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Fianchetto System Panno 8.Bf4 [E63]
We start out with the elite encounter Carlsen - Nakamura, where Black meets 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.0-0 Rb8 8.Bf4 with an early ...h6. 8...a6 9.Rc1 h6!?:
An interesting move that looks to take advantage of White's 8th move. Play quickly becomes very concrete and Black looks to be doing well.
Sämisch System - Panno 8.Qd2 Na5 [E83]
6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 Na5 9.Ng3 b5 10.Bh6! is a critical answer to Black's fashionable 8th move. In Jones - Hebden Black plays the logical 10...Bxh6 11.Qxh6 e5 and quickly gains the upper hand, but White can improve his play.
Sämisch Panno 9.Rc1 Bd7 [E84]
Another critical line is 6.Nge2 a6 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Rb8 9.Rc1 Bd7 10.Nd1 Re8 11.Nf2 b5 12.c5 dxc5 13.Rxc5 e5:
Here White has always gone for 14.d5, but in Dreev - Mchedlishvili he tries 14.dxe5!?.
Classical - Gligoric Variation 7...exd4 [E92]
The Gligoric has been relatively quiet lately, but a couple of games caught my attention this month. In Debashis - Kovalev the game follows some ChessPublishing analysis: 7.Be3 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Bf2 d5 11.exd5 cxd5 12.0-0 Nc6 13.c5 Nh5 14.Qd2 Be5 15.g3 Ng7 16.Rfd1 Be6 17.Nxe6 Nxe6!?:
I think this is quite playable and demonstrates that 7...exd4 remains relatively viable.
7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh6 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.c5 g4!? was Rezan - Saric which is a good example of Black's chances in this structure in the Gligoric.
Bayonet Attack 9.b4 Nh5 [E97]
Bacrot manages to trick a fellow 2700 player with an uncommon move order: 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Bf3 h6!?:
I cannot find any real defect to playing this way, and there is a point to it too. In Fressinet - Bacrot everything quickly goes wrong for White.
A solid line against the Bayonet is 9...a5 10.Ba3 axb4 11.Bxb4 Nd7 12.a4 Bh6 but White still seems to have an edge after 13.a5 as in Khismatullin - Mamedov, but the line remains playable.
9.Ne1 Mainline [E99]
In Grigoryan - Andriasian I thought Black found an improvement on existing theory, but in fact the old "bad" move may be fine after all! 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.Bd2 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.c5 g5 14.cxd6 cxd6 15.Nf2 Rf7 16.Qc2 Ng6 17.Rfc1 a6 18.a4 h5 19.h3 Bf8 20.a5 g4 21.fxg4 hxg4 22.hxg4 b5 23.axb6 Qxb6 24.Na4 Qa7 25.Ba5:
and now 25...Rb7!? Previously 25...Rb8 had been seen a lot but it was thought that White had two good continuations. Now I am not so sure.
Until next month, David
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