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This month we see a long theoretical line defanged, and a deadly modern weapon may be neutralized with a stunning queen sacrifice!

Download PGN of July ’19 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation Irregular 6...c6 7.0-0 Bf5 [E62]

7...Bf5!? has been increasing in popularity. There is not an overwhelming amount of theory, and it's fairly solid. 8.Ne1 Be6 9.d5 is a critical move, but Black is relatively happy to stabilize the pawn structure, even though he has less space now. 9...cxd5 10.cxd5 Bd7 11.Nd3 was played in Baryshpolets, A - Nyzhnyk, I. After 11...Na6:

White has tried all kinds of things here without proving much. In the game he went for 12.Bd2.

Gallagher System 8...exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.h3 a6 [E68]

For a long time, 11.Be3 a6 12.b3 has been considered a critical way to meet the Gallagher system, but Black's play in Stella, A - Mihok, O (and a couple of others) appears to hold together. 12...c5 13.Nde2 b5 14.Qxd6 b4 15.Na4 Nxe4 16.Bxe4:

Here, rather than 16...Rxe4, the game’s 16...Bxa1! leads to a drawish endgame with best play.

Classical Fianchetto Variation 8...c6 9.h3 Qb6 10.Re1 [E69]

In Kasparov’s old favourite line, 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Re8 12.Nc2 has emerged as one of White's most testing lines against it. We recently looked at 12...Ne5, but there is also the more common 12...Nc5. After 13.b4! Ne6 14.Be3 Qa6N was a new try in Ankit, R - Santos Latasa, J. White immediately ran into trouble after 15.Qd3? but the normal 15.Bf1! would have been more testing.

Sämisch System - 6...c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 h5 [E81]

We have examined 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 and the critical 11...e6 12.Bg5 many times, but in Dragnev, V - Van Foreest, J Black avoided this with the Benko-like 11...b5!?:

This is practically untried in this heavy theoretical position.

Panno - 9.Rc1 [E84]

This line was pretty hot a few years ago, but has not been seen at a high level too much. After 9...Bd7 10.Nd1 Re8 scores the best and has been a top choice of strong GM's. Still, White can press here. After 11.Nf2 b5 12.c5 12...dxc5 13.Rxc5 e5 14.d5 Ne7 Vidit, S - Amin, B saw the new 15.Rc1, which was well met with the thematic 15...c6! Instead 15.Qc1 is critical, and we take this opportunity to refresh these lines.

Karpov System 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Be3 [E90]

In this trendy line, 6...e5 had been suffering, so Black turned to 6...c5 only to be stymied by 7.Nf3, seeking to take the game into a Maroczy structure. In Firouzja, A - Karthikeyan, M Black came prepared with 7...Qa5:

The Iranian prodigy improvised with 8.Nd2 which is known from similar Sämisch positions. Then 8...cxd4 9.Nb3 tries to circle back to the desired structure:

But...9...Qxc3+! caused White tremendous practical problems. The game of the month, certainly, and perhaps the game of the year!

Classical Variation 9.Bg5 [E97]

In a battle of veterans, Boris Gelfand came up with the unusual 9.Bg5 Nh5 10.Re1!?:

After 10...h6 11.Bd2 f5 12.Nh4!? was a new idea in Gelfand, B - Smirin, I. Gelfand won rather easily, but Smirin’s play can be improved.

Classical Mainline 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.f3 f4 [E99]

In Firouzja, A - Aryan, C the Iranian star this time went for an older main line with 12.b4 g5 13.c5 Nf6 14.a4 Ng6 15.a5 h5 There can be a lot of transpositions in these lines. After 16.Nf2 Rf7 17.Kh1 was a new move, and a modern idea - White can play on the kingside himself with Rg1 and g3.

Until next month, David

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