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Hi everybody, I am sorry for the delay to this article but I hope that you will like my new presentation, as I will now divide my work into three parts to attempt to please as many subscribers as possible.

The first part will concentrate on the latest games of Grandmasters at the highest level. It is very likely that in this part we will very often talk about the Ruy Lopez and the Petrov as they are strong Grandmasters' main weapons. If you have any doubts about this just take a look at the San Louis World Championship in Argentina!

The second part will discuss all the other open games. For the choice of the subjects I will be influenced by subscriber's emails. I will also take the Forum discussions seriously into account. Finally, I will also try to write about lines that may enrich the ChessPub Guides.

The third part will be yours. I will publish every interesting piece of analysis, new ideas and any other material you may find that enriches the openings that we discussed a month earlier. This part could be very interesting with your help. So don't hesitate to participate, I am counting on you!!


Download PGN of October '05 1 e4 e5 games

1) Latest news at the highest level

The Zaïtsev variation: Anand-Adams

The World Championship was the main attraction last month, of course. Of the 56 games, 50 started with 1 e4 which shows the trend from the new generation. 20 games started with 1 e4-e5 seeing White make a 57% score. Black's main choice was the Marshall (9 games), than comes the Petrov (6 games), the Berlin defence (3 games), one Zaïtsev and one Steinitz with d3. The main success as Black was obtained by Topalov (+1,=2) with the Berlin. This month I will present you only one game on this material, but we will come back to it in the months to come and probably investigate some lines of the Petrov more deeply.

In Anand - Adams Black played a very sharp line of the Zaïtsev variation of the Ruy Lopez. Anand accepted the challenge and went into the main line, and on the 23rd move he played a novelty that he had prepared a long time ago for his candidate matches with Kamsky! He won a brilliant game and seemed to have refuted the line. But it is not so simple, and when we analyse the game more deeply we see that it doesn't actually provide any advantage for White and is in fact equal - I could not find any improvement for White to gain an advantage.

That made me think that we will see the Zaïtsev coming back into top tournaments more and more. Bacrot and Nikolic are the leading players employing this variation with Black at the moment, although they are following the path of Karpov. This reminds me of the time when I was Karpov's second during the World Championship in 1990 against Kasparov. The Zaïtsev was in fashion and we were looking at it all day and all night!!!

2) New ideas

This position after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 can also be reached by a different order of moves: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 e5:

This line has been investigated a great deal and I will try not to repeat here anything you can find in books. I will try to give as many novelties as I can or reassessments of lines that have been unfairly forgotten. I will not make an exhaustive study of this position, but simply advise what I would play if I was Black, in the hope that this article will help many of you to build their own repertoire. I will divide it into three parts corresponding to 5...d5, 5...Ng4, 5...Ne4. This month I will speak about 5...d5:

A) 5...d5 6 Bb5 Ne4 7 Nxd4 Bc5!

I consider this to be the main line and it would definitely be my choice with Black. 7...Bc5! is a typical move for an open game, Black wins a tempo by avoiding 7...Bd7.

A1) 8 Nxc6

First I will recall why Black is OK after 8 Nxc6 Bxf2+ 9 Kf1 Qh4: see Firster, B - Wagner, B/FRA-ch Corr 2002.

Recently some players thought that they could rehabilitate the variation with the crazy 9 Ke2 instead of Kf1 but this is not the case, and this will be the object of game 3: Arnott - Hebden/BCF rapid play 2003.

A2) 8 0-0 0-0

After these crazy tactics let's see what to do if White castles.

A21) I think Black should simply castle and continue to offer the pawn on c6. Ian Rogers won twice after taking it but Black's play can be significantly improved. Some interesting novelties are waiting for you. Have a look at Vianin - Lurge/Geneve open 1995!

A22) If White doesn't take the pawn and prefers to develop with 10 Be3 then Black can try an old idea of Kérés, 10...Qe8 which is still very deep, and the funny thing is that the game may suddenly turn into a good old Vienna! For more details see Vejcel - Poleshchuk/ Corr 1978.

A3) 8 Be3

This is considered to be the best move and almost invariably Black replies 8...Bd7, but I will show that instead Black can play 8...Bxd4 and obtain a very decent position. The game Estrin - Brglez/Wch7 Final 1972 is very interesting although Black should have been more precise to hold a complex position with opposite-coloured bishops.

Next month I will speak about 5...Ng4 and 5...Ne4

3) Your analysis and Forum discussions.

Many thanks to Mr H de Jongh who very kindly emailed me some very interesting analysis on the Marshall pawn-push variation, and so I would like to correct the assessment I made (too fast) on one of the lines I gave last month. I will start from this diagram:

Here I only spoke about 25..Bf3, but 25...Qg6 and 25...Be2 are much better moves. I have since come to the conclusion that White has no advantage at all and that the best he could achieve here was a draw. I will give all of Mr de Jongh's analysis, while if you see O.Renet this will indicate some additional analysis I added afterwards. If you are interested look at analysis N°1.

This proves that White should find another idea if he wants to gain the advantage. Mr de Jongh gave me some very good advice and I completely agree with him. In one of the lines White can enter the rook ending shown in the next diagram by force:

This is the position after 30 Kf4. Sometimes it is not a joke when we say that the theory starts with the ending!!

Nunn and Anand both said the line was drawn. But in fact, if it is draw then Black will have to work very hard to save the position. I will not analyse this ending now but just mention it and let Mr H de Jongh demonstrate how White can force it. His explanations are highly interesting. If you want to know more look at analysis n°2!!

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.