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Black has a rough time of it this month, scoring 2-6 in a batch of all decisive games. The elite handling of the Makagonov is the main culprit.

Download PGN of November '15 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation Panno 8.Qd3 Bf5 9.e4 Bg4 [E63]

In Werle - Neef White plays a novelty in a position where White is already doing rather well. 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Nc3 a6 8.Qd3 Bf5 9.e4 Bg4 10.Be3 Nd7 11.Ne1 e5 12.d5 Nd4 13.h3!?N:

A natural enough move perhaps, but the main line 13.f3 also tends to favour White. White's early middlegame idea is rather interesting.

Classical Makagonov 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 Qe7 [E90]

Next we get right to business with the Makagonov Variation, à la Tomashevsky. White scores 3-0 this month!

After 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 the move 8...Qe7 is unusual but has been played a couple of times by Grischuk this year, 9.Nh2 Na6 10.Be3 Nc5!?:

This is a concept that has been popping up in these types of positions. Black is willing to lose a couple of tempi as White will loosen his position further with more pawn moves. 11.b4 Nd7 12.Be2 a5 13.a3 Nhf6?! 14.Nf3 Ne8 15.g4 f5 16.g5! This is a typical modern idea in this variation, Black could have done better however. See Del Rio de Angelis - Vallejo Pons.

Makagonov 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 f5 9.exf5 gxf5 [E90]

Next we look at the topical 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 f5 9.exf5 gxf5. First we have 10.Nh4 Qe8 11.Be2 Nf6 12.Bg5 Na6 13.Qc2! Nb4 14.Qd2 a5 15.a3 Na6 16.Qc2 Nc5 17.Be3:

Here we have a critical position where Black has not found equality. In Gupta - Shabalov Black played 17...e4 and lost a rather horrifying game.

Completing the whitewash we have Wang Yue - Bacrot which varied with 10.Ng5 Nf6 11.g4!? Qe8 Bxf5 13.Be3 Na6 14.Rg1 and now 14...Kh8 was a reasonable novelty, which dodges a possible improvement from White. There are still problems to solve however, and in this game Black did not succeed.

Petrosian with 9.Be3 [E92]

6.Be2 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Bd2 f5 11.h3 Nf6 12.exf5 gxf5 13.Qc1 was all seen in a well-known Kramnik-Nakamura game:

I doubt that the 13...Kh7 of Rohde - Izoria is any better than the 'main line', but this game allows me to update what's going on.

Bayonet Attack 9.b4 a5 10.Ba3 b6 11.bxa5 Nh5!? [E97]

Pelletier - Nakamura features 9.b4 a5 10.Ba3 b6 11.bxa5 Nh5. White has done well in this line overall, but Pelletier goes for the unusual move 12.Nd2!?. He has a devilish idea in mind after 12...Nf4:

13.axb6!?N Offering a piece! White won with remarkable ease.

9.Ne1 Nd7 Main line [E99]

The game So - Ding Liren is rather remarkable. The mainline 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.Rc1 Ng6 14.c5 Nxc5 15.b4 Na6 16.Nd3 is quite annoying, and no one can agree on how Black should play:

After looking through the games, I get the feeling that Black should try to avoid ...b6, which is a common response.

8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bd2 Nf6 13.c5 g5 14.Rc1 Ng6 15.Nb5 Rf7 16.Ba5 b6 17.cxd6 cxd6 18.Be1 a6 19.Nc3 a5 is another modern battlefield:

The epic game Ragger - Grischuk is fascinating. In the end Grischuk is able to outlast his opponent.

Until next month, David

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Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and suggestions with me. Any queries or comments to the KID Forum, or to me directly at (subscribers only) would be most welcome.