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Hello Dear Chess friends,
The Olympiad is behind us, and I am glad to be able to analyse some attractive Sicilian games from Tromse. Enjoy!

Download PGN of August '14 Open Sicilian games

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The Kan 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.Qd3 [B41]

Our first game Hansen, E - Smirin, I is very important from a theoretical point of view.

In the Diagram position after 7.Qd3 Ilya went for the solid 7...d6, but it seems that Eric's plan poses Black serious problems. The critical moment of the game was on move 17, when a pawn sacrifice was called for. Instead, Ilya played 17...Ke7?! and was outplayed convincingly. In general, the ball definitely remains in the Black court in this line.

The Classic Richter-Rauzer 7...Be7 8.0-0-0 0-0 9.f4 h6 [B64]

The game Shankland,S - Martinez Romero,M is also important for the theory of the Rauzer.

In the Diagram position, after 12...Qa5, White has several promising continuations, but Shankland's aggressive move 13.g4?! could be strongly met by 13...Ne4!, which gives Black excellent play. However, this refutation is actually an important novelty, never played, as in all the preceding games Black went for 13...exf4. Martinez Romero did the same, so this time Samuel was able to develop a crushing attack.

The Scheveningen with an early 10.g4 [B84]

The game Mista, A - Givon, A saw a rare line of the Scheveningen without ...Nb8-c6, where the early 10.g4 is met by standard counter-attacking measures:

It seems that 11.exd5, followed by the strong novelty 15.Rad1! is the best way to fight for the advantage in this line. After mutual mistakes, White was able to develop a decisive attack, but in general Black's position looks quite risky.

Najdorf Sozin 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 [B86]

Our next game Tomczak, J - Givon, A saw the rare 9.Qe2 in the Sozin. Black's response was correct, so the critical moment came on the 15th move:

In the Diagram position after 15.fxe5 Black's position would be comfortable had Asaf played 15...Ne8! However, 15...Nfd7?!, followed by 19....Qc4?! and 22...Qd5? led to a quick loss.

Najdorf 6.f3 Qb6 [B90]

Our next game Dominguez, L - Mamedyarov, S saw a concrete line in the English attack. For some reasons, 6...Qb6 is not popular nowadays, but according to my analysis, it remains quite playable for Black.

In the Diagram position, after 13.Kb1, Black's best try seems the concrete 13...b4, rather than 13...Be7, which is a bit slow. However, the critical moment in this game comes on move 22: had Shakhriyar played 22...Qa5! the position would be double-edged, but 22...d5? led to a quick disaster.

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

After Svidler, P - Mamedyarov, S from the candidates tournament, 11.h4 is becoming more and more popular, and this time we have 2 games in this line:

In Motylev,A-Vachier Lagrave,M the players were following the above-mentioned game until move 16, when Alexander came up with the interesting novelty 17.c3!?, which allows White to avoid the simplifications.

In the Diagram position after Black's 20th move, White could have secured a safe edge, but instead Alexander went for an attractive piece sacrifice. Maxim reacted well, so the position was balanced for a long time. At the end, however, White's play wasn't precise, so Black was able to convert his extra material into a full point.

The second game in this line is Ganguly, S - Molner, M, where Black introduced a new concept by exchanging the dark-squared bishop.

In fact, in the Diagram position after 14.bxc3 Black has a nice choice of good-looking continuations. After the over-optimistic 21.a5?! Black took over the initiative, so White should be happy with the final result.

Najdorf 6.Bg5 Nbd7 [B94]

Our last game in this issue is Adhiban, B - Swiercz, D, where the Indian GM went for the rare 8.0-0!?. In my opinion, Black's reaction was principled, so the pair of bishops should compensate for White's lead in development. Black may search for an early deviation (such as 10...Ne5!?), but the critical position in the game came on the 14th move after 14.Ng5+:

It seems that Black's position should be playable after the correct 14...Kf8! but instead, the played 14....Ke8? leads to a very difficult position. Baskaran's play was very strong for a long time, but finally GM Swiercz was lucky to escape.

See you next month, Michael Roiz

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