Reports | August 20, 2009 17:37

The classical 1.e4 e5 is hot; the Semi-Slav is not

ChessVibes Openings 31-33In the last three weeks our IMs Merijn van Delft and Robert Ris noted that many top GM games starting with 1.e4 e5 are played quite dynamically: Aronian's 3...Nge7 in the Ruy Lopez, Nepomniachtchi's 2.d4 or Short's Two Knights are only three examples. The Semi-Slav, on the other hand, seems to be under pressure these days. And did you notice that French rising star Vachier-Lagrave seems to have personally rehabilitated the 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nc6 Najdorf? All this, and much more, is analysed in ChessVibes Openings #31, #32 and #33.

Which openings are hot in top level chess? Which are not? Receive the latest opening novelties right in your mailbox with ChessVibes Openings, a weekly PDF magazine (+ PGN!) covering the latest openings news, co-authored by International Masters Merijn van Delft and Robert Ris and published by ChessVibes.

What's hot and what's not?

Latest issues: #31-33, August 5-19, 2009

Issues #31-33 discuss all important theoretical opening novelties from the the last three weeks, or in other words: all you need to know about the latest opening developments from Biel, the Mainz Chess Classic, the Grand Prix in Jermuk, the Staunton Memorial, the Zurich Jubilee Open, and the French and Hungarian Championships.

ChessVibes Openings no. 31-33ChessVibes Openings #31
The latest opening developments of the first week of August 2009. All about the Centre Game (1.e4 e5 2.d4) which is analysed in our Game of the Week. Other lines that are covered:

  • Najdorf, Poisened Pawn, 10.e5
  • Caro-Kann, Panov, 6...Be6
  • Queen's Gambit Declined, 5.Bf4
  • Semi-Slav, Latvian Attack (7.g4 h6)

This week's opening is expert is Armenian top GM Vladimir Akopian.

ChessVibes Openings #32
The latest opening developments of the fourth week of June 2009. All about the Sicilian Taimanov which is analysed in our Game of the Week. Other lines that are covered:

  • Petroff, 9.cxd5
  • Two Knights, 8.Bd3
  • Four Knights, 11.Bd2
  • Dutch, 3.Nc3 g6 4.h4

This week's opening is expert is Polish GM Michal Krasenkow.

ChessVibes Openings #33
The latest opening developments of the third week of August 2009. All about the Exchange Grünfeld which is analysed in our Game of the Week - a true masterpiece by Sutovsky, in which Black castles queenside! Other lines that are covered:

  • Najdorf, 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nc6
  • Semi-Slav, 6.Bd3
  • Semi-Slav, 6.Qc2
  • King's Indian, 7...Nbd7

This week's opening is expert is German rising star GM Georg Meier.

What is ChessVibes Openings?

ChessVibes Openings - What's hot and what's not?Every issue consists of a ZIP archive file, including both the PDF Magazine and the accompanying PGN file. The PDF consists of three pages (A4 size) with the following contents:

  • What's hot? A round-up of this week's important opening developments, with statistics about the frequence and score of the week's most important opening novelty (page 1)
  • What's not? Which openings are not recommended at the moment, according to the top players? And why not? (page 1)
  • Game of the week Each week you'll find the theoretically most important game analysed by our two IMs, with a detailed survey of the opening phase (page 2).
  • This week's harvest Four more new important opening ideas from this week (page 3) revealed and described with explanation of the opening and early middlegame (page 3).
  • Opening expert Every week an opening expert is covered, explaining the GM's expertise and showing a key game with annotations (page 4). Examples from the first two issues: Teimour Radjabov (King's Indian with Black), Alexey Dreev (White: Nimzo-Indian; Black: Caro-Kann and Slav).

Buy with iDEAL

Ehm... can I have a look?

Here's what ChessVibes Openings #16 (April 22, 2009) looks like:

FREE SAMPLE ISSUE - ChessVibes Openings #16 - click to download!

  • What's hot? A round-up of the most important opening developments of mid-April, including statistics about the frequence and score of the Chebanenko position after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.c5 Nbd7 6.Bf4 Nh5 7.Bd2 Nhf6
  • What's not? This week 1.e4 e5 was hot, as the top players categorically avoided the Semi-Open Games. Interestingly, the classical 1...d5 was also much more popular than the more modern answers to 1.d4, at the FIDE Grand Prix in Nalchik.
  • Game of the week "‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt spend much time on it before the game, but I prepared seriously for this tournament and we did investigate this line,‚Äù Peter Leko said at the press conference in Nalchik, after his game against Sergei Karjakin. Page two has a closer look at this highly interesting draw in the Chebanenko.
  • This week's harvest For more opening ideas from the Ruy Lopez Marshall, Sicilian Taimanov, Queen's Indian and Ragozin Defence.
  • Opening expert This week Rustam Kasimdzhanov is highlighted. The former FIDE World Champion and current second of Anand has a broad repertoire, switching from hypersharp openings like Dragon and Anti-Moscow to positional Queen‚Äôs Gambit lines.

FREE SAMPLE ISSUE - ChessVibes Openings #16 - click to download!

What does it cost?

As a subscriber you'll receive the PDF Magazine and accompanying PGN files in your mailbox every week.

A one-year subscription is € 25 (that's less than € 0.50 per issue!) - for price in US $ click here

Buy with iDEAL

Please note that it's still possible to start your subscription as a first-week subscriber.
Just let us know and we'll send you all previous issues!

July 1, 2009: Eugene Manchester reviews ChessVibes Openings for ChessCafe

In the July 1 issue of ChessCafe's Book Review (mirror here) ChessVibes Openings was reviewed by Eugene Manchester. Some quotes:

CVO in ChessCafe"So, who-ya-gonna-call? Opening busters? Not quite. For the reasonable price of 25 euros per year, once a week you can receive intelligent, interesting opening surveys and analysis presented by a team lead by Dutch IMs Merijn van Delft & Robert Ris."

"The format and presentation are consistently of high quality, with variety of coverage and opening analysis."

"The cost per year is roughly equivalent to a good chess book. Each week you get a four- page issue packed with opening analysis, at least two thoroughly annotated games with one or more of that week’s featured openings, a glimpse into the world of the latest opening novelties, in short, a quality weekly opening report."

May 7, 2009: GM Hedinn Steingrimsson reviews ChessVibes Openings for Chess Today

In issues 3103 (Thursday, May 7) of Chess Today, the daily chess newspaper which also comes into your inbox by email in PDF, ChessVibes Openings was reviewed by GM Hedinn Steingrimsson from Iceland. Some quotes:

CVO in CT"What I like about ChessVibes Openings is their focus on the trend and discoveries that are revealed in super tournaments and by very strong players. It makes sense for all tournament chess players and opening theoreticians to follow these developments and getting an overview from ChessVibes Openings definitely saves time."

"I find it positive that there is consistency in the openings covered so that the readers will with time have a certain repertoire available based on different theoretical articles from ChessVibes about e.g. the Anti-Moscow Variation."

"For those that really want to find out how to get a better position out of the opening and are willing to enter complications and do some homework in order to succeed, ChessVibes Openings can be recommended."

What's hot and what's not?

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

Latest articles