5 and open d-file. However, after Black's 19...Nd6 most of the initiative was gone and Black was already fine. After a mistake later on, Wei Yi found the rook stuck on the side and was unable to get it back into the game. White could instead consider 12.Qe2!? or another deviation earlier on.

4.Be3 a6 5.Nf3 b5 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.e5!? [B06]

Fressinet, L - Buchal, S gives White a surprising way to play against Black's ...a6 system, especially for those only expecting an Austrian Attack.

The pawn is immune for now but White's idea is to again play a positional pawn sacrifice on e6. I would say it is rather difficult to play Black here and he might need to change his plans earlier to meet this setup.

Modern Pirc: 2...Nf6 3.f3!? [B07]

Ivanchuk, V - Kuzubov, Y is a good system against the Pirc versus Black players who don't know the King's Indian or Grünfeld.

Kuzubov chose a setup in the style of the Old Indian but White had a comfortable edge in the game. Ivanchuk shows a model way of playing against Black's early b5 and White's ideal placement of his pieces.

Caro-Kann Advance, Short Variation [B12]

This month features three games in our advanced Caro.

Vovk, A - Granda Zuniga, J examines one of the old mainlines in the Short variation where Black chooses to meet 7.Nh4 with 7...c5 8.c3 Be4! which overall has been holding it's own:

Despite Black losing the e-pawn he always gets lots of play around it and extra squares for his pieces. In the game White's only serious mistake came with the move 28.Qe4?! but overall I think Black is doing okay in these lines.

Najer, E - Caruana, F features the current trendy system for Black with 8...g5 but Caruana shows how Black can play this system positionally instead of going for the typical ...0-0-0 approach.

White played the move 10.a4 in the game to provoke 10...a5 but the game shows Black can play this position with his king in the centre for a while. By trading off the important light-squared bishops and controlling the d5 and f5 squares for his knight, Black is able to shut down most of White's play. I think 10.Bb4 is a better try while it is still possible.

Bartel, M - Lalith, B is another effective way to play these positions with the idea of an early a4-a5 and b4 to stop all future queenside play:

White displays a model game for this system, firstly clamping down on the queenside before setting his sights on a kingside expansion. It shows that Black can't play passively against this setup and should seek an active plan early on to avoid having a great space disadvantage.

Catch you next time, Moulthun

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