Alberto Chueca, FIDE Trainer & International Master 
Opening Novelties
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January 2021 – Opening Novelties 2nd

 

Today we continue analyzing interesting Opening Novelties that were played during January 2021. Many tournaments were analyzed, but the most amazing games (the ones that made this list of four Opening Novelties) are from the Top Level Tournament 83rd Tata Steel Masters 2021 Wijk aan Zee.

 

Opening Novelties Game 1

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters 2021”] [Site “Wijk aan Zee”] [Date “2021.01.18”] [Round “3.4”] [White “Caruana, Fabiano”] [Black “Duda, Jan-Krzysztof”] [Result “1/2-1/2”] [ECO “C42”] [WhiteElo “2823”] [BlackElo “2743”] [PlyCount “101”] [EventDate “2021.01.16”] [EventCountry “NED”] [Source “ChessBase”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nd7
8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O Nf6 10. Bd3 c5

 

Opening Novelties

11. Rhg1 N

 

The idea with this novelty is more or less clear: Caruana wants to start a typical Opposite-Side Caslting attack on the Kingside, advancing the “g” pawn to misplace the black Knight on f6 and weaken the important square h7. The Queen could join the attack by the path e2-h5, or the “h” pawn could be advanced as well if necessary to break and open lines. The middlegame is still very unclear, however, the Opening Novelty by Fabiano is actually interesting and it offers a new approach to White’s perspectives in this line. Even when the game ended up in a draw, it was a pretty exciting battle.

 

(11.Rhe1 had been played before in a game between the same masters 1/2-1/2 (85) Caruana, F (2823) -Duda, J (2743) Chess.com INT 2020, wanting to control the central and open “e” file, but it does not look like White can make too much progress in this middlegame)

 

b5 12. g4 Bb7 13. Qe2 c4 14. Bf5
Re8 15. Nd4 Nd5

 

16. Ne6

 

Qa5 17. Qf3 Bf6 18. g5 Bxc3

 

19. Bxh7+

 

Kxh7 20. g6+ fxg6
21. Ng5+ Kh8 22. Bd4 Bxd4 23. Rxd4 Nf6 24. Qxb7 Rab8 25. Qf7 Re1+ 26. Rd1 Rxg1
27. Rxg1 Re8 28. Ne6 Rxe6 29. Qxe6 Qxa2 30. Qh3+ Kg8 31. Qe6+ Kh7 32. Qh3+ Kg8
33. Qa3 Qxa3 34. bxa3 Kf7 35. Kd2 a6 36. Ke3 Nd5+ 37. Kd4 Ne7 38. Re1 Ke8 39.
a4 Kd7 40. axb5 axb5 41. Rg1 Kc6 42. h4 Nf5+ 43. Kc3 Nxh4 44. Kb4 Nf3 45. Rxg6
Nd4 46. c3 Ne2 47. Rxg7 Nf4 48. Ka5 Ne2 49. Kb4 Nf4 50. Ka5 Ne2 51. Kb4 1/2-1/2

 

Opening Novelties Game 2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters 2021”] [Site “Wijk aan Zee”] [Date “2021.01.17”] [Round “2.2”] [White “Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime”] [Black “Firouzja, Alireza”] [Result “1/2-1/2”] [ECO “B12”] [WhiteElo “2784”] [BlackElo “2749”] [PlyCount “70”] [EventDate “2021.01.16”] [EventCountry “NED”] [Source “ChessBase”]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O c5 7. c4 Nbc6 8. dxc5
dxc4 9. Bxc4 Ng6 10. Be3 Be7 11. Bb5 O-O 12. Bxc6 bxc6

 

Opening Novelties

13. Na3 N

 

Vachier-Lagrave finds an interesting path for the Queenside Knight to get a nice outpost on d6, protected by two pawns and in the middle of an important open file: Na3-c4-d6. Also, 13.Nbd2 is playable in this position, with similar ideas, but in this case, the move 13 … Bd3 could be a little more annoying.

However, Black can also try to use d5 as an outpost in the “d” file for a minor piece, as the young and strong master Firouzja did very accurately with his Bishop.

 

(13.Qxd8 had been played before, but Black does not have problems after this trade and they even won in the game 0-1 (80) Abdusattorov, N (2627) -Kobalia, M (2614) chess.com INT 2020)

 

Qb8 14. Nc4 Be4
15. Nd6 Bd5 16. b3 f6 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. Rc1 Qb4 19. Nc4 Be7 20. Ne1 Rad8 21.
Qe2 Qb8 22. Nd3 Rf5

 

23. f3

 

Nh4 24. Rf2 Kh8 25. f4 Ng6 26. Nce5 Nxe5 27. Nxe5
Qb4 28. Qc2 Kg8 29. Rd1 Bf6 30. Nc4 Bxc4 31. bxc4 Rxd1+ 32. Qxd1 Be7 33. Qb3
Qe1+ 34. Rf1

 

Qxe3+

 

35. Qxe3 Bxc5 1/2-1/2

 

Opening Novelties Game 3

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters 2021”] [Site “Wijk aan Zee”] [Date “2021.01.18”] [Round “3.2”] [White “Giri, Anish”] [Black “Donchenko, Alexander”] [Result “1/2-1/2”] [ECO “E21”] [WhiteElo “2764”] [BlackElo “2668”] [PlyCount “84”] [EventDate “2021.01.16”] [EventCountry “NED”] [Source “ChessBase”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Bd2 b6 6. e3 Bxc3 7. Bxc3 Ne4 8.
Rc1 Bb7 9. Bd3 d6 10. O-O Nxc3 11. Rxc3 Nd7 12. d5 e5 13. e4 a5 14. Bc2 Nc5

 

Opening Novelties

15.g3 N

 

This move does not seem to be very logical: it is weakening the castling and also blocking the 3rd Rank, so now the Rook cannot go to the “h” file. However, there are some interesting and good ideas behind this g3: White has a light squares Bishop, so putting pawns in dark squares is good since they do not block the Bishop and at the same time they protect the squares the Bishop does not protect. Also, after g3, there is Nh4, controlling f5, clearing the “f” file so at some point the move f4 could be playable (maybe after some Ng2 or Qe1 to protect the Knight on h4 to be able to eventually recapture with the “g” pawn)

 

(15.Qd2 had been played before in the game 0-1 (28) Reich,T (2373)-Istratescu,A (2583) Aschach 2017)

c6 16. dxc6 Bxc6 17. Qe2 Qe7 18. Qe3 g6 19. Re1 Rae8 20. b3 Kh8 21. Nh4 Rb8
22. a3 Ne6 23. b4 axb4 24. axb4 Nd4 25. Bd1 Ba8 26. Nf3 Ne6 27. Ra3 f5 28. exf5
Rxf5 29. Nd2 Rf7

 

30. f4

 

Nd4 31. fxe5 dxe5 32. Qxe5+ Qxe5 33. Rxe5 Nc6 34. Re1
Nxb4 35. Nf3 Bxf3 36. Rxf3 Rxf3

 

37. Bxf3

 

b5 38. cxb5 Rxb5 39. Rb1 Rb8 40. Rd1
Rf8 41. Be4 Na6 42. Rc1 Rf7 1/2-1/2

 

Opening Novelties Game 4

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters 2021”] [Site “Wijk aan Zee”] [Date “2021.01.24”] [Round “8.3”] [White “Harikrishna, Pentala”] [Black “Firouzja, Alireza”] [Result “0-1”] [ECO “D10”] [WhiteElo “2732”] [BlackElo “2749”] [PlyCount “112”] [EventDate “2021.01.16”] [EventCountry “NED”] [Source “ChessBase”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nc6 5. e3 Bf5 6. Bb5 e6 7. Nc3 Nge7

 

Opening Novelties

8.Rc1 N

 

Opening Novelties in the Elite at move number 8 do not happen every day. Of course, it helps that this is not the mainline in this variation. The idea with this move is pretty clear: the Rook goes to the only open file we have on the board; the player controlling this file will control the game. Also, White continues improving his pieces but delays a little the development of the Knight to f3, so the move g4 is still playable (notice Black has some issues to finish the development on the Kingside). This could be very annoying, since now after 8 … Ng6 9.g4! should be very strong.

 

(8.Nf3 developing very quickly, had been played before in the game 1/2-1/2 (30) Ubilava, E (2560) -Komljenovic, D (2495) San Sebastian 1992)

 

a6 9. Be2 f6 10. g4 Bg6 11. Nf3 Bf7 12. Bg3 h5 13. g5 Ng6 14. gxf6 h4 15.
fxg7 Bxg7 16. Be5 Ngxe5 17. dxe5 Nxe5 18. Nd4 Rc8 19. O-O Nc6

 

20. Bg4

 

Nxd4 21.exd4 Rc6 22. Ne2 h3 23. Rc3 Rh4 24. Rg3 Qc7 25. Re1 Kf8 26. Qd3 e5 27. Qa3+ Qd6
28. Qxd6+ Rxd6 29. Bxh3 exd4 30. Nc1 Rdh6 31. Bg2 Rxh2 32. Nd3 R2h5 33. f4 Rc6
34. Bf3 Rhh6 35. Rg2 Rhg6 36. f5 Rh6 37. Nf4

 

d3

 

38. Nxd3 Bd4+ 39. Nf2 Rc2 40.
Kf1 Rxb2 41. Re2 Rb1+ 42. Re1 Rhb6 43. Nd3 Bc3 44. Rxb1 Rxb1+ 45. Kf2 Ke7 46.
Rh2 Kf6 47. Ke3 Kg5 48. Nc5 Rb5 49. Rh7 Bg8 50. Rc7 Kxf5 51. Nxb7 d4+ 52. Kf2
Rb2+ 53. Be2 Kf4 54. Nd6 Bd2 55. Kf1 Rb1+ 56. Bd1 d3 0-1

 

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