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This month we look at some topical lines as well as some experimental ideas.

Download PGN of May '11 KID games

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Seirawan Variation 5.Bd3 [E70]

In the Seirawan system, 5.Bd3 0-0 6.Nge2 Nc6 7.0-0 e5 8.d5 Nd4, the move 9.Bg5 is an old favourite of Seirawan himself. After 9...h6 10.Bh4:

10...Nxe2+!? is a new idea. In general it is a concession for Black to give up this strongpoint, but in Miroshnichenko - Guseinov Black finds an interesting way to create rapid counterplay.

Four Pawns Attack [E76]

I am honestly not sure what to make of Akobian - Shulman. An experimental move as early as move 5 leads to an odd position where neither side seems able to undertake much. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 Bg4!? This is a very unusual move, and it is surprising to see it played by such a strong player in such an important tournament:

The game continued 6.Nf3 which is the most natural reply perhaps, even though I would think this is what Black wants to see. 6...Bxf3 This is consistent, Black wants to weaken White's control of d4, 7.gxf3 and already at move 7 we have a new position in a game between 2600+ players!

Sämisch System - Panno [E84]

In the Panno, the move 9.Rc1 has been a popular choice to avoid complicated lines, especially those with opposite side castling. After 9...Bd7 10.Nd1 e6 11.Nf2:

11...Re8!? is an interesting idea. By playing this move Black actually prepares...b5 in a subtle way. The game Cheremnova - Kurnosov is a bit of a mismatch, but the opening idea is noteworthy.

Makagonov Variation [E90]

The Makagonov System remains hot, and players are more willing to go into long theoretical lines. In the key line 5.h3 0-0 6.Nf3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.Nh2 Qe8 9.Be2 Nf4 10.Bf3 f5 11.g3 Nxh3 12.Bg2:

We have a couple of new games:

12...Qf7 is still popular despite my 'warnings'! 13.Qf3! fxe4 14.Nxe4 and in Andreikin - Levin Black played the new move 14...Qxf3 but did not solve the important problem of the h3-knight, which is the essence of the whole line.

12...fxe4 has been my frequent recommendation. After 13.Nxe4 Bf5 it is White who comes up with a questionable novelty in Riazantsev - Sjugirov with 14.Rf1?! and Black wins a vicious game.

One possibility that could have arisen:

Here Black could solve the problem of the h3-knight with the shocking 23...Nf2!, where it appears to be en prise four times! However, from a purely artistic viewpoint, it somewhat saddens me that in fact 23...Nf4! would be even stronger.

Gligoric Variation [E92]

In the main line 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 it has been a while since we examined 11.c5, which was very topical the last couple of years. In Shulman - Robson we look at the 'ugly' continuation 11...g4 12.Nh4 Nc6 13.dxe5 fxe5 14.cxd6 cxd6:

Again Black survives but I remain skeptical!

Classical Variation 7...Na6 [E94]

What really surprises me about the 10.c5 line is that it is White's decision whether to play it, but lately Black is inevitably better prepared! 7...Na6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.c5 exd4 11.Nd5 Be6 (This has become Black's main choice since Nakamura-McShane.) 12.cxd6 Bxd5 13.exd5 cxd6 and now in Frolyanov - Wang Hao 14.Re1!? is a new move which is not bad, but not terrifying either.

Classical Variation 7...Nc6 - Bayonet Attack [E97]

After 9.b4, 9...a5 has always been a popular alternative to the long theoretical lines that begin with 9...Nh5. Now 10.Ba3 b6 11.bxa5 Nh5 is a favourite of Smirin's. After 12.Re1 f5:

White plays 13.Nd2 in Korobov - Smirin, but I think Black should be much more concerned about 13.Bb4! even though is costs White a couple of tempi.

Until next month, David

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