An important refinement in a principled variation. I think we’ll soon learn the final reply to the question of whether Black draws in this particular branch. In the game itself Black even managed to exceed the plan i.e. to win.
Kramnik, V - Giri, A
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Be3 c5 8.Qd2 Qa5 9.Rc1 cxd4 10.cxd4 Qxd2+ 11.Bxd2 O-O 12.Nf3 e6
13.h4N Nc6 14.e5
A very fresh handling of a well-known structure. It seems Kramnik has managed to find the true theoretical Eldorado – a deep analysis of complex playable endgames which, if you dig around a bit, can now be found in any opening.
Mamedyarov, S - Sargissian, G
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Bf4 Nf6 5.e3 O-O 6.a3 b6
As Shakhriyar himself once told me, you can find a novelty based on the move g2-g4 in almost any variation. So then, you know the recipe. All that’s left is to go for it and, the main thing, go on to play an original position just as strongly as White did in this game.
Neelotpal, D - Cheparinov, I
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Bf4 Nbd7 10.Rd1 Ba6 11.b3 Re8 12.Nc3
We all know perfectly well how closely you need to follow new ideas from Cheparinov. The question he poses on this occasion is very logical – does Black actually need to bring the rook to c8 at all, given that then he has to worry about holding onto the a7-pawn?
Aronian, L - Karjakin, Sergey
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 O-O 9.O-O a6 10.e4 e5 11.Rd1 Qc7 12.h3 b5
This novelty soon allowed White to win a pawn, and then the game. Why only 6th place? Simply because my own modest abilities aren’t sufficient for an objective evaluation of the new move’s strength. After another 5 or so games in this line I’m sure it’ll become clearer.
Al Sayed, Mohamad - Ni Hua
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Nf3 b5 6.c5 g6 7.Ne5 Bg7
It’s always pleasant to encounter a new and original approach to a problem that’s been studied inside out. Moreover, I’ve got the strong suspicion that one way or another A. Kuzmin was involved in the preparation of this novelty and, as we know, that’s a sign of quality.
Ponomariov, R - Giri, A
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.d4 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd3 O-O 8.O-O dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3 Bb7 11.Rd1 b4 12.Na4
In any of the previous reviews this innovation could easily have hoped for 1st place. It really is startling to what degree computers have altered our vision of the game, as after all, Black’s giving up a pawn and opening the d-file just after the white rook appeared on it. A triumph of the concrete approach.
Nepomniachtchi, I - Mamedyarov, S
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 f6 7.O-O fxe5 8.dxe5
And just when people were talking about the exhaustibility of chess. Meanwhile, such novelties, played on move 7-8 and creating new directions in theory, are still biding their time, and number in the hundreds and thousands.
Ivanchuk, V - Leko, P
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Qe2 Bg4 16.Qf1 Qh5 17.Nd2 f5 18.c4
18... f4N 19.cxd5 c5
This is, of course, a higher class. Even a powerful computer doesn’t immediately understand what’s going on. My impression is that White can’t hope for an edge.
Aronian, L - Harikrishna, P
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.e3 Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6
Well, and this is a real landmark. Seldom in my whole career has something made as great an impression on me as White’s 10th move and the plan connected to it.
Here’s wishing both you and myself more weeks like this one!
Top-10 Theoretical Novelties TWIC № 872