The Latest Developments - April 2003
Welcome to the Flank Openings update, featuring lots of games from the various European leagues, and a couple from the Dos Hermanas super tournament.
[A20]: Hoelzl,F - Schwarz,M is not of any great theoretical importance, but features a surprising tactical shot that just won on the spot.
[A25]: In the Closed English with 5 e3 should Black play 6...Be6 to attack the c4-pawn, the critical response is 7 d4!
and this is analysed in Pelletier,Y - Hansen,S, where the young Swiss GM shows just why he has passed the 2600 mark.
[A33]: Next a look at the Four Knights Mainline:
when Agrest,E - Ivanchuk,V features the reply 7 Ndb5, and another chance to look at Gelfand's pawn sac.
[A33]: 6 a3 seems to be taking over from 6 g3 as the move of predilection for the World's elite these days, and in Vallejo Pons,F - Karjakin,S brilliant and unusual positional play by the young Spaniard shows why.
[A16]: On the Forum alex8 asked about the critical queen-sac line in the Anti-Grünfeld: 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Qa4+ Bd7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 Nc6 7.d4 Bg7 8.e4 O-O 9.e5 Be6 10.exf6 Bxc4 11.fxg7 Kxg7 12.Bxc4
which would be good for White if it were not for the fact that Black now grabs a second pawn by Nxd4 13.Nxd4 Qxd4 reaching an unusual balance of queen and two pawns against three minor pieces.
By a stroke of good fortune this exact position just occurred in the Swedish Team Championship, in the game Friberg,H - Winge,S, and so I gave the line a thorough look. The three pieces co-operate well, but Black can often sac an exchange to get his pawns going.
[A17]: We have had many looks at the sharp 4 g4!? line over the years:
but whilst I was playing the French Team Championships, at Bordeaux a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that super-GM Adams found a new way of playing for Black, and won convincingly- see Cornette,M - Adams,M.
Incidentally, Mickey now plays for 'super team' NAO of Paris, together with Kramnik and several of the World's other top players, and it is no great surprise that they look to be well on the way to winning this year's championship.
[A13]: Illescas Cordoba,M - Shirov,A shows why the 4...dxc4 line is so popular with strong players, I still haven't figured out how White can gain any significant advantage, and you can see my pathetic effort against Mickey in the notes!
[A00]: The day after crushing Van Wely with the black pieces fellow team-mate Gilles Miralles was telling everyone how he even has his own 1 b4 fan-club on the Internet, which was unfortunate as that day he was mercilessly hammered by Bologan after trying his favourite opening!
However, we found a much better way for him to play when we analysed the game afterwards, so have a look at Miralles,G - Bologan,V.
Please feel free to share any of your thoughts with me, whatever they are, suggestions, criticisms (just the polite ones, please), etc. Drop me a line at the Flank Openings Forum, or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next month, Tony K