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This time around we will focus on some games from the Tal Memorial, both the regular tournament as well the subsequent blitz tournament, where, unlike, last year, the majority of the games actually featured normal lines. Finally, there will also be a game from the Sochi FIDE World Cup.
I will return shortly with the November update.

Download PGN of October '08 Flank Openings games

King's English

It is quite rare that we examine lines where I quote games going back to Nimzowitsch, Alekhine and Rubinstein, but in the first game of this update, Svidler - Gelfand, that is exactly what I had an opportunity to do. Svidler played the unusual 1 c4 e5 2 Nf3, which of course is hardly critical. After 2...e4 3 Nd4 Nc6 4 Nc2 Nf6 5 Nc3 Bc5:

Svidler played 6 d4, which is probably better than the more "popular" moves 6 b3 and 6 g3. In the former of the two alternatives, I have taken a look at the Euwe-Alekhine game from their 1935 world championship match, where the existing analysis left a bit to be desired.

Another unusual line was seen in Kramnik - Svidler, where after 1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 d6 3 g3 f5 4 d4, Black played 4...e4!?:

which seems a bit surprising, because it appears to offer White an opportunity to gain a couple of tempi over the traditional lines with 3 Nf3 f5 4 d4 e4 5 Ng5. But in our main game Black got a decent position, before the players starting playing inaccurately, particularly White, who lost very quickly.

In Svidler - Carlsen the players examined the 4...Nd4 line in the 4 g3 Four Knights.

here White deviated from the game Aronian-Svidler we examined in last month's update, with 12 h3, and with 12...Rb8, Carlsen let the game depart established theory altogether.

Symmetrical English

In the first of two encounters between the 'veterans', Gelfand - Ivanchuk, White played a somewhat unambitious-looking line against the Hedgehog: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0-0 e6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Re1 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10 d4 cxd4 11 Qxd4

that Gelfand himself had encountered in a game against Alekseev in Sochi (also found in the notes). In the game in the main tournament Ivanchuk responded with 11...Qxd4, and had to defend a somewhat uncomfortable position. In the blitz tournament he instead opted for 11...0-0, which is possibly more solid. This game too can be found in the notes.

In the second (or is it the third, since the previous game contained two encounters from Moscow...?) Gelfand - Ivanchuk encounter, this one from Sochi, instead of 7...d5 Black played 7...d6, and after 8.e4 a6 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Qc7 11.Be3 0-0 12.Rc1 Re8 we ended up with a line we have examined a couple of times previously on this page:

Noteworthy about this game is the fact that Ivanchuk pretty much lost straight out of the opening: 13 f4 Bf8 14 f5!? h6 15 Rf1 and then 15...Nbd7?!, which is known to be inaccurate.

After 7 Re1, Black can also play 7...Ne4, which was tested in Gelfand - Leko, where Black, after 8 Nxe4 Bxe4 9 d3 Bb7 10 e4 Nc6 11 d4, played 11...Nxd4:

which according to ECO is inferior to 11...cxd4. But in our main game the continuation 12 Nxd4 cxd4 13 Qxd4 0-0 14 Bf4 and now the somewhat rare 14...Bc5, gave Black easy equality and soon he was playing for a win, which he missed out on a couple of times.

The final game of this update, Kramnik - Leko, saw White repeat the line he had tried against Carlsen in Wijk ann Zee 2008: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0-0 e6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.d4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 9.Rd1 a6 10.Ng5 Bxg2 11 Kxg2

but now instead of Carlsen's 11...Nc6 12 Qf4 0-0, Leko opted for the immediate 11...0-0, when rather than the normal 12 Nge4, or the more critical 12 Nce4 (which is examined in some detail), Kramnik chose the rather harmless 12 b3, to which Leko came up with 12...Ra7 followed by 13...Rd7 and equalized rather easily.

See you next month, Carsten


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