ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month something a little different. I've been looking closely at an aggressive repertoire for White suggested by Kiril Georgiev (Attacking 1...d5, volumes 1 and 2, Chess Stars 2021) and have picked the games accordingly. Some of his ideas are quite original and have yet to make an impact, whereas others are already the height of fashion and where the theory is still developing at pace. Hopefully, you will find a number of games below that will help with your preparation, with either colour, in the 1.d4 d5 complex.

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

>> Previous Update >>

Chebanenko Slav 5.g3 [D15]

In Petrov, N - Volkov,S White played in Catalan style, giving up the c-pawn and didn't bother seeking to regain it, instead opening up play with b2-b3, quite a fashionable approach.

White innovated with the natural-looking but rather strong central punch 11.e4 which hits Black's only active piece. Petrov was soon able to install his pieces on good-looking squares whereas Volkov had some difficulty in mobilizing his forces. My impression is that these middlegames are easier to play for White, so perhaps 8...Be6, as suggested by Georgiev, is a more practical choice.

Slav, Geller Gambit 6.Be2 [D15]

Although White has scored quite well with the 'in vogue' 6.Be2 handling, it might be that 6...Bg4 is the simplest solution for Black. In Kozul, Z - Guseinov, G I quite liked Black's game following 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Bxf3:

Now the choice is between 8...e6 and 8...e5, with Guseinov opting for the latter, after which 9.Be3 Nbd7 seems fine. In fact, I suspect that both of these eighth move alternatives are equally viable assuming the follow-up is precise, so for example following 8...e6 the sequence 9.a4 b4! 10.Ne2 Qa5! 11.0-0 Nbd7! seems appropriate.

Tarrasch Defence 5...Nf6 6.Bg5 [D32]

The renewed interest in 5...Nf6 means that much of the theory in old books needs bringing up to date, as 6.Bg5 is there often considered as a virtual refutation. In Dardha, D - Shuvalova, P the choice of 8.Ne5 is noteworthy, as 8.Be2 Bb4 isn't proving easy for White.

Here 8...Be7 is perhaps acceptable for the second player, with reasonable chances to equalize, but I do still prefer White (slightly). Shuvalova's 8...Qa5 is more combative where Black accepts broken pawns but gains time for development. Here the dynamic aspects of the position create a certain tension, but (once a few more GM encounters occur) I'll be surprised if one will be able to demonstrate full equality at the end of the day.

Tarrasch Defence 5...Nc6 6.dxc5 [D32]

The Polish GM played 6.dxc5 in Wojtaszek, R - Nguyen Thai Dai Van, a line that many authors recommend. My feeling is that, yes, it is good for White, but perhaps not enough to make much difference against somebody who defends well.

Only a few months ago, Justin Tan pointed out that 12...Qxb2 is the 'critical test' (rather than 12...Qb4+ which Wojtaszek had previously faced). This game gives the line a proper test and based on this (plus the notes) I have the impression that Black is fundamentally OK if he doesn't mind playing for two results. Other lines against the Tarrasch keep more tension, whereas here there is the slight concern that all this wood-chopping early on leads to positions that can be worked out at home.

QGD Vienna 5...b5 [D24/D37]

The Martirosyan, H - Pichot, A encounter seems to be quite an important one for the theory of the 5...b5 Vienna.

Here I liked Pichot's 16...f5! when the f-pawn is given a positive role, despite the potential weakening of the e5-square. A little later, Martirosyan obtained some advantage and was perhaps close to winning, but this was due to Black going astray with 19...Qc6, which despite looking 'normal' is probably just too slow. Instead 19...h5 would have been satisfactory.

Ragozin 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3 0-0 7.Qc2 b6 [D38]

The Ragozin with 5.Qa4+ and then back to c2 combined with e3 and Bd2, has a lot in common with a fashionable line of the Nimzo-Indian, so many of the strategic plans are basically the same. Robson, R - Swiercz, D is a case in point, when the middlegame really feels like it should be in the Nimzo & Benoni column!

In ChessPublishing, a number of lines involving 5.Qa4+ have been examined before, but not 7...b6. The big question for White is whether or not to capture on d5, and then another one is when! It's impossible to reach any serious conclusions, as there are several set-ups available for both protagonists, but studying an array of plans (rather than memorizing moves) would enable a tournament player to feel more confident going into such positions. In the featured game, my impression is that chances were fairly balanced throughout.

Semi-Tarrasch 5.cxd5 cxd4 6.Qxd4 [D41]

I would argue that Mamedyarov, S - So, W shows how it's possible to play with an IQP for Black without batting an eyelid. Essentially, in such lines he frees his pieces early and the only cost is a potential weakness that is far from easy to exploit. Isn't this a more palatable scenario than a solid but passive QGD Orthodox? I'll leave you to decide which you prefer, but Wesley So had no problems to equalize here.

The diagram illustrates the ideal set-up for Black who is ready for anything. On certain occasions he can even play more actively with ...g5 and ...Ne4, as you'll notice occurred in the game plus in several of the examples in the notes.

Catalan/Semi-Slav 5.g3 dxc4 6.Bg2 b5 [D43/E04]

In Fridman, D - Karthik, V the experienced GM playing White steered play away from the Semi-Slav and into Catalan territory. These gambit lines are treacherous, so you'll need to know how to cope with White's early threats such as 8.a4:

Here I believe that Karthik played the best move 8...Bb7 where he prepares to give back the pawn, but in return obtains a safe king and reasonable development. In fact on move fourteen there are several Black set-ups that seem to yield equal chances, which suggests that, from there, there is more than one way to nullify White's efforts in this line.

Open Catalan ...c6 and ...b5 [E04]

In Muradli, M - Iturrizaga Bonelli, E Black decided to hang onto his queenside for a while with 9...Qb6:

...which could be met with 10.e4, playing in the centre. Here, however, Muradli preferred 10.b3 opening up play on the left-hand flank. I suspect that after both these moves there is always excellent compensation. Even if there is no evident advantage, White's game is easier to handle in the early stages. Still, the tables were gradually turned and Black went on to win.

Closed Catalan 6.Nc3 dxc4 [E06]

Although Svane, R - Deac, B is officially classified as a 'Closed Catalan', Black still captured on c4. Maybe there should be a separate category for captures on c4 after ...Be7 has already been played (semi-open Catalan or semi-closed, perhaps? What do you think!?).

The notable choice was 7...Qd6 which seems to be quite a robust system, as the queen on a6 (see 8...Qa6) is actually not bad at all.

The attacked knight returns to e5, a novel move but one that Max Illingworth had already examined in this column. So 9...Rd8 is the natural reply after which White offered the d-pawn as bait with 10.Qc2. Should Black capture or not? I reckon he should (well, I'm supporting Max Illingworth's analysis) as when he declines (as here) White gets some nagging pressure.

Till next month, Glenn Flear

>> Previous Update >>

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