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Hello everybody,
There were many interesting games this month. I’ve chosen to focus on the Tata Steel and Gibraltar Masters events in particular. Enjoy the exciting selection of games!

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

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Scandinavian ...Nxd5 Variation: 2...Nf6 3.Nf3 Nxd5 4.d4 Bg4 [B01]

Carlsen, M - Adhiban, B features the 2...Nf6 and 3...Nxd5 line of the Scandinavian. Adhiban played some ambitious chess throughout the event and here he shows that such sidelines, when played fearlessly, work even against the world’s best player.

Magnus goes a quiet approach by playing c3 and Ne5 but Black showed his position was rock solid. White later grabbed a pawn when Black started to get the better chances.

Pirc Defence Classical Variation: 6.0-0 a6 7.Bf4 Nc6 8.h3 [B08]

The game Ivanchuk, V - Cheng, B features another Australian on the Black side of our classical Pirc system. A line we briefly touched on before but not the move 10...Re8, which Bobby chooses:

Ivanchuk reacted in a typical fashion in the centre. Black achieved a good position early but later was attracted to the tactics and found he had over-extended.

Caro-Kann, Two Knights Variation 3...Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 5.Ne2 Qb6 6.d4 e6 7.Ng3 c5 8.Bd3 Nc6 [B11]

In Short, N - Caruana, F Nigel demonstrates exactly why this 8th move is not very popular for Black in a model game:

Instead, I believe Black should prefer 8...Nxg3, and I will explain exactly why. In the game Black had difficulties castling and soon lost the d-pawn after which there was no coming back.

Caro-Kann Advance 3...c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e6 6.c4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Ne7 8.Be2 [B12]

Ragger, M - Van Foreest, J features a not so commonly played check by Black on move 6.

Black grabbed a poisoned pawn in the centre and tried to hang on but White’s initiative soon became too strong. An inaccurate move allowed White to open up the centre and get a huge attack going. However, overall I believe Black to be okay in this line and I will show why.

Caro-Kann Advance, Short Variation: 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 Ng6!? [B12]

In Harikrishna, P - Rapport, R Black chooses a rare line in a popular Caro-Kann position:

This line is actually not at all bad; at least I couldn’t find anyway for White to clearly take advantage. It can lead to some fresh positions although Black should be willing to play with a central king in most instances.

Caro-Kann, Exchange Variation 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.h3 g6 7.Nf3 [B13]

There are two games in this Bd3 Exchange Variation this month. The first is my suggested move order to play with Black. The second also gives Black a fine position but demonstrates what happens if Black fails to play actively.

Zvjaginsev, V - Fridman, D is a model game which demonstrates the useful idea of Black delaying castling in this line.

In doing so he was able to exchange the important bishops and generate a dangerous kingside attack.

Alekseev, E - Sveshnikov, V saw Black castle early before playing ...Bf5 but this also proved to be solid:

Although he should have then looking to play in the centre rather then go for an attack along the semi-open g-file. Instead, White was able to get in all the moves he wanted and freely outplayed his opponent.

Caro-Kann Classical 7.Nf3 e6 8.Ne5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Nd7 11.f4 Be7 [B19]

Wei Yi - Giri, Anish features a popular line where Black is holding his own recently.

Wei Yi tried a new move in this position but it once again led to a dead end for White. It’s up to White to prove he has something in this line since Black has been doing well lately.

I'm starting full-time work now, and alongside my other commitments I'm afraid that I don't feel I have enough time to commit to the column each month. So, I hope you enjoyed my work, and found it useful, and next month it's back to Grandmaster Neil McDonald again! Moulthun

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