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Welcome to the June 2017 1 e4 Others update.
One queen sacrifice, two piece sacrifices and three exchange sacrifices are to be enjoyed this month. But that’s only what you’d expect of fighting defences to 1.e4.

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

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Scandinavian 2...Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 [B01]

It's curious that it took Scandinavian players so long to realise that keeping the queen centralised on d6 is at least as good as running away to a5. The theory on 3...Qd6 has exploded over the past few years. One of several newly minted mainlines is 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 a6 6.g3 Bg4 7.Bg2 Nc6 8.0-0 0-0-0.

Black has castled into the jaws of the bishop on g2. On the other hand the d4 pawn is under severe pressure. A lot of GMs and IMs have contributed their analysis of this line to ChessPub. I have added 9.Bf4 this month:

It is hugely complex but Black eventually succeeds in neutralising White’s initiative with the first of our exchange sacrifices in Wan Yunguo - Zeng, C.

The notes in our next game investigates the queen sacrifice after 9.d5 Ne5 10.Nxe5!? Bxd1 11.Nxf7:

Needless to say it would be a good to have some idea of what to do as Black in this scenario. The game also adds to the discussion of 9.h3 Bh5 10.Bf4 Qb4 11.g4 Bg6- chasing back the bishop is White’s usual recipe in this line. Have a look in Hoffmann, M - Muse, M.

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

Here the little pawn move 5...c6 does much to solidify Black's centre and facilitate his development:

It defends the knight on d5 against moves like Bc4 or Qf3 and in a general way restrains any future d4-d5 by White. It is a prelude to Nd7 to develop and challenge the white knight without allowing any sacrifices of the kind that occur after 5...Nd7 6.Nxf7! Kxh7 7.Qh5+.

As well as all these virtues, the pawn move also allows the black queen access to squares on the a5-c7 diagonal. This proves of game-changing importance in Palac, M - Markus, R.

Modern Defence: 150 Attack 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5 [B06]

After 6.f3 Nd7 7.h4 h5 the usual move is 8.Nh3, but 8.a4 is interesting to undermine Black’s queenside. Then consider 8...b4 9.Nce2 Rb8:

It might seem strange to combine 7.h4 with 8.a4. However, after 7...h5 the g5 square is attractive for the white knight on g1 and it can be posted there with Nh3 and Ng5. This means that it doesn't mind having the e2 square denied to it by the retreat 9.Nce2. On e2 the other knight supports d4 and in lines where Black has strengthened b4 with a6-a5 it can be manoeuvred via c1 to b3 to attack the pawn. To see how this might work out in practice have a look at Martin Duque, J - Gharamian, T.

Pirc, Austrian Attack 5...c5 6.Bb5+ [B09]

Pumped up by Black’s win in last month’s update in the pesky 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Qd4 variation, here we turn our attention to another problematical line in which White’s queen ends up on d4, namely 5.Nf3 c5 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7 9.h3!? cxd4 10.Qxd4. Now Lu Shanglei tried 10...Nh6:

His idea is that by going back at once with the horse he avoids the line 10...Nc6 11.Qe4 Nh6 12.Be3 which has been used with success by fellow Chinese GM (and potential World Champion) Wei Yi. But as we see things aren’t that easy for Black in Gao Rui - Lu Shanglei.

Caro-Kann 1 e4 c6 2 f4 [B12]

Is this the birth of another Short System against the Caro-Kann? After the moves 1.e4 c6 2.f4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.d4:

White's opening experiment has cost a tempo as 2.f4 neither develops nor clears the way for development- it even reduces the scope of the bishop on c1. It is also committal in that White has shown his cards: Black knows it is the f4-f5 advance he needs to take measures against. But there it stands: a rigid but nonetheless imposing pawn centre which is ready to strike Black down if he is careless. Click for the exciting battle Short, N - Eljanov, P.

Caro-Kann Advance Short Variation 5...c5 [B12]

You need a mighty brain to remember all the permutations of the Short System. Here Inarkiev looks for a quiet life by playing 7.c3 to support his centre. However after 7.c3 Nec6 8.a3 the Norwegian Hammer hit the nail on the head with 8...Be7!:

This is a subtle improvement on an earlier game by the Grandmaster from Kalmykia. Check out Inarkiev, E - Hammer, J.

Caro-Kann Advance 3...c5 4.dxc5 e6 [B12]

Your author used 3...c5 to gain his first ever win against a player rated over 2200 at the Jersey Open in 1982. (Preparation is much deeper in the age of computers: my opponent in the aforementioned game looked confused, shrugged his shoulders and then took the pawn on c5.) Nostalgia aside, 3...c5 is a convenient but not wholly trusted way to avoid the mind-bogging complexities of 3...Bf5 4.Nf3. This month’s game features the insidious move 5. a3!? with play continuing 5...Bxc5 6.Nf3 Ne7 7.Bd3 Ng6 8.0-0 Nc6 9.b4 Bb6 10.Bb2:

The position might look insipid but it contains a lot of poison. Topalov thought he could get rid of White’s good bishop and achieve an easy game with 10...Nf4, but got his fingers burned in Karjakin, S - Topalov, V.

Well that’s all for this month. I hope you enjoyed playing through the games and picked up some ideas. Good luck in your chess.

All the best, Neil.

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