Yearbook Novelty of the Year

Shortlist: Yearbook Novelty of the Year 2021

The Chess Player's Guide to Opening News

Here are the six nominees for the 2021 Yearbook Novelty of the Year.
The inventor of the winning novelty will receive a prize of € 350.
A one-year subscription to New In Chess Magazine will be raffled amongst all the voters.




Game 1. Caruana-Vachier-Lagrave, Yekaterinburg ct 2021, 18.Bc4N in the Sicilian Najdorf Poisoned Pawn with 10.e5 – FORUM contribution by René Olthof in Yearbook 139 (p. 13).

The second leg of this year’s Candidates Tournament started off with a big bang. Fabiano Caruana introduced a stunning bishop sacrifice to get the better of one of his competitors. His novelty 18.Bc4! was actually discovered by his second Rustam Kasimdzhanov and posed too many problems over the board for MVL.


Game 2. Shankland-Dominguez Perez, Opera Euro Rapid Online 2021, 14.Ne5N in the Nimzo-Indian Defence with 4.Nf3 – Survey by Viacheslav Ikonnikov in Yearbook 139 (p. 192).

There have been many new developments in this complex line of the Queen’s Gambit Exchange Variation with a black bishop on b4. Shankland improved on a previous blitz game by himself, although it is far from the death knell for the line from Black’s point of view.



Game 3. Hernandez-Moskalenko, Barcelona 2021, 8…Nf6N in the French Winawer with 5.Bd2 - FORUM contribution by Viktor Moskalenko in Yearbook 140 (p. 14).

Moskalenko sure plays what he preaches! In his monograph The Fully-Fledged French (New In Chess 2021) he already recommended the fantastic knight move 8…Nf6 in the sideline with 5.Bd2 and he was instantly successful with it on home turf. Hasta la vista! 


Game 4. Blübaum-Giri, Opera Euro Rapid Online 2021, 6...Be4N in the London System with 5.Qb3 - Survey by Davorin Kuljasevic in Yearbook 140 (p. 207).

Traditionally 5.Qb3 has always been met with 5…b6, 5…Qc8 or the thematic 5…Nc6. In February, Giri picked up the rare 5…dxc4 and after the critical 6.Qxb7 came up with 6…Be4, the key to Black’s concept. It yielded him a useful victory over Matthias Blübaum and was immediately adopted by fellow GMs such as Mamedyarov.


Game 5. Predke-Yakubboev, Riga 2021, 12.hxg4N in the Makogonov Variation of the King’s Indian Defence with 7.Bg5 - FORUM contribution by René Olthof in Yearbook 141 (p. 13).

Alexander Predke grabbed a pawn in a standard King’s Indian line and then detonated a bomb by sacrificing his queen against two minor pieces. A brash decision that paid off nicely for the New In Chess contributor when his opponent faltered on move 14.


Game 6. Krasenkow-Praggnanandhaa, Krasnaya Polyana 2021, 16.Be2N in the Two Knights Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted - Survey by Viacheslav Ikonnikov in Yearbook 141 (p. 175).

The gambit line with 4…a6 and 7…e6 (rather than the common 7…Nxc3) only entered the scene in 1988. It has already been heavily analysed but Krasenkow conjured up the new attempt 16.Be2 to avoid the forced draw after 16.Kd1 Qa4+. Will White be as successful in future games as in its premiere?  

Cast your vote before Sunday, January 30, 2022. Only one vote each!