What is New in Theory? (February 2014)

Category: Reviews

In the current update on ChessPublishing.com our columnist offers you some Scotch by way of refreshment-Ed.

My friend, Max is an aggressive player with a hussar style. The other day he sought the advice of his coach on playing a young star who copies Carlsen’s openings to perfection.

“First rule: Don’t play the Spanish. He would torment you with Berlin till you pass out. Choose a line that suits your style and engage him in hand-to-hand combat,” the coach said. Now was it the right advice? Just think.

That’s what Hikaru Nakamura did against Carlsen himself and lost in their blitz game at the recent Zürich Chess Challenge.

In the month’s update on e4 e5 openings at ChessPublishing.com Viktor Mikhalevski offers a fascinating analysis of the encounter. Here is a glimpse:

(I have simplified it a bit and added a little explanation for the sake of younger readers.)

Hikaru Nakamura – Magnus Carlsen Zurich Chess Challenge (Blitz) 2014

An exciting game. But Nakamura did not play the critical line.* So how should he have played? If you are a subscriber and check out the site, you will find the answer. Here is a field map for players who have just begun to learn theory.

(I have kept it easy for everyone to follow.)

The Scotch Four Knights (C47)

From the analysis here you can see that the opening holds promise and deserves more tests in practice.

But what about Spanish? A number of players have come to the conclusion that there is no point in playing e4 as one has to face the endgame with Berlin. Not necessarily. There is still a lot of play left in Berlin. But I think it’s better to learn and practice other open games and then come to Spanish and Berlin.

There is much else to explore on this site. Among others do not miss David Vigorito’s update on the King’s Indian with games from Zürich Chess Challenge and Glenn Flear’s updates on Benko, Blumenfeld and Albin counter-gambits.

A rich harvest!

See you next month.

*Note: Nakamura had held in reserve his real preparation (1.d4) against Carlsen for their encounter in the main event-Ed.

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Updated 04.10.2023


michalis Agrimanakis:
good opening
Glad to see your interest and mentioning the game Kramnik-Aronian, Tal Memorial 2012.We did not give detailed game references as this was essentially a roadmap and we wanted to keep it simple for younger readers.There is a lot more theory available to subscribers at ChessPublishing.com and it is regularly updated.Of course we expect a number of TNs in the ensuing Candidates’ Tournament.Check out our reports and updates for an informed discussion.
Richard Ingram:
Kramnik introduced the move 10 h3 against Aronian in the 2012 Tal Memorial in Moscow. Stay tuned to see how many novelties he unleashes in the 2014 Candidates.