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Hi everybody,
This month I offer our subscribers some advice on how to play against the Giouco Piano and against the Exchange Spanish, and give the definitive refutation of the Graf Variation of the Kéres Closed Ruy! Olivier

Download PGN of June '06 1 e4 e5 games


In Mitkov - Friedel Black got a very good position out of the opening against one of the top specialists in this line:

Unfortunately, he spoiled everything later with an anti-positional pawn move.

Giuoco Piano 4.c3

I think that Black's simplest is to play 4...Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. Bb3 Ba7 tucking the bishop away, and then to adjust his move order according to White's play.

This is the position after 7. h3 h6! in Ivanchuk - Svidler. This game ended in a dry draw but I hope that you will find everything you need to fight against this tricky opening in the notes!

White often plays Be3 at some point and recaptures on e3 with the f-pawn to open the f-file:

In the game Vorobiov - Grishuk, which reached this position, Grischuk shows how to fight against this pawn structure.

Exchange Spanish 5...Bg4

Shirov experimented with a new idea, 9..Be6:

but in the game Radjabov - Shirov he was quickly smashed by a nice pawn sacrifice!

Exchange Spanish 5...f6

This is the position after 16..Bxb5 in Mader - Bojkov:

Black equalized comfortably and took the initiative but strangely he was not able to convert a simple pawn ending into a win.

In this position, from Sand - Allahverdiev, the usual move is 17...c4 but why not 17...f5 as played?

Open Spanish

White doesn't need to sacrifice a pawn in this line of the open Ruy Lopez (with 9. Be3), but can get an edge with 14. Bg5!?:

See Inarkiev-L'Ami.

Closed Ruy Lopez

As promised at the beginning, here is the definitive refutation of the Graf Variation of the Kéres Closed Ruy. This is the key position after 22. Ng5:

In the game Anand - Bruzon, I show that 22...Nd7, the only serious defensive try, can be answered very strongly by 23. Nxh7!!, so I consider this line to be dead!

In the game Bruzon actually played 22...Bh4? and could have resigned after 23 f6! However, instead Anand gave him some respite and had to win a long endgame.

Bye bye!

Olivier Renet

Please post your Kingpawn Opening queries on the 1 e4 e5 Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions.