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I have only just got back from a tough 'double weekend': the last games in both the British and French Team Leagues (second in both I'm afraid!) interspersed with a quick trip to Switzerland - phew! I am glad to be finally back home and able to relax again!
Many thanks to John-Paul Wallace for his help with this month's update again. TonyK

Download PGN of April '06 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov Variation [B32-B33]

In Delchev, A - Kotanjian, T White followed familiar paths leading to this position:

, but then, instead of Topalov's 20 Ra2 White tried 20 f4!?, a highly committal move that led to a quick disaster for the Super-GM! As Jean-Paul points out, White hasn't scored too well in this line which suggests that it is either a) not very good for White, or b) simply too difficult to play well (the white king is rather awkwardly placed in the centre, after all)!

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

This month I have continued my investigation of lesser Four Knights lines by examining 6 Ndb5 Bb4 7 Bf4!?:

This is the move that tries to refute Black's opening in the most direct manner. Best play continues 7...Nxe4 8 Qf3 d5 9 Nc7+ Kf8 10 O-O-O Bxc3 11 bxc3:

When Black can either play 11...g5!? which heads for a drawish ending, as in Kennaugh, C - Ptacnikova, L, or the risky 11...e5 (see the note in this last game), or finally the 11...Rb8 of Yoos,J-Van Riemsdijk,H.

Having the advantage of a fast computer to analyse just confirms the traditional assessment of this line as giving White next-to-nothing against a well prepared opponent.

Rublevsky continues to play the line 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6 Nxc6 bxc6 7 Bd3 d5 as Black, and in Ponomariov, R - Rublevsky, S he improved on his recent game with Bacrot, but unfortunately he suffered another crushing defeat!

Izoria, Z - Gagunashvili, M was a wild game after White played an important innovation in the following position:

13 Bd2!, play continuing 13...Nxe5 14 Qd4! and White later sacrificed a piece and won easily. However, as Jean-Paul shows things were not so clear.

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

8...h5!? is a rare alternative to 8...g6 that avoids the problems of the dangerous Perenyi piece sac:

but I am surprised it is not played more often as Black appears to be doing well, see Naiditsch, A - Cvitan, O.

Areshchenko, A - Bischoff, K is not so important theoretically, but does feature a nice Greek gift sacrifice. All the more surprising as Klaus is normally a very tough player to beat.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

The World Champion has started playing the prophylactic 8...h5!? recently:

and has obviously put a lot of thought into it as he has come prepared with some striking new ideas for Black, see Grischuk, A - Topalov, V for a couple, including a surprising exchange sacrifice in the main game.

Fashion tends to copy the World Champions so we can expect to see this a lot more over the coming months, especially as Black has been having a bit of trouble in some of the other lines of late.

Back soon! Tony Kosten


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