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I hope you find this update interesting; a lot of work has gone into it!

Download PGN of July '12 1 e4 ... games

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Scandinavian 3.Nf3 [B01]

After 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Be2 Nc6 5.Nc3 most players choose to retreat the Queen back to d7. In Fedorchuk - Bauer Black tries 5...Qa5 instead but after 8.a3 we can already see that the Queen is a target on a5:

and Black had to concede the bishop pair to stay in the game.

Alekhine's Defence - 5...Nd7 6.Nxf7 [B04]

The line 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 dxe5 5.Nxe5 Nd7?! feels very suspicious to us after 6.Nxf7:

as White can either force an immediate draw or else get very dangerous attacking prospects. However many GMs have been happy to defend the Black side. Manca - Sulskis was only an online game but the experienced GM only managed 16 moves! Theoretically this looks like a very important game.

Modern Defence - 4 Be3 a6 [B06]

The setups with an early h4 are dangerous for Black to deal with. A couple of months ago we featured a game in which Black reacted with ...h5 but in Nanu - Nevednichy he tried ...h6, which is more flexible. The game was very finely balanced until move 20:

when he erred with 20...Bxc3?

The Philidor [B07]

To be honest we're not clear if this really belongs in our section but as it's ECO code is B07 we'll claim it. Jobava - Shanava saw White try 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Bg5. It seems Shanava's choice shouldn't equalise anyway,

but here, instead of 9.Nb5 which looks to give White the better chances, he tried 9.Bb5!? when Shanava blundered immediately with 9...Kf8?

Caro-Kann - Panov-Botvinnik Attack 6.Bg5 Be6 [B13]

5...Nc6 6.Bg5 Be6 is very topical at the moment. In Durarbayli - Pantsulaia White tried the tricky 7.Be2!? The game followed the archives until Black deviated with 10...Nd5?!:

and was rather lucky to survive the opening.

Classical Variation 4...Bf5, 7.Nf4 [B18]

In our next two games we see the line 4...Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.N1e2 Nf6 7.Nf4 which has a reputation as rather drawish. In Collutiis - Khenkin Black avoids the mainline with 7...Nbd7 and after a few strange moves such as 10.h4?! he is soon doing well:

Jobava - Arutinian sees the more standard 'equalising shot' 7...e5 but having faced this line a couple of times on the Black side Jobava shows there is still some venom in the position, as he introduces 11.h4!? to theory:

Classical 4...Bf5 Mainline [B19]

Guseinov - Jobava features a mainline classical with a slight nuance in the tricky 15.Qd3. Black tries to play it safe by avoiding an early ...0-0 but after 17.Qg3 Jobava was under some pressure:

Although the game ends quite early in a draw it's still well worth checking out.

As my (Gawain) schedule is getting busier and busier I'm afraid I have to step down from my ChessPublishing updates for the time being. It's been great fun (and hard work!) looking over games for the site and I hope you've enjoyed reading through my analysis. I'm sure I'll be back from time to time to annotate a couple of games but in the meantime I'll leave you in Tom's very capable hands.

Gawain and Tom.

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