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Welcome to the July 2017 1 e4 Others update.
There’s a lot of inventive and eccentric chess this month, including a novelty on move two in the Caro-Kann. But let’s get going with the Nimzowitsch Defence.

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

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Nimzowitsch 1 e4 Nc6 2 Nc3 [B00]

I have a couple of clubmates rated around 2200 who play the Nimzowitsch. Any objective disadvantage to putting the knight so quickly is cancelled out by the fact that their opponents don't know what they are doing! Here we’ll examine the highly offbeat 2...a6:

Ok it looks ridiculous. On the other hand, a pin (or a check) with Bb5 or an attack on c7 with Bf4 and Nb5 are two of Black's chief enemies in this variation, so it isn't without logic. As with my clubmates’ opponents, White soon goes astray in Eminov, O - Drazic, S.

Scandinavian 3...Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.h3 [B01]

The timid move 5.h3 shows an exaggerated fear of a pin with ...Bg4:

Although of no great theoretical interest, this month’s game illustrates Black’s counter attacking potential in the Scandinavian against over-passive play. It also gives me the chance to include a nice game won by Tartkower in 1906 in the notes to Colas, J - Gorovets, A.

Alekhine’s Defence Exchange 5...cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.b3 [B03]

A much analysed position. White has followed the usual recipe of developing his queenside pieces as quickly as possible in order to secure them against any surprises from the bishop on g7. At the same time he has delayed Nf3 in order not to be pinned with ...Bg4. Let’s check out 9...Bf5:

At the time of writing this seems Black's most promising move. It is the preference of the strongest players and has the best statistical score. Enjoy a smooth and instructive win for Black in Wang, J - Benjamin, J.

Alekhine’s Defence 4.Nf3 dxe5 5.Nxe5 c6 [B04]

This might be regarded as the happiest line for Black in the Alekhine at the moment. The latest attempt to attack his solid set up is 6.Be2 Bf5 7.0-0 Nd7 8.f4:

In the archives a lot of subtle moves have been examined here but not this crude defence of the knight. The loosening of White's centre and kingside makes a bad impression, but jumping ahead White gains an impressive mass of queenside pawns in Lei Tingjie - Kucuksari, K.

Pirc: Czech System 3...c6 4.f4 Qa5 [B07]

The Czech System was popular in the 1990s but has been long out of fashion. Time for a revival? The key line is 4.f4 Qa5:

We’ll investigate 5 e5!? and the rather surprising gambit 5.Nf3 which just allows 5...Nxe4 in Arenas, D- Flores, D.

Caro-Kann 2.Ne2 [B10]

White’s second move is fairly unusual but nonetheless dangerous. The main point is to be able to support the d2-d4 pawn thrust with the knight without allowing it to be pinned as is the case after the normal 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Bg4. The young Russian Super GM Fedoseev cuts across this plan with 2...Qa5!?:

It's not often we get a novelty on move two. The pin on the d-pawn avoids lines such as 2...d5 3.e5 c5 4.d4. You can see how it turned out in Hauge, L - Fedoseev, V.

Caro-Kann Short Variation 5.c3 [B12]

We also see Vladmir Fedoseev in action in our next game. Rather than 5.Be2, he played 5.c3 and answered 5...Nd7 with 6.a4:

He has an intriguing plan in mind: he will avoid the 'universal' bishop move Be2 and instead invest the tempo on launching an immediate attack with his pawns on the queenside. See how this idea led to a sharp clash in Fedoseev, V - Nisipeanu, L.

Caro-Kann Short Variation 5...c5 6.Be3 Qb6 [B12]

Finally for this month I’ve ventured into the labyrinthine complexities of 7.Nc3 Qxb2:

Now after 8.Qb1 Qb4 9.a3 Onischuk has made a habit of avoiding the queen exchange with 9...Qa5!?:

The positions that arise after this move are extremely obscure and it is difficult to understand who is better and why, even when using computer programs. Still, I’ve made an attempt in Poetsch, H - Onischuk, V.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed the games and learnt one or two useful ideas.

All the best, Neil.

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