Welcome to the March Update!
At this time of year the National Leagues are in full swing across Europe and five of this month's games come from such competitions (and four different leagues). After my French League game with Schenk (which is featured in the notes) my opponent asked me why nearly all the top players had given up the King's Indian. He simply couldn't understand it as he had spent all morning looking at 7...Na6 in the Classical and couldn't find anything good for White.
I could certainly sympathise with him as in Gallagher - Nunn I had been surprised by 7...Na6
and couldn't think of anything interesting to do for White.
In Spielmann - Gallagher I was back on the Black side of my favourite line and was able to repeat a game that had brought me success in last year's British Ch. However, my opponent improved and I won only after a tense struggle.
Cifuentes - Moreno is interesting because Black played 13...Nxc5,
a move which I had more or less dismissed last month, and drew very easily.
Rodgaard - Nygren was quite exciting but not so important from a theoretical point of view.
4 games featuring 7...Na6 is rather a lot so I'll try and spread my wings in the coming months, but the Classical remains by far White's most popular variation and 7...Na6 a very tough nut to crack.
We have one game with 7...Nc6, Pogorolev - Matamoros, where White went straight down a losing variation of the Korchnoi line (10 Be3), which I had actually pointed out on this site a few months back.
Ivan Sokolov had a couple of wins this month with 5 Bd3,
but in Sokolov - Golubev he required a rather large dose of good fortune.
In Agrest - Cicak White found himself facing a new version of the Benko Gambit but gave a very good account of himself, while in McNab - Sherwin, the Scottish Grandmaster demonstrated his tactical awareness.
Gotta dash now, as my first tournament for over three months starts this evening.
See you next month