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This month the entire update revolves around the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis as it was practically a festival of interesting QGD and Catalan games. Not only that, but we are witnessing a new comeback for the 6...c5 line against the Bf4 set up in the QGD, which in itself is worth spending the entire update on.

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

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Queen’s Gambit Accepted 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 b5 [D24]

In our first game, Mamedyarov, S - Caruana, F, after the initial moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 White played 5.e4 and Black went for the ultra modern approach with 5...b5!?:

Black had no problems in the game but certain questions remain, especially on move 16, which can be found in my comments.

QGD unusual lines 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bg5!? [D30]

3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bg5!? is not such a popular line but it often confuses Black, as it did this time in Mamedyarov, S - So, W. After 4...Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Qc2!?:

White managed to create a rare position at an early stage and that, it seems, was enough to bring a full point, although objectively Black didn't have many problems.

Blackburne QGD 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 c5, 10.Bd3 Bb4+ [D37]

Now we are coming to three games in which Anand defended the QGD as Black. It seems that the 6...c5 reaction is now fully reestablished as the main weapon against the 5.Bf4 Blackburne line.

In Caruana, F - Anand,V White played 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.Bd3 Bb4+ 11.Nd2:

An interesting line which is not seen much lately, but the comeback of 6...c5 forces players to look everywhere for improvements.

Blackburne QGD 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 c5, 10.a3 Mainline [D37]

Instead, in So, W - Anand, V we saw the mainline 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 Bb6 12.0-0 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 and here So went for 14.Bb1!?:

An interesting approach which leads to complicated play.

In Nakamura, Hi - Anand, V, after the identical 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 Bb6 12.0-0 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5, Nakamura opted for 14.Bb5!?:

This is worth investigating as well, as its too early to give any definitive conclusion after just one game.

Catalan Opening 4.Nc3 Be7 5.g3 dxc4 6.Bg2 0-0 7.Ne5 [E06]

We are now going to the Catalan where we have three games.

Caruana, F - Nakamura, Hi is actually a hybrid between the QGD and the Catalan, as after the initial moves 4.Nc3 Be7 White then played 5.g3 dxc4 6.Bg2, and after 6...0-0 the move 7.Ne5 is known from old times, but instead of having castled White has a knight on c3 which surely makes a difference, as we will see. Black continued with 7...Nc6 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.Nxc6 Qe8 10.Nxe7+ Qxe7 11.Qa4 c5 12.dxc5 Qxc5 13.Be3 Qc7:

Here White played a new idea, and an interesting one, and although Black was not doing badly at some moment Nakamura failed to defend accurately and lost. A highly instructive game in many ways. Perhaps Black should prefer 7...Qd6, as analysed by Max a while ago.

Catalan Opening Mainline 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 [E05]

In Aronian, L - So, W we have the main line with 4...Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bf4 Bd6:

White didn't chose the main options, but anyway the game that was created is very instructive for both sides.

Closed Catalan/QID 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.Nc3!? [E07]

Finally, Nakamura, Hi - Karjakin, S was a Closed mainline, 4...Bb4 + 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.Nc3!? c6 9.Bf4:

Very interesting, and I would say this is a rather important game, one that can't be missed by either side.

Till next month, best wishes Milos.

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