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Hi Everyone. This time I have analysed the Modern, the Pirc and the Caro-Kann. There are a lot of chaotic lines that could have happened, and it was very enjoyable to find these resources.
I hope you enjoy the weird tactics as much as I did!

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

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Modern 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Bc4 [B06]

I am fond of this Bc4 setup against the Modern, as it easy to learn and Black has to constantly worry about e4-e5. There are a lot of GM games in this line, and Black has many ways of trying to combat White’s setup. The main position of this line is 4.. Nf6 5.Qe2 0-0 6.0-0:

Black is doing fine here, but in this game Nakamura tried too hard to get a complicated position, and eventually got into trouble. Check out Izoria, Z - Nakamura, H.

Pirc, Austrian Attack: 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 [B09]

There has been some recent activity in this line, and I have given my thoughts on them in the notes. Black has tried 5..c5 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bxd7 Qxd7 recently:

Black needs some precision, but the analysis shows that he is doing fine.

My main focus is on the move 5...0-0 and I have analysed recent games in both 6.e5 and 6.Bd3. Check out Drygalov, A - Matlakov, M.

Caro-Kann Advance, Short System 5...c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.O-O Qxb2 9.Qe1 cxd4 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Bb4 12.Ndb5 Ba5 13.g4 [B12]

I have briefly analysed this in a previous update, and I go into it in depth in Karjakin, S - Navara, D, which continued 13...Bg6 14.Rb1 Qxc2 15.Rc1 Qb2 16.f4 Ne7:

This move was a novelty, but it was clearly one that didn’t surprise White. It’s a little unexpected, but from this position, White gets an endgame on move 28 by force. White has options to deviate on the way, but they don’t lead anywhere. It would seem as though this game solves this g4 line.

Caro-Kann Advance, Short System 5...c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Na4 Qa5+ 9.c3 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Ne7 [B12]

This is another line that was analysed in a previous update. It is clear that 8.Na4 creates a lot of problems for Black:

It has the added advantage of avoiding the messy Qxb2 lines. I think it’s safe to say that we will see a lot more games in this variation, check out Giri, A - Navara, D.

Caro-Kann Advance 3...Bf5 4.Nd2 e6 5.Nb3 Nd7 6.Nf3 [B12]

We looked at the Nd2-b3 line in a previous update, and we check back into a line that was mentioned in the notes. The following position, after 6...a6 7.Be2 c5 8.c3 h6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Nxc5 Nxc5 11.Be3, is solid for Black:

However, he does have to contend with the bishop pair, have a look at Carlsen, M - Navara, D.

Caro-Kann Exchange Variation 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Ne5 [B13]

This sideline has some merit, as Black's best option seems to be 5...e6 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.Nxd7 Qxd7:

Black is very solid, but White does have the bishop pair. Black finishes his development first, as White takes some time to take the bishop on d7, but if Black is not careful, White can get an attack. Check out Alekseev, E - Esipenko, A.

Caro-Kann Exchange 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bf4 Bg4 7.Qb3 e5 [B13]

This is an extremely interesting option that is recommended by the computer:

In Shankland, S - Liang, A Black quickly went wrong and reached an uncomfortable position. However, with the right move order, it’s not clear if White has that much.

See you soon, Ashwin.

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