It’s unlikely the line begun on White’s 13th move will gain wide popularity, although its originator is none other than Kramnik himself. Black’s reaction is probably the most logical, although I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one other path to equality is found here.
Ni Hua - Rodshtein, M
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.Ne5 Qd6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Qxc6+ bxc6 9.b3 Bg7 10.Bb2 Nxc3 11.Bxc3 Bxc3 12.dxc3 Be6 13.e4 a5
It’s hard to say to what degree this new move will change the established evaluation of this endgame as an equal one, but it looks very conceptual.
Le Quang Liem - Kramnik, V
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.e3 Be7 5.b3 O-O 6.Bb2 c5 7.Bd3 cxd4 8.exd4 Nc6 9.O-O b6 10.Nbd2 Bb7 11.Rc1 Rc8 12.Qe2 Re8 13.Rfd1 Bf8 14.Nf1 g6 15.Ne3 Bg7
Previously the normal thing was to retreat the bishop to b1. The opening in this game should no doubt appeal to fans of playing at the board and, in general, it’s rare for anyone to manage to pose Kramnik serious problems out of the opening.
Ni Hua - Miezis, N
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.Qf3 Qc7
8.a3 Bd6 9.Bg5N
I think it’s not the novelty itself that’s of interest, but the new direction in the struggle for an edge.
Giri, A - Ponomariov, R
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 O-O 6.e3 Nbd7 7.a3 c5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.Be5 Bg4 12.Be2 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Bf6 14.Bxf6 Qxf6
I’ve got almost no doubt this move also ultimately leads to a draw, but Ponomariov didn’t manage to prove it.
Al Sayed, Mohamad - Sokolov, A
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 O-O 6.a3 Bxc5 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bf4 Bb7 9.Rd1 Nc6 10.b4 Nh5 11.Bc1 Be7
I think this move will most likely put an end to this dubious sub-variation for Black – White’s space advantage is just too great.
Meier, G - Giri, A
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.O-O Nc6 7.e3 Rb8 8.Qe2 b5 9.b3 cxb3 10.axb3
But this is a truly important novelty. It’s Black’s whole approach to handling this typical position that’s revealing.
Stevic, H - Bu Xiangzhi
1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Be2 cxd4 7.cxd4 e6 8.O-O Nf6 9.h3 Bh5 10.Nc3 Qd6 11.Qb3 Be7 12.Rd1
An important novelty in a key variation. Even after analysing it for 15 minutes with a computer I still couldn’t come to any sort of final verdict.
Melkumyan, H - Zhigalko, S
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6 9.Ba5 b6 10.Qd6 Bd7 11.Bc3 f6
I haven’t got the slightest idea how strong this move is, but the result of the game speaks for itself.
Morozevich, A - Caruana, F
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Ne5 Bb7 10.h4 g4 11.Nxg4 Nxg4 12.Qxg4 Qxd4
And he’s back, as always, with a heap of ideas. This one, I’m sure, is of major significance.
Bye everyone! See you next week!
Top-10 Theoretical Novelties TWIC № 873