Qal

Aside from 4 c4( ), this is clearly the most precise way for White to handle the Exchange Variation. In general terms, d3 is the most aggressive square for the bishop. But specifically, the move fits well with the priority of causing Black a headache over the deployment of his light-squared bishop. Desirable ill it elf, this also has useful spin-offs. Since Black will be well advised to avoid playing e6, blocking this piece in, he needs to find a solution to the c8-bishop question' before he...

Ifal

It invites the thougiit that playing in the spirit of the Short system with 5 1 and 6 Ae2 cannot be so bad. Though blocking the c pawn is not optimal there, the possibility of unblocking it with gain of time by a subsequent a4 is attractive. However, I have always had a soft spot for 5 ia.d3 . when the greedy 5 tfxd4 6 < & f3 Wg4 7 h3 WhS (but not 7 .Wxg2 8 fig I Wxh3 9 & fl ixc2 10 lte2 11 ld4, when White wins a piece for three pawns and retains a serious initiative) 8 0 0 (8 je2' also...

Info

After this long but vety important excursion, we return to the more modest but still critical 6 Ctf3 ( D) My lmtjal comments on 6 f3 touched on the reasons why Black's choices are somewhat limited here The text-move is consistent, overwhelmingly the most popular and almost certainly theoretically sound, although I am in a sense sympathetic with Joe Gallagher's comment that there is something a bit artificial about the extent to which Black neglects the mobilization of his kingside. There is...

M

Cl 8 xe5 9 4 id4 9 sf4 gt c6 10 Jib5 m7 11 We2 fiel looks OK for Black, who is ready to get his king out of the centre and has a good structure in the centre if he can consolidate 9 -.ijd7' trying to forcc White to weaken his que Eiside 10 b4 10 f4 jbtc5 11 f5 e5 is fine for Black I0 ii.e7 11 1.4 h6 12 ilg2 and now the key undermining move 12 a5 shows the drawback to White's lOtli and gives fair counterplay 13 a3 axb4 14 axb4 Rxal 15 xal iigflS has nothing special to offer White while after 13...

M mBM

Freeing himself is still no easy matter, but it is clearly White who can now claim the upper hand. 30 Sdl 31 g4 Sal It is always difficult to make sound judgements when the bind that has been enjoyed over a position is first slipping away. The bishop still has the aura of a good piece, hut its power of constriction has been lost and this is probably the moment to seek counterplay in a pure rook ending. The defensive task after 3I Jbcf3 J 32 txf3 fxg4 33 xg4 Id2 34 SB...

The Caro-kann

Certainly this way. 7 exd57 would be dubious for both defensive and offensive reasons. The natural 8 JsL63 would be a powerful first step towards frustrating Black's attempts to maintain control of 15 and prevent the powerful advance of White's f-pawn. With both Jig 5 and 06 in the air. encouraged by the weakening of the g6-square which 4 Ji5 represents. Black has little realistic hope of keeping the kingside blockaded. Meanwhile, there is precious little counterplay since any c5 advance will...

Russian Ch Moscow

1 e4 c6 2 d4 ds 3 e5 Af5 4 f3 e6 ID This deceptively modest system of develop oient was hardly seen prior to Nigel Short s highly successful deployment of it back in the early 1990s. It seems to have been one of those systems which came up against a fair degree of initial scepticism. Surely such a slow build-up by White could lead to little moie than a space advantage comparable with that found in the Advance French, with the disadvantage of al lowmg a splendid bishop on f5 most decidedly not...