Classical: The Bayonet attack
Our first game in this update is Savchenko, S - Leygue, D Masters Marseille 2006. The players had been following the well-known game Kramnik,V-Shirov, Tilburg 1997 for 19 moves when the following position arose:
Here Shirov played 19...c6, while instead Leygue chose 19...a5, which was also tested earlier. Only White's 23rd move turned out to be a novelty and he obtained a slightly better position, but with accurate play Black managed to hold the draw. Maybe White should have tried 22.c5!? Anyway the entire line with 11...Nf4 requires very precise play from White if he wants to fight for any advantage.
The Orthodox with Na6
The game Becerra Riviero, J - Ehlvest, J Chicago Open 2006 featured an extremely sharp and interesting line of the Orthodox system.
As you probably remember this line with 10.c5 received a boost thanks to Cheparinov's efforts and here is a new example. Ehlvest tried to improve Black's play with 13...Rb8 and succeeded, but mostly thanks to the dubious play of Becerra in the opening. Playing 15.Bh4!, instead of the 15.Bf4 of the game, seems to yield White an advantage. So the ball is still on Black's side.
In the game Carlsen, M - Stokke, K ch-NOR Moss 2006 Magnus preferred the line with 8.Re1, and the key position arose after 16...a5:
Here, in the game Topalov, V - Svidler, P, Amber Blindfold 2006, the World Champion played 17. Rd2 with the idea of 18.Rc1, but Magnus prepared an improvement- he played 17. Rc1 with the idea of 18. Rc2. I believe this position is slightly better for White and he didn't miss his chance, winning convincingly. Nevertheless, Black's play can be improved, and it seems that his position is passive, but defendable.
The game Stocek, J - Smirin, I 34th World Open is an example of an interesting setup in a relatively rare opening.
White has just played 8.Nf3, offering his light-squared bishop, but it turns out that after 8...Nxd3 Black is lacking active counterplay. Soon White obtained a clear advantage. Only his inaccuracy could change the course of the game, but Black returned the favour and on the 29th move had to resign. It can be said that Black experiences problems in this opening line, so it's time to look for improvements.
Accelerated AverbakhThe game Ponomariov, R - Mamedyarov, S Aerosvit GM Foros 2006 saw a rare move order in the opening. Black played 4...0-0 before playing 4...d6 and White decided to exploit this fact with 5.Bg5. Eventually White transposed into a good version of the Samisch and obtained an advantage. Ruslan played this game very well and should have won, but a number of mistakes in a winning position led to the opposite result. This is the final position of the game after 45...Rf7!:
A painful loss for the young Ukrainian player. Nevertheless, his opening choice deserves serious attention.
Ponomariov also experimented with this rare system. First, against Bologan in Ponomariov, R - Bologan, V 10th Petr Izmailov Mem rapid 2006.
Here Viorel met White's setup with 6...c6, which I don't like too much. It's curious that in this game Ponomariov obtained a good position which is once again typical of the Samisch. Yet again his play was very convincing, with the only difference being that this time he led the game to a well deserved win. Probably the plan with ...c6 is not the best reaction on White's rare setup.
The game Ponomariov, R - Kasimdzhanov, R 10th Petr Izmailov Mem rapid 2006, which was played on the very next day, featured a more popular line with 6...e5.
The diagram position arose after Black's 28th move. Here Ruslan played the careless 29. b4? and gave himself problems. However, Black missed his chance and soon found himself in big trouble instead. Fortunately for him the game was played at a rapid time limit and so both players started to err, which led the game to a draw. A very interesting fighting game. Probably Black's play in the opening was good enough to maintain equality.
The game Navara, D - Kotronias, V 35th TCh-GRE 2006 featured a favourite line of the Greek GM with 6...Nbd7. However this time the young Czech prepared an unpleasant surprise.
In the diagram position he played 14. c5!, which is a good novelty, and obtained the advantage. Soon he won a pawn and later showed good technique to bring home the full point. Well played, David!
This opening plan with b3 and Bb2 may set some problems for Black, but more practical tests are still required.
Enjoy the issue and see you in August.