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Not for the first time, I have to say sorry about the delay in getting the update online. I hope to have the August update completed very shortly, along with some replies to emails.

Download PGN of July '06 French games

Advance 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6

A not quite adequate sacrifice

The big name game Adams - Levitt from the Staunton Memorial gives us an excuse to look again at the variation 6.Be2 Nh6 7.Bxh6:

Jon Levitt tries to revitalise Black's chances with an exchange sacrifice, but it doesn't seem sufficient- or at least he chose the wrong opponent! Incidentally, here we see the good effect of surprising the opponent in the opening: Levitt has some interesting ideas versus the Tarrasch and had no doubt prepared thoroughly for the game, but how could he have known that Adams would play the Advance?

Tarrasch 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5

Another crazy battle in the Universal System

IM Gawain Jones, who has just finished equal third at the British Championship, has sent me one of his 4NCL league games. Black's plan involving very early play on the queenside is notable, despite his demise is a wild game. Here is Jones - Wallace.

Tarrasch 3.Nd2 Nc6

The Chinese love the Guimard

I guess it is a habit of group preparation combined with an urge to escape from well known theory that has made 3...Nc6 a popular weapon among Chinese GMs. You can see the latest battle from the so-called Russia-China 'Chess Summit' by clicking on Malakhov - Zhang Zhong.

Winawer 5.a3 Ba5

A surprising exchange sacrifice

The variation that we first examined in Del Rio-Rendle still seems to be holding firm for Black, assuming he is prepared to give up the exchange and a pawn- and then not attack! You won't find a more positional sacrifice than that in Lopez Martinez-Bartel.

Winawer 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 Nbc6

Fourth time unlucky for Yusupov

A critical line here is 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Ne7 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 Nbc6 9.Qh5 Ng6 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.Be3 Nce7 12.h4 Bd7:

The Russian Grandmaster Alexander Yusupov reached the diagram position no less than four times at the 'Rising Stars versus Experience' match in Amsterdam. Overall he scored a highly creditable 2/4. In fact, all went well until his final game with Sergei Karjakin, who came armed with a strong new move courtesy of his trainer Ponomariov. For the full story and a possible improvement for Black, check out Karjakin - Yusupov.

Winawer 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 f5

Can a 'losing' move be brought back to life?

Next under the spotlight is 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 f5 9.exf6 Rxf6 10.Bg5 Rf7 11.Qh5 h6!?:

We have seen innumerable games with 11...g6, so it would be a nice change if Black can make the other pawn move work. The life or death question is what happens after 13.Bh7+ which in the past was always regarded as the refutation of 11...h6. For a full investigation, check out Vescovi - Barsov and Aagaard-Brynell.

Winawer 7.Qg4 Qc7 8.Qxg7

A wild knight sacrifice in the Poisoned Pawn Variation

When I first saw this variation played in a Kent County match, I couldn't tell whether Black was following theory or had simply blundered away a piece to a queen fork. In fact, it seems I was right on both counts: the sacrifice is theory, having been tried by no less a player than Uhlmann; but Black committing himself to the sacrifice amounts to a blunder. Here is Gallagher - Kuemin.

Winawer 7.a4

Nunn's clever queen sacrifice

Finally, we see John Nunn making an imaginative positional queen sacrifice. Alas, the path to victory is well hidden, and when White falters, the youthful brio of his opponent proves too much. Here is Nunn - Wang Hao.

That's all for now.. I hope you enjoyed the update and that some of the things discussed are of value to your chess. Good luck! Neil

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