Our first game, Bu Xiangzhi-Dyachkov,S, Moscow Aeroflot op-A 2006, featured an unusual line of the Classical variation.
White has just played 8.dxe5, which is a rare guest in tournament practice. Two moves later he took on d1 with the a-rook, which is also an uncommon option. Black reacted correctly and soon obtained the upper hand, and then outplayed his strong opponent in clear positional style.
This time we were fortunate to witness the comeback of the line with 8...c6 in two high-level games. Allow me to start with the game Ftacnik, L - Kasimdzhanov, R, Bundesliga 0506.
This position arose after 8...c6, which was tested in one of the Kasparov-Karpov matches. In that game Garry achieved equality without too many problems. Lubomir preferred the line with 9.d5, but also here Black didn't seem to have any problems equalizing. Time-trouble saw a lot of mistakes from both sides, but White was the last to err and so the former FIDE World Champion won the game.
The game Rychagov, A - Morozevich, A featured Karpov's 9.dxe5 instead. The young Russian deviated from the above mentioned game between the two World Champions with 10.a3 instead of 10.Qxd8, which leads to equality. However it wasn't enough to surprise Morozevich, who defended resourcefully and even obtained a nominal edge, but eventually he had to agree to a draw as White's position was solid enough. Analysing these two games I get the impression that White doesn't know a clear way to gain the advantage and so I think that this line will gain in popularity in the near future.
The side line with 6...Bg4
The game Epishin, V - Mamedyarov, S, 1st Rapid Canada de Calatrava 2006 featured a side line of the Classical system with 6..Bg4.
The main position of this line arose after 7...Nfd7 - see the diagram above. Epishin then played 8.0-0, and it's curious that I have previously commented 5 (!) alternative moves here! After the 17th move White's position was better, but the wrong execution of a correct idea on the next move threw away the advantage. However, with great play White maintained the balance, but then a series of mistakes in the later stage of the game ruined all his efforts and soon he had to resign. The opening line seems to be in White's favour, although one has to be very accurate since Black has hidden resources.
This key position arose after Bareev's novelty 16.Ng3. Inarkiev considerably improved on Bologan's play in the afore-mentioned game with 16...Bxb2, took the initiative and won the game in good style. This good opening novelty may put an end to interest in the line with 8.e5 !
The game Izoria, Z - Inarkiev, E, 7th ch-Euro t/b 2006 turned out to be an easy win for the Georgian player.
In the diagram position White tried an interesting idea, 9.Nf3, which is new for this particular position. He obtained an advantage surprisingly easily and in the position of the following diagram:
Black played 22...Bd7??, which led to an immediate disaster. The plan implemented by Izoria in this game deserves further tests.
The game Lautier, J - Smirin, I, 4NCL 2006 featured the line with 6...e5.
In the diagram position Black came up with the new idea 16...Qe8, instead of Gligoric's 16...Qc8, which didn't allow Black to equalize however. Smirin was overrun by the strong play of the Frenchman, who gave him no chance. I believe something is wrong with the entire 7...c6 line.
Our last, but definitely not least, game in this update is the game Mamedyarov, S - Bologan, V, 13th Russian Cht Premier league 2006.
The diagram position arose after White's 15th move c5. I believe White is slightly better here. Viorel played a new idea 15...Rd8, instead of 15...Nd7. White didn't react in the best way and Black equalized. Later he even deviated from a repetition of moves, which in fact was his mistake, as Mamedyarov took the initiative and eventually won the game. I believe the real test of Bologan's idea would be 16. Rxd8.
Enjoy the issue and see you in June.