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This month we look at some trendy lines with an early ...c5 against the Fianchetto Variation, as well as some ideas in the Mar Del Plata that we do not completely trust...

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Fianchetto Variation - early ...c5 [E60]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 0-0 5.g3 c5 is a hot line for Black, but generally Black is looking to prove equality. there are not many games that Black wins. In Burnett - Howell Black manages to do so. 6.Bg2 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Qc7 8.b3 d5 9.Ndb5 Qa5 10.Bd2 dxc4 11.bxc4 Qd8 12.0-0 a6 13.Na3 and now I think it is becoming clear that the natural 13...Nc6:

is more flexible than 13...Bf5. This seems obvious enough, yet the bishop move was much more common until recently.

Instead, when White delays Nc3 by 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 c5 5.Nf3 the move 5...Qa5+!? may not be Black's "best" but it is a pretty respectable try. I imagine Svidler thought a rapid match would be a good place to wheel it out, as it is a bit tricky. After 6.Nc3 Ne4 7.Qd3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc5 9.Qd1 Nc6 10.e3 Ne6 11.0-0 0-0 12.Nxe6 dxe6 13.Bd2 Black tried 13...Rd8 in Gelfand - Svidler:

I suspect this move should not hold up. Still, it's tricky and Black did manage to win in the end...

Panno 9.e4 b5 10.d5!? [E63]

The unusual 7.Nc3 Rb8 8.h3 a6 9.e4 b5 10.d5!? in the Panno comes up again, and again, Jones passes the test in Matlakov - Jones:

In fact Black was the one playing for something soon after 10...b4 11.Ne2 Na5 12.Qc2 c6 13.Nfd4 c5 14.Nb3 Nd7!?, a good flexible move.

Classical - Makagonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 [E90]

We have seen several games in the Makagonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 with Bulgarian Grandmaster Ivan Cheparinov on the Black side. In this Cheparinov - Vovk he tries the White pieces, also with success. 8.g3 f5 9.exf5 gxf5 10.Nh4!? is a relatively fresh way of playing:

in what is already a modern line.

8.Be3 Ng4 [E97]

I like the game Panelo - Grigoryan because it is a good illustration of the latent power of a "bad bishop". 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 f6 10.Bh4 g5 11.Bg3 Nh6 12.dxe5 dxe5:

Black's g7-bishop looks horrible but it can relocate through f8, while White's "good" bishop on g3 is completely immobilized. This is a typical theme in Gligoric positions.

Mar del Plata - 9.b4 Bayonet 11...Nf4 [E97]

7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 f5 11.Ng5 Nf4 This is not so popular, but if it works, there is a lot less to know than in the main lines with 11...Nf6 On the other hand, Black has to play rather precisely to draw, and there are very few chances to play for a win with 11...Nf4. See the latest in Moradiabadi - Van Kampen.

9.Ne1 Main line [E99]

The game Meier - Naiditsch is one of the most complicated I have ever looked at on I have always considered 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bd2 h5?! to be inaccurate:

Black wants to prevent g2-g4 ideas. I do not trust this scheme as after 12...g5, it is not often that a quick ...h5 will be Black's best. After 13.Rc1 g5 14.c5! White keeps the initiative throughout.

Another idea which I do not trust is 10.f3 f5 11.Be3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.Rc1 Rf6 I am not a big fan of the barbaric h-file attack, but I will acknowledge that it has the right to exist. See So - Vocaturo for a nice display of White's possibilities.

Until next month, David

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Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and suggestions with me. Any queries or comments to the KID Forum, or to me directly at (subscribers only) would be most welcome.