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This month I've chosen some slightly unusual lines to cover from recent top level encounters in a wide variety of openings.

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

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Alekhine's defence - 4.Nf3 Bg4 [B05]

Black's most popular setup here after 5.Be2 remains 5...e6 6.0-0 Be7 7.c4 Nb6:

And now White has the choice between an immediate 8.Nc3 which I've covered in Lahno - Gaponenko and the alternative setup which includes flicking in h3 which is examined in Smeets - Tjiam.

My suspicion is that White is best doing without h3 but I've included all the recent key games in both lines.

The Pirc - 150 Attack [B07]

In Van Kampen-Cuijpers we see a key position reached after 10.Nf3:

And Black has a choice here between 10...c4 as played in the game and the more popular 10...b5. It seems to me that Black did well to choose the former as White seems to have more than one good option against ...b5 at the moment.

The ending reached after 10...c4 may not be to everyone's taste as Black but in the game Cuijpers was able too hold very easily and even had the better chances later on.

Caro Kann Advance - Short variation [B12]

In our next game we examine the intriguing variation 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Qxb2 and now 8.Nb5!? which has only appeared in the notes previously:

In Areschenko - Jobava Black tries 8...c4 9.Rb1 Qxa2 - but it seems like White is doing well in this variation. Check the game for analysis and alternatives!

Next we have Zhao Jun-Ding Liren where White tries the rare 5.Nbd2:

This obviously avoids a lot of theory but Black manages to equalise with logical moves after 5...c5!

Caro-Kann - Classical 4...Bf5 5.Nc5!? [B18]

Black has a number of interesting ways of combatting this move, including ...Nd7 and ...b6, but in Wang Hao-Mamedyarov he opts for the tricky 5...e5!? and this also seems to be fine for Black.

Classical 4...Bf5 mainline [B19]

In Adams - Mamedyarov Black choose 7...Nf6 instead of the more usual ...Nd7 to provoke 8.Ne5 and the players reach an interesting position after 11...Nxh7:

Adams chose 12.Be3 here but doesn't come out of the opening with an edge. Instead, Hou Yifan tried 12.Qd3!? which is analysed in the notes and is perhaps a more dangerous approach.

Our final game this month again features Adams as White facing a rare Caro-Kann from Hikaru Nakamura. In the mainline Black chooses a couple of unusual options with 12...Qc7 13.Ne4 Be7 - it seemed Nakamura was slightly unfamiliar with the resulting position and after the strange 20...Ra4?! Adams smoothly outplayed him:

See Adams - Nakamura for the full game.

That's all for now, Tom.

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