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Hello and welcome to the January Update.

Download PGN of January '07 1 e4 ... games


I am a bit worried that I might be too interested in the ending arising after 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 de 5.Qxd8 Kxd8 6.Bc4 Ke8! but I ask for the indulgence of subscribers until this phase passes:

Buckley - Shaw shows why this approach appeals to players of a certain temperament, but Bacrot - Bologan gives an indication of why it is not so popular at strong Grandmaster level.


Vescovi - Karpov shows Karpov at anything but his best, but I included this game to illustrate some more general themes and draw attention, again, to the idea of slowing white's kingside attack with the move ...Ng4:

Vachier Lagrave-Bologan is a recent example of one of the most popular advanced variations, 4 Be3:

Initially, I was struck by the simplicity of White's play, but on closer inspection I suspect that Bologan was just having a bad day because I think Black has various ways to improve on his opening play.


I feel wary of saying too much about the Scandinavian, because I know that in a few months Eric Prie will come along and explain that I got it all wrong!

However, I felt it was my duty to draw attention to two recent games, both with considerable theoretical value. Shirov - Bauer features what John Emms likes to call 'the main mainline' and although Black seemed to be surviving theoretically, he did have quite a lot of difficult decisions to make.

More recently, Svidler - Tiviakov gave the latest word on the slightly subversive variation 3...Qd6:

my impression is that Black is running out of ways to make his position his viable in the line with ...Bg4 and ...Nc6.

Alekhine's Defence

Finally, I feel similarly afraid to make strong pronouncements on the Alekhine because I know that John Cox will probably correct them at a later stage, but I was struck by Black's play in the following game, not least because I consider Rozentalis a very correct player, and although this was a rapid game, if he believes in Black's position after 9...Nc6 then I might have to revise my impression that this is simply better for White:

Anyway, just have a look at Socko - Rozentalis.

That's all for this site for this month, and all for from me, for now at least. I have enjoyed most of my work on the 1e4... and Anti-Sicilian sites over the last couple of years, but now need to free up some time for other commitments in my life, so this will be my last update. Many thanks to subscribers for your letters and suggestions. I wish you all good luck in future chess endeavours, unless you are playing me, in which case I wish you some very instructive mistakes! Jonathan Rowson.

Please post you queries on the 1 e4 ... Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions or queries.