ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month’s update features the Classical Slav, the QGA and the Catalan with ...Bb4+. That line-up doesn’t exactly sound enthralling, but the theme of the month was fighting chess in solid lines... the final game Mamedyarov , S - Radjabov, T from the Candidates was a great example of this!

Download PGN of July ’22 1 d4 d5 2 c4 games

>> Previous Update >>

Slow Slav: 4...Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4 7.f3 Bg6 8.Bd2 [D12]

The game Mendonca, L - Grandelius, N was a miniature ending in a Black win in the very solid Slow Slav: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4 7.f3 Bg6 8.Bd2:

8...dxc4!? I am not convinced that this was homework from the Swedish number 1, but the game was at least interesting from a strategic point of view as I had never seen the capture carried out so early in this line. Instead, I analyse 8...Be7 where I consider the line 9.Nxg6 hxg6 10.Qc2!? to be a fairly challenging direction for White. 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Be2 Nbd7 11.Nxg6 hxg6 Here, White was cooperative with 12.e4?! Nh5 13.Kf2 e5! 14.dxe5?? Bc5+ 15.Be3 Bxe3+ 16.Kxe3 Qg5+ 17.Kf2 Nxe5-+ The dream outcome for a Slav player. White's dark squares have been taken over and the black pieces jump into the attack very easily:

It is already a resignable position...

Slav Defence: 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 [D17]

In the main line of the Slav with 6.Ne5, the move 8.Ne5 is more venomous than it may appear. In Rychagov, A - Hasangatin, R, Black played 8...a5 9.e3 Nfd7?!:

After which, he was hit by the unpleasant 10.Nxf7! Kxf7 11.Qf3 which he did not deal with well, as he blundered straight away with 11...Kg6 12.g4 Bc2 13.Kd2! and White was easily winning.

QGA: 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nd7 [D20]

The QGA has been seeing a resurgence recently. Aronian has been playing it frequently in both rapid and classical time controls. In particular, he has recently been championing the line 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 Bb4+ as in Andreikin, D - Aronian, L. 5.Nc3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nd7:

Black’s strategy is to obtain a Slav-like structure in which White has the kingside majority but Black remains without weaknesses. It’s been working well for Aronian!

QGA: 3.e4 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bxc4 Nb6 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Ne2 [D20]

The combative line 3...Nf6 was preferred in Maiti, M - Nyzhnyk, I. After 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bxc4 Nb6 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Bg4 8.f3 Be6 9.Nbc3 Black opted for the rare move 9...Nb4!?:

I think that White is generally slightly better in these positions but that doesn’t mean much in practical play. Nyzhnyk was probably happy to play an unbalanced position where the onus is somewhat on his opponent to keep up the pressure. White lost his space advantage quickly, and this gave Nyzhnyk the opportunity to turn the tables.

QGA: 3.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 a6 6.0-0 c5 7.b3 [D27]

The other main line 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 was played in Mamedyarov, S - Aronian, L. After 4...e6 5.Bxc4 a6 6.0-0 c5 Shakh chose the trendy line 7.b3 b6!? 8.Ba3!:

This is more testing than the standard 8.Bb2, which allows Black to develop comfortably with 8...Bb7 and so on. After 8...Nbd7 9.d5 exd5 10.Bxd5 Black is able to equalise but it isn’t so simple.

Closed Catalan: 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Nf3 0-0 7.0-0 [E08]

The remainder of the update was devoted to the line 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 which I have to admit has not been hugely interesting to me as I don’t really play it for White or for Black! However, I noticed that there were some new ideas here that I ought to investigate. The first of these was seen in Donchenko, A - Niemann, H: 6.Nf3 0-0 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.c5!?:

A fresh idea. White makes his intention clear that he wants to expand on the queenside, somewhat like the 5.Bf4 lines of the Classical QGD. Black has to be careful not to get squeezed. There are generally two typical plans at their disposal: one is the setup with c6, b6, Bb7/Ba6 and the other is Ne4, f5 with Stonewall type play. In my opinion, with 8.c5!? White grabs more space on the queenside, but releases pressure on d5, so the Ne4, f5 plan feels a lot more stable. Niemann did go for this principled reaction, and an interesting battle ensued.

In contrast, an important trend was shown for Black in Pechac, J - Keymer, V: 7...c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 a5!?:

Black adopts a waiting strategy and delays the development of the c8 bishop for now. ...a5 is a useful move in many positions, which is why this variation has been rising in popularity recently. 10.Rd1 h6 Keymer continues waiting. ...h6 is often useful in these Catalan positions.11.Nc3 dxc4 12.Nd2! Nb6 13.e4 and once again, we had a big fight ahead.

Finally, just when you thought there couldn’t be any more fighting chess in this line Mamedyarov came up with the goods in Mamedyarov, S - Radjabov, T with the gambit line 7...c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Nc3!?:

A rare move. Offering the c4-pawn was very much in Mamedyarov's style... 9...dxc4 10.e4 Nbd7 11.e5 Nd5 12.Ne4 Ba6 13.Neg5 g6 14.h4 While the game ended peacefully, it was the most intense game of the month. Mamedyarov’s innovative opening and middlegame play brought a lot of force, and Rajdabov was certainly under pressure. However, the latter’s defensive skills saved the day!

Until next time, Justin

>> Previous Update >>

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