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John had something urgent crop up which meant that he wouldn't have enough time to write his update this month, so I stepped in at short notice. Anyway, it makes a change to look at original games instead of Najdorf Sicilians where Black innovates on move 30!

This month I tried to look at openings that JW might not cover so much, a Dunst and a Larsen's Opening, for instance, but I have also looked at some English/Réti lines that interest me, including a game of my own, and loyal subscriber Eric Moskow's tough win against chess giant Romanishin!


Download PGN of May '06 Flank Openings games

Dunst Opening

Arwanitakis, M - Woeber, F features the 'pseudo Scotch' that can arise from Dunst's Opening:

Here Black's safest move is probably 4...Nf6, as played by Anand, and other 'Scotch' moves are also playable, but not 4...Qf6? which loses by force!

This game is a first example (this month) of why it pays to kill your opponent when you have the opportunity, as at the end (if the score is correct), after White had sacrificed material for a winning attack, it was Black who should have been mating White rather than vice-versa!

Larsen's Opening

After 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d5 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. f4 in many ways Black's most logical reply is 5...f6 when White can win a pawn by 6. fxe5 fxe5 7. Bxc6+ bxc6 8. Nf3 Qe7 9. Nxe5, indeed, if he doesn't he is just worse:

The point is that 9...Bxe5? is met by the fork 10 Qh5+. So Black normally plays 9...Qh4+ 10. g3 Qh3 with strong positional compensation on the weakened white light squares.

However, in Liascovich, L - Tristan, L, Black played the surprising 9...Qg5!? instead, allowing 10. Nf3 Qxg2 11. Rg1 Qh3 12. Bxg7 which wins a rook! Closer examination of this game reveals that Black has at least a draw, and possibly more, and in the game won easily, despite the 150 rating point difference!

Réti Opening

I always found Gurevich's System to be a very attractive anti-Slav line for English/Réti players, but often wondered what happened if Black simply played 5...Bd6 6. Bb2 O-O 7. Qc2 e5!?:

White can get the bishop pair, but what then? So, I was happy to see the top level game Anastasian, A - Sakaev, K, where Black appeared to be crushed. Unfortunately, closer examination reveals that Black was doing rather well at several points in the game, and the other white options are no better. Is this the end for the line?!

Another one of my favourite lines (and one that I wholeheartedly reccommended in The Dynamic English) starts 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Bg4 5. Ne5 Bh5 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Qa4+ Nbd7 8. Nc3 e6 and now White plays 9. g4 Bg6 10. h4:

threatening h5. White is better here whatever Black plays, but in Miroshnichenko, E - Mammadov, A Black's new try was swiftly demolished by White's energetic play.

King's English (1...e5)

It is nice to see a subscriber cause a major upset against a strong Grandmaster, maybe his subscription to ChessPublishing helped in some way?! :)

Well, maybe not, but in this standard position:

Eric found the lovely plan 11. a4!? Qb4 12. Bd2! Qxb2 13. Ng5 a5 14. Bxc6! bxc6 15. Qc1 conceding the powerful bishop, and a pawn, but completely ruining the black queenside.

Black was later caught between trying to win (to protect his 300 extra rating points!) and being objective, and soon wound-up in a hopelessly losing situation with only his king to move! However, then Eric started 'pfaffing' around a bit (in Chris Ward's terminology!), probably due to a mixture of nerves and time trouble, missed a number of simple wins (including a mate), and nearly allowed his venerable opponent to escape. Don't miss Moskow, E - Romanishin, O!

Symmetrical English (1...c5)

Khalifman, A - Shomoev, A reaches this position from an old Gelfand-Ivanchuk game I looked at many, many years ago:

but rather than take the d-pawn White preferred 11 Ne3!?, and gained a slight edge, only to make a stunning blunder and get mated!

Finally, Kosten, A - Chabanon, J is a Botvinnik System where I make an instructive error, which (fortunately for me) wasn't punished.


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

Till next month, John