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Welcome back! This month I've returned to the Caro-Kann, in particular the Advanced lines which are exceedingly popular at the top level. This is a heavy hitting update; 11 of the 18 players featured in the games have ratings over 2600 and the games are from some of the strongest tournaments around. I have also attempted to answer a reader's question on the Alekhine.

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

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Alekhine's Defence [B05]

I start with a question on the Alekhine from one of our readers. Cengiz Hasman sent me an email asking if I could suggest a good path for Black following 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 exd6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.h3:

I've analysed various lines in Sahl - Mamedyarov.

Caro-Kann Defence - Advance Short Variation [B12]

Christiansen - Seirawan saw the 5...c5 line continue to be debated.

Seirawan tried the new 8...Qxc2? but this definitely didn't solve Black's problems. I've added in the new developments in this line.

5...Ne7 6.0-0 c5 doesn't appear to have been investigated here before and I've taken steps to redress this omission:

Inarkiev - Riazantsev saw White try 7.Na3!? but Black had absolutely no problems and after White erred with 13.Bd3?! Black seized the initiative with 13...g5!:

The same players actually played again four days later and again Black had no problems in the opening and went on to win so it looks like White should switch his attentions to 7.c4 as played in Motylev - Maletin.

4.h4 Variation [B12]

4.h4 continues to be topical and in Nepomniachtchi - Wells we see Black try 4...h6. Following 5.g4 Be4 6.f3 Bh7 Nepomniachtchi declined to offer the pawn with 7.e6!? and simply developed with 7.Bd3. An interesting position developed; White has more space on the kingside but has to be careful that Black doesn't destroy White's position with a well-timed pawn break. The English GM played well and with 17...f5!:

he took over the initiative.

4.Nd2 [B12]

4.Nd2 continues to be seen frequently and is quickly challenging 4.Nf3 as a mainline. Following 4...e6 5.Nb3 Nd7 Kamsky went his own way with the novelty 6.Ne2!?:

and slowly squeezed his opponent to death, see Kamsky - Ragger.

6.Nf3 is of course the mainline and in Polgar - Iordachescu I've added in the recent high rated encounters in the line. Judit plays a beautiful attacking game and here:

the piece sacrifice 16.cxd5! ripped open Black's position. She eventually arrived at the following picturesque position after 26.Qe7:

when Black could barely move.

Panov-Botvinnik Attack [B13]

The endgame arising after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qb3 Bxf3 9.gxf3 e6 10.Qxb7 Nxd4 11.Bb5+ Nxb5 12.Qc6+ Ke7 13.Qxb5 Qd7 14.Nxd5+ Qxd5 15.Qxd5 exd5:

has a reputation as being highly drawish but Guliev - Wang Yue showed that Black still has winning chances. I've added in some analysis from the Grandmaster Repertoire: The Caro-Kann book, together with lots of recent games.

That's all for this month. Next month I'll concentrate on the Scandinavian. I wish you good luck in your games!


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