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This month we have all decisive games again with some cutting edge developments from Sam Shankland.

Download PGN of September ’17 KID games

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Fianchetto Variation 5...c5 6.Nc3 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Qc7 [E60]

We have looked at many games in the line with 7...Qc7 on ChessPub in the past. Usually White plays 8.b3 when 8...d5 has held up well. In Cori, J - Jones, G White plays the main alternative 8.Nd5:

This is a relatively simple approach that is not without venom, as the game will show. After 8...Nxd5 9.cxd5 Qb6 10.Nb3 d6 11.0-0 Qa6 and now 12.a4!? controls a4 and gains some space. The engines still say equal but things get a bit tricky for Black.

Fianchetto - Uhlmann's line 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 e5 8.dxe5 [E62]

The line 6...Nc6 7.0-0 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Bg5 Be6 has received a lot of attention recently. After 10.Qa4 Qc8!? (I gave 10...Qe8 an exclam last month) 11.Rfd1 (11.Bxf6!? may turn out to be the best try) 11...Nd7! and now 12.b3?! backfires badly in Pantsulaia, L - Aryan, C. White may soon turn more attention to 10.Nd2 as Black has not solved all of his problems there.

Fianchetto - Panno Variation 6...Nc6 7.Nc3 a6 8.Bf4 Rb8 9.Rc1 h6 [E63]

We have not checked the popular 8.Bf4 in a while. After 8...Rb8 9.Rc1 h6!? 10.h3!? has been the main trend for a couple of years now. Then 10...g5 11.Bd2 e5 12.d5 Ne7 reaches a strategically double-edged position:

Cuenca Jimenez (who is featured a lot in our games this month) has had this position before, with both colours! White has done well here but I think Black should be okay, so I understand Cuenca Jimenez’s ‘stubbornness’. See the details in Bruzon Batista, L - Cuenca Jimenez, J.

Yugoslav Exchange 8.dxc5 dxc5 9.Be3 [E65]

For some reason I find the symmetrical line 5...c5 6.Nc3 d6 7.0-0 Nc6 8.dxc5 dxc5 to be strangely intriguing. Does White have a little something or is it reliable for Black? After 9.Be3 Be6 10.Qa4 scores very well. 10...Nd4 (I check an alternative here which looks reliable to me) 11.Rac1 Ng4 12.Bf4 Bd7!? is a new approach in Krysa, L - Jumabayev, R:

White may have a little something but Black should still be ok, if that makes sense. I guess that’s the story of this line.

Smyslov System 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Bg5 d6 6.e3 c5 7.d5 [E61]

In one of the main positions of the Smyslov Variation with 7.d5 Black can immediately hunt down the bishop with 7...h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Nh5 I like this direct approach. After 10.Bd3 f5 11.Nd2 Nxg3 12.hxg3 Nd7(!) I think Black is comfortable with chances for more:

White played 13.f4!? and now 13...Nf6!? intending ...Ng4 was recommended by yours truly many years ago. In Indjic, A - Amin, B Black gets the upper hand very easily.

Hungarian Variation 5.Nge2 0-0 6.Ng3 e5 [E70]

I share my own mishap in Shankland, S - Vigorito, D. After the well-known moves 5.Nge2 0-0 6.Ng3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Be2 Na6:

Sam surprised me with the ‘shocking’ 9.0-0. This obvious move was new to me, as White usually plays 9.h4. After long thought I came up with 9...Qe8!? which is a typical move in the Petrosian Variation. Here I am getting out of a pin that does not exist yet. Black has other approaches too and I think in general the line is not so dangerous, but I was unable to solve all of the problems I faced at the board.

Sämisch System - Panno 6...a6 7.Qd2 Nc6 8.Nge2 Na5 [E83]

Sam had King’s Indian ‘bookends’in the tournament as he played me in the first round and the following game in the last round. The American GM showed his flexibility by switching to the Sämisch Variation (via the English) in Shankland, S - Patel, A. 1.c4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.d4 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 when his upstart opponent went for the tricky sideline 6...a6 7.Qd2 Nc6 8.Nge2 Na5 This was met with the direct approach 9.Nf4!?:

This move has not been covered on ChessPub before, but it scores much better than everything else (70% compared to 40%-something for all other moves!) After 9...b5 10.h4 the position looks dangerous for Black, but it was all very double edged and both sides had their chances. There is a great shot by Black near the end of the game, but miracle saves White, who even goes on to win.

Classical - Petrosian Mainline 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 [E92]

The Kramnik line 8.Bg5 h6 9.Be3 is still getting attention even though Black has done well. 9...Ng4 10.Bd2 f5 11.h3 Nf6 12.exf5 gxf5 13.Qc1 f4 14.g3 e4 15.Nh4 e3 16.fxe3 fxg3 17.Ng6 Re8 18.Qc2 Na6 19.Nf4 and here Black played 19...Nb4!? in Ernst, S - Van Foreest, J:

This is a normal move but still a novelty. Overall this line is balanced, but complicated, and White must be careful.

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.