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This month the Catalan is once again the main topic, as this opening is really very popular. In addition we also have one game in the Ragozin and one in the Blackburne line of the QGD.

Download PGN of February ’19 1 d4 d5 2 c4 games

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Blackburne QGD 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.c5 [D37]

In the game Edouard, R - Adams, M Gibraltar, Romain went for 7.c5 and Adams opted for the less played reply 7...Ne4!?:

Simple, and a good equalizing method. Mickey didn't experience any particular problems in this game.

QGD Ragozin Defence 4.Nc3 Bb4 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3 [D38]

Game 2 is Radjabov, T - Vidit, S Wijk an Zee, which continued 6...0-0 7.Qc2 Re8 8.Bd2:

A very important line, and the game deserves to be analyzed deeply, as Radjabov came up with a dangerous attacking plan and won brilliantly.

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

Mikhalevsky, V - Solozhenkin, E Gibraltar, we saw 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.e3 Rb8:

An interesting game, Black forced transposition into an endgame at an early stage.

Catalan Opening, the Classical 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Ne5 [E04]

Game 4, Arnaudov, G - Fridman, D Bundesliga, featured the Classical 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Ne5 Bd7 8.Nxc4 cxd4 9.Bf4:

This game is important because Black came up with an improvement over the game Wojtaszek, R - Adams, M from the Isle of Man, that I already analyzed last November.

Catalan Opening 4...Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.Nc3 dxc4 7.Ne5 [E05]

The next 2 games delve into the same line.

We have another important classical mainline in Lenderman, A - Safarli, E Pro League, which went 4...Be7 5 Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Ne5 Nc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Na3 Bxa3 10.bxa3 Ba6 11.a4:

Another interesting game, White tried to improve on the current theory but without much success. I also analyzed other moves inside as well.

Nisipeanu, LD - Huschenbeth, N TCh Austria, follows the previous game till move 11. Now White went for 11. Qd2:

Black came up with an important new idea, offering the exchange to improve his pawn structure. White didn't take it, but later the rook sacrificed itself again, but this time White had no choice.

Catalan Opening Mainline 4...Be7, 7.Qc2 [E05]

Bosiocic, Mari - Nisipeanu, LD TCh Austria was the same as the previous two games till move 7 when White opted for the main idea 7.Qc2 and now Black replied with 7...b5!? I did not analyze this much in this column so it&rsquo s a good moment to see it:

In my opinion it is a risky line for Black, but possible. In this game White blundered, actually, but Black did not notice the winning idea.

In Sankland, S - Radjabov, T Wijk an Zee, we again have the same position up till the move 7.Qc2, but now Black played the main idea in the Catalan 7...a6, and after 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 c6!?:

An interesting practical line that is not seen much in tournament practice, but is worth considering as a possible surprise.

Best Wishes, Milos.

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