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Hello everybody,
This month I will present a trendy variation in one of the main line Alekhines along with important updates in the 2 Knights Caro-Kann.

Download PGN of September ’16 1 e4 ... games

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Scandinavian Modern Variation: 5.Bd2 Bf5 [B01]

Poetsch, H - Noetzel, Tim Felix shows a perfect refutation to Black's Modern Scandinavian move order.

The black bishop should actually retreat to e6 but the natural ...Bg6 leads to some seriously fun variations for White.

Alekhine's Defence 2...Ng8 [B02]

Eggleston, D - Fedoseev, V demonstrates how you can easily get into trouble if you are unaware of even very rare sidelines.

In the game White answered with the natural 5.Be2, which is reasonable, but he should consider the more ambitious 5.h3 leading to sharper play. It's obviously nothing dangerous for White but useful to have a good response ready in the rare occasion you might face it.

Alekhine's Defence Exchange Variation with 5...cxd6, 9...Bf5 [B03]

There are two games in this variation, which I will examine.

Neiksans, A - Chetverik, M included a move 10.h3!? not examined yet on this site and offers an interesting way to fight for an edge:

It is a good alternative to the next game, which didn't give anything substantial for White. This waiting move not only forces Black to adapt plans but also head towards a structure he may not be familiar with.

Sardana, R - Ly, M included the move 10.d5, which looks like one of the obvious tries but doesn't lead to anything special:

Despite White having some blockade on the dark-squares, with accurate play Black can often break this. It isn't such a big problem and he can also play around it also having enough play to hold the balance.

Pirc: Hippo Variation [B06]

Grandelius, N - Garcia Castro, P gives an alternate way to play the position instead of 5.0-0 which was our preferred way.

A typical Spanish structure (without ...e5), which I think, is quite playable for Black. In the game Black gave away a key square on c4 and went on to lose but would have had good chances if he played ...c4 instead.

Caro-Kann 2 Knights, 3...Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 [B11]

Vachier Lagrave, M - Anand, V shows the idea of 11...Bd7 which is new to this site:

The whole line with 10...Ne4 is quite a risky option and requires some accurate play. However, with some improvements to the game it can lead to the sharp, unbalanced positions Black is looking to get. Overall the line looks very playable as an alternative to the safer 10...Nf7.

Caro-Kann 2 Knights, 3...Bg4 4.h3 Bh5 [B11]

Demchenko, A - Medvegy, Z gives you a way to meet the retreat of 4...Bh5 which we have not discussed much on this site.

Instead of the usual plans of g4 and Bb5+ and going for the light-squared bishop, White looks to play on the dark squares. He does so by trading the bishops with Bf4 and playing moves such as Na4-c5 and f4-g5 to generate a dangerous initiative.

Caro-Kann Advance, Short Variation, 7.a4 a6 [B12]

Bartel, M - Tabatabaei, M is a game where Black tries to meet our chosen a4 system by delaying the knight development to e7.

This way Black keeps an eye on b4-square and can play a quick c5 is needed. White has a few interesting options on move 9 to choose from. But I think moving the g-pawn early does also have it's drawbacks and White should seek to exploit this.

Catch you next time, Moulthun

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