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Welcome to the August 1 e4 Others Update.
Richard Rapport and Alexander Grischuk recently played a blitz match on They tested out the Scandinavian and the North Sea Defence in seven of the games. Let’s start with one of their exciting tussles.

Download PGN of August ’17 1 e4 ... games

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Scandinavian 3...Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6 Ne5 Nbd7 [B01]

Grischuk wants to gain as much time as possible to develop an attack by harassing the black queen. Therefore he continues 7 Nc4 Qc7 8 Qf3 Nb6 9 Bf4. So far this is a mainline after which Black has to choose between d7 or d8 for his queen. Rapport chooses- both!

That is, after 9...Qd7 10.Nxb6 axb6 11.0-0-0 his queen voluntarily retreated again with 11...Qd8, reaching the above diagram position. Check out Grischuk, A - Rapport, R for the whole story.

Alekhine Defence: Exchange 5...exd6 6.Nf3 [B03]

GM Jacek Tomczak has essayed 6.Nf3 which is a new move- or perhaps I should say new move order- for ChessPub. He is evidently keen to avoid standard lines with Nc3, and his game continues 6...Be7 7.Be3 0-0 8.Nbd2:

Now what would you do as Black? Click for analysis of Tomczak, J - Hnydiuk, A.

North Sea Defence: 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.e5 Nh5 4.Nf3 d6 [B06]

The Alekhine meets the Pirc. I like the concept of putting the knight on h5, but is it strategically sound for Black?

In another one of his delightful games with Rapport, Grischuk as White continued 5.Bc4 c6 6.Ng5 d5 7.Be2:

Rapport has been forced to play ...d6-d5 after which his d-pawn no longer challenges White’s e5 point. This consolidates White's space advantage in the centre and on the kingside. You might imagine this would lead to a solid positional grind, in which case I can’t resist showing you the position after White’s 29th move:

Well, would you take the rook on f1? Here is Grischuk, A - Rapport, R.

Modern versus 150 Attack 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5 6.h4 [B06]

With 6...h5 Black stops the advance of the h-pawn but leaving a wonderful square on g5 for a white knight. This month we look at 7.f3 Bb7 8.Nh3 Nd7 9.Ng5 Ngf6 10.a4:

We’ve seen similar attempts to undermine the black queenside, but the twist is that Ponkratov castles queenside. Here is a key moment in the analysis:

Here 16...c5!? 17.exf6 Qxf6 18.c3 b4 leaves Black a piece down for a pawn but with a lot of pressure. Check out Ponkratov, P - Shoker, S.

Modern Defence 3.Be3 [B06]

White’s third move is unusual but flexible. For example it would transpose to a 150 Attack after 3...d6 4.Nc3. In this month’s game Black responds with the Sniper-style 3....c5, when Sam Shankland guarded d4 with 4.c3:

Now Black has an important choice: should he attack e4 with his knight (4...Nf6) or with a pawn (4...cxd4 5.cxd4 d5) as part of his campaign against the White centre? See the analysis in Shankland, S - Kamber, B.

Pirc: Austrian Attack 5...0-0 6.Bd3 Na6 7.0-0 c5 8.d5 Bg4 [B09]

Vladimir Onischuk is one of the staunchest defenders of the 6...Na6 variation as Black. Let’s have a look at one of his creative idea, namely answering 9.Qe2 with 9...Rb8!? 10.Bxa6 bxa6 11.Qxa6 Nh5:

From the Pirc into the Benko. In return for the pawn Black has gained active piece play. There is no longer any talk of White launching an attack on the kingside or in the centre, at least for the time being. Instead he has to try to consolidate his extra pawn. This won't be easy, as the pressure against b2 makes it difficult to develop his bishop from c1. So can White take on a7, or does he have something better? Check out Braeuer, F - Onischuk, V.

Caro-Kann: Two Knights 3...Bg4 4.h3 Bh5 [B11]

Here Black prefers a sharper game than 4...Bxf3 offers. A forcing line continues with 5.exd5 cxd5 6.Bb5+ Nc6 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 Rc8 9.h4! f6 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.d4 e6 12.Qd3 Kf7 13.Bxc6 and in this game, rather than 13...Rxc6 (as seen previously on ChessPub), Black chose 13...bxc6:

Black increases the size of his pawn centre, gives himself the option of ...c6-c5 to strike at c5, and opens the b-file as a source of counterplay once White castles queenside. Still, we should remember David Bronstein's rule about talking to the pieces and ask the rook on c8 what it thinks about this way of recapturing. There’s more conversation in Paichadze, L - Prieto Aranguren, A.

Caro-Kann Short Variation 5...Ne7 6.0-0 [B12]

Here 6...Ng6 is double edged. Black has scored some quick wins and suffered horrible defeats. This month we look at 7.Ne1 and in the main game 7.Be3 Nd7 8.Nbd2 f6:

Black will pay a heavy price if he lets the bishop on f5 be attacked in a favourable way as it can no longer fall back to g6, as you can see in the analysis to Ortiz Suarez, I - Fenil, S.

That’s all for this month. I hope you enjoyed the update. Good luck with any chess you are playing.

Cheers, Neil.

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