Monthly Archives: Feb 2017

PRO Chess League On

The popular playing site launched its Pro league in the first half of January. They managed to attract the world’s best players, including the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, So, Caruana, Nakamura, Vachier,  to name but a few. The main idea is that any city on this planet can form their team and participate.

I have excellent relations with the people of Chess Informant (I am also a regular contributor to the publication) and they invited me to be part of their team, the Belgrade Sparrows. The team has great spirit as I can hear every time we speak on Skype – they meet at the Informant’s venue in Belgrade and play all together. I am the only player who plays from home as I don’t live in Belgrade. After every match we chat on Skype and the cheers are loud and can be heard clearly!

So far the team’s run has been good – we won 3 matches, lost 2 and drew 1. The next round will be decisive for qualification for the knock-out stage and the pairings for it should come out soon.

To my own surprise, my result is great. I’ve won 13 games, lost 3 and drew 2. I played some very strong players like GMs Vidit, Gledura, Ghosh, Borisek, Skoberne and Pavasovic. The time control is 15 minutes with 2 second increment, so the quality of the games is acceptable, at least to a certain point. A typical example where I managed to use some old preparation in the Breyer Spanish (does anyone remember the move 11 Nh4, successfully used by Fischer in the 60s?) is against the Indian GM Diptayan Ghosh, currently rated 2573. I quickly got a winning position, played well and then missed a mate in 2! Luckily, the position was still easily winning even after that.

Another curiousity from my games is that except for one, all my black games started with 1 d4 or 1 Nf3. For this league I prepared the set-up with …b6 and …g6 in the QID and had great success with it! It also worked for the London System (1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b6 3 Bf4 and also 3 Bg5).

It’s a lot of fun to play in the league, plus I am usually facing strong opponents. I will try to post some games in a later post, as for some reason the Blogger platform experiences problems with the board.

The last round of the group phase is on Wednesday, so I hope we qualify!


QGD Repertoire for Black II

A few months ago I wrote about the QGD repertoire I created for the opening-learning site Chessable and it turned out to be very popular and a lot of people liked it.

That repertoire included only the lines in the QGD, the starting position being after 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Be7. Following the popularity of the repertoire and the opening, I felt that this required a second part, one that would cover all the possible lines on the way to the QGD. With this second part now finished, the reader will have a complete repertoire after 1 d4.

The main one of white’s alternatives to the QGD is the Catalan. One of the most popular openings nowadays, the Catalan requires a very good theoretical knowledge on black’s part, otherwise he may be run over by white’s positional pressure. My suggested line against the Catalan is the relatively recent discovery 5…Bd7 (after 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 g3 dc 5 Bg2). In the beginning black’s plan was to play …Qd7, castle long and follow it up with …h5-h4. While undoubtedly exciting (I have played like this more than once) I now feel that white should have the upper hand here – hence my suggestion for this repertoire is the new plan with 9…Rd8 with play in the centre later on by …e5. Recent practice has shown that black has an excellent position here and the white is hard pressed to show constructive ideas against it.

The second most popular option white has is the London System. A popular choice at club level it has been played quite a lot recently by the elite as well. Black has many possible plans against it and my proposal is the simple plan of taking on d4 followed by the development of the bishop to f5. This reaches a Carlsbad structure that white players have tried to treat in an aggressive way, but the suggested line with 9…Bg4 effectively neutralises these attempts. Black obtains a very solid position without weaknesses with the clear plan of a minority attack in perspective.

The other alternatives are much less common but they still should be taken seriously. Here are the attempted Trompowsky 2 Bg5, Jobava’s pet line 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bf4 (3…a6!), the dubious Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (practically refuted), the Veresov Attack, the Colle and Zukertort Systems (the latter used by none other than Carlsen in his match against Karjakin!) and a few more. All of them are carefully analysed and sensible plans for black are proposed. In all lines black has an easy and understandable play.

Like in the QGD series, I again used my own personal analysis to create this repertoire. What I said then is also valid now – this has never been published or made known before and I am actually revealing my own preparation. The lines I suggest are the lines I have intended (and still intend) to play. Many of them I have already used, both in official and traning games, and they have withstood the test of time and practice. This is a repertoire I firmly believe in. It has served me well and I will continue to rely on it in the future. I had great results with these lines and I wish you have even better ones. Good luck!

On the Way to the Queen’s Gambit Declined


GM Vidit Joins Goldchess

I occasionally write about Goldchess and its aim to become one of the most prominent chess sites on the web. The people behind it are serious in their endeavours and their latest addition only proves the fact.

GM Vidit, rated 2673 as of this February, is one of the young and promising Indian grandmasters, who together with Adhiban, Sethuraman and Harikrishna was part of the fantastic Indian team that finished 4th (shared, but with best tie-break) at the Baku Olympiad last year. He had the best score on the team (8/11) and in this year’s Wijk tournament he served as Anish Giri’s second.

Goldchess identified Vidit as a bright prospect who can help popularise the site in Asia and they made him a patron of the site. Recently Goldchess has been developing rapidly and truly is a chess site of the near future! Currently they are running the 5th edition of the Non-stop Weekly Tournament and you are welcome to take part in the future editions. Please take a look at their site for more information.
To conclude, I would like to show you one of Vidit’s games from the Olympiad. He started with 5/5 and the last win from that streak was against Arkadij Naiditsch (who represented Azerbaijan). The final theme of domination is very pretty.