Alberto Chueca, FIDE Trainer & International Master 
Opening Novelties
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February 2021 – Opening Novelties

 

Which were the most amazing and interesting Opening Novelties in February 2021? How to understand the new moves these Masters played? That is what we analyze in this post, also highlighting some of the most interesting and instructive moments in those games.

There is even a Novelty from the Best Player in the World, Magnus Carlsen. Enjoy these beautiful Opening Novelties!

 

Opening Novelties Game #1

Demchenko,Anton (2610) – Frey,Fabian (2106) [B40]

1st FIDE OWCCCC Pools-East 2021 Online (1.13), 19.02.2021

 

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. Qe2 Qc7 6. O-O Be7 7. e5 Ng4 8. Re1 d6 9. exd6 Bxd6

 

February 2021 – Opening Novelties

10. Na3 N

 

({Predecessor:} 10. Nc3 a6 11. d4
cxd4 12. Nxd4 Nge5 13. Nxc6 Nxc6 14. Nd5 Qd8 15. Qg4 Kf8 16. Ne3 {1-0 (26)
Motwani,P-Kuijf,H Denmark 1980})

 

Is this move better than Nc3? Shouldn’t Knights be developed over the Center?

This Novelty is actually better than the traditional Nc3. The idea is that White is threatening Nb5 forking Queen and Bishop (if White trades the Knight for the Bishop is definitely very well for the first player), but even if Black tries a6, then Nc4 is still very strong because whereas Black lost a tempo, the Knight comes to the Center and threatens the Bishop again. White is better in this position. This is one of the best Opening Novelties in this period.

 

10 … O-O 11. Nb5 Qb8 12. d3 Bd7 13. Nxd6 Qxd6 14. Bf4 Qe7
15. h3 Nf6 16. Ne5 Rac8 17. c3 Nxe5 18. Qxe5 Bc6 19. Bxc6 Rxc6 20. d4 Rd8 21.
Rad1 cxd4 22. Rxd4 Rxd4 23. Qxd4 a6 24. c4 h6 25. Rd1 Qb4 26. b3 Kh7 27. Be5
Qe7 28. Qd3+ Kg8

 

 

29. Qd8+ Qxd8 30. Rxd8+ Kh7 31. Bxf6 gxf6 32. Rd7 b5 33. cxb5
axb5 34. Rxf7+ Kg6 35. Re7 Ra6 36. Rb7 Rxa2 37. Rxb5 e5 38. Rb6 Rb2 39. b4 h5
40. h4 Kf5 41. b5 Kg6 42. Rb8 Kg7 43. b6 Rb3 44. Kf1 Rb2 45. b7 Rb6 46. Ke2 Rb5
47. Kd3 Rb2 48. Kc4 Rb1 49. Kd5 Rb2 50. Ke6 Rb6+ 51. Kf5 Rb3 52. Ke6 Rb6+ 53.
Ke7 Rb4 54. Kd6 Rb6+ 55. Kc5 Rb1 56. f3 Rb2 57. Kd5 Rb1

 

 

58. g4 hxg4 59. fxg4
Rb2 60. h5 Rb1 61. Ke4 Rb2 62. Kf5 Rf2+ 63. Ke6 Rb2 64. h6+ Kh7 65. Kxf6 e4 66.
g5 Rb6+ 67. Kf5 e3 68. Re8 Rxb7 69. g6+ Kxh6 70. Rh8+ Kg7 71. Rh7+ 1-0

 

Opening Novelties Game #2

Carlsen,Magnus (2862) – Zakharov,Alexander S (2428) [C01]

1st FIDE OWCCCC Pools-East 2021 Online (3.37), 19.02.2021

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. exd5 exd5 5. Qf3 c6 6. Bd3 Qf6 7. Qxf6 Nxf6 8.
f3 O-O 9. Nge2 b6 10. Bg5 Nfd7 11. a3 Bd6

 

February 2021 – Opening Novelties

12. Bf4 N

 

({Predecessor:} 12. b4 Bb7 13. O-O Re8 14. Rfe1
Nf8 15. Bf4 Bxf4 16. Nxf4 Nbd7 17. Bf5 Nf6 18. h4 {1/2-1/2 (36) Damia,A (2268)
-Makoveev, I (2137) Budapest 2016})

 

Why does the World Champion waste a tempo moving the Bishop back when his King is still in the Center of the board and he could just castle?

The idea of this move is to trade his bad Bishop for Black’s best one. About the King, as the Queens have been traded, there is no danger and the Boss is actually very well in the Center, also keeping in mind that we are playing an endgame already. The Bishops trade also creates a nice infiltration point in the 7th rank over e7. One of the most positional Opening Novelties in this post.

 

12 .. Bxf4 13. Nxf4 Ba6 14. Kd2
Bxd3 15. Nxd3 Re8 16. Rhe1 Rxe1 17. Rxe1 Kf8 18. b4 a6

 

 

19. a4 Ra7 20. b5 axb5
21. axb5 Nf6 22. Rb1 Ke7 23. Nb4 Kd6 24. bxc6 Ra5 25. Nd3 Nxc6 26. Rxb6 Kc7

 

 

27. Rb5 Rxb5 28. Nxb5+ Kb6 29. Nd6 Nxd4 30. Nxf7 Kc6 31. Nf4 Kc5 32. Kd3 1-0

 

Opening Novelties Game #3

Kardashevskiy,Evgeny (2427) – Maiorov,Nikita (2495) [E18]

Moscow Open-A 2021 Moscow (7.6), 26.02.2021

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2
f5 9. Ne5 Bf6 10. Nxe4 Bxe4 11. Bxe4 fxe4 12. Qc2 d5 13. cxd5 exd5

 

February 2021 – Opening Novelties

14. b4 N

({Predecessor:} 14. f4 exf3 15. Nxf3 Re8 16. Rac1 c6 17. Bf4 Re6 18. g4 g6
19. e3 Nd7 20. h4 Rc8 21. h5 Nf8 22. Kh1 c5 23. Qf2 Qe7 24. g5 Bh8 25. h6 Rd8 {
1/2-1/2 (25) Pleijsier,H (2117)-Praznik,N (2354) ICCF email 2018})

 

The White Knight on e5 is in a nice outpost, and Black clearly wants to play c5 to put pressure on the base and get rid of the protection of that Knight. This move b4 is just avoiding any expansion from the second player on the Queenside, and at the same time, it is getting some space on that side of the board. Besides, the fact that the “c” pawn cannot advance, makes it weak and very targetable over the file.

 

14 … a6
15. Rac1 Ra7 16. Qb3 Re8 17. Rfd1 Re6 18. f4 exf3 19. exf3 c6

 

 

20. f4 Re8 21. a4
b5 22. a5 Qd6 23. Rc5 Rc7 24. Rdc1 Qe6 25. Qd3 g6 26. Kg2 Rec8 27. R5c2 Bg7 28.
Re1 Qf6 29. Be3 Nd7 30. Rf2 Qf5 31. Qxf5 gxf5

 

 

32. Rc2 Nf6 33. Rec1 Ne4 34. Kf3
Kf8 35. Ke2 Ke7 36. Kd3 Kd6 37. Rg2 Ke6 38. Rgc2 Kd6 39. Rg2 Ke6 40. Rgc2 Kd6
41. Rg2 1/2-1/2

 

Opening Novelties Game #4

Afanasiev,Nikita (2519) – Stupak,Kirill (2492) [C09]

Moscow Open-A 2021 Moscow (8.1), 27.02.2021

 

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. exd5 exd5 6. Bb5 Qe7+ 7. Be2 Qc7 8.
O-O Nf6 9. Re1 cxd4 10. Nb3 Bb4 11. Bd2 Bxd2 12. Qxd2 O-O 13. Nfxd4 Re8

 

February 2021 – Opening Novelties

14. Bb5 N

 

({Predecessor:} 14. Bf1 Bd7 15. f3 Qb6 16. Qf2 Ne5 17. Nb5 Nc4 18. Rxe8+ Rxe8 19.
Qxb6 axb6 20. Bxc4 dxc4 21. N3d4 Bxb5 {1/2-1/2 (21) Kudrin,S (2420)-Stupak,K
(2515) Chess.com INT 2020})

 

There is only one open file on the board, that is the “e” file, and both sides clearly need to fight for it, since the one who controls it will have the initiative and real chances to win the game. So, it makes a lot of sense to move the Bishop to clear that line for the Rook.

Then, there are some options for this Bishop, but going to b5 is quite interesting. It is pinning the Knight,  but one of the ideas is that after an eventual trade on c6, black pawns will be fixed on light squares, so dark squares will be very weak. Specifically, the square c5 will be available for the Knight on b3, which means White can put a lot of pressure on the Center and the Queenside with both Knights on d4 and c5.

14 … Bd7 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Nc5 Ne4 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. Nb3 Bf5 19. Qa5 Qe5 20. Qxe5
Rxe5 21. Rad1

 

 

21… e3 22. f4 Re4 23. Rd4 Rae8 24. Rxe4 Rxe4 25. g3 Ra4 26. Rxe3 g6
27. a3 Bxc2 28. Nc5 Rd4 29. Re8+ Kg7 30. Kf2 Rc4 31. Nb7 Be4 32. Ke3 Bf5

 

 

33. Rd8 Re4+ 34. Kf2 Rc4 35. Rd2 Be6 36. Nd6 Rc1 37. Ne4 Kf8 38. Ke3 Ke7 39. Nc3 f5
40. Ne2 Rh1 1/2-1/2

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