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As promised this month I've had an in-depth look at the Scandinavian and compared some recent games with Christian Bauer's new book: 'Play the Scandinavian'.

Download PGN of June '11 1 e4 ... games

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Scandinavian Defence 2...Nf6 [B01]

We start proceedings with a look at 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nxd5 4. d4 g6. Black has been struggling a bit in this variation of late but in Brkic - Muzychuk Black tried the interesting sideline 9...Be6!?:

and reached a fully playable position.

Scandinavian Defence 3...Qd8 [B01]

2.exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd8 hasn't been looked at for a while so I remedy this in Najer - Kruchev. White played the most principled line grabbing space on the kingside. The opening didn't go well for Black and after 11.f3! Black had problems with his light squared bishop:

Scandinavian Defence 3...Qd6 [B01]

Moving on I next examine the topical 3...Qd6 and in Najer - Ajrapetian White went for 5.Nb5!?:

Black is forced to move the queen again while White plans to establish central pressure with c2-c4.

Svidler - Zolotukhin saw the strong Russian Grandmaster following Shirov's footsteps with the aggressive try 7.f4. The game followed Shirov-Tiviakov until Black varied with my suggested improvement but it wasn't enough to save him. In the diagram position Svidler had just played 13.Qf3!:

Can you see what he had in mind against 13...hxg5?

Huschenbeth - Dranov follows the mainline of 7.Nc4 when Black opted to keep queens on the board with 9...Qd8. The game followed charted waters until White varied with 13.Qe3! which put Black under some pressure:

Scandinavian Defence 3...Qa5 [B01]

I finish this month's update with a detailed examination of 3...Qa5.

Muzychuk - Repkova features the so-called 'Konigspringerzuruckhaltungspolitik' where Black delays developing her kingside knight. This is a rather risky strategy and White succeeded in breaking with d4-d5 with a very strong initiative. Following 19.Qh5! Black's position was already indefensible:

In Pikula - Saric Black develops his knight but White varies from the mainline with 6.Bd2 leaving his light squared bishop at home for the time being. Following 6...Bf5 7.Ne4 Black retreated the queen to c7 instead of following the recommendation in the archives and paid the price. The following typical position was reached after 11.0-0 when I believe White to have better chances with his superior structure while it looks easier for him to generate play:

The final two games feature the mainline of the Scandinavian. Following 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bd2 e6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nxf6+ Black chose to recapture with the pawn in Hagen - Boe and after 10.Bb3 tried the unusual 10...a5!?:

I've also had a brief look at 9...Qxf6 in the notes. Be sure to check out this game for White's impressive attack, sacrificing rooks on both e4 and d5!

The final game of the update investigates 8.Qe2, preparing to castle long as fast as possible. In Vaibhav - Yu Ruiyuan Black played 8...Nbd7:

which I think is already an error.

It's with sadness that I have to announce that I will be taking a break from my 1.e4 updates after this one. This is due to a very busy calendar for the next few months. I will still be writing half the Dragon update and I hope to be back with my own section again shortly. In the meantime I'll leave you in the capable hands of GM Milos Pavlovic.


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