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This month strongly features the games of alumni, GM Gawain Jones. A full half of the games feature the British superstar, and he brings us right to the cutting edge of theory.

Download PGN of May ’18 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation early ...c5 [E60]

After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c5 the clear trend is 4.dxc5, influenced by Avrukh. 4...Qa5+ 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Bg2 Qxc5 7.Qa4 Ng4! 8.Nh3:

In Yakubboev, N - Jones, G our hero of the month uncorks 8...Bxc3+!?N I must admit that I have always had a soft spot for such moves. The engines do not 'recommend' this, but once it's played they seem to think it's ok. Black equalized easily, and was even the one playing for more.

Yugoslav Gambit 8...Nxc6 9.Nxc6 bxc6 Rb8 [E65]

The strong revival of this gambit may be short lived. Even if Black is ok, he has to suffer a bit in various lines. In Adly, A - Kovalev, Vl, after 11.Bg2 Qa5 White plays 12.Qd2!? An odd move that scores well. Following 12...Be6 13.b3 Rxb3 14.axb3 Qxa1 (it’s not easy to find improvements for Black along the way) 15.Nb5!:

White has so far scored 100% here. Not bad.

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

Twice this month Jones faced the hot line with 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 e6 12.Bg5!:

In practice Black has mostly gone for 12...h3 which Kotronias considers to be dubious. In Baron, T - Jones, G, Jones went for 12...Qb6!? which was a recommendation from Kotronias.

Then just a few weeks later, he played 12...exd5!? 13.Nxd5 h3! (Kotronias's novelty) in Sethuraman, S - Jones, G. Nothing is ‘solved’ and I expect more games to come, but Gawain scored 1.5/2 for the black cause.

Sämisch Panno - 6...Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 Bd7 [E83]

Smirin's pet line is flexible, but also a bit passive. In Megaranto, S - Demchenko, A White looks to directly punish the slow nature of Black's play with 9.g4 b5 10.Bh6N. Black was probably okay at some point, but it all looks risky to me and I prefer 8...Rb8.

Classical Sämisch System - 6...e5 7.Nge2 Nbd7 8.Qd2 a6!? [E85]

The classical main line with 8...c6 has been under a cloud for a while. In Carow, J - Kozul, Z Black played 8.Qd2 a6!? This is a novel idea, as was 9.d5 h5!?:

Black is willing to spend a tempo and weaken his position a bit to stop g2-g4. It works in the Najdorf, after all. Kozul has played this a few times.

Classical - Makagonov 6.h3 e5 7.d5 a5 [E90]

The moves 8.g4 Na6 9.Bg5 (there are plenty of games with 9.Be3 too) 9...Qe8 are common enough, but I do not know what to make of 10.Be3:

Have a tempo why don't you! Is ...Qe8 really harmful to Black? Gupta has played this way more than once, but in Gupta, Ab - Jones, G it was Black who got the upper hand.

Mar del Plata 9.Ne1 Mainline [E99]

In the big main line 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.Nd3 Nf6 14.c5 Ng6 15.Rc1 Rf7 the move 16.Kh1!? is flexible and trendy, as White can even try to play on the kingside:

In Lenderman, A - Nakamura, H Black went for 16...Bf8, which looks more flexible than 16...h5. Then 17.Rg1!? Rg7 (again, instead of ...h5) looks right. A well-played draw ensues.

Until next month, David

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