ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month I've focused on the Advanced Caro-Kann that has had some interesting theoretical developments. I also examine a couple of my own games on either side of the board, a look at a game in the Pirc and a couple of Classical Caro-Kann games. Interestingly, the majority of the games (eight out of the nine) are from the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters, one of the strongest opens in the world, and the Tata Wijk aan Zee closed tournaments.

Download PGN of February '11 1 e4 ... games

>> Previous Update >>

Pirc/Modern Defence [B07]

I start the update with a look at Gallagher - Karim. Following 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Bg7 Joe tried the interesting 5.e5 and after 5...dxe5 6.dxe5 Ng4 7.Qxd8 Kxd8 he went for the rare 8.0-0-0+!?:

Objectively I believe Black can get out of the opening safely but he certainly has to be accurate.

Caro-Kann - King's Indian Attack [B10]

This is the first time I've looked at a game of my own on the Black side of the Caro-Kann. In Zygouris - Jones my opponent was surprised by my opening move and eventually thought for close to twenty minutes before continuing 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 e5 4.Ngf3 Bd6 5.g3 Nf6 I feel Black already has comfortable equality. I managed to create a strong queenside initiative and following 17...c4!:

White was in a lot of trouble.

Caro-Kann Advance 3...Bf5 [B12]

I now move onto the main meat of the update. Adams - Monroy saw Mickey adopting the Short Variation. In the following position:

I really like Mickey's 10.b4! keeping Black very passive.

In Carlsen - Wang Hao the current world number one tried 4.Be3 which was very topical a few years ago. Following 4...e6 5.Nd2 Nd7 6.Ngf3 Bg6 7.Be2 Wang Hao opted for 7...Nge7 but 8.Nh4 gave White the better game.

The following position was reached after 23 moves:

Can you spot how Carlsen finished off his opponent?

Returning to the Short Variation, Gashimov - Ivanchuk followed the topical 5...c5 variation. Gashimov showed impressive preparation and achieved a great initiative with a pawn sacrifice. Ivanchuk had a bad day and lost quickly. The final position highlights the dangers Black faces in this variation:

The next couple of games focus on the 4.h4 variation. I start with another game of mine in which my generally well prepared opponent tried the unusual 4...Qb6!?. In Jones - Stokke I was happy with my creative play. In the diagrammed position:

I played 8.e6! forcing Black to solve some concrete problems.

Nepomniachtchi - Nakamura was another battle fought in the 4.h4 variation. Nakamura opted for 4...h5 and the mainline but came up with the interesting novelty 7...Bg4!?:

Which he says he believes is an idea of Karpov's

Larsen/Bronstein 5...gxf6 [B16]

Nigel Short has had a lot of success with offbeat lines and in Gopal - Short he outplayed the young Indian after 4..Nf6 5.Nxf6 gxf6 6.c3 Bf5 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.g3 Qa5!?:

an unusual move with the idea of either exchanging queens or preventing White from castling. Nigel played a great game which is well worth checking out.

Classical Caro-Kann [B19]

Finally I investigate Wang Hao-Ponomariov, which followed a topical line in the 11.Bd2 line. I believe Black shouldn't have any major problems out of the opening but Ponomariov had an off-day and Wang Hao won easily. I have also incorporated a reader's question about 15...Re8.

This is the position after 15.Nf5.

That's it for this month. I hope you have fun reading through the games and I'll be back again soon.

All the best, Gawain

>> Previous Update >>

Please post you queries on the 1 e4 ... Forum, or subscribers can email me at