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English Opening/Irregular Fianchetto Variation 4.g3 b6 [A50/E61]
There is a new fashion that can arise via an English Opening or a Fianchetto King's Indian.
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 b6!? whoa what is this? It looks like a beginner's move but recently this idea has been gaining traction. 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0-0 0-0:
This can arise from an English or a King's Indian Fianchetto, provided White has played Nf3 before g3. We look at three games in this fresh system.
7.d5 looks critical. After 7...Na6!? 8.Nc3 Nc5 9.Be3 e6 we have a rather original position where both sides will have to depend on their own resources over the board. Objectively, I think Black is fine already. See Donchenko - Van Kampen.
5.Nc3 Bb7 6.d5 Na6 7.Bg2 Nc5 8.Nd4 e5 9.Nc2 a5 10.e4 d6 11.0-0 0-0 was Sagar - Grandelius. The position looks like a King's Indian. The Bb7 will come back to c8 and then Black will play normally. Even if White could claim some nominal edge here, the position is clearly playable for Black.
The big boys come out to play in Aronian - Carlsen, which went 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.c4 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Re1 -a common idea in the Queen's Indian. 7...e6!? 8.Nc3:
Now 8...Ne4 already seems equal.
Classical-Makagonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 [E90]
Picking up from last month, we have another 'Tomashevsky vs the World' game, but here the difference in strength is rather pronounced. 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 Qe8 9.Be2 f5 10.exf5 gxf5 11.Nh4 Nf6 12.Qc2 Na6 13.Bd2 Nc5 when 14.Be3!? is a computerish novelty:
In reply 14...f4?! does not seem to work in Tomashevsky - Shoker. These positions are tricky to handle, and Toma is THE expert.
Gligoric 7...exd4 [E92]
6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 exd4 may have been a bit of a surprise, as Naka usually goes for the forcing 7...Ng4, 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Bf2 d5 11.exd5 cxd5 12.0-0 Nc6:
And now 13.Nxc6?! This is not theoretically important at all, but one could expect to meet his move. The game Socko - Nakamura shows how a near-2800 player dismantles a 2600+ GM.
I was watching Lenderman - Ivanchuk live and I remember wondering how Ivanchuk was going to win with the somewhat second-rate line 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 with Black against a solid GM. Well, after 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.d5:
10...cxd5 11.Nb5!? Qb8 12.cxd5 Nc5 13.Nd2 Black played the ugly 13...a5? and eventually lost.
7...Nc6 8.Be3 [E97]
In Ivanchuk - Amin White plays the slightly tricky move order 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bc1 Nc6 10.0-0:
to reach a position that usually arises after 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Be3. Here Black went for 10...Nxd4 which is not necessarily bad, but I cannot help but wonder if Amin was caught out by the move order. Following 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Qxd4 f5 13.Qd5+ Kh8 14.Bxg4 c6 15.Qd3 fxg4 16.Be3 Be6 17.Bd4 Be5 White has a better structure, but Black has easy development and the bishop pair (for now at least). Computers will say that the position is about equal, but I think White has an easy position to play.
9.Ne1 Main line [E99]
A long theoretical line which we have covered before is 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.Bd2 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.c5 g5 14.cxd6 cxd6 15.Nf2 h5 16.a4 Rf7 17.h3 Bf8 18.Qc2 Ng6 19.Rfc1 a6 20.a5:
Here the immediate 20...g4 is often played. In Bogdanovich - Baryshpolets Black went for 20...Bd7 Hesitant, or patient?
Until next month, David
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