This week we shall study The Chebanenko Slav.This system is considered to be a super solid opening and the number of its followers seems to be growing fast.This system has become popular in the last few years thanks to the efforts of Grandmasters like Aronian, Kamsky, Karjakin, Malakhov who added this system to their repertoire and employed it successfully.
In this system Black has a solid structure and calmly develops his pieces, sometimes even allowing White to gain a space advantage. When white, using his space advantage, tries to initiate an attack by marching the pawns on either flank, then Black gets the break e7-e5 by which he opens the centre and develops counterplay.
In the recently concluded World Cup, Vladimir Malakhov used this system to a great effect to eliminate Svidler, Eljanov and Wesley So. Our first game is between Svidler and Malakhov. White played an ambitious setup and managed to complicate the game but at the important juncture he misplayed and lost the game quickly.
Our next game is Anand-Aronian, Tal Memorial 2009. Anand played an unsuccessful Novelty and was punished severely. White was left without any counterplay after the opening. This game shows the amount of initiative Black can develop when white makes a mistake.
Our next game is Eljanov-Malakhov, World Cup 2009. Once again Malakhov correctly exploited the weakness white created when he had the space advantage. This game is a good example for black's strategic idea and plan.
This whole system reminds me of the style of the Caro-Kann defence where Black maintains a healthy pawn structure and allows white to gain space. Then at the right moment when position opens up, it is white who gets into trouble. So white needs to be careful in developing his attack when he has the space advantage. In our next article we shall see the ideas for white against this super solid system.