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I have decided to continue trying to vary between the Caro-Kann and the rest of the openings under the umbrella of 1.e4... This month I thought we could have an in-depth look at recent happenings in the topical Short variation. I also received a question on the Scandinavian and have endeavoured to cover that as best as I can.

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


We start with a reader's request. Kevin asked if we could have a look at a highly critical position after 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Be2 Nc6 5.d4 0-0-0 6.c4 Qf5 7.Be3 Bxf3 8.Bxf3 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Qe6+ 10.Be2:

Here Black has two options, 10...Qe4 and 10...c5!? Both are investigated in depth in Bruzon Batista, L - Kurajica, B.

Caro Kann Short Variation

The rest of the update I concentrate on the highly topical Short variation, trying to give as complete a survey as possible. We start with 5...c5 and 6...Qb6!? with which Black has been scoring well recently:

In Inarkiev, E - Elijanov, P, we examine Black taking the pawn immediately after 7.Nc3 while in Ni Hua-Ionov,S, we see Black first playing 7...Nc6 when the following interesting position was reached:

I then turn my focus to the more common 6...cxd4. In Caruana, F - Arutinian, D the players followed a long line with 8.c4 which I have previously investigated on here. Caruana came up with the novelty 20.Ba4+ in the following position:

and succeeded in getting the full point, but theoretically I don't think Black has any problems.

Iordachescu, V - Krivoborodov, E saw 8.Nd2 which seems to be the critical test of Black's setup currently. White aggressive play paid off but Black wasn't without chances. The diagram below shows the position after White's 17.Ne6!:

In the last three games of the update I concentrate on lines in which Black does not break with ...c5. We start with another victory of Elijanov, this time against Firman. The Russian Super GM played an extremely flexible setup with an early ...Bg6 and ...Nh6 and received a good position out of the opening. Have a look at Firman, N - Elijanov, P:

Instead in Volokitin, A - Rodshtein, M, Black opted for an ...h6 plan followed by the double edged 8...g5!?:

The last game I look at this month is Shirov - Mchedlishvili where I examine lines in which Black plays an early ...Nf5. Shirov responded with the interesting 8.g4!?:

which is important to the viability of Black's setup.

That's it for this week. I hope you're all enjoying the World Cup!

Gawain Jones

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