See part 1 of the series
In 2019, Dubov introduced many new ideas in a rare variant of the Tarrasch Defense, which quickly attracted attention at the highest level. Several of the world’s top players have tried it, including Carlsen who used it successfully during the 2019 World Rapid and Blitz Championships. Dubov’s double-edged opening system is based on concepts suggested by the newer engines, including early h-pawn advances and pawn sacrifices. for the initiative.
Note that both game annotations are based on work I did for my book, The AI Revolution in Chess.
Battle for neural networks
At the highest level, everyone today uses neural network (or hybrid) engines. It is much less common to see the clash of styles between a classic and neural network engine, as often happened in 2019 and 2020 (like the first game of the previous article, Grischuk – Nakamura).
Instead, we see a battle of AI-approved ideas in many top-level games. This clash of preparation could propel the opening theory fast forward. An example of how the theory has progressed in a fashionable line of the Rossolimo is analyzed below.
There are two final points regarding modern engines that I would like to mention briefly: (1) practical use of these engines, and (2) the magnitude of their impact on chess.
The topics discussed in these two articles may be helpful to the hands-on player. In addition to providing creative and fresh opening ideas, modern engines can provide insight into many types of positions that the classics struggled to play well in. Among other things, strategic/closed middle games and material imbalances have been found to be difficult for older engines to handle.
Finally, the originality of the game’s newer engines is an interesting point of discussion. Have they invented new ideas or just reintroduced old ones?
From my work on the subject, I saw that modern engines have done both: they found new ideas and drew attention to older ideas in every popular opening system. For example, moving the h-pawn to h6 in the Grunfeld (eg Paravyan – Wagner from the previous article) was known for many years, long before Stockfish and AlphaZero. The point is, however, that newer engines have a greater appreciation for such concepts, attracting the attention of top players during the opening preparation and thus increasing popularity. This process of developing ideas applies to many other opening and middle game concepts, several of which have been explored in these two articles.