The February Update
This time I decided to cover not only the lines you can find in the January Update, such as recent developments in the Dreev variation of the Saemisch (with an early Nge2) but also some lines which were covered less well, or almost forgotten, in previous updates.
I would like to divide this update into the following parts:
There were many interesting games played in the World's strongest open tournament, the Aeroflot Open 2004. You can find not less than four of them in this update. The French number one Joel Lautier was very kind to us. He played three of the above-mentioned games, winning all of them...
Our first game in this update is Lautier - Minasian, Aeroflot Open 2004 which featured a rare line of the Classical system with 6...c5 instead of 6...e5:
A solid positional game from Lautier and with a nice tactical blow at the end he didn't leave the experienced Armenian a single chance.
I wouldn't recommend playing this line as Black as it gives White a solid position while Black has to look for counterplay 'passively'. As usual, a great performance from the French number one.
Next I would like to look at the line with 6...Bg4. Here is Beliavsky - Ginsburg, Bundesliga 2004.
In the diagram position White chose the solid line with 8.h3.
Black answered with a rare continuation, 9...c5, but then committed a serious strategical mistake 10...Bxc3? and Beliavsky punished him in good style, although an inaccuracy on the 19th move could have allowed Black some counterchances. Not recommended against players with a positional style!
Now I would like to show you a game I played in the Open Israeli Championship at the end of 2003. The game Mikhalevski - Vitebsky featured an aggressive line with 8.h4 instead of Beliavsky's 8.h3. Black's inaccuracy in the opening allowed me to deliver a beautiful combination. I hope that you are going to like the game!
Nevertheless the line with 6...Bg4 is playable, although Black has to be very precise in getting counterplay since he's playing against a bishop pair and may find himself under attack as well.
And finally, as requested by 'Geophysics', our last game in the side lines is Yermolinsky - Matikozian, Western Class Championship with Glek's 7...exd4 and 9...Nc6.
In this position Black tests an interesting, but very risky idea: 13...Qh4, instead of the more popular 13...Bxf5. Yermolinsky shows the correct way to meet it, but plays too solidly. Thanks to a stubborn defence Black succeeds in escaping.
Glek's line is still alive, but 13...Qh4 is probably not the way to play it.
Let's start with the game Malakhatko - Damljanovic, Montenegro Open 2004. At the end of January Dreev introduced the new move 14.Bf2! in his pet-line with an early Nge2:
and already in February we see a new counter idea in this line!
Damljanovic improved upon Joe's play with 16...Qf6! (compare with Dreev-Gallagher, Gibraltar 2004 which is commented in the January update). The position arising is very sharp and both sides have to be very precise. At the beginning Black is more accurate and gets an advantage, then messes it up and eventually White manages to win an interesting rook endgame. More games in this fascinating variation are expected!
A long theoretical line occurred in Lautier - Kotronias, Aeroflot Open 2004. White comes prepared with an improvement which doesn't seem to be very dangerous for Black, however. Nevertheless, it works pretty well in this game. Black felt very uncomfortable and committed a number of mistakes which eventually led to another win for Lautier.
Our next game featured the main line of the Saemisch. See Lautier - Yurtaev, Aeroflot 2004.
Here Joel repeated the 9.Bh6 line which he played many years ago against Kasparov. His opponent went for a very rare line with 11...e5 and could get a fighting position by playing 14...Ne8!. Instead he made the 'natural' move 14...Re8 and obtained a passive position. Eventually Lautier won by launching a direct attack.
Despite the result of the game Black has nothing to be afraid of.
I've decided to show you an interesting fighting game played between Berkes and a new Norwegian star 13-year-old Magnus Carlsen. The game Berkes - Carlsen, Aeroflot Open 2004 featured a side line of the Fianchetto Variation with ...c6:
White played 8.d5 instead of the more popular 8.0-0. An approximate equality was broken only after Magnus' mistake on move 28. Nevertheless, he continued fighting to the very end. White won only in a deep endgame by sacrificing his last piece to promote one of the pawns. A good example of fighting chess from both sides. That's why we love the King's Indian!
Enjoy the issue. See you soon.