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Welcome to the March Update.

I would like to apologize immediately for only having the time to annotate 6 games for you this month. I have been completely snowed under with work for the Improve your Chess and TWIC Theory websites. We will be back on track in April.

Having said that, John Cox has guested with 4 games on Alekhine's and just look at the goodies on offer:

Download PGN of March '05 1 e4 ... games

Scandinavian Defence

In Gormally - Nakamura 6...Bf5!:

draws the teeth of 6 Ne5 I give analysis showing why.

Alekhine's Defence

Marechal - Rozentalis features a risky new idea for Black in the Exchange Variation: 6...Nc6:

I don't like it and will try to demonstrate why.

John Cox, author of the soon-to-be-published Everyman book Starting Out; The Alekhine, is back this month as guest annotator for Alekhine's Defence:

We concentrate this week on the slightly old-fashioned 4 Nf3 Bg4:

Rozentalis has been playing this a bit and in Libiszewski - Rozentalis and Arnold - Rozentalis he shows a couple of important move order points.

It will be interesting to see what he has in mind if White ever gets around to playing either the normal move order, or introducing the Bologan plan described in the notes by the most accurate move order, against him.

In Motylev - Yermolinsky (a rare 2600+ rated Alekhine clash) Yermolinsky tries the side line 9...a6 (briefly trendy in the mid-nineties). Motylev comes along with a new move, but Yermo handles it easily enough before giving hope to us non-2600 punters by losing an equal position in one move.

Finally Kornilovich - Deviatkin is a throwback to the 1970's or so, as White goes for the Four Pawns Attack and Black becomes the first grandmaster (I think?) to meet this with 5...g5!?:

White plays a non-critical line and Black obtains good play, eventually winning an obscure struggle.


Pirc/Modern Defence

All the thrills and spills of Kramnik - Grischuk are on show here. Take a look at the position after 9...Nc5!?:

I am not sure about the offer but in practice Black has many chances for his sacrificed exchange.

A second Pirc is featured in Matsuuraa - Leitao, where Black plays impeccably in the Be3, f3 variation avoiding both an early ...Bg7 and premature castling short. After 13...0-0-0!:

, he has a fine game.


Van Der Wiede-Meduna is a wild and entertaining struggle in the advance Caro. 6...Bb4!?:

is a rarely-played move but seems to be alright.

Finally, Shaw - Johannessen from the 4 NCL is a very short game in terms of original moves. White's tactical shot 29 Re8!!:

is most attractive but this is not the full story as you will see. full of quality and interest.

Have a great month!


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