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Welcome back!
A hectic month for me finishing off my book and preparing for the Olympiad which starts this week but managed to get the update in more or less on time :)

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

Pirc/Modern Defence

To start off with I decided to investigate the endgame that arises after 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8:

Vallejo Pons-Vachier Lagrave saw the Spaniard play well and successfully hold on to the initiative and he really should have won the game. However I believe the line is still sound.

Naiditsch - Kramnik saw Kramnik experimenting with his Pirc again and, although he lost the game, his position out of the opening was respectable before he got too ambitious. The following crazy position was reached just after Kramnik erred:

Caro-Kann - Two Knights Variation

The rest of the update is focused on the Caro-Kann. We start off with the Two Knights Variation that has been topical recently. In Satyapragyan - Khamrakulov White played the unusual 4.d4!? Black took all the material on offer but in the diagram position White missed an instant win:

What is it?

We continue with the Two Knights and have a look at McShane - Harikrishna in which the Indian successfully neutralized White's advantage.

Here I like Harikrishna's 8...Qf6! that looks to equalise.

In the last Two Knights game we look at Murey - Postny in which Black tried 3...a6!? which has picked up quite a following in the past couple of years.

Murey played very aggressively and took his high rated opponent apart.

Panov-Botvinnik Variation

Potkin - Wang Hao saw Black trying the risky alternative to 9...e6, leading to the well-known drawish endgame, 9...Nb6:

However it didn't work out well and it seems that theoretically White still has the better chances here.

In Robson - Berkes White chose 6.Bg5 and after 6...Be6 he followed Morozevich-Anand with 7.Be2!? However Berkes found an improvement and was soon on top.

This is the position after 17.0-0 when Black broke out with 17...e5!

Exchange Variation

For the final game of the update we look at Conquest - Houska and various ideas for both sides in the typical positions that arise in the Exchange Variation. Houska tried an unusual setup with 7...Bh6:

but she never got close to equalising.

That's it for this month. I hope you enjoy the update and wish me luck for the Olympiad!


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