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Download PGN of June '07 Flank Openings games

Réti Opening

The first game of this month's update is one of the kind that makes you want to take up an opening. Black tries something that looks like it has to be a decent set-up:

but White nonetheless gets some initiative, then pressure, advantage, material plus and finally catches Black's king. Black never really had a chance. Enjoy Movsesian - Komarov.

King's English with ...e5

In the game Navara - Ledger the English player tries a set-up that resembles what he normally uses when playing White in a Closed Sicilian by 1 c4 e5 2 g3 Nc6 3 Bg2 d6 4 Nc3 Be6 5 d3 Qd7 6 b4 g6 7 b5 Nd8:

obviously thinking that if it's pretty decent when playing it with an extra tempo as White, it must be good enough to obtain equal chances as Black. As we will see, this is hardly the case.

Recently Nigel Short has played the English Opening on several occasions, see the May Update for example, and in the Bosna tournament, he again called upon it. In the game Short - Morozevich, he used the 4 e3 variation in the Four Knights, but appeared to be outside his opening rather quickly, when playing first 7 Be2 and then 8 0-0:

this allows Black to play 8...d4. I have examined the alternatives for White in this interesting line, and there is definitely plenty of scope for White to continue to play this line, even though Morozevich made it look incredibly easy for Black in this particular game.

Symmetrical English

In the Hedgehog, we will this month look at two rather rare ideas, that can be used with some effect against unprepared opponents. In the first example, Carlsen - Aronian, Carlsen sidestepped the popular 9 e4 and instead tried 9 d4!?:

with some success. Black answered 9...Nxc3 10 bxc3 Be4!?, but soon ended up in a worse position and was gradually outplayed in the endgame. I have carefully examined the alternatives for both sides, and I'm sure we will soon see more examples with this line.

The second Hedgehog, Stojanovic - Arsovic, saw White first play the tame 8 Nxd4 allowing an exchange of the light-squared bishops, a recipe for equalising in the Hedgehog if there ever was one, only to toss 10 Qa4+:

on the board. It should not do much damage to Black, but as we will see there are some hurdles to jump.

In the often-called Kasparov Gambit that arises after 1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 (or 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 Nf3 cxd4 4 Nxd4) 4...e5 5 Nb5 d5!?, Korchnoi played his favourite line, for which the best recipe for Black, in my opinion, has not been examined yet on this website: 6 cxd5 Bc5 7 N5c3 0-0 8 g3, and now 8...Qb6! 9 e3 Bg4:

which gives Black excellent play. However, in the game, Korchnoi - Gurevich, Black after 10 Be2 plays 10...Bh3 to which Korchnoi tries the new 11 g4!? to great effect and soon has a winning position.

In this month's final game, we return to the Aronian - Carlsen match, where White tries a so-called 'new' old idea:

in 12 Bd6!?, which was first seen in an obscure game from 1963. It creates a fair amount of problems for Black and soon has a clearly worse position, which Aronian easily converts to a full point.

See you next month, Carsten


Please remember to point out and send your games to me. Drop me a line at the Flank Openings Forum, or subscribers can write directly to