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Fianchetto Variation - Panno 8 h3 a6 9 e4 [E63]
In one of the main lines of the Panno 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0-0 Rb8 8.h3 a6 9.e4 b5 10.e5 the move 10...dxe5 usually signals an intention to defend a very slightly worse ending (10...Nd7 is sharper), 11.dxe5:
but here Black played the rare 11...Nd7!? in Brynell - Mista rather than exchanging queens. After 12.e6 fxe6 13.cxb5 axb5 14.Ng5 Nd4 15.Be3 Nb6 16.Bxd4 Qxd4 we reach a position where Black has scored 4-0!
Irregular 5.Be2 0-0 6.h4 [E73]
Leave it to Baadar Jobava to play 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.h4 which is not very well explored (probably rightly so). Radjabov answered with 6...c5 7.d5 b5 8.cxb5 a6 9.bxa6 Qa5 10.Bd2 Bxa6 getting a pretty good Benko:
Although Jobava won the game, Radjabov had a good opening and I do not think this line will get many followers. See Jobava - Radjabov.
Classical - Makagonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 [E90]
Along with the usual gladiators Nakamura and Radjabov, Chinese GM Ding Liren has recently become a force to be reckoned with in the King's Indian. In a topical line of the Makgonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 f5 9.exf5 gxf5 10.Ng5 Qe8:
Here Aronian goes for 11.c5, a move that gets Komodo very excited. Ding Liren is not fazed however, and after 11...Nf6 12.Bb5 Qe7 13.g4 he plays the cool 13...Na6. Within a few moves Black completely takes overm see Aronian - Ding.
After 6.h3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.g4 Na6 9.Be3 Nc5 10.Nd2 a4 11.Be2 c6 12.g5 when Al Sayed had this position before and he played 12...Ne8. Instead, in Rodshtein - Al Sayed he switched to 12...Nfd7!? Both moves are probably viable.
Petrosian 7.d5 a5 [E92]
The Petrosian Variation is always a good choice to get a positional struggle without worrying about a lot of computer preparation. In Giri - Ding Liren Black played 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 Na6 10.Nd2 Bd7 11.0-0 Qe8 12.b3 Nh7 13.f3 h5 14.a3 Bh6 15.Rb1 Nc5:
This is somewhat unusual, as the main move by far is 15...Be3+. Following 16.Qc2 f5 17.b4 axb4 18.axb4 Na4 19.Nd1! gave White good prospects.
My work on this site should have had me well prepared in the line 6.Be2 Na6 7.0-0 e5 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Qe5 12.Nf3 Qc5 13.Bh4 especially as I play these lines for both colours. After the slightly unusual 13...f5 my memory was a little fuzzy however and therefore I serendipitously played a novelty with 14.Nd2!?:
This move is probably no better than 14.h3, but it not bad at all. 14...Bd4 forced White to make the 'embarrassing' move 15.Rf1 but this is hardly bad as White threatens both Nb3 and exf5. See Vigorito - Vilenchuk.
9.b4 Bayonet Attack [E97]
In Kramnik's line 9.b4 Nh5 10.g3 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Bf3 we have seen the solid, but somewhat passive 12...fxe4 before:
After 13.Ncxe4 Nf5 14.Bg2 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Nd4 16.Bg5 Qe8 17.c5 Bf5 18.cxd6 Bxe4 19.Bxe4 cxd6 the position has stabilized and Black has a nice knight on d4, while White has the bishop pair. In Salinas Herrera - Cori White scores a nice upset and highlights the deficiencies of playing this way with Black.
In the heavyweight battle Giri - Jobava I was very surprised to see 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 Nf4 11.Bf1 f5:
and I was just as surprised to see White eschew 12.Bxf4. After 12.a4 h6 13.Nd2 g5 14.Ra3 g4 15.a5 h5 16.c5 h4 Black was probably not unhappy with the opening, but Jobava's answer to 12.Bxf4 remains a mystery, as I cannot find a playable response.
Until next month, David
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