March 2002 Update - 1.e4....
All this month's new games are easily downloaded in PGN format using ChessPub.exe, open ChessPub.exe, put the date on, say, 6th April 2002, and then click on '1 e4...', over on the right. All these games should appear (and the new ChessPub Guides, too)!
You can also enter the specific ECO code if you are only interested in a particular opening. The updated eBooks can be found at the eBooks Download Page.
John Emms recently recommended the Exchange Variation for White, and in particular with the move 6.Bd3 (intending Nge2).
I have played this way myself (Davies - Sinha for example), but also defended Black's chances in my recent Alekhine book. So Emms - Davies became something of a theoretical duel in which I played the flexible 9...Re8.
More usually Black has played 9...Bf6 as in Sermek - Zelcic, but Black seems to have a tough struggle for half a point.
White usually develops his knight on f3. In Schubert - Kopylov White prevents ...Bg4 with h2-h3, but uses precious time in the process. And Black has a perfectly good square for his bishop on f5.
In Belkhodja - Vaganian, White omitted h3 and after the standard 9...Nc6 Belkhodja's 10.d5 hoped for a safe space advantage. The endgame is a superb illustration of how even an innocuous looking position can be played for a win.
What should Black do against the flexible 3.Nf3, which leaves open the option of a later c2-c4?
In this Rowson - Martin Black plays the standard 3...Nf6 and 4...Bg4 - and as usual finds himself worse. Having lost the first game of this two game mini-match, Martin needed to win this one at all costs. In this respect, I can't help but think that another defence, such as the Modern, would have been better.
Epishin's play in Okrajek - Epishin should be of great interest to exponents of the Scandinavian. When White tricks him out of his favourite Gruenfeld Defence, with 1.Nf3, he transposes into a form of Scandinavian, evidently believing that the moves Nf3 and ...g6 make this position eminently playable for Black. Moving the d-pawn forward two squares (Zakharstov - Epishin) is clearly more challenging than Okrajek's d2-d3. But even so it looks comfortable for Black.
Tal - Bronstein is a game from the great era of Soviet chess in which we see Bronstein play a similar plan to that of Epishin - but with the queen on d8. Even so it would have been reasonable if Black had played more actively on move 12.
Way before even Tal - Bronstein, Joseph Henry Blackburne was playing the Scandinavian and in a very interesting fashion (see Winawer - Blackburne). The idea of bringing Black's knight to h6 and f5 could be worth looking at in conjunction with Ephishin's ...Qd6, though the big problem with Blackburne's exact order of moves is the 5.Bf4! of Fischer - Robatsch.
Keep your questions coming in, I'll attempt to address the most popular issues.