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Hi all, sorry for the late update. Work has been catching up on me and it has been a tough couple of months indeed! I wish I can complain about my work here but for now, let's focus on the Chess.

Download PGN of September '09 French games

Tarrasch - 3...Be7

We continue with more coverage of 3...Be7 in the Tarrasch. After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.c3 c5 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.0-0, the move 8...g5 has received some knocks in the last couple of years and its popularity has been fading since:

This move has a lot of appeal behind it and having played loads of blitz games successfully with it, I took it upon myself to attempt to resurrect this variation. The critical variation has always been 9.dxc5! g4 (9...Ndxe5 was also analyzed extensively on Chesspub) 10.Nd4 Ndxe5 11.Bb5!:

There is no doubt that this continuation is probably the best way to put pressure on Black's centre and is quite likely the best route to an opening advantage. In Fedorchuk - Carron, Jubilee Open 2009, White convincingly outplayed his opponent but I suppose it is mainly due to the rating difference than anything else. I've also given some of my own analysis with 11...Bxc5!? which for some reason, has been neglected in theory.

Tarrasch - Guimard

I previously analyzed the variation 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.Bd3 f6 7.Ng5!? in May's update:

Since then, a couple of theoretically important games have surfaced and fortunately for the French fanatics, this variation does not quite refute the Guimard Variation yet. Take a look at Adhiban - Zaragatski, HZ Open Vlissingen 2009, where White played a novelty that I recommended in May's update.

Here, White played 12.h4!?N which is the latest try in this variation.

Tarrasch - Classical

I was quite pessimistic in the August update when I analyzed Rublesvky-Volkov and claimed that White can play for 2 results with 9.Nf4!? in the Classical Tarrasch:

In my notes, I sort of made an appeal to the Chesspub community to let me know if there is a solution against this annoying variation. I was very grateful when Kostas Oreopoulos sent me some fantastic analysis for the purpose of this column.

Kostas recommended that after 9...Nxd4 10.Qh5+ Ke7 11.ef Nf6 12. Ng6+ hg 13.Qxh8 Kf7 14.Qh4 e5 15.Nf3, instead of the much more common 15...Nxf3+, Black can try the enterprising 15...Bb4+!:

I've studied Kostas's analysis in 9.Nf4!? Tarrasch analysis in great detail and found it to be absolutely flawless. I've also added some notes and comments where I deem necessary. I like this line and I think the analysis is pretty convincing.

3.Nc6 Nc6 - Hecht-Reefschlager

Ever since Khalifmann recommended 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e5 Ne4 6.Ne2 as an antidote, this variation has been consistently the most popular line against the Hecht. In Shyam - Zaragatski HZ Open Vlissingen 2009, we cover both 6...f6 7.Ng3 fxe5 8.Bb5!?, which is turning out to be a forced draw if White wishes, and 6...Bd7!?:

a quieter, and less straightforward approach.

Winawer - Offbeat lines

I would like to recommend 7...Nf5 in the Winawer as a theory-efficient line for club players:

This move is rarely played but putting some early pressure on the d4 pawn is fairly logical so there must be some specifics why this idea has not been played more often. I have always been curious with this move ever since I struggled to beat a University teammate of mine who constantly employed this move in blitz games!

The recent GM clash Radulski - Drozdovskij, Artic Chess Challenge 2009, rekindled my interest in this move and I must say proving an advantage is not an easy thing to do at all!

3.Nc3 Winawer - 6...Qa5 - Part 2

We covered lines with 8.Qb1!? in June's update and we continue our coverage this month involving the critical 8.Qg4!:

This is probably the most dangerous and popular variation against 6...Qa5. Black can respond with either 8...Kf8 or 8...g6. There are clear differences between both moves and I've highlighted key ideas in both lines in the games Magem Badals - Legky, TOP 16 GpA Mulhouse Fra, and Sulskis - Fabio Bruno, Artic Chess Challenge 2009. Again, I've seen nothing overtly difficult for Black to handle in these games and I expect further developments in the coming months.

That's all for now. I'll be back soon, with October's article!

Do send me your comments and criticisms (politely please) to, or drop me a PM on the forum and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Have fun with your chess!