ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hi guys, in this update, I cover various lines in the Caro-Kann and Pirc Defences as well as an offbeat system against the Scandinavian.

Download PGN of July ’19 1 e4 ... games

>> Previous Update >>

Scandinavian Defence 3 Nc3 Qa5 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 d3 [B01]

In the Dutch Championships this month, opening expert, Erwin L’Ami employed the Scandinavian against young Grandmaster, Jorden Van Foreest. The opening commenced with 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qa5 and now 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 d3. This is a new position for our files. L’Ami responded with the principled 5...e6 6 Nf3 c5:

Now it should be noted that White might generate an initiative if Black isn’t precise. After 7 0-0 Be7 8 Bf4 0-0 9 Ne5, L’Ami played the natural but incorrect 9...Nbd7 after which White obtained a lasting initiative. Instead 9...Bd7! 10 Re1 Nc6 11 Nxd7 Nxd7 was completely fine for Black. See my notes to Van Foreest, J - L’Ami, E.

The Pirc Defence 4 Bg5 h6 [B07]

In the game Libiszewski, F - Onischuk, V, I examine a rather finessed line from White which begins with 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Bg5 h6 and now the retreat 5 Be3:

I’ve analysed this position extensively with the pawn on h7 (which I’ve taken the time to update in this game) while I’ve not yet touched upon this exact position. As it transpires, 5...a6 should still be Black’s response. Instead, the Pirc expert favoured 5...c6 6 h3! Qa5 7 Qd2 Nbd7. White should now play 8 a3! Qc7 9 f4! - a typical switchback to Austrian Attack-style play.

Pirc Defence, Austrian Attack 5...c5 6 dxc5 Qa5 7 Qd3 [B09]

In the game Holm, K - Getz, N I continue to expand upon the developments in the line 1 d4 d6 2 e4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 f4 Bg7 5 Nf3 c5. Returning to 6 Bb5+ Bd7 grounds, I argue that White has a testing try in 7 e5 Ng4 8 Bxd7 Qxd7 9 h3!? though further investigation is required. Instead, Holm went for the other main line, 6 dxc5 Qa5:

Now the main line is 7 Qd4. While this is quite a challenging attempt, it is also highly theoretical. Instead, Holm chose the more measured 7 Qd3!? Qxc5 8 Be3 Qa5 9 Qb5+ (9 e5 is a bit more to the point). 9...Qxb5 10 Bxb5+ although Black shouldn’t have many difficulties after 10...Nc6!

Caro-Kann Advance, Short Variation 3...Bf5 4 Nf3 e6 5 Be2 Ne7 6 c3 [B12]

In Fedoseev, V - Rozum, I, we see the topical line 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nf3 e6 5 Be2 Ne7 6 c3. One of White’s major ideas behind this is to create a bind on the queenside with a2-a4, b2-b4 and a4-a5. Hence, Black in that game tried for 6...c5 but couldn’t quite equalise following 7 dxc5! Nec6 8 b4 Nd7 9 Nd4!

Caro-Kann Defence, Exchange Variation 5 Ne5 Nc6 6 Bb5 [B13]

I’ve already established that 3 exd5 cxd5 4 Nf3 Nf6 5 Ne5 is not without its sting. The high-level encounter Smirin, I - Svidler, P suffices to show the dangers involved if Black is careless. Indeed, after 5...Nc6 6 Bb5 Qa5?! Svidler was already in trouble, 7 Nc3 Bd7 8 Nxd7 Nxd7 9 Bd2 Rc8:

Now Smirin began an AlphaZero-like operation with 8 a4! Qb6 9 a5! Qxd4 12 a6! See my notes to this game.

Caro-Kann Defence, Panov-Botvinnik Attack 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Nf3 Be6 [B13]

Arriving at a Panov-Botvinnik via a different move order, Poghosyan, S - Pantsulaia, L started with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 e3 cxd4 4 exd4 d5 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Nf3. Now the Georgian Grandmaster played perhaps the most combative response, 6...Be6!? seeking to unbalance the game. His opponent immediately erred with 7 cxd5?! Bxd5 8 Ne5 e6 9 Qa4 Rc8 10 Nxd5 Qxd5 11 Nxc6:

Black had a few ways to gain an edge already, but he chose the most enterprising Rxc6!? 12 Bb5 Qxg2 13 Rf1 Bd6 and despite going an exchange down, Black is still preferred by most engines.

Caro-Kann Defence: 3 Nc3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 [B15]

Finally, I provide one of my own games in which I essayed 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7. Earlier this year, I analysed 5 h3. Instead, my opponent was not fussed about protecting the g4-square and simply developed with 5 Be3 dxe4 6 Nxe4 Nf6 7 Bd3. During the game I had trouble trying to maintain winning chances while not merely worsening my position; I missed an early opportunity to mix things up a little with 7...Nd5!. See my notes to the game Maksimovic, B - Tan, J.

Till next time! Justin :)

>> Previous Update >>

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