I recently witnessed Van Wely play an interesting mini-match with Mamedyarov in the Spanish League, both of these games are relevant to this month's update, the latter being a neo-Grünfeld (see Game 6). In the first of these the brash young Azeri risked the Budapest with 5...g5:
It has to be said that theory isn't that complimentary(!), but how often do we face this line in practise? What should White do? Van Wely considers 5...g5 to be a one-off and doesn't expect to see the young Azeri try it again. In the middlegame Van Wely spurned a repetition but Mamdyarov then took control in dashing style, see Game One.
One of the main lines is tested but Black's approach seems adequate to diffuse White's opening advantage to only a nominal one. White valiantly tried to win the ending but Black defended well. However some 'Dynamic Defence' fans probably play the Benko hoping for more than a grovelled draw, and as such these folk may not find Game Two particularly thrilling!
The Dutch Defence
In Game Three White employs a less well-known move order and should have obtained the advantage. The main culprit was Black's 'obvious' 6th move (6...Ne4 or perhaps 6...a5 are better) and even the standard 11...e3 is dubious here as Black is too far behind in development. Black defended accurately later on, but White's best chance to win was as early as move 14.
The diagram position was reached after 20 moves in Game 4:
Black's excellent deployment led to a quick win after 20...Nxg3!.
This goes to show that in the Stonewall the early exchange of dark-squared bishops doesn't necessarily put an end to Black's attacking potential.
The Neo-Grünfeld Defence
In Game 5 Black chooses a sound defensive system against which White has struggled to make headway over the years. In a valiant attempt to make something of it for White, Barsov grabs a pawn at the cost of allowing Black a strong knight on d3. It's not clear if Black has enough compensation, as the position wasn't given a proper examination due to White soon blundering.
Another successful choice by Black can be seen in Game Six as he obtained a good opening almost effortlessly, but it's important to know that 9...Nc6 is best in the following position:
Much of the endgame was played under severe time pressure and it was impressive to see how Van Wely managed to manoeuvre his pieces to create problems with very limited time. Mamedyarov resisted well for many moves before finally going down, but he might have held by sacrificing the exchange.
The Grünfeld Defence
White tries 4 Bg5 in Game Seven against the Indian No.2. After the opening Black (clearly in unfamiliar territory) ran out of ideas and played too passively. Later efforts to bash at White's centre were only partially successful as he couldn't fully make up for his earlier lapses. I suspect that Mchedlishvili missed a win, perhaps with 31 Qe1.
The lesson of this tale is that Black's defence isn't easy if one is unfamiliar with the line, so I recommend either following Kalod's method (see note to move 10) or 4...Ne4 which avoids the sharper stuff.
In Game Eight Sasikiran (as White this time) plays a variation considered to be solid but soon goes wrong (not a happy month for him!) Sutovsky's play and the notes show that Black can get dynamic play (he retains two good bishops) against this line even if White were to try the better 16 Qc4:
Harikrishna punishes Azmaiparashvili's provocative opening in Game Nine with an attack on the h-file.
Black can probably get away with 9...b6!?:
For instance, see the note 13...fxg6, but he has to enjoy walking tightropes!
Later on the young Indian kept his cool in the technical phase.
In Game ten Farago manages to keep a small edge by declining the gambit and continuing with the novel 8 e3:
However, Csiszar has shown a continuing preference for the less fashionable 5...exd5 6 cxd5 Qa5+ rather than the critical 5...Qa5+, which is the real test for the Blumenfeld. That's a subject for a later update, so watch this space...
Don't forget to keep the questions rolling in, especially if there's a line that you would like clarifying.