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Dear Readers, This month we have a larger number of games than usual in the Pirc and Alekhine, which is refreshing. Of course, the Caro-Kann still remains one of Black's main and best defenses to 1.e4 and so I've looked at 3 important Caro games as well. I hope you will enjoy this month's update.

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

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Caro-Kann Defence Advance - Short System 8.Nb3 Qc7 [B12]

We start our survey with three games in the Caro-Kann.

The first game, Naiditsch - Ponomariov from the Spanish team competition, is very important and interesting.

In the Advanced line after 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 h6 7.Nbd2 Nd7 8.Nb3 the move 8...Qc7 is a modern idea:

Black intends ...g5, which takes us into sharp positions. In this game White won convincingly, although some improvements are possible for Black.

Panov-Botvinnik Attack 5...e6 [B14/D42]

Adhiban - Ponomariov is another interesting game, again featuring Pono on the Black side, but this time in the Panov Attack. After 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bd3 Nc6 9.0-0 0-0 10 Re1 Nf6 11.a3, instead of the standard 11...b6, 11...a6 is an interesting little move:

This game contains many interesting points, and the endgame reached at an early stage is very instructive.

Smyslov's Variation 4...Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 - Arkell's 6...Nb6 [B17]

In Howell - Arkell from the British Ch we saw the offbeat line that Arkell specializes in (almost all the 30+ games played with this line in the last few years feature Keith), after the introductory moves 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 Nb6 7.N1f3 Bg4:

Arkell managed to hold with an interesting positional exchange sacrifice typical of Ulf Andersson's style.

Modern Defence 4.f4 a6, 7.a4 [B06]

Games four and five feature the Pirc/Modern Defence.

First, in Idani - Dzhumaev from the Asian Continental we have an Austrian Attack against the 'Tiger Modern', 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 a6 5.Nf3 b5 6.Bd3 Nd7, when White opted for 7.a4:

Despite winning this game White didn't achieve any advantage in the opening, but we still witnessed an absorbing middlegame.

Pirc/Modern Defence 4.Be3, 5.Qd2 [B07]

In Khusnutdinov - Alattar, also from the Asian Continental, we have the very popular Be3 and Qd2 setup. After 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 Nf6 5.Qd2, the move 5...Nbd7 is probably not a correct move order for Black:

White found the best plan in order to seize an early advantage.

Alekhine's Defence Exchange 5...cxd6 [B03]

Games 6 and 7 are Alekhine's Defences, and one of the few players who is regularly using this opening, the Serbian IM Marinkovic Ivan, was twice on the black side, but with little success.

In Pap - Marinkovic from the Serbian league we have the popular line 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8. Rc1 0-0 9.b3, and now the less known 9...e6!? occurred in the game:

White had a slight advantage all the way, although with some really precise play Black could have stayed solid.

Alekhine's Defence 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 [B04]

Vucinic - Marinkovic was also from the Serbian league, but this time featuring the old main line after 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe2 Nc6 9.h3 Na5:

Black got a good game, but some critical points still remain. Nevertheless, to be honest the positions are pretty solid for Black.

Till next month, best wishes Milos.

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