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Dear Subscribers,
I am glad to introduce a new update, which offers us fighting chess, full of important theoretical novelties, in various lines of the Sicilian. Enjoy!

Download PGN of April '15 Open Sicilian games

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The Taimanov 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 b5 [B47]

We start with the game Harikrishna, P - Cyborowski, L, where Black employed the fashionable 7...b5:

Even though this move was made at the highest level, I still prefer the more natural 7...Nf6. In fact, after 8.Nxc6 dxc6 9.Qd3 it's not easy for Black to solve his problems, while after the game's 8...Qxc6 9.Bf3 White's development advantage quickly allowed Pentala to develop a powerful attack and win in a nice style.

The Taimanov 6.f4 a6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Bd3 b5 [B47]

Our next game Grandelius, N - Petrov, N saw an interesting battle in one of the most actual lines of the Taimanov. The position after 10.Bd2 is well known to our subscribers, but 10...Be7 hasn't been covered yet. In this game Petrov introduced the interesting novelty 13...Qb6!?, when White's response 14.g4 looks the most principled:

but now it looks like Black's position would be normal had he played 14...b4! Alas, Petrov was unable to stay on top in this game, and after committing a few errors, he lost the game.

In general, this new way of handling the position looks playable, though 13.g4!? (Instead of 13.Kb1) may be rather unpleasant.

The Scheveningen Be2 Mainline with 11.Qe1 Na5 [B85]

The game Navara, D - Kempinski, R offers us an important novelty in a favourite line of the Polish GM Robert Kempinski.

In the Diagram position (after 13...Qxc4) David comes up with a new approach, 14.Rad1! which looks like a clear improvement over White's previous play. Indeed, there is no reason to hurry with such drastic actions such as 14.e5 or 14.f5, since it is difficult for Black to complete the development of his q-side pieces. It seems Robert was defending quite well for a while, and had he played 19...exf5 or 22...exf5, White's advantage wouldn't be that big. However, at the end Black wasn't on top form, so Navara achieved a nice victory.

Anyway, David's novelty definitely makes the whole concept with 11...Na5 less attractive for the second Player.

The Scheveningen Be2 Mainline with 11.Qe1 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 [B85]

Our next game Navara, D - Fier, A also has great theoretical value for the 11.Qe1 set-up. Here is the well-known theoretical position after 19.Nf2:

Now the Brazilian Grandmaster, and former ChessPub author, came up with the important novelty 19...Qc7! David's 'greedy' response 20.Bxa6 definitely cannot pose Black any problems, but I failed to find any other dangerous idea instead. Anyway, in this game Fier was able to seize the initiative quite soon, and eventually won the game. Perhaps White should search for some early alternative, possibly 17.axb4 is more promising.

The Scheveningen Be2 Mainline with 12.Bf3 Na5 [B85]

Somehow, 12...Na5 hasn't been discussed on our site before, so the following game definitely may be interesting for our subscribers. In the game Petrik, T - Kempinski, R the players were following an important high-class encounter between Anand and Topalov till move 17. Robert's attempt to solve Black's problems with 17...Nc4 doesn't seem convincing:

In fact, White had several promising continuations, such as 19.Nf5 and 20.g5. Unfortunately for Petrik, one serious mistake on move 20 completely changed the situation, so the higher-rated opponent was able to win. Still, the whole line with 12...Na5 looks somewhat risky for the second player, even though this line is unexplored compared to the main lines.

Najdorf with 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.Nd5 [B90]

The game Kraemer, M - Areshchenko, A saw an interesting discussion in athe Najdorf. White's move order looks like one of the most unpleasant for Black in the fashionable line with 8...h5. The Diagram position after 14.Na5 is rather problematic, since Black hardly can deviate from it without much damage:

As my analyses illustrate, after 14...Rb8 White had several ways to pose Black definite problems. The position after 18.Rae1 needs more practical tests in order to give a clear assessment, but Black's task is not easy. At the same time, the natural-looking 18.f5, as was earlier played by Peter Leko, doesn't promise White much. Moreover, in the further play Alexander Areschenko even spoiled a serious advantage, so the game ended in a draw.

Najdorf with 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.h3 [B90]

Our next game Oparin, G - Sjugirov, S also has a significant theoretical value. In the topical position after 9.f4 Sanan employed the fresh idea 9...Nc6!?:

No doubt this interesting idea is going to be tested again in practice soon. In the featured game the effect of surprised worked well for Sanan, so after 10.Qe2?! he could have seized the initiative at an early stage of the game. Unfortunately, Sjugirov wasn't at his best, so 2 moves later the situation was completely changed. After 12...d5?! White's bishops became very powerful and would decide the game, had Oparin played 21.Rd7! At the end, a draw was agreed in a difficult position for Black.

Najdorf with 6.Be2 e5, 11.Qd3 Be6 12.f4 [B92]

Our last game Inarkiev, E - Salem, A saw a rare set-up with 11.Qd3 Be6 12.f4. This mix of systems doesn't look promising for White, indeed, Black has more than one way to get decent counterplay. A critical moment comes on move 14:

After the correct 14.cxb3 the position would be about equal, while the natural-looking 14.axb3?!, which was also played before by Smirin, already promises Black a definite edge. Salem's play wasn't the most precise, so Inarkiev could have equalized, but 2 white mistakes on moves 21 and 23 sealed his fate.

See you next month!

Enjoy! Michael Roiz

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