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This month I'm covering a wide variety of openings, with all the games coming from the recently concluded Olympiad in Istanbul.

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

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Centre Counter - 3...Qd8 [B01]

Our first encounter features the unusual 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bg5!?:

Which leads to interesting play. See Naiditsch - Djukic for details.

Centre Counter - 3...Qa5 [B01]

Our second game features the more normal 3...Qa5 variation and then we see the rare 6.Bd2 Bf5 7.Ne5:

The line isn't so bad, but in Sutovsky - Van Wely White got over aggressive and ended up in trouble very quickly.

Alekhine's Defence - 5...dxe5, 6...c6 [B04]

In Grischuk - Kamsky we see a line which has been covered before on ChessPub after 8.Bg4:

In my opinion this should be enough for a slight edge but in this game Grischuk pressed for more and he ended up having to defend a bad position.

The Pirc - 150 Attack [B08]

Our next game features a standard 150 Attack setup with a knight on f3:

I don't think this should be too dangerous for Black, and although in Munoz - Grischuk White was able to get some attack it came at the cost of a pawn. Eventually the SuperGM repelled the attack and went on to win.

Caro-Kann Fantasy Variation 3.f3 [B12]

In Ivanisevic - Peralta Black tests the interesting line 3...Qb6 4.a4 e5, and after 5.dxe5 he opts for the unusual 5...Bc5:

There's nothing much wrong with this way of playing but I believe White should have some advantage in this line, however an early inaccuracy allowed Black to equalise and he eventually went on to win.

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

Here we see White delaying capturing on c5 with 4.Nf3, which allows ...Bg4, and only then playing 5.dxc5, and soon an important position for the assessment of the line is reached after 9...Nc6:

I've outlined my thoughts on this position in Almasi - Khenkin - although I believe White should have some advantage the position requires accurate play by both sides.

Caro Kann Advance - Short variation [B12]

Negi - Rodstein follows on from last month's game between Shirov and Laznicka in the 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Ne7 8.0-0!? line which I suggested to be an interesting way to try for an edge. Negi seemed the better prepared and after 15.Re1 he had a very comfortable game:

I've tried to outline a few improvements for Black in the notes.

Next we see Black avoiding the early ...c5 break in favour of 5...Ne7, which White answers with the waiting move 6.c3, and we reach a critical position after Black eventually does play the freeing move 9...c5:

Our main game is Ponomariov - Grischuk which features 10.dxc5, but in Sychev-Lintchevski from earlier in the year White tried 10.c4!? which I've also covered in the notes.

Caro Kann Panov 5...g6 [B14]

We conclude this month with an interesting Panov game in the 5...g6 line where after 6.Qb3 Bg7 7.cxd5 0-0 we see White try for an edge with the unusual 8.Nge2:

In Navara - Kamsky we see the American expertly soak up the early pressure and draw fairly comfortably so I still think 8.Be2 is a better try for the advantage - however, Black players need to be prepared for this interesting sideline.

See you next month, Tom.

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