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Hello everyone,
I am happy to introduce another exciting update, where most of our Sicilians are from the Candidates tournament! I hope you will enjoy the high class chess and beautiful games!

Download PGN of April '14 Open Sicilian games

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The Kan 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.0-0 Qc7 7.c4 and ...g6, 11...Nh5 [B42]

We start with a game Firat, B - Delchev, A which was played in the Skopje open tournament. I was playing there too, and I was impressed by Delchev's convincing win.

In the Diagram position, after Black's 13th move, White deviated from the principal move 14.b4, and was energetically outplayed by Alexander. This nice game illustrates most of Black's strategical ideas in the chosen system.

The Taimanov 5...a6 6.Nxc6 bc 7.Qd3!? [B46]

The game Karjakin, S - Andreikin, D from the 2014 Candidates tournament is quite interesting from a theoretical point of view. The players entered an endgame just after the opening, and Sergei came up with a novelty on move 10. The critical moment seems to come on the next move:

Dmitry successfully solved his opening problems after 11.g5?!, but in the further play Sergei had some chances anyway, and so I guess his idea may find followers very soon.

The Taimanov Long Variation 8.Be3 Bb4 9.Na4 with 15...Nxe4 [B49]

In our next game, Rizouk, A - Cruz, Cr Tch - CAT 2014, White was able to prove that Black's monarch is permanently exposed in this line. The critical moment came after White's 19th move:

when Black could get an acceptable position after 19...Bf6. Instead, 2 tactical mistakes in a row led to a quick disaster.

The Taimanov 6.Be3 a6 7.Be2 b5!? [B49]

The game Topalov, V - Svidler, P Candidates tournament 2014, saw a rare line where Black deviates from 7...Nf6.

In the Diagram position after 9.a4!? most strong players have failed to find the concrete way to solve their problems (9...Bb7!). Unfortunately, Peter Svidler made the same error, and his further mistakes were brilliantly exploited by Veselin Topalov.

The Najdorf with 6.h3 g6 [B90]

Topalov, V - Mamedyarov, S Candidates tournament 2014, was an exciting tactical battle. The result of the opening (after 12...Na5?!) would definitely suit Veselin.

In the Diagram position, after Black's 16th move, White had a very promising position. However, one mistake allowed Shakhriyar to solve his problems by means of tactical measures.

The Najdorf with 6.h3 e6 [B90]

The game Anand, V - Mamedyarov, S Candidates Tournament 2014, was played in a specific tournament situation. Vishy was close to winning the tournament, so his strategy was to avoid any unnecessary complications. At the same time, Black's nice home preparation could have been unpleasant for him had Shakhriyar played 17...Qa5!? in the Diagram position:

In general Black convincingly solved all his problems here, so the ball remains in White's court in this line. It looks like White should look for some early deviations (like 10.Qe2).

The Najdorf 6.Be3 Ng4 with 11.h4!? [B90]

Svidler, P - Mamedyarov, S Candidates tournament 2014, is another important game for theory.

The real test for this line is probably 16...Nce5 here, while the move played, 16...Nd4, leads to a small but stable advantage for White. It looks like Black would be doomed to passive defence after 19.0-0-0 or 20.Bg3, but Shakhriyar was lucky to make quite an easy draw in the end.

The Poisoned Pawn Najdorf 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 h6 8.Bh4 Qb6, 11.e5 g5 [B97]

Our last game is Duda, J - Wojtaszek, R ch-Pol 2014 Warsaw. White came up with an unsuccessful novelty 20.Bg4?, but the refutation wasn't trivial at all. In fact, Radoslaw had to discover his 24th move in advance in order to win this game.

Moreover, in the Diagram position after 21...Bd6! Duda could have retained some practical chances if he had played 22.Rd1 instead of 22.Qa5+? Still, this game is a rare example of an opening disaster for White.

In general, this line looks perfectly playable for Black, but requires deep knowledge.

The Candidates tournament is behind us, but next month we could see more exciting Sicilians from such a great event as the Russian Teams Championship. Enjoy! Michael Roiz

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