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Hello, this month most of the games belongs to the Catalan section, it seems that this opening is still very popular. I was waiting for a few days to see if any of the games from the World Championship match would be in my section, and yes game 2 was a 5 Bf4 QGD. Also, I commented on some recently played games that are only in notes inside the featured games, as I simply run out space to cover everything in detail this month, but I still tried to cover as much as possible.

Download PGN of November ’18 1 d4 d5 2 c4 games

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Blackburne QGD 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 c5, 10.Rd1 Rd8 [D37]

Games 1 and 2 are in the QGD opening. Let's have a closer look.

In Carlsen, M - Caruana, F World Ch. Game 2, after 7.dxc5 Bxc5 the World Champion opted for the main line 8.Qc2 Nc6 9.a3 Qa5 10.Rd1 but now Black came up with the rare 10...Rd8!?:

White didn't go for the most critical line now, 10.Nd2, but instead played 10.Be2. However, after a few moves he even had to start fighting for equality. I am sure that this line with 9...Rd8 will quickly catch on.

QGD Classical line 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 [D53]

In Wang Hao - Anand, V Isle Of Man, Anand again opted for the rare but very interesting line 6...dxc4 followed by 7.e3 c5 8.dxc5 Qxd1 9.Rxd1 Nbd7:

Black was doing OK for most of the game, but at some moment White had some better options, although these were not connected with the opening itself. It seems that this line is sound.

QGD Ragozin Defence 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5, 8...Bf5 [D38]

Mamedyarov, S - Carlsen, M ECC Open, features one of the main positions in the Ragozin at this moment in time, 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 0-0 8.e3 Bf5 9.Qb3 Bxc3 10.Qxc3:

It is not that all the options are exhausted as there are still some ideas here as you can see in the presented material.

Catalan Opening 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 [E04]

Now from game 4 to game 8 we have various lines and new ideas in the Catalan.

In Vidit, S - Melkumyan, H Isle Of Man, we saw 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 7.Qc2 c5!?:

This is an interesting specialty of Melkumyan, and he is the only player to try it - I have analysed several other games of his in the notes.

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

Games 5, 6 and 7 are in the same section as they all consider the classical line with ...dxc4 followed by ...c5 and ...Nc6. Let's have a closer look:

In game 3 of the Fedoseev,V - Van Foreest, J match, after the initial moves 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6, the line 7.dxc5 Qxd1 8.Rxd1 Bxc5 9.Nfd2 Na5 10.Na3 is recently popular, White sacrifices a pawn but gets pressure:

In this particular game Black played really well and found a clear counter against this rather annoying plan.

This time, in Howell, D - Harikrishna, P ECC Open, again after 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 0-0 6.Nc6 7.dxc5 Qxd1 8.Rxd1 Bxc5, White played the more common 9.Nbd2 and there followed 9...c3 10.bxc3 0-0 11.Nb3 Be7 12.c4 Bd7 13.Bb2 Rfd8 14.Nfd4 Rac8:

This is a well-known endgame, but this game and some others inside show that it's not a straightforward draw, although it seems that Black is doing OK. In our main game White nicely demonstrates that the game goes on, and good play is necessary from Black in order to obtain equality.

Here, in Wojtaszek, R - Adams, M Isle Of Man, we have a different approach, 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Ne5 a slightly abandoned line, and after 7...Bd7 8.Nxc4 cxd4 9.Bf4 Be7 10.Nd6+ Kf8 11.Nxb7 Qb6 12.Nd6 Qc5:

An important game where White found an interesting novelty which opens another set of questions. Probably Black is Ok but this line is really interesting for further investigation.

Catalan Opening Mainline 4...Be7, 7.Ne5 [E05]

Finally, in Paravyan, D - Leko, P ECC Open, we have a Main Line Catalan, 4...Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 where White opted for 7.Ne5 and after the usual 7...Nc6 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.Nxc6 Qe8 10.Nxe7+ Qxe7 he tried the rare 11.b3!?:

Leko played well and equalized without any problems, but still this line is interesting.

Till next month, best wishes Milos.

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