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This month I concentrate primarily on the Main line Caro Kann, in which Black has struggled somewhat recently. I have also had a look at a couple of Scandinavian games in which the high rated players with the white pieces lost quickly.

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


I will start this month's update with a couple of successes for Black in the Scandinavian. In Zinchenko - Bauer we saw White try a quiet set-up with his knight on e2. Bauer grabbed the initiative early:

and here played the wonderful 14...hxg3!!

In Nabaty - Chatalbashev White employed 3.Nf3 and the Bulgarian GM went for the sharpest response. White was probably a little better out of the opening but his position was difficult to play.

Here we can see that Black has already achieved a decisive advantage.

Caro Kann Short Variation

I start my Caro-Kann coverage with a couple of games in the topical Fantasy Variation. In the first game I examine Nepomniachtchi - Ivanchuk, where the young Russian Super Grandmaster kept faith with his pet line and Ivanchuk employed the novelty 4...e6:

and reaches a promising position.

The second game in the Fantasy wraps up the survey I started in April with a look at 3...dxe4 and 4...e5. In Pruess - Fridman, the German Grandmaster got into all kinds of trouble and here he's just played 15...g6?!:

Can you see how Pruess finished off his high rated opponent?

Bronstein-Larsen Variation

We move onto the mainline of the Caro-Kann and first of all I have a look at Alekseev - Short in which Nigel played 4...Nf6, a rare guest at the top level.

In the diagram position he has just tried the rare 6...h5!?

Classical Caro-Kann

Dobrowolski - Fridman follows the mainline down to 13...Rc8, an attempt to cut out the dangerous 14.Nf1 line. However White still achieved a decisive kingside attack.

Here he crashed through with 26.Rxg7+!!

In Shyam - Ovetchkin we see another alternative 13th Black move in the shape of 13...c5. They followed the main line up to the following position:

where White tried the topical piece sacrifice 17.Nxh6+.

Bok - Seirawan completes this month's coverage of the Caro-Kann. Bok employed 11.Bf4, rather than the 11.Bd2 seen in the last couple of games. Seirawan played his speciality of 11...Qa5+ and 12...Qa4 but after a semi-forced series of moves the following diagram was reached:

when the young Dutch IM came up with a move that looks to have put the line out of action.

That's all for this month, I hope you all enjoy the Summer holidays!

Till next time, Gawain

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