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Hello everyone and welcome to my first 1.e4... update.
I've noticed a trend over the past couple of years that's rather curious. The top players seem to be playing far more of the openings in this section which seems to suggest that, rather than refuting these "secondary openings" the computer analysis is making them viable once more. In this update I have no less than 4 games from the Corus Wijk aan Zee tournament and 3 of those from the "A" group while, apart from my own game, the lowest rated White player is Najer at 2665!

Download PGN of February '10 1 e4 ... games

The Nimzowitsch Defence

After 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 Nf6 I played 3.e5 in Jones - Smirnov from the recent Australian Championships, which hasn't yet been covered on ChessPublishing but has been played frequently. Smirnov played the combative 3...Ng4:

rather than transposing back into more of an Alekhine position with 3...Nd5, but it doesn't work out too well for him.

The Scandinavian

Next we look at 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4, which has rather struggled of late and in Carlsen - Short, White held a comfortable advantage out of the opening after Short's 3...Bg4 but Black played well to hold the balance.

Meanwhile, in Ni Hua-Muzychuk,A Black played the more common 3...Nxd5 4.Nf3 g6 5.c4 Nb6 but here Ni Hua played the unusual 6.a4!? which set Muzychuk some problems.

Here White has just played 21.h4! and Black started to suffer.

We've seen a lot of action in the 3...Qd6 Scandinavian recently, in particular Tiviakov used it exclusively in Corus. We have his games as well as Ivanchuk's surprising outing with it, in the notes to Najer - Kovalenko, where Black tried the more aggressive 5...Bg4 but White came up with an interesting idea, 9.Nb5 followed by 10.Nc4!:

Pirc/Modern Defence

We had a big shock in Smeets - Kramnik seeing Kramnik trying out Tiger's Modern, and Smeets was in trouble very early on:

Meanwhile in Gibraltar, Mickey Adams played an unusual early g4 idea in Adams - Reizniece:

and got a fabulous position out of the opening.

Caro-Kann Defence

We have another game in the topical 4.Nd2 line of the Advanced Caro-Kann in Vachier - Lagrave - Mchedlishvili.

Black has just played 16...f6? Can you spot how France's highest rated player won very swiftly?

Alekhine's Defence

Finally for this month we have another high rated encounter from Corus in Leko - Short:

where Nigel equalised comfortably and even started pressing for a win.

That's it for this first update. I hope you enjoy reading through it and just send me a line with any requests or queries :)

Gawain Jones

Please post you queries on the 1 e4 ... Forum, or subscribers can email me at