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It's been a while since 1.e4... has featured in World Championship matches, with players instead choosing to open with 1.d4, 1.Nf3 or 1.c4, so it's nice to see the Caro Kann being played in the Anand-Carlsen match. We'll get to that game later.

Download PGN of November '13 1 e4 ... games

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Centre Counter - 3...Qd6, 5...g6 [B01]

But first we start off with 5...g6 in the 3...Qd6 Scandinavian with White playing the critical 6.Nb5 Qb6 7.Na3 that we've seen before, when in Stripunsky - Rakhmanov Black tries 7...Be6 but then quickly goes wrong and finds himself in trouble after 11.Qe2!:

And White goes on to win a comfortable game.

Alekhine's Defence - Four Pawns Attack 9...Qd7 [B03]

It's been a while since we've seen a theoretical battle in the 4 Pawns Attack as a lot of top players prefer the simpler lines with 4.Nf3, but in Prusikin - Miralles we see the mainline up until 9...Qd7:

but I don't like Black's follow up with 10.Be2 0-0-0 11.0-0 Be7?! when after 12.d5! he is already in trouble. I've suggested some improvements in the notes.

Modern Defence - 4.Bg5 [B06]

One interesting idea against the Modern is to play Bg5 in order to provoke ...h6 from Black and then just to retreat the bishop back to e3 and follow up with Qd2 and claim ...h6 as a weakness. This is exactly what happened in Rublevsky - Kamsky and Black decided to switch into a Hippopotamus setup with ...e6 and ...Ne7. A typical position was reached after 10...Bb7:

but Black didn't handle the middlegame phase as well as his opponent and was soon on the defensive. Rublevsky missed a win before Kamsky pulls out a tricky hold with a king and knight vs connected passed pawns in a marathon game.

Caro-Kann Advance - 3...c5 4.dxc5 Nc6 [B12]

In Zhigalko - Laznicka we see the fashionable 3...c5 in the Advance Caro. The position after 8.Bb5 is very typical:

and here I think taking on f3 is a mistake. It certainly didn't turn out well for Black after 8...Bxf3 9.Qxf3 a6 10.Ba4 Qa5 11.Bc2 Nxe5 12.Qg3! when Black's king got caught in the centre and it was only by giving up a pawn that he managed to get castled.

Caro Kann - 5...exf6, 8.Qc2 [B15]

This line has appeared a few times before on ChessPublishing but there haven't been any main games featuring what I consider to be the critical test, 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qc2!:

In Rapport - Salgado Lopez I attempt to fill this gap and cover the key lines for both sides. The two players handle the opening relatively well here before Black makes the first real mistake, however he reacts with an interesting queen sacrifice. Rapport does not find the most accurate response and by the end of the game it is White who is holding on for a draw.

Classical 4...Bf5, 7...e6 8.Ne5 [B19]

Although it's great to see the Caro Kann in a World Championship match it's definitely a shame that the game ended in a fairly quick draw. However this is largely due to Carlsen's excellent preparation. The first 13 moves of Anand - Carlsen followed Vishy's win over Ding Liren which I annotated earlier this year. However Black could've equalised in that game so it was White who decided to deviate with 14.0-0-0:

Carlsen came prepared with the new idea 14...0-0 15.Ne4 Nxe5 16.fxe5 Nxe4 17.Qxe4 Qd5! and he was able to secure an easy draw with the Black pieces. I think White can improve though so I'll be surprised if we see Magnus repeat this line, although we may well see another Caro Kann in the match.

Classical 4...Bf5 Mainline, 13.Kb1 [B19]

Finally we finish this month's update with two games in the very fashionable 13.Kb1 mainline. In Navara - Sumets Black goes for 13...0-0 14.Ne4 c5 15.Nxf6 Bxf6:

But here I think White can get a dangerous attack starting with 16.g4! - instead Navara opted for 16.d5?! which allows Black to equalise, and then just as the game seems destined for a draw Navara miscalculates horribly and allows a lost ending.

Instead I much prefer the 13...a5!? played in Wei Yi-Antonio, although it doesn't turn out so well for Black in the end. The critical position is probably after 14.Ne4 a4 15.c4 Qb6 16.g4!?:

and here Black chose 16...Nxe4 but possibly it's better to grab the pawn on g4 instead.

It'll be interesting to see if 1.e4... features again in the World Championship! See you next month, Tom.

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