June 2002 Update - 1 e4 ....
All this month's new games are easily downloaded in PGN format using ChessPub.exe, but to download the June '02 1 e4 ... games directly in PGN form, click here:
If nothing else, I hope my efforts on this site have resulted in Alekhine players learning that the have to recapture with the e-pawn against the exchange variation. Adams - Crocker is another example of Black's sufferings against the Voronezh from a local league game. Shaw - Davies shows that I practice what I preach with the e-pawn recapture, and I might have gotten the better of it had I remembered my own book!
Amongst the off-beat ideas tried by the late Tony Miles, the combination of a Modern and an Alekhine with 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 is one of the most bizarre.
In Lautier - Miles it didn't turn out too well, but that doesn't mean it can't be a useful surprise weapon at club level. How many of us have to play Black against Joel Lautier? Like his compatriot Tony Miles, Julian Hodgson also took a shine to this openings and fared slightly better in his game against Ferguson. But his position looked pretty disgusting before 20.d6.
One suspects that the unorthodox Lawrence Day has a much better idea about how to play these weird positions, and in Pacey - Day he sensibly develops his bishop to f5, though admittedly his opponent was much weaker than either Lautier or Ferguson.
White certainly has plenty of choice, but this is not necessarily a good thing as demonstrated in Vlad - Barkhagen. Vlad seemed deeply insulted by his opponent's choice of opening and probably vowed to impale him with 4.c4 and 5. f4.
Of course White doesn't have to play 3.e5 and with 3.Nc3 he can hope to transpose into a Pirc Defence should Black play 3...d6. Not that there's much chance of Welling doing anything normal in the opening, with Black getting his knight to that key h5 square anyway in the game Daamen - Welling. In Vajda - Budnikov White rather cooperates with Black's plan of blockade by blocking in his queen's bishop with 5.f4. Black was doing OK until he took the b-pawn, probably going a bit too far in an already provocative opening.
The attempt to transpose into a Philidor Defence with 3...Nbd7 (whilst avoiding various forcing lines by White) is one of the more interesting unexplored frontiers in chess. It has actually attracted quite a classy following, such as the strong Israeli IM Mikhail Oratovsky and even GM Alexander Belyavsky. Wells - Oratovsky features the critical line in which Black seems to be doing OK. If he does his homework on these positions, it seems like a very useful surprise line. Whilst 6...c6 has been the standard choice for Black, he could have a good alternative in 6...Nc5. This was Belyavsky's outing with this defence, and he holds a draw against his talented opponent in Ponomariov - Belyavsky.
This is my last update, as I've decided to move on to other things.