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Petrov’s ‘The Modern Benoni’ – still working

February 10th, 2015 7 comments

 

I like to keep an eye on how our various opening repertoires are performing over the board. When seeing a new game in the database, there will be comments in the office such as “That’s in Avrukh” or “I edited this line – it’s in Petrov.” The following recent game from the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters is both Avrukh and Petrov.

Re. Schaefer (2104) – M. Muzychuk (2520)
Gibraltar Masters 27.01.2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6

A move order favoured by some Benoni fans.

3.g3

After 3.Nc3 Black might well prefer 3…Bb4 rather than a Benoni.

3…c5

With White committed to a kingside fianchetto, the Benoni is a more attractive option to some.

4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8

9…a6 10 a4 is an equally common move order.

10.Nd2 a6 11.a4

Back in the main line.

11…Nbd7 12.h3 Rb8 13.Nc4 Ne5 14.Na3 Nh5 15.e4 Bd7 16.a5 b5 17.axb6 Bb5 18.Naxb5 axb5 19.Nxb5 Qxb6 20.Na3 Qb3

This is all following the main line of the main line of the main line of Marian Petrov’s answer to the Fianchetto System. It is variation B332322 on page 244 of GM Repertoire 12 – The Modern Benoni for those who have the book. It is also where Petrov meets Avrukh’s GM Repertoire 2. I would bet Boris will choose something different next time.

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Testing a Negi Recommendation

February 3rd, 2015 22 comments

Andrew Greet (2454) – Adam Hunt (2437)
4NCL 10.01.2015

Adam Hunt has always been a tough opponent for me. I lost to him several times as a kid, drew some games here and there, but had never beaten him. Our most recent clashes were in 2010, when I drew one game from a winning position and lost another in which he simply outplayed me. In short, I felt like I needed to do something different to break out of the cycle of bad results. It just so happens that Adam is a lifelong Najdorf player and, at the time when the game took place, I had not long finished editing Parimarjan Negi’s superb 1.e4 vs The Sicilian I against this very opening. Despite not having played against a Najdorf in well over a decade, and never having played 6.Bg5 in a serious game in my entire life, I decided this would be a good moment to roll the dice. To make matters more interesting, the book was not yet published and I didn’t have any of it saved on my laptop, so my preparation was based entirely on my memory of editing the book. Fortunately Parimarjan did an excellent job of explaining the most important ideas, so I felt like I would have reasonable chances to bluff my way through any unfamiliar territory.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7

My pre-game prep revealed that Adam had tried a few different lines against 6.Bg5, but the Three-Piece System (to use Negi’s terminology) had been his most frequent choice.

10.f5!?

Negi mainly focuses on the main line of 10.g4, in which he also has some excellent ideas for White. However, I decided to go for the text move, which is covered as a secondary option. I chose it partly for surprise value, and also because I was familiar with the main plans and knew I wouldn’t have to recall too many complicated variations.

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Holiday Reading – The Excerpts

December 23rd, 2014 92 comments

 

Over the past few weeks we have all been working hard to get four new books to the printer before we stop for the year. Well, today we killed the last of the stragglers. Considering the delay due to holidays and printing time, the books may not land in shops until the start of February.

So, for your holiday reading, excerpts are now available of the following books:

1.e4 vs The Sicilian I is the second volume of GM Negi’s 1.e4 repertoire. The excerpt is here. In the most recent New in Chess magazine, GM Matthew Sadler gave the first volume what just might be our best ever review.

Chess Structures by GM Mauricio Flores Rios shows how to build your chess understanding in a hurry. The excerpt will give a better idea of the book than my one-sentence attempt. I will be interested to hear what others think of this book, because I think it is hugely instructive.

And finally we have Mar del Plata I and Mar del Plata II – Volumes 2 and 3 in GM Kotronias’s King’s Indian series. It is a repertoire of course, and also full of spectacularly entertaining chess. Actually, that understates it – Kotronias is on a glorious quest to solve chess using the King’s Indian as a sword. I love reading these books, even though as a chessplayer I don’t speak King’s Indian. Excerpts are here and here.

 

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Playing the Trompowsky – and winning

December 18th, 2014 1 comment

The dream of getting a crushing position while still in one’s opening prep is an uncommon occurrence these days, at least at GM level. Most GMs are too well prepared to be caught so readily.

England’s Jonathan Hawkins will be awarded the GM title the next time FIDE does such things, and he is usually excellently prepared, but he had a rare opening accident recently against Hikaru Nakamura in the London Chess Classic Rapidplay.

H. Nakamura – J. Hawkins
London Chess Classic Rapidplay 06.12.2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.e3 c5 5.Bd3

5…Qb6

5…Nf6 was Avrukh’s recommendation in Grandmaster Repertoire 11 – Beating 1.d4 Sidelines.

6.Bxe4 Qxb2?!

The dubious sign was Richard Pert’s verdict in Playing the Trompowsky.

7.Bxd5

This “gives White huge amounts of play for the exchange,” said Richard. This game certainly supports that view.

7…Qxa1 8.Nf3 e6 9.Bb3 Nd7

A novelty, I believe, but it changes little. The game Richard quoted was 9…cxd4 as in Stefanova – Grobelsek, Croatia 2003.

10.0–0

White is way ahead on development and the black queen is in trouble.

10…cxd4?!

A better try was 10…Be7 but Black is in trouble anyway.

11.exd4 Bb4 12.Qd3 Qb2 13.c3 Be7 14.Bc1 Qa1 15.Qc2
1–0

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Busy busy busy

December 15th, 2014 63 comments

I am sorry that I do not have the time to write a proper blog post today. I have been working till 2am quite a number of nights in a row in order for our books to get sent to the printer before Christmas. Sadly this does not mean early January publication, as they are shut for a few weeks.

The following four books will most likely be released on the 4th of February:

Negi: 1.e4 vs. the Sicilian 1 (360 pages)

Flores Rios: Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide (464 pages)

Kotronias: Mar Del Plata 1 (320 pages)

Kotronias: Mar Del Plata 2 (300+ pages)

Furthermore we are preparing reprints of Playing the French, Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation (more about this next Monday) and of course the 10th anniversary hardback edition of Learn from the Legends.

Right now I am typesetting the first Kotronias book, which will be proof read from tomorrow morning. There is really some incredible chess in this book (which deals exclusively with the 9.Ne1 main line KID). One position I looked at a few moments ago was this one, arising after 25.Rxd7:

Here I will skip the details, but just give you the main line Vassilios has analysed:

25…Rg6!! 26.Bg1! Nxd7 27.Bb5 Rxa7 28.Qc2! Rb7 29.Bc6!? Rc7! 30.h3! Nxg2! 31.Qxg2 Qh6 32.Bb6 Nxb6 33.axb6 Rc8 34.b7 Rb8 35.Nd3 Rg5 36.Ra1 Rh5 37.Bd7! Rxb7 38.Be6† Kg7

Despite having played optimum moves in the last sequence, White is still struggling badly.

Basque – Scotland match

December 3rd, 2014 No comments

A Scottish team travelled to Basque country at the weekend for an exhibition match. Here’s my second game from the match. The opening is of some interest, as I achieved the (almost) impossible feat of improving on an Avrukh recommendation from Grandmaster Repertoire 2. True, Boris’s move gives a clear advantage, and the whole variation should obviously be avoided by Black, but it still feels like an achievement.

Andrew Greet (2442) – Inogo Argandone Riveiro (2415)
Basque – Scotland match (2), 29.11.2014

1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 c6 7.Nc3 Qa5 8.e4 Qh5

Black has chosen a rather dubious variation.

9.Ng5!

As given by Boris. I could faintly recall his recommending this move instead of the more common 9.e5 dxe5 10.Nxe5, but did not remember any other details. Still, with a healthy space advantage and the queens off the board, the position is not difficult to handle.

9…Qxd1 10.Rxd1 Nbd7

Avrukh’s main line is 10…e5 11.d5 when White keeps a plus.

11.f4!

Seizing space in the centre. From a positional point of view this was an easy decision, but it was necessary to spend a bit of time calculating the consequences of Black’s next move.

11…c5?

This seems like a principled reaction, but it leads to far greater problems.

12.e5 cxd4 13.exf6 exf6

Read more…

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The Modern Tiger

November 26th, 2014 10 comments

Here’s a snippet from The Modern Tiger, which will be available soon. The position is taken from the new chapter covering the Pirc as a back-up weapon against the Austrian. The following position is reached in analysis. Can you find a strong continuation for Black?

Black to play

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Negi against the Najdorf

November 7th, 2014 6 comments

Here’s a small preview of the next volume in Negi’s 1.e4 series, which you can either use as a “find the best move” exercise, or just follow for your own enjoyment. It comes from a line in the Poisoned Pawn.

Take a look at the following position, where Black has just answered 18.c2-c4 with 18…Qd5-c6, exploiting the pin on the white knight.

White has a big lead in development, but he is three pawns down, and must act quickly before Black organizes his defences. How would you proceed?

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