ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month the Fianchetto Variation remains popular, and we take a look into the readers’ mailbag.

Download PGN of October ’19 KID games

>> Previous Update >>

Double Fianchetto 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0-0 0-0 [A50/E60]

The double fianchetto setup is quite viable, but be aware that it only works if White plays an early Nf3 (which is common enough. The most popular move is 7.Nc3. Instead 7.d5 is critical when 7...Ne4!? 8.Qc2 f5 looks exotic, but it is not easy to prove anything. 7...Ne4 8.Nxe4 Bxe4:

9.b3 This looks safe enough, but it is rather meek. I recently played 9.Be3 myself which may be a better try, but I think Black is ok here as well. After 9...c5 10.Bb2 Nc6 Black had the initiative in Guttenthaler, F - Libiszewski, F.

Early ...c5 4.dxc5 [E60]

3.g3 c5 4.dxc5 Na6 5.Nc3 Nxc5 6.Bg2 Bg7 7.Nf3 is not bad at all, but White has often chosen a different route with 7.Nh3.

In Wojtaszek, R - Christiansen, J Black played 7...b6!? which is a rare idea. Black scores the upset here but after 8.Nd4 Bb7 9.Bxb7 Nxb7 10.e4!N he did not equalize in the opening.

Early ...c5 with ...cxd4 [E60]

In the line with 4.g3 c5 5.Bg2 cxd4 6.Nxd4 0-0 7.Nc3 Qc7 which is basically a direct equalizing try, Kramnik’s 8.Qd3 has seen some recent games with 8...Nc6 9.0-0 d6 10.Nxc6!? A rare try, changing the structure. More common is 10.b3 and I fill in some details there too. 10...bxc6 11.Bf4:

Black has tried various moves here. In Jakovenko, D - Vachier Lagrave, M Black went for 11...Nh5!? Perhaps Black does not technically equalize so easily in this line, but I still do not find it too inspiring for White.

Yugoslav Exchange 7.dxc5 dxc5 [E60/E64]

A few months ago we saw Carlsen on the Black side of the unusual line 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8!? Rxd8:

Somehow two different moves cause two different ECO codes.

In Harutyunian, T - Pantsulaia, L White played 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nd3 Nc6 11.0-0N. Now 11...Nb6 12.Bf4 Bxc3!? is a typical, and ambitious approach. 12...Nxc4 13.Nxc5 with symmetry, also seems fine.

In our next game White went for 9.Be3 This has scored well, but I think there are antidotes. Petrosyan, M - Fier, A saw 9...Nc6!? 10.Bxc5 Be6 11.Nd2 Nd7 12.Be3 Nb6 (here too 12...Bxc3!? is an option to consider. 13.Rc1 Nxc4 14.Nxc4 Bxc4 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.b3 Bxc3+ 17.Rxc3 Bd5 18.f3 Optically White has an edge, but Black should be ok - if he is careful.

Classical Variation, Gligoric 7.Be3 exd4 [E92]

In the main line of the Gligoric with 7...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:

16...Bf5!? is a new move for Usually something goes to e6 - there are plenty of games in the archives with 16...Be6 and 16...Ne6. White has tried many things here as Black's last likely has caught players off guard. In Muradli, M - Guseinov, G White played 17.Bf1 but this did not lead to much.

Classical Makagonov via Petrosian 7.d5 a5 8.h3 Nh5 [E92]

A reader writes in:

«I always liked the philosophy of the Petrosian system, but the main line with ...a5 is, to say the least, exactly the kind of position black players like to play, and the system in itself is not so easy to grasp for White. But I would like to use the move order of the Petrosian system to transpose into Makagonov after ...a5, hoping to avoid the ...Nh5 variation instead of ...a5. But I am not sure why Black can't combine ...a5 and ...Nh5?»

Chess is a logical game - in general though everything comes at a price. We cannot just avoid certain lines without granting new opportunities. This is life. A simplified example is if White wants to play 1.d4 openings but prefers to avoid the Benoni or Benko, he can open with 1.c4. But that allows 1...c5 or 1...e5. If 1.Nf3 we avoid 1...e5, but some of the more aggressive 1.d4 options are gone. We have to pick and choose based on tastes!

Fortunately for our reader, this combination of ...a5 and ...Nh5 does not look quite right, see Makagonov via Petrosian- Black plays ...a5 and ...Nh5 which he has annotated and where I have also added my thoughts (after Vigorito,D).

Classical Petrosian 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Be3 [E92]

Another Kramnik line, namely 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Bd2 f5 11.exf5 gxf5 12.h3 Nf6 13.Qc1 still gets attention:

The normal move is 13...f4 which I played myself earlier this year. In Fier, A - Grigoryan, A Black played 13...Kh7 which has come up a few times. Is this a lack of knowledge, or are black players now going for it intentionally? After 14.g4 Na6 15.gxf5 Bxf5 16.Nh4 Qd7 Black seems ok, so I still think that my 2015 suggestion of 15.g5!? is more testing.

Classical 7...Na6 8.Be3 c6 [E94]

Although it is not so fashionable 7.0-0 Na6 8.Be3 c6 is sometimes played. White has all kind of moves here, but the game Tabatabaei, M - Amin, B shows an interesting plan for White. After 9.d5 c5 I imagine black players are relatively happy in this kind of situation - maybe slightly worse but with a strategically complex position with a lot of scope to outplay the opponent. The sword cuts both ways though, and White is able to execute a modern and effective plan to score a crushing victory.

Until next month, David

>> Previous Update >>

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.