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Hi Everyone! I have tried to look at lines that are not very popular and deserve more games. Some of them are very underestimated, but some of them have less games for a reason.

Download PGN of July ’18 1 e4 ... games

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Modern Defence 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5 6.h4 h5 [B06]

Black often plays the Modern when he wants to go for Closed positions with chances for both sides. This position goes in line with those aims. Black stops h4-h5 and makes g2-g4 difficult, but he has to live with the weakened g5 square:

This looks suspicious, but the closed position helps Black. Check out Mammadzada, G - Maghsoodloo, P.

Modern, North Sea Defence: 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.e5 Nh5 [B06]

This line is very similar to the Alekhine Defense. Black provoked e4-e5 so that he can strike in the center with ...d7-d6. However, the knight is poorly placed on h5:

This is an interesting line to play in Blitz/Rapid or against lower rated players. It can lead to fresh positions, but it should definitely not be played against a well prepared opponent. Check out Sukandar, I - Gareev, T.

Pirc Defence 3.f3 e5 4.d5 Nh5 5.Be3 [B07]

This was a very interesting game where Black tried to get a new position as soon as possible.

It was objectively dubious, but it led to a fascinating game with many mistakes in Lou Yiping - Petrosian, T.

Pirc 3...c6 4.f4 Qa5 [B07]

This line is not played very often in GM games, and perhaps there is good reason for this:

While Black was never in too much danger, it was clear that White could play natural moves to put pressure on Black and could often bank on the space advantage. Although, having said that, Black did eventually triumph in Hilby, C - Petrosian, T.

Pirc, Austrian Attack 5...0-0 6.e5 Nfd7 7.h4 [B09]

An extremely complicated line in the Pirc. Black managed to win a miniature (compared to many other games where he usually gets busted in a miniature) in Mikalsen, E - Chatalbashev, B.

his line is a pleasure to analyse, but Black should also be wary of 7.Bc4 as that is also dangerous.

Caro-Kann Advance 3...Bf5 4.Be3 e6 5.Nd2 Ne7 [B12]

Here I analyse the 5...Ne7 option of the Be3 line compared to 5...Nd7, which is much more popular. The move ...Ng8-e7 has it’s own original ideas and perhaps the knight can wait a little longer on b8.

Check out Zvjaginsev, V - Turov, M.

Caro-Kann Advance 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 [B12]

Considering that we’ve been covering 3..c5 almost every month, it made sense to study the early alternatives. While it has its venom, 4.Nf3 is not something that Black should be especially afraid of:

See Li Shilong - Li Chao.

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

Here I cover the line that was famously introduced by Richard Rapport:

It seems to be very playable, but there are some positions that are critical to study to come to a definite evaluation for this line, see Kirk, E - Fressinet, L.

See you soon, Ashwin.

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