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Fianchetto Variation 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 e5 [E62]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Nc3 e5:
We have seen 8.d5 Nb8!? a lot lately, and in Nisipeanu - Vocaturo White avoids the discussion with 8.dxe5!? which is not without venom. Both the game's 8...Nxe5 and the more common 8...dxe5 are okay but Black should not relax just yet.
Fianchetto Panno 8.Bf4 [E63]
6...Nc6 7.0-0 a6 8.Bf4 is practically the main line now. White used to play this way to avoid theory, but those days are gone. After 8...Rb8 9.Rc1 Bd7 10.Qd2 b5 11.Nd5 Black tried to go his own way with 11...e6?! in Timofeev - Sharafiev:
but White achieved a significant advantage with rather simple means.
Sämisch Panno 9.Rc1 [E84]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 0-0 5.f3 d6 6.Nge2 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qd2 Rb8 9.Rc1 has appeared before on ChessPub quite a bit:
In Shankland - Sethuraman Black opted for 9...h5 I find it hard to understand, but the computer says it's ok. Maybe that's all that counts? White managed to win, but it wasn't necessarily due to Black's opening idea.
Classical Makagonov with h3 [E90]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 d6 6.Bd3 0-0 7.h3 e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.exd5 Re8+ 10.Be3 is a well-known line:
In Gavrilov - Chigaev Black plays 10...Rxe3+!? This is a purely positional exchange sacrifice which received some notice when Morozevich tried it against Gelfand. I think White is probably better but Black's idea still looks quite playable from a practical point of view.
A complicated line in the Makagonov is 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 f5 9.exf5 gxf5 10.Nh4 Nf4!? After 11.Bd2 Black went for 11...Na6 in Gonzalez Vidal - Morovic Fernandez:
rather than 11...Qe7 from Tomashevsky - Kasimdzhanov, Tbilisi 2015. White played 12.a3 and although he won, Black has his share of chances. Instead, I had suggested 12.gxf4 and I still think this is the real problem for Black in this line.
6.h3 Qe8 7.Be2 e5 8.d5 Nh5 9.g3 f5 10.exf5 gxf5 11.Nh4 Nf6 12.Bd2 Na6 13.Qc2 Nb4 14.Qb3 a5 15.a3 Na6 16.Qc2 Nc5 17.Be3 is a very complicated but well-known position:
Computers tend to think it's equal, that Black should avoid this position altogether! See Bartel - Olszewski for another example of White's chances.
Classical Petrosian 8.h3 [E92]
In a related line we have Hillarp Persson - Berg, a game between two respected theoreticians. After 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 a5 8.h3 Na6 9.Bg5 Nc5 10.Nd2 c6 we recently saw 11.g4 in Hillarp Persson-Hebden which Black won. In the annotations to that game I suggested 11.0-0! when White will play b3, a3, b4, and he can meet ...h6 with Be3:
In his game with Berg, Hillarp Persson followed this exact recipe and won rather easily!
Petrosian 9.Be3 [E92]
6.Be2 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Bd2 f5 11.exf5 gxf5 12.h3 Nf6 13.Qc1 f4 14.g3 is a topical line. Baarslag - Nunn is a messy affair, but it was just hard for me to resist a King's Indian from Dr. Nunn, as it brought me back to my youth!
Here 14...Nh5 is highly unusual. It looks playable, but I still would prefer the main move 14...e4.
Until next month, David
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