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35.095 games played between August and September 2017 For Adrian Mikhalchishin the Catalan Opening remains a problem: should Black take the c4-pawn or not? And after the capture there is yet another decision to be taken: hang on to the c4-pawn for as long as possible or not. In the game which he himself played Black did not defend the c4-pawn but set out his stall with both ...a6 and ...Nc6. In the 2015 European Cup Yannick Pelletier managed another feat: he defeated Hikaru Nakamura, the No. 2 in the world ranking list! To do so he was able to turn to a beautiful idea which he himself had found in the King’s Indian. In the diagram the Swiss grandmaster had just sacrificed his bishop on a3 by playing 13.axb6!?. In the ensuing complications the American went wrong and Pelletier safely converted his advantage. Bent Larsen liked provoking his opponents. But in the game against Boris Spassky in the legendary match between the Soviet Union and the Rest of the World in 1970 he went too far. In a video Robert Ris shows you how the then reigning world champion who had Black immediately seized control and defeated his Danish opponent in only 17 moves.
The French Defence is the sharpest opening setup against 1.e4. With his first two moves, e6 and d5, Black tries to provoke the advance e4-e5. This closes the centre and gives Black the opportunity to get active play on both wings.
GM Yannick Pelletier is a specialist of this opening, and believes that the most efficient way to understand its ideas, plans, and typical structures is to study classical lines. He offers you a repertoire that is based on well-established lines that have been tried and tested for decades and that have proven their validity.
47.030 games played between August and October 2018.
Why not take half an hour and use the training videos by our authors Adrian Mikhalchishin, Yannick Pelletier and Georgios Souleidis to acquaint yourself with a few new ideas for your repertoire?
27.384 games played between April and June 2017
Adrian Mikhalchishin is actually a supporter of the black pieces whenever the Queen’s Gambit Accepted is up for discussion. But in this video he shows a new move for White. Jon Ludvig Hammer, who has the white pieces, belongs to Magnus Carlsen’s team, so our author believes that the remarkable idea is a fruit of the analysis work undertaken in preparation for the world championship matches.
Yannick Pelletier is justifiably proud of his game against Richard Rapport, Chess Olympiad Baku 2016. The Hungarian, with White, does emerge from the opening better, but then after a queen sacrifice by Pelletier what arises is a position of a completely different type. In 66 moves the Swiss grandmaster manages to lead the black pieces to victory.
Nihal Sarin, 12, and Luis Engel, 15, casually exchange ideas about a sharp line in the Najdorf System.
Le Hérisson est une formation particulière, caractérisée par une certaine structure de pions. Son apparente passivité est trompeuse, car ce système est en fait conçu pour les joueurs de contre attaque. Les pièces se placent harmonieusement derrière le mur de pions, et les noirs attendent le moment opportun pour réaliser une percée qui dévoilera tout le potentiel de leur position. Employé par de nombreux champions tels Kasparov, Karpov ou Carlsen, ce système peut convenir à tous les styles de jeu. Le Hérisson se rencontre dans diverses ouvertures.
The Hedgehog is a wily opening system characterized by a very particular pawn structure. At first glance, Black’s setup might appear somewhat passive, but looks can be deceiving! In this opening, Black is always waiting for a chance to take the initiative and launch a counterattack, positioning his pieces harmoniously behind a wall of pawns and waiting for just the right moment to break things open and thus release the full potential of his position. A number of world champions, including Kasparov, Karpov and Carlsen, have all played the Hedgehog. It is suitable for any playing style and can arise from a large number of opening systems.
An Elite Choice -
a reliable and ambitious weapon vs. 1.d4!
The Vienna Variation is a particular and independent system of the Queen’s Gambit. It arises after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4, when black’s capture on move 4 is strongly reminiscent of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. But the Vienna Variation is also inspired by Nimzo-Indian structures while keeping its own character. The main variations usually lead to asymmetrical pawn structures, where Black can hope to get a fighting game.
The London System, which for a long time had the reputation of a rather harmless sideline, has developed into a very popular opening, and World Champion Magnus Carlsen is only one of many top players who play it regularly. The London System indeed suits the modern approach to openings very well: White does not necessarily strive for an opening advantage but is content to develop his pieces and hopes to outplay his opponent in the middlegame. However, the London System is more dangerous than it seems and if Black is not careful he can easily wind up in a bad position. Theory develops fast today, even in less concrete systems.
The fact that Yannick Pelletier is a fan of the Hedgehog is something we would have found out at the latest at the end of last year when his Fritztrainer DVD appeared. In this video, which was only made after the recording of the DVD, he presents his rapid chess game against Grandmaster Shchekachev (Paris 2017). Once more the Hedgehog gives proof of how flexible and – when you get down to it – how effective it is!
22.676 games played between February and April 2018. For Adrian Mikhalchishin the Grünfeld Defence is at the moment the most difficult opening in modern chess. Complicated positions often appear on the board and Black achieves his first goal: obtaining counterplay. For White, the question is whether to play main lines or whether to prefer turning to a promising sub-variation which he has prepared thoroughly. Yet another option consists of the choice of a classical plan. The variation with the fianchetto and an early e4 goes back to Rubinstein, but, as the sample game from our Ukrainian top trainer proves, this setup has lost none of its venom.
35.855 games played between April and June 2018. Using his own game against Andrei Volokitin (Lvov 2016) Adrian Mikhalchishin explains a few ideas behind the English Variation with 6.a3 Bc5. It is only with best play that Black can equalise.
47.383 games played between December 2017 and February 2018. The Paulsen Variation in the Sicilian continues to be very popular. In one of the main lines – see the position in the diagram – Adrian Mikhalchishin suggests 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Qd4 (instead of 9.Na4). The Ukrainian top trainer analyses the game Wei Yi-Karthikeyan, Liaocheng 2017, which took a favourable course for White. Recently Yannick Pelletier’s DVD "The Hedgehog - a universal system against 1.c4 and 1.Nf3" was published by ChessBase. Since then the Swiss grandmaster has had more practical experience with his setup, which he would like to share with you. In the video he shows the game Housieaux-Pelletier, Vincennes 2017, which followed a typical course for the Hedgehog. Georgios Souleidis has very pleasant memories of his game against the Georgian grandmaster Merab Gagunashvili (European Cup 2003). Not only did he defeat a stronger opponent in great style, but he was also able to contribute to the theory of the Chigorin Defence.