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As mentioned in last month's update, I am returning to the European Individual Championship in this June update. My problem is that I found no less than 44 games I wanted to show you, but obviously that is rather more than the average update. So, this time around I decided to pick some of the more unusual lines. Next month, I will give you some more examples from this tournament along with some other recent games.

Download PGN of June '08 Flank Openings games

Sokolsky Opening/Orangutan

Very recently the first new book in a long time on this fairly rare opening was released. In my opinion the book is rather disappointing for a number of reasons, including numerous explanations as to why the author chose to play 1 b4 in that particular game. It gets dull after a while. I will soon return to that in my column at

In Collas - Vehi Bach White very quickly get himself in trouble. The game started 1 b4 e5 2 Bb2 Bxb4 3 Bxe5 Nf6 4 c4 0-0 5 Nf3 d5 6 e3 c5:

and here I will argue that White's best continuation is 7 a3 Ba5 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Qc2, which is also briefly covered in the new book by presenting a single game from 1961, without quoting any more recent games in the annotations. Instead, in the first main game of this update, White tried 7 Nc3, but after 7...Nbd7 8 Bg3 Nb6 9 cxd5 Nbxd5, Black already had a comfortable game.

Dunst/Van Geet Opening

Another rare visitor to our updates is 1 Nc3 which goes by a number of different names: The Linksspringer, Dunst or Van Geet Opening, to mention some of the more popular ones. It hasn't gained too much popularity in normal chess, but in the world of correspondence chess it has quite a following, including my compatriot Ove Ekebjerg, who has played it for more than 40 years in top corr events including when he was a runner-up in the World Championship final a few years ago.

In the game Kokolias - Romanov White got a chance to play the speculative sacrifice: 1 Nc3 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nxe4 Nd7 4 Bc4 Ngf6 5 Bxf7+:

which has been subject to some debate in works by Van Geet, Keilhack and Palliser. It certainly looks playable, and is ideal for encounters such as our main game, where White is the underdog by several hundred rating points.

Reversed Pirc

The Armenian player Artashes Minasian is a highly original player as we have seen on several earlier occasions. This time around we will take a look at two of his games with his favourite opening, the Reversed Pirc. In the first, Minasian - Van Beek, Black manages to equalize without too many problems.

The second effort is Minasian - Volokitin, where the creative Armenian takes on one of Ukraine's many young talented grandmasters. The result is a very brief game, where White tries to improve over an earlier game by Volokitin.

Anti-Dutch: The Improved Lisitsin Gambit

The Improved Lisitsin arise after 1 Nf3 f5 2 d3 followed by 3 e4. This opening was covered in the very first volume of Secrets of Opening Surprises (edited by Dutch IM Jeroen Bosch). It took off in popularity after a very young Magnus Carlsen destroyed Sergey Dolmatov in the Aeroflot Open 2004 in a mere 19 moves (see the PGN archives). This time we will examine a couple of recent games in this line. In the first game, Bindrich - Werle, we will take a look at 2...d6 3 e4 g6, which appears to lead to a comfortably better game for White without too much trouble:

In Skoberne - Milchev Black played what is considered the main line: 3...e5 4 Nc3 Nf6 (4...Nc6 was Dolmatov's choice) 5 exf5 Bxf5 6 d4:

and here he went for 6...e4, which was considered inferior to 6...Nbd7 last time we looked at this line. However, the theory has developed quite a bit over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, White still seems to be in command in this line, though Black made it look even worse in this game.

Polish vs The Réti

For those players who dislike the solid positions that often arise in the Reti and instead prefer dynamically complicated lines, the Polish 1 Nf3 b5 may have some appeal. In Roiz - Aleksandrov White dealt with Black's set-up in a very practical way, not getting provoked. I have suggested an improvement for White on move 10, which seems to lead to a better game for White. The ball is definitely in Black's court.

Anglo-Indian: Anti-Grünfeld

I had actually planned to look at four games with the Anti-Grünfeld, but decided that it would be a little too much for one update. Therefore the other two games, also in a side line we haven't discussed recently, will be discussed in next month's update.

In New in Chess Yearbook 79, Mihail Marin discussed the line 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 g3 Bg7 6 Bg2 Nb6 7 d3 Nc6 8 Be3 0-0:

and claimed that White's best is now 9 Qc1. However, in Butnorius - Iordachescu, White played the older 9 Qd2, and after 9...e5 10 Bh6 Qe7 11 Bxg7 Kxg7 12 0-0 Nd7 13 Rfc1 he obtained the better chances. In the notes we will examine the consequences of 10...Nd4 which is recommended for Black in both the ECO and Marin's article in NIC YB79.

In Marin - Ris, White used a slightly different move order: 1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 cxd5 Nxd5 4 g3 g6 5 Bg2 Nb6 6 d3 Bg7 7 Be3 Nc6, and now, rather than 8 Nf3 0-0 transposing to the above game, Marin went for 8 Rc1 Nd4 9 Qd2:

which creates a different set of problems for Black. Black's best is 9...Nf5, yet this too looks insufficient for full equality. However, Black's choice of 9...c6?! here is even worse. Black never really had a chance in this game.

Symmetrical English: Double Fianchetto

The last game of this month's update is a contribution by Grandmaster Bogdan Lalic, who has annotated a recent game of his from the tournament in Metz. After 15 moves of established theory: 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 Nc3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 g6 6 0-0 Bg7 7 d4 cxd4 8 Qxd4 d6 9 Be3 Nbd7 10 Rac1 Rc8 11 b3 a6 12 Rfd1 0-0 13 Qh4 Rc7 14 Bh3 Qb8 15 g4:

Black decided not to go with 15...e6!? as played in Aronian-Kramnik, Saint Vincent 2005 (see the PGN archives), but instead tried 15...Qa8?!. As Lalic demonstrates White gains an advantage in this line. See Lalic - Marzolo. Thank you to Bogdan for this contribution.

By the way, I should in this connection mention that in the new edition of Opening for White According to Kramnik vol 2 by Khalifman, 15 Bg5!? is the recommended main line in this variation.

See you next month, Carsten


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