The December Update
This month I am going to take an in-depth look at what is probably the main line of the Four Pawns Attack, the solid (ha ha) 9...Bg4. This has been prompted by a big scare I had against a much lower rated player in the Zurich Christmas tournament.
17 Ra3!? was the prepared novelty that started the trouble in Regez - Gallagher:
I certainly hadn't expected to be facing a new move in this sideline which I had gone for after being most impressed by Black's performance in Cebalo - Shchekachev (included somewhat belatedly here).
To round things off I have used the Banikas - Gallagher game to examine the amazing complications that can result from the main line with 15...Nb6:
We also have a couple of Saemisch's this month. Rowson - Kotronias was a rare example of White accepting the 6...c5 pawn sacrifice:
The Scottish Champion had prepared the novelty 17 a4 but then just a few moves later called off the fight. I was intrigued by his choice as I too had discovered this possibility sometime ago but decided it wasn't worth trying.
Malakhatko - Miroshnichenko features a relatively rare line of the Panno (9 Rb1) but one that can be dangerous for the unprepared player. Black got himself into difficulties but slugged his way out of them. 21...Nc4!!
was an impressive blow.
The Golod - Gallagher game was not particularly interesting in itself (a quick draw) but it does show an interesting way for Black to avoid, or at least completely neutralise, The Petrosian System. Even GM's don't seem to appreciate the drawbacks of 8 Bg5 after 7...Na6.
We just have one mainline Classical this month, Nielsen - Kotronias. This game demonstrates once again that it is better to be attacking the kingside than the queenside. White broke through first and won a pawn....but then it was Black's go!
Enjoy the issue. See you next month.