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Every Russian Schoolboy Knows: Karjakin’s Secret Weapon

Opening: E15: Queen's Indian

Player(s): Karjakin, Nakamura

Big part of Sergey Karjakin's preparation for the Candidates was to revamp his opening repertoire with Black. Too many times in the past Sergey would surrender the initiative from the early going, and then had to defend passively. One might argue that in doing this Sergey had developed himself into a great defender. Still, in order to reach the new heights a new approach had to be found. For example, in the Queens Indian in reply to White's most common choice of 4.g3 for years Sergey relied on the old Karpov line 7...c6, which has been known as solid, albeit not too exciting. Matters came to a head at the 2015 World Cup where in Round 2 Sergey suffered a loss to his former countryman, GM Alexander Onischuk. That loss that almost eliminated Karjakin from the tournament. And that came on top of the three games Sergey had lost in this same line to one his competitors in the Candidates, Levon Aronian.: Enough was enough. With the help from his coaches Sergey Karjakin prepared a different approach to defending the Queens Indian. He decided to go for the hanging pawns in the line 7...d5. This perhaps was the single most important decision. Not only Karjakin went through the entire tournament without losing once against 1.d4, he played exciting tactical games that served notice to his opponents and helped Sergey build confidence. Watch this series with GM Alex Yermolinsky to learn about the hanging pawns in the Queens Indian!

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Every Russian Schoolboy Knows: Karjakin’s Secret Weapon

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