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Hi everyone, I'm taking over from Tom this month as he is too busy coaching at the World Youth Championships.

Download PGN of November '12 1 e4 ... games

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Caro-Kann Defence - 4...Bf5, 6.Nh3!? [B18]

In this month's report I mainly want to focus on the Caro-Kann, and in particular the 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 line, and now 6.Nh3!? in which there's been quite a few recent games:

White deviates from the main-line with 6.Nf3, which has been analysed to death. A lot of the lines transpose to the line with 6.Nge2, although there are some important differences. For example, one of Black's main replies, 6...e5, is not so good here, although he retains the option of playing this later on. Generally the point of White's play is to play Nf4, followed by a quick h4-h5, putting Black's position under maximum pressure, although he always retains the option of just taking on g6, with a slight edge due to the two bishops.

After 6.Nh3, Black has three main options, 6...Nd7, 6...e6 and 6...Nf6!, and of these three, we'll mainly look at 6...Nd7 and 6...Nf6. I think 6...e6 is slightly inferior as Black can always play this move later - and in some variations he may indeed want to play ...e5 in one move.

In Savchenko, B - Vitiugov, N, after 6...Nd7 7.Nf4 Ngf6 8.Bc4 Qc7 9.Bb3 e6 10.h4:

Black played 10...Bd6 when he should have played 10...0-0-0!

In the game Landa, K - Ruck, R, Black indeed did prefer 6...Nf6, and after 7.Nf4 Nbd7 (perhaps 7...e5!? is the cleanest equaliser here, as played by Anand and Leko) 8.Bc4 e5?! led to problems for him, after 9.Nxg6 hxg6 10.0-0!:

Where White had a lead in development and went on to win.

The Ukrainian Pavel Elanjov came up with a good novelty, after 6...Nf6 7.Nf4 Nbd7 8.c3 Qc7 9.h4 with 9...0-0-0!:

which was a similar idea to that which could have occurred in the Savchenko game, Black does not fear the threat to his bishop, as there is a lot of stuff going on in the center. He went on to win in Andriasian, Z - Eljanov, P.

Another game worthy of study in this line is Areshchenko, A - Khenkin, I where White held the advantage after forceful play in the opening.

Two Knights Variation - 4...Nf6 5.Qe2 [B11]

Switching to a slightly less popular variation of the Caro, in Nepomniachtchi, I - Andreikin, D White showed that Black still had some problems to solve in the line 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 and now instead of the standard capture on f6, the move 5.Qe2!:

White retains all the tension in the center. Also worthy of study in this line is another game of Areshchenko's, Areshchenko, A - Lenderman, A where the young Ukrainian player put his opponent through the grinder.

Panov Attack with Bf4 [B13-14]

White showed an interesting way to approach a well known line in the game Bacrot, E - Kempinski, R, when after 1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 he played 6.Bf4!?:

where White tries to steer the game away from more analysed waters. Bacrot quickly gained an advantage in this game with positive and straightforward play, which was also the case in Ivanchuk, V - Jakovenko, D, where Bf4 was played a move before, and it seems as if Black has some problems to solve in this line.

Center Counter 3...Qd6 [B01]

Looking towards the Center Counter, In Almasi, Z - Tologontegin, S after 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6 Ne5 Be6 7.Bf4 Qd8 8.Qd2 g6 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 the move 10.d5! is a very strong pawn sacrifice:

This has been played before, but not in many games, and here Black failed to solve the problems once again.

Also worthy of note is the game Landa, K - Chatalbashev, B, where White played most aggressively, after 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 g6 6.Nfb5! Qb6 7.c4 c6 8.Nc3 Bg7 with 9.c5!:

followed by Bc4, and went on to win in fine style. However, Black fared better in the game Smirin, I - Kurajica, B.

I hope you find these games useful! Danny.

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