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Dear Readers,
This month we have more than the usual eight games, and the reason for that is this month has been really busy and full of elite events. Not only that, but the Caro-Kann is really popular, so there were many games played with it. Foremost, most of the games are from the Berlin World Rapid and Blitz Championships, a really great event, and the European Club Championship played in Skopje.
As I already pointed out the Caro-Kann dominates this update, but there is also the Scandinavian. These two openings are enjoying a huge boost in popularity. Almost any possibility is investigated heavily and it seems that Black has found some really interesting ways to create good play against 1.e4 in these two openings. In those main games given below I incorporated some other interesting games and ideas. I hope that you enjoy this month's update.

Download PGN of November '15 1 e4 ... games

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Caro-Kann Advance - Short System 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 c5 7.Be3 [B12]

We will start our survey with the Caro-Kann, more specifically the Advance line which is definitely the most popular choice for White among the strongest players. The first game is Aronian - Tomashevsky from the Berlin event, and after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 c5 White played 7.Be3:

White seized the initiative rather quickly but the line seems OK for Black.

Caro-Kann Advance - Short System 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 c5 7.c4 [B12]

The 2nd game, Svidler - Seirawan, is also from Berlin event and started 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 c5 7.c4:

This is much more challenging and a real test for Black. Still, despite the outcome of the game things are manageable for Black.

Caro-Kann Advance - Short System 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0-0 Bg6 7.Nbd2 Ne7 8.Nb3 [B12]

Next, Grischuk - Navara was also from the Berlin event and saw the old Advance main line 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0-0 Bg6 7.Nbd2 Ne7 8.Nb3 Nf5 9.a4 a6!?, which is yet another interesting aspect for Black to consider:

White won the game and Grischuk found a good plan for White, but still, had Black defended in a better way it would have been a difficult task for him to prevail. Also, there was an interesting choice for Black at an earlier moment.

Motylev - Navara is again from Berlin and this time the Czech Grandmaster defended in a really old fashioned way, but with success, so 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0-0 Bg6 7.Nbd2 Ne7 8.Nb3 Nf5 9.Bd2 Be7 10.g4 Nh6!?:

There is almost no position in the Caro-Kann where we can say that White is definitely better, and similarly, almost every idea against the most popular Advance line is interesting. This one is no exception.

Caro-Kann Advance - Short System 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 Bg6 7.Nbd2 c5 8.dxc5 [B12]

Anand - Riazantsev Berlin features a highly interesting line for Black. After 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 Bg6 7.Nbd2 c5 8.dxc5 Nec6:

Anand, who is one of the biggest experts on the white side in this line, didn't actually achieve anything in the opening. Moreover, he was practically lost for most of the game.

Caro-Kann Advance 4.h4 h6 5.g4 Bd7 6.f4 [B12]

In Onischuk - Aronian, once again from Berlin, we saw a bold idea for White, which brought him success, but the line itself is risky. After 4.h4 h6 5.g4 Bd7 6.f4 h5!? White played 7.f5!?:

Entertaining indeed. Still, it is something worth mentioning, you never know with such lines, one must be prepared.

Caro-Kann Advance 3...c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 [B12]

Game 7 is Caruana - Jobava. This time it is from the Skopje event and we saw the controversial: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5!?

A 'controversial' line in the sense that despite many wins for Black it still didn't gain popularity like 3...Bf5. This game still raises more questions than answers, despite White's win.

Caro-Kann Defence Classical 4...Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nh3 [B18]

We are back to Berlin event again with Duda - Ivanchuk. A really entertaining game and the line itself looks fully correct, but only future games will tell us if Black has to avoid it or can enter it. After 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 (the classical approach) 3...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 of course, the Capablanca line, and after the further 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nh3 Nf6 7.Nf4 Nbd7 8.Bc4 Qc7 9.0-0 e6 10.Re1 Bd6 came 11.Rxe6+!!?:

White sacrifices a whole rook but the black king is stuck in the center for a long time. It reminds me of some Sozin-Fischer lines in the Sicilian quite a lot. In any case the sac is very interesting.

Scandinavian Defence 3...Qd6 [B01]

Perunovic - Ivanchuk is from the Berlin event again, but this time we finally have a different opening and it is the Scandinavian. After 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.f4!?:

White won in a small number of moves, but still Black had chances. Overall it looks more dangerous for Black than for White.

Till next month, regards Milos.

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