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This month, somewhat by chance, we have a Fianchetto special. White scores well, but in general Black was doing fine from the opening.

Download PGN of July ’18 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation early ...c5 [E61]

Once rare, Avrukh’s 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 c5 5.dxc5 is not going anywhere for a while. After 5...Qa5+ 6.Nc3 Qxc5 7.Qa4 0-0 (last month we saw 7...Ng4! 8.Nh3 Bxc3+!?) 8.Be3 Qf5!? is an interesting move, but I suspect White should maintain some edge:

Santos Latasa, J - Abdumalik, Z saw 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.0-0 d6 and now 11.Nd4?! allowed Black to justify the odd placement of his queen.

Fianchetto Variation Panno 8.Bf4 a6 9.Rc1 h6 [E63]

It’s been awhile since we looked at the 8.Bf4 a6 9.Rc1 with Nakamura’s 9...h6. I am a little suspicious of this move, but it took some time for White to find what could not be considered the main line 10.h3(!) After 10...g5 both retreats have similar popularity.

11.Be3 g4 12.hxg4 Nxg4 13.Qd2 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 e5 15.dxe5 Re8 16.Rfd1 and now Black usually plays 16...Nxe5 when 17.c5!? has done well for White. In Edouard, R - Colin, V Black played 16...b6!?N instead. This prevents c4-c5, but I still think that White's harmonious piece setup and better pawn structure outweighs Black's bishop pair.

In our next game, White went for 11.Bd2 which scores even better. After 11...e5 12.dxe5!? was unusual, though. Then 12...dxe5 13.e4 g4!? Looks playable, so White tried 13.Be3!?N in Ikeda, J - Movsziszian, K.

Yugoslav 8.d5 Na5 9.Nd2 c5 10.Qc2 [E66]

Another important line that we have not touched upon in some time is the Yugoslav 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0-0 a6 8.d5 Na5 9.Nd2 c5 10.Qc2:

In Marin, M - Stanciu, A Black played the Benko-esque 10...b5!? Following 11.cxb5 axb5 12.Nxb5 Bf5!? is rare, but not necessarily bad. However, after 13.e4 Bc8, while thematic, does not seem to work.

The next game, Birnboim, N - Bagrationi, A, sees the main line with 10...Rb8 11.b3 b5 12.Bb2 e5 when 13.dxe6!? is common enough, but new on ChessPub. Then 13...Bxe6 looks the most natural, but it is not the main move. In general Black is all right, but the positions look easier for White to play.

Classical 6...Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.e4 exd4 [E68-69]

A major tabiya results from 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.e4 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.h3:

We have examined the relatively modern 10...Nc5 11.Re1 Bd7 12.Bf4 h6 before. Now 13.g4!? is a bit of an Ilincic special. White cuts out ...Nh5 and makes some room for his bishop. After 13...h5! 14.f3 hxg4 15.hxg4 was contested in two Ilincic, Z - Kotronias, V games. In the second game, the Greek GM went for 15...Ne6!? (previously Kotronias played 15...Nh7). Despite White’s win, Black looks just fine here, but I am sure Ilincic has his own ideas.

The older line is 10...Re8. Shockingly, this old line has not been considered before on ChessPub. In Moradiabadi, E - Raptis, N White played 11.Re1 which is common, but it may not be necessary, at least not yet. After 11...a5 (11...Qb6!? would transpose to another line which is holding up well for Black) 12.Be3 Nc5 13.Qc2 a4 14.Rad1 Qa5 15.Bf4! Ne6 the Iranian-American GM played 16.Be3?! and still kept an edge, but 16.Bxd6! looks even better.

Classical 6...Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.e4 c6 9.h3 Qa5 [E69]

In Praggnanandhaa, R - Ernst, S, the second youngest Grandmaster in history played 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Re8 12.Rb1:

Previously we have only focused on 12.Be3. After 12...Ne5 13.Bf1 a6!? is an interesting way of playing. Now 14.f4 is ambitious, but it leaves White's centre a little loose which could come back to haunt him. Surprisingly, the young player puts on a positional squeeze but then things get out of control and the older player takes over. Not what we're accustomed to seeing these days!

Until next month, David

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