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Hi Everyone! Sorry for the delay in sending the games. I have had a very busy and eventful June! This time I analysed the Scandinavian, the Modern/Pirc and the Caro-Kann. I hope you find the analysis helpful!

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

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Scandinavian Defence 3...Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 [B01]

This line used to be very popular, but now I am very sceptical of it because of the position after 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.f4 Nb6 8.g4:

This is a dangerous line, and Black lost badly in the game Safarli, E - Hera, I.

Pirc Defence 4.Be3 Ng4 [B07]

I cover the subtleties of a line that is considered dubious (and rightfully so). It’s not so bad in a blitz and rapid game (as Mamedyarov has shown), but against plans with f4-e5, Black is generally struggling:

Have a look at Caruana, F - Mamedyarov, S.

Pirc/Modern 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 Nc6 [B09]

This ...Nc6 is an interesting move in the Modern that transposes to many lines in the Austrian Attack. The position after 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Be2 0-0:

didsn’t look too bad for Black in: Karpatchev, A - Efimenko, Z.

Caro-Kann Advance, Short Variation 5...c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Na4 Qa5+ 9.c3 c4 [B12]

8.Na4 is getting popular, so it’s important to analyse Black’s main alternative to 9..cxd4. It remains to be seen if ...c5-c4 is better than ...c5xd4.

Check out Lagarde, M - Riazantsev, A.

Caro-Kann Advance, Short Variation 5...c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.O-O Qxb2 [B12]

9.Qe1 cxd4 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Bb4 12.Ndb5 Ba5 13.Rb1 Qxc2 14.Rc1 Qb2 15.Na4 is another Nc3-a4 that is very fascinating for White. It’s interesting to see that Black needs to play accurately after 15...Bxe1 16.Nxb2 Ba5 17.Nd6 Ke7 18.Nxb7:

The main position in this 15.Na4 idea. It’s all analysed in Kravtsiv, M - Rozum, I.

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

Another update in this line that is currently very popular:

Check out Shankland, S - Bacallao Alonso, Y.

Caro-Kann, Korchnoi's 5...exf6, 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Ne2 Re8 9.Qc2 [B15]

I once again cover this line for Black in Sjugirov, S - Bai, J, and it’s clear that Black is doing fine. 9...h5 is the main move here, but I still do not find any advantage for White after 9...f5. It would seem that Black has another way to equalise against 3.Nc3.

See you soon, Ashwin.

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