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I'm afraid this will be my last Open Sicilians column for a while, but I'm delighted to announce that Danny Gormally will be taking over, bringing Grandmaster insight, a plethora of Sicilian experience and plenty of entertainment. First, though, we should get up to date with some of the key developments from the World Cup in Tromso.

Download PGN of August '13 Open Sicilian games

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The Kalashnikov 6 N1c3 [B32]

Alexei Shirov is the latest high-level adherent of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 when 6 N1c3 a6 7 Na3 reaches something of a tabiya:

Here Radjabov tends to opt for 7...Be7 or 7...b5, both of which I prefer to Shirov's 7...Be6, although that must have taken White by surprise in Hou Yifan-Shirov where Black obtained quite an easy half-point.

The Lowenthal Mainline 8 Qd1 Qg6 [B32]

I could hardly leave these pages without taking a look at one of my favourite lines, namely 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 a6 6 Nd6+ Bxd6 7 Qxd6:

The very solid 7...Qe7 is sometimes seen at Grandmaster level these days, but Simon Williams was never going to play such a move and prefers the main line in Rudd - Williams.

The Sveshnikov - Positional Line 9 Nd5, 11 c4 [B33]

When I took over this column from Tony, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Nd5 Be7 10 Bxf6 Bxf6 11 c4 was almost unknown:

However, one might well nowadays refer to it as the Modern Main Line of the Sveshnikov. It doesn't, however, scare Boris Gelfand who once again successfully upheld the black cause in Filippov - Gelfand.

The Kan 5 Bd3 Bc5 [B42]

The variation 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3 Bc5 6 Nb3 Ba7 can lead to Kalashnikov-like play but without the dark-squared bishops, such as after 7 c4 d6 8 Nc3 Nc6 9 Qe2 Nf6 10 Be3 should Black exchange the bishops and go ...e5.

Indeed, that plan in general has a good theoretical reputation. It also looks much better than the mysterious 10...b6?! of Nisipeanu - Mozharov where the bishop remained sulking on a7 right to the end of a brutal encounter.

English Attack v Taimanov 8...Bb4 [B48]

The topical line of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 remains the English Attack with 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be3 a6 7 Qd2 Nf6 8 0-0-0. Here 8...Be7 9 f3 b5 continues to garner adherents as we'll see, but some Taimanov players prefer 8...Bb4 9 f3 0-0 10 g4 b5 11 g5 Nh5:

The position does, of course, rather resemble the Brazilian Taimanov except that Black's bishop is on b4, not e7. After 12 Kb1 Bb7 13 a3 the bishop should return to e7 when Black can hope that the extra a2-a3 won't help White, whereas 13...Ba5? was not a successful novelty in Bauer-A.Sokolov.

The Classical Sicilian Richter-Rauzer 9 f4 [B67]

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 hasn't been especially topical at the highest levels in recent years, but Ivanchuk hasn't lost faith. After 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 Bd7 9 f4 b5 10 Bxf6 gxf6 there is quite a bit of theory:

However, it's still possible for either side to be smoothly outplayed should their opponent understand this typical Rauzer structure much better than them, as indeed happened in Kryvoruchko - Ivanchuk.

The Scheveningen 6 f4 [B82]

The Taimanov move order 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 allows White to consider 6 f4!? when 6...d6 7 Be3 Nf6 8 Qf3 reaches quite an aggressive set-up and one which isn't so easy to reach via a pure Scheveningen move order:

Here Black might try to break up White's plans with 8...e5, but in Kamsky - Mamedyarov he trusted in his Scheveningen little centre after 8...a6. Probably Black was okay for a long time, but White did whip up a rapid attack and Kamsky went on to win a glorious encounter.

Be3 + Be2 [B84]

One might also not associate 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bb5 with the Classical Scheveningen, but this move order likewise led to one and another dangerous early attack in Jones - Mason.

The Najdorf 6 h3 [B90]

After 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 that little move 6 h3 just won't go away. Following the principled 6...e6 7 g4 d5 8 exd5 Nxd5 9 Nde2 Bb4 10 Bg2 0-0 11 0-0 Black seems to have lost confidence in giving up the bishop on c3 since Adams-Vachier Lagrave from the Alekhine Memorial. The solid alternative is 11...Nxc3 12 Nxc3 Qc7:

After 13 Qd4 OTB players have begun to explore 13...Nc6 when the resulting opposite-coloured bishop middlegame is a little grim for him, but he does have excellent chances to hold, as we'll see in Kryvoruchko - Korobov.

6 Be3 e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 h3 [B90]

A related topical line is 6 Be3 e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 h3 Be7. Leko has shown that Black hasn't anything to fear after 9 Qf3 b5, so white players have begun to explore 9 f4!? exf4 10 Bxf4 Nc6 11 Qe2:

At first one would assume that Black must be fine thanks to his hold on e5, but White's kingside pawn-storm will be quite quick and it's not so easy for the second player who was quickly worse in Grischuk - Swiercz.

Finally, a big thank you to all those subscribers who wrote in with queries and ideas during my tenure. Richard

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