ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month we focus on recent developments in the Catalan. We look at a variety of games in both Closed Catalans and Open Catalans. With the influx of 0.00 theory in more standard areas of the Queen’s Gambit, it is a perfect time to look down these less popular paths.

Download PGN of April ’23 1 d4 d5 2 c4 games

>> Previous Update >>

Open Catalan 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 [E04]

In Esipenko - Aronian from the WR Masters we saw White spice things up after 5...c5 6.0-0 Nc6 with 7.Ne5:

While objectively not much for White the game shows that Black will have to remember several nuances if he wants to equalize.

In Esipenko - Duda from the WR Masters, White switched up his approach and after 5...c5 6.0-0 Nc6 opted for 7.Qa4 Bd7 8.dxc5!?:

Esipenko had a few better ways to play the opening but overall his move brought good practical chances.

Open Catalan 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 c6 [E04]

In Giri -- Grischuk from the Pro Chess League we look at the greedy 5...c6 line, in which Black tries his best to hold onto the pawn:

In the game Giri responded with 6.0-0 and after 6...b5 got great compensation with the thematic 7.b3.

Open Catalan 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.0-0 Nc6 [E04]

In Sargissian - Donchenko from the Kasimdzhanov Challengers Tournament, Black opted for 5...a6 6.0-0 Nc6 and White responded with the enterprising 7.Bg5!?:

White got good compensation in the game but that doesn’t mean White’s idea is more than a good practical try!

Catalan Mainline 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 [E05]

In Le - Firouzja from the Airthings Master play in we saw Black opt for 8...Nc6 9.Qxc4 followed by the dubious 9...Na5?!:

While Black wasn’t punished in the game he could have had a tough task ahead of him if White had played more precisely.

Closed Catalan 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 [E08]

In So - Nepomniachtchi from the WR Masters, after 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 b6 10.Rd1 Ba6, White played 11.Ne5:

Now Black captured on e5, leading to the well known pawn sacrifice involving ...d5-d4 on move 15. White’s ideas didn’t bear much fruit and Ian was able to equalize without too much trouble.

Closed Catalan 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 c6 7.Qc2 b6 8.Bf4 0-0 9.0-0 Ba6 [E10]

In Esipenko - Sarana from the European Individual Championship, following 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 c6 7.Qc2 b6 8.Bf4 0-0 9.0-0 Ba6 10.Nbd2 Nbd7 we saw White go with the peculiar 11.Rfc1!?:

The idea was not bad and led to interesting play and good chances for an advantage for the White player.

Catalan 4...Bb4+ 5.Nbd2 0-0 6.Bg2 dxc4 [E04]

After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Nbd2 0-0 6.Bg2 dxc4 7.0-0 b5 8.a4 c6:

In Caruana - Robson, from the American Cup, we saw White go with the strange 9.Ne1!?. While objectively not bad, it seems the computer hates this entire 5.Nbd2 variation for White and the analysis shows that this Ne1 try is no exception to this.

Till next month, Raven

>> Previous Update >>

If you have any questions, then please post a message at the 1 d4 d5 Forum, or subscribers can email