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Hi everybody, I am sorry for the delay to this article but unfortunately, right in the middle of writing this update, my computer refused to start! The technicians eventually managed to extract the work I had completed from the hard disc, which I finished off, as best I could, in a Cybercafé!


Download PGN of November '05 1 e4 e5 games

1) Latest news at the highest level

This month this part will not be treated.

Next month we will continue our examination of the "Lopez World" by studying a very complex line in the Arkhangelsk Defence.

2) New ideas

This month we will continue the study of the position after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 (which can also be reached by a different order of moves: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 e5) with a look at 5...Ng4 and 5...Ne4.

B) 5...Ng4

This line is completely sound and Black should equalize without any great difficulty. It might not be to the taste of romantic players, but nevertheless it is always useful to have a solid line you can rely on:

White is now at crossroads, he can gamble and play 6 0-0, or he can try 6 Qe2 leading by force to a seemingly better endgame for White.

1) 6 0-0

When I saw that, from the 20 games I found, White had a 75% score, I thought that something was wrong and that Black was simply worse. But a careful study convinced me that Black was not worse at all, and that most of his losses were actually caused by blunders in good positions.

I found the following game very representative of the spirit of this line, and in the notes you can see some of my analysis of this line. See Alsbirk,Jens - Kristensen,Bjarke (2445) DEN-chB Tonder (5), 1993.

2) 6 Qe2

After the further 6...Qe7 7 Bf4 I decided to show two games with 7..d6:

but it must be said that 7..f6 is also good!

Our first game was played by Ivkov with Black and here he shows his mastery in the endgame. Fernandez Garcia JL- Ivkov B, Teresa Herrera op 1990, a very instructive example!

In the second game, Svesnikov, who is the main supporter of this line for White, tries hard to prove a slight advantage in the endgame, but despite his efforts Kuzmin equalizes rather easily and was even better at one point!

Here is Svesnikov - Kuzmin,A, Erevan 1996.

C) 5...Ne4

Although many games were played with this line, there is still room for innovation and new ideas. My feeling is that although this line is very sharp Black should be O.K. After 5...Ne4 White has 3 replies: 6 0-0, 6 Qe2, and 6 Bd5.

1) 6 0-0

This is supposed to be the least dangerous option because Black can now play ...d5 in good conditions. But this is the choice of Svechnikov and therefore it must be taken seriously.

I have chosen a very sharp game to show that everything is not so simple! Open games are an infinite source for creating great complications and errors! Let's have a look at Filipovic B- Blagojevic, BIH-chT 2004.

2) 6 Qe2

In this line Black has to be very accurate to keep the balance:

The first game we will see between Stevic and Beliavsky is very interesting. Beliavsky was caught in a line into which his friend Mikhalshicin also lost 27 years before against Nogueiras! In fact 7...Be7 is not accurate and after this White has the advantage.

In the second game Tzermiadianos - Gligoric, Black played 7...Ne6! and managed to equalize a difficult position. Here I indicate that 8..fxe6!, as played by correspondence, is probably the best way to treat the whole line with Black and is quite possibly the antidote against 6 Qe2.

3) 6 Bd5

This radical way of forestalling ...d5 by Black has been thoroughly studied, but strangely I found no deep analysis of the reply 6...Bb4+:

In this section I will try to demonstrate that this move has been wrongly discarded. The game De Boer A- Dumont will illustrate my personal ideas.

3) Your analysis and Forum discussions.

Recently there were a lot of messages concerning Bird's Variation:

One player insisted that the Ruy Lopez was not better than any other line because Bird's (3...Nd4) was just enough to equalize! I was rather sceptical about this evaluation. Nevertheless, I was curious to see quite what was the big idea! And most of the subscribers were starting the analysis from this diagram:

Here most of you were looking at 9 h3. However, after a quick investigation, I discovered that the main move here is 9 Qe2 in order to parry the threat of ...Qh4. This move was discovered by Geller and is in fact very strong. There is no point chasing the knight to a better square.

In Bird's Variation I will now give my analysis of this line and it seems to me that White is much better. The Ruy is still very much alive!

Best wishes,


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