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There’s a lot of attacking chess this month with two checkmates played on the board as well as one game ending in perpetual check. Let’s get down to business with a wild struggle in the Scandinavian.

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

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Scandinavian 2...Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qa5 4 d4 [B01]

In our first game Black has removed half of White’s centre with 1...d5, and now wants to complete the demolition job with 4...e5:

This approach has surprise value if nothing else to recommend it. White gets into hot water after reacting badly in Gao Rui - Fang, Y.

Scandinavian Czebe Variation 2...Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qd6 4 d4 Nf6 5 Nf3 g6 [B01]

The biggest enemy of the so-called Czebe Variation is the re-routing of the white knight in the sequence 6 Nb5 Qb6 7 Na3 c6 8 Nc4 Qc7 9 Nce5:

The horse takes four consecutive moves to get from c3 to a fine post on e5. It then has a starring role in a beautiful positional display by the young maestro Wei Yi. Nonetheless, players of Black shouldn't lose heart as his opponent got into trouble due to the omission of a move vital to the opening scheme in Wei Yi - Zeng, C.

Alekhine’s Defence Four Pawns Attack 4 c4 Nb6 5 f4 dxe5 6 fxe5 c5 [B03]

There's a lot of fascinating analysis on this variation in the ChessPub archives. Various attempts have been made to refute Black’s bold strike at the white centre. After 7 d5 g6 8 Nc3 Bg7 9.Bf4 0-0 the subject this month is 10 h4!?:

A novelty which is ultra-aggressive and we might even say contemptuous of Black's set up. It led to an exciting fight in Henrichs, T - Sergeev, Vl.

Pirc Defence, 150 Attack Style 4 Be3 c6 5 Qd2 b5 [B07]

Black leaves his bishop on f8 to take the sting out of Bh6. At the same time his pawn lunge forces White to take measures against the threat of 6...b4, winning the e4 pawn. Hammer comes up with the most aggressive solution in 6 e5 allowing Black to grab his dark-squared bishop with 6...Ng4 7 exd6 Nxe3 8.Qxe3 Qxd6:

The subsequent play demonstrated the power of the bishop on g7 against the queenside in scenarios with opposite-coloured bishops. It reminds me of the famous Matulovic-Botvinnik game from the USSR-Rest of the World match in 1970, which is also to be found in the archives with notes by Alexander Volzhin. Here is the future text book game Hammer, J - Nepomniachtchi, I.

Pirc, Austrian Attack 5...c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7 Qd4 [B09]

Looking at the games in the archives, I see White had scored 7/7 with 7 Qd4 before this month’s game was added. It's about time Black fought back. After 7...Nc6 8.Bb5 0-0 9.Qa4 let’s try 9...Qc7! avoiding the exchange of queens:

IM/WGM Lela Javakhishvili's motto is: better to be a pawn down than have the trusty 'King's Indian' pawn deflected away from its duty on d6. This strategy works perfectly in Fuchs, J - Javakhishvili. L.

Caro-Kann Two Knights Variation 4...Nf6 5.Qe2 Nxe4 6 Qxe4 [B11]

Here Black challenges White’s queen with 6...Qd5 when after 7 Qh4 we should examine both 7..Bf5 and the endgame that arises upon 7...Qe6+ 8 Be2 Qg4 9 Qg3! Qxg3 10.hxg3:

You would imagine that the exchange of queens has given Black good chances of equality. In fact it’s not that straightforward and he soon falls under the spell of White’s Super GM technique in Vachier Lagrave, M - Salem, AR.

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

In this month’s game top GM David Navara avoided the standard move 6.Be3 which has been analysed in huge detail on ChessPub. This didn’t work out too well for him after 6 0-0 Nc6 7.c3 Bg4 8.Nbd2 cxd4 9.cxd4 Nge7 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Nxf3 Nf5 12.Nxh4 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Qxh4 14.Qb3:

Beginning a forcing sequence which shouldn't be more than a draw for White. I wonder what the Czech Number One overlooked in his preparation? If it was over the board inspiration instead then it was a dangerous adventure for him in Navara, D - Velicka, P.

Caro-Kann Advance Short Variation 5...Nd7 6 0-0 h5 [B12]

It may not be a very subtle plan but the advance of the kingside pawns generates a lot of activity for Black. Therefore it’s interesting to see how the inventive young Hungarian Super GM Richard Rapport opposes this strategy. He does so with 7 c3 Nh6 8 Na3!? when Black is goaded into exchanging off his dark squared bishop with 8...Bxa3 9.bxa3:

It leads to an absorbing battle between White’s bishops and a light squared blockade in Rapport, R - Ruck, R.

Well that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed the Update and picked up one or two ideas for your own games.

All the best, Neil.

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