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The Fianchetto Variation remains topical. This month we look at some fresh systems, as well as some old lines.

Download PGN of August ’18 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 [E62]

White has not made any headway with 8.d5 Nb8!, so 8.dxe5 has taken over as the main line. After 8...dxe5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Qa4 looked like the most dangerous move, but Black seems to have it all figured out.

We also update 10.Qc1, which has stolen the limelight. After 10...Qc8 11.Rfd1 the move 11...Nd7! looks fine for Black. White was overmatched in Georgiadis, N - Navara, D.

Fianchetto Variation Panno 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.0-0 a6 8.b3 Rb8 9.d5 [E63]

7.0-0 a6 8.b3 Rb8 9.d5 Na5 10.Bg5 was considered unusual, but it is Avrukh's recommendation, so it is clearly trending:

In Sirosh, I - Kovalenko, I Black played 10...h6. White was clearly trying to provoke this move, but Black goes for it anyway. After 11.Bd2 c5 12.dxc6 bxc6 13.Qc1 Kh7 White played Avrukh's suggestion 14.c5! and got a clear edge, but it was still complex, and Black managed to outplay his opponent.

Yugoslav 6...c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.e3 [E65]

In the heavyweight battle Mamedyarov, S - Carlsen, M the World Champion went for the Yugoslav. Instead of the main lines 8.d5 or 8.dxc5, the Azeri played 8.e3:

This is quite rare even though it scores very well. The World Champ then played 8...d5!? A funny move that looks like a symmetrical Grünfeld, where Black is hoping that the move e2-e3 may harm White. Despite his monumental score against his opponent, Magnus suffered a tough reversal. It was not the fault of the opening, however.

Classical Fianchetto - 7...Nbd7 8.e4 c6 9.b3!? exd4 10.Nxd4 [E68]

After an unusual move order, the game Hammer, J - Arvola, B reached the following position:

Compared to the main lines, White has played b3 instead of h3. After 10...Re8 11.Be3 Nc5 12.f3 d5! is necessary, otherwise White can secure an edge.

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

Here we go again with 10.Nf3 Bf5 11.Nh4 Ne4 12.Nxe4 Bxe4 13.f3 h6!:

I have looked at this several times because it is very important theoretically and very forcing, so if it works, it neutralizes the Averbakh. After 14.Bxh6 Bxh6 15.Qxh6 Qxb2 16.0-0 Bc2 17.f4!? is a rare move, but one I had considered before. In Banikas, H - Mihok, O Black is lost in just a few moves, but I think that Black is fine - he does have to be careful though!

Sämisch Classical - 5...0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.Qd2 f5 [E87]

After an unusual move order we can consider the following position:

Black has done pretty well here (thus 7.Nge2 has developed into the main line) after 9.0-0-0, but in Hungaski, R - Zapata, A White played (via transposition) 9.exf5 gxf5 10.0-0-0 when we are in in some old theory. White looks good here, so 6...e5 has one more problem to deal with.

Classical - Gligoric 7...Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 [E92]

The game Sarana, A - Vazhenin, A serves as a word of warning. Here 9...g5 is the main line, but 9...Nc6 10.d5 Ne7 is an alternative. However, after 10.Bg3 Nc6? shows how mixing up move orders can be strategically fatal:

11.d5 Ne7 12.Nxg5! immediately leads to a strategically dominating position.

Classical - 7.0-0 Nc6 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Bg5 Nd4 [E97]

Van Kampen's 9...Nd4! Is holding up well after 10.Nxe5 (we also consider the important 10.Nxd4 in the notes, which may be White’s best try) as we see in Kunin, V - Jones, G.

After 10...Ne6! 11.Bh4 was universally played...until now, but 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 was no problem for Black.

Until next month, David

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