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There is a theme I noticed in this month’s games. While there are no really any theoretical bombshells, a lot of games were decided by knowledge. If you go for the critical lines, you have to remember your theory!

Download PGN of August ’17 KID games

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Fianchetto - Panno Variation 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 a6 8.b3 Rb8 9.Bb2 [E63]

After 8.b3 Rb8 the natural move is 9.Bb2. On the further 9...b5 10.cxb5 axb5 there are various setups to consider.

In Frhat, A - Amin, B White plays natural moves but his position quickly becomes passive.

Fianchetto - Panno Variation 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 a6 8.d5 Na5 9.b3 [E63]

8.d5 Na5 9.b3 is tricky line. White is looking for a Maroczy structure. After 9...c5 10.dxc6 Nxc6 11.Bb2:

Black has tried several moves here. I like his direct play in Mulyar, M - Vovk, A with 11...Qa5 12.Qc1 Be6!? which is obvious, but rare.

Gallagher Variation - 6...Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.e4 exd4 [E68]

In the Gallagher, after 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.h3 a6 11.Be3 Rb8 12.b3:

Here 12...Ne5!? is an unusual idea that I have never seen before. Black loses a couple of tempi to provoke f2-f4. At first I thought that this was basically a blunder, but it seems to be an actual idea! Howell, D - McShane, L went on 13.f4 Ned7 14.Bf2 c5 15.Nc2 b5 and Black’s play seems to hold up - he went on to win a virtual miniature.

Kasparov Variation 7...Nbd7 8.e4 c6 9.h3 Qb6 10.c5 [E69]

Not long ago we checked the sharpest line with 10.c5 dxc5 11.dxe5 Ne8. Now, in Sivuk, V - Kovalev, V White played the second most popular move, 12.Na4:

After 12...Qa6! 13.Qc2 b6 14.Bf4 Nc7 15.Rfd1 Ne6 16.Rd6! b5!? the game was extremely complicated. Both sides had many choices in an ‘equal’ position, and eventually the higher rated player came out ahead.

Averbakh Variation 6...c5 7.d5 e6 8.Qd2 exd5 9.exd5 Qb6 [E75]

For a while I've believed that this old line was better than its reputation because of 10.Nf3 Bf5 11.Nh4 Ne4 12.Nxe4 Bxe4 13.f3 h6!:

However, I noticed a couple of quick white victories. In Kravtsiv, M - Amin, B we will see if Black's problems are real, while reviewing the theory.

Sämisch Gambit - 6...c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Qxd8 9.Bxc5 Nc6 [E81]

We have two games in the gambit accepted this month. The first, Ben Artzi, I - Gozzoli, Y is with the common 10.Nge2 b6 11.Ba3 Bb7 12.Rd1 Nd7 13.Nd5 Nde5 14.Nec3 e6, but now, rather than forcing matters, White went for the rare 15.Ne3!?:

After 15...Nd4 White played a novelty with 16.Kf2! and won, although perhaps not as smoothly as he could have. The gambit lives, however, as the notes will show, even if 15.Ne3 cannot be refuted.

Our second game looks at the old line 10.Nd5 Nd7 11.Nxe7+ (we also check 11.Bxe7 which has hardly been considered on This does not have a great reputation, but many games end in a quick repetition. 11...Nxe7 12.Bxe7 Bxb2 13.Rb1 Bc3+ 14.Kf2 Bd4+ 15.Ke1 Bc3+ 16.Kf2 Bd4+ 17.Ke1 indicated that White is content to repeat, but in Flom, G - Ganguly, S Black shows that he can play on.

Classical - Gligoric/Petrosian System 7...Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 11.d5 [E93]

In the Gligoric, following 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 the second most popular move is 11.d5, leading to a Petrosian System, but Black is able to easily neutralize it in Brown, M - Brattain, M. After 11...Nd7 12.Nd2 f5 13.exf5 Nf6 14.Nde4 Nxe4 15.Nxe4:

he played 15...Bxf5!. It looks more natural to take with the knight, but first things first. Black has to challenge White on e4 and he equalized very easily.

Until next month, David

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