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Fianchetto Variation Panno System 8.Bf4 [E63]
7.0-0 a6 8.Bf4 remains fashionable and shows no signs of going away. After 8...Rb8:
9.c5!? This move meshes nicely with 8.Bf4 and White has scored well here. See L'Ami - Van Foreest.
Sämisch 6...c5 gambit accepted [E81]
6.Be3 c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bxc5 Nc6 and here White played 10.Be3!? in Sjugirov - Yandarbiev. This is a bit of a sneaky move order:
White's idea is to avoid the 10.Nge2 b6 line.
Sämisch Panno 6...Nc6 [E83]
6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 Na5 This sideline has remained popular and there were a few recent games to check. In Baramidze - Nisipeanu White plays the positional continuation 9.Nc1 Nd7 10.b4 Nc6 11.Rb1 e5 12.d5 Nd4 13.N1e2:
when Black heads for a 'normal' KID position with 13...Nxe2 but White's play is easier. I think Black has more interesting ways to play.
Classical Makagonov/Petrosian 6.h3 [E90/E92]
The setup with 6.h3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.g4 Na6 9.Be3 has been White's main choice recently:
I must admit this is a bit of a pain. In Rodshtein - Nakamura Black plays 9...Nd7 10.a3 Nac5 (10...Nb6 is an alternative) when 11.Rg1!? is a flexible move. White gets a great advantage but the American is resilient and not only survives but manages to completely turn the tables and win.
In Anand - Ponomariov Black plays the direct 9...Nc5 which is also logical, and perhaps more natural. After 10.Nd2 c6 11.Be2 (with this move we transpose back into a Petrosian Variation) 11...Bd7 12.g5 Ne8 13.h4 f6 14.Nb3! helps White consolidate his space advantage.
The line 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 f6 10.Bh4 g5 11.Bg3 Nh6 often arises via a Gligoric, but 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 11.0-0 Nc6 would be another move order, although White usually prefers other 11th moves here. After 12.dxe5 fxe5 13.h3:
Black plays the direct 13...g4!? in Grischuk - Nakamura. The computer does not like this, but it consistently fights for the d4-square. Black's position looks easier to play but White should be able to improve.
Bayonet 9.b4 [E97]
7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 a5 has always been considered a solid line and there's less to look at compared to the main lines. 10.bxa5 c5 11.a4 Rxa5 12.Ra3 Ra6 13.Ne1:
and now there is a tough decision as to where to move the f6-knight. In Topalov - Nakamura Black chooses 13...Nd7 which is probably fine even though I tend to prefer 13...Ne8 in this structure as the pieces are not blocked up.
In the main line 9...Nh5 10.g3 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.Kg2:
This prophylactic move is less popular than 13.b5 but there is no clear consensus on how Black should respond. In Eljanov - Onischuk,V Black plays 13...Ne8 which is a typical idea. Eljanov is well prepared and sacrifices a pawn with 14.c5 a5 15.b5!? Black is very solid but White's play is easier.
Until next month, David
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