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Dear Subscribers,
I am glad to introduce yet one more update with exceptional fighting games. In fact, this time were no draws again! As usual, some games offer us significant food for thought.

Download PGN of August '15 Open Sicilian games

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The Grivas Sicilian 4...Qb6 [B33]

Our first game Volokitin, A - Zhigalko, A saw a theoretical discussion in the Grivas Sicilian, which hasn't been covered on our site for a long time. The position after 11.0-0-0 is considered rather dangerous for Black, so it rarely appears in Grandmaster practice. Zhigalko's way of handling the position with 11...a5 looks like the best attempt of solving Black's problems:

Indeed, in this game GM Andrei Volokitin was unable to maintain his k-side initiative, and eventually lost. However, there were several promising continuations, such as 12.Rd6 and 14.Rg1!? Anyway, this complex line definitely requires more practical tests.

The Kan/Taimanov 6.g3 a6 7.Bg2 h5 [B47]

In our next game, Ferreira, J - Malakhatko, V, the higher-rated player went for an ultra-aggressive way of handling a well-known theoretical position. The position after 7...h5 was never seen on our site before, and it definitely deserves some attention, since this idea was also tried by top players. It looks like White's reaction in the following game was correct, so the key Diagram position arose on move 10 (after 10....d6):

In my opinion, the real test of Black's aggressive approach would be 11.Nxc6, followed by 12.e5. This position looks somewhat dangerous for Black, though further practical tests are needed for a clear assessment. Instead, 11.Be3 as played in the game didn't pose Black any problems. Moreover, GM Vadim Malakhatko was able to win a pawn and had the better position, but failed to play precisely and eventually lost.

Taimanov Long variation 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Be3 Bb4 9.Nxc6 [B49]

In my opinion, the game Heimann, A - Bartel, Ma has exceptional theoretical value, since it proves that the old-fashioned move 10.Qd4!? shouldn't be underestimated:

In fact, in this game Marta was unable to solve her problems, so after 2 moves White's position was already winning from a technical point of view. Even though Black's play can easily be improved, at the moment I do not see any convincing way to equalize after 10.Qd4, so this game definitely causes some problems for Taimanov Players.

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

Our next game Kanarek, M - Hnydiuk, A is an additional illustration of White's attacking potential in one of the most fashionable lines of the Scheveningen with the Qe1-g3 setup. The position after 15.Rad1!? is new for our PGN archive, and it definitely deserves some attention:

It looks like Black's task is not easy at all, but 15...Qb7 might yield Black adequate play. Alternatively, 15...g6, which was played by many strong players before, was the first cause of Black's troubles. In general, Kanarek's play in this game was very impressive, so he was able to exploit some further mistakes from Black and achieve a nice victory.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.h3 Nc6 [B90]

The game Kononenko, D - Grinberg, E saw one more theoretical discussion in one of the most fashionable lines of the Najdorf with 6.Be3. The players entered into an extremely sharp position after 15...Nxd5, which was covered on our site before:

The players were following the high-level game Laznicka, V - Wojtaszek, R till move 17, when Kononeko came up with the logical novelty 18.Nxd5. Even though White scored a quick victory in this game, this innovation can hardly cause Black any problems, so the setup with 8...Nc6 still looks perfectly playable for Black.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 [B90]

The game Sevian, S - Salem, A also has a certain theoretical value for Najdorf players. In the actual position after 14.Be2 Black went for an original setup with 14...Qc7, delaying the development of the Bf8. Samuel's approach was quite interesting, and he came up with an ambitious novelty 18.Rc3!?, intending to keep the queens on the board:

It looks like Salem's reaction wasn't the most precise, so 21.Na3! would have promised White the better chances. Instead, 21.Ra3?! led to an equal endgame, where Salem was able to outplay his talented young opponent.

In general, 14...Qc7, which is based on an original strategic idea with ...Ng8 and ...Bh6, looks perfectly playable for Black.

Najdorf 6.g3 e5 7.Nde2 [B91]

In Adams, M - Navara, D Black had some strategical problems to solve, since White managed to occupy the central d5-spot at an early stage of the game. The players were following the recent top-level recent game Carlsen, M - Grischuk, A till move 12:

Now David came up with the dubious novelty 12...0-0, which allowed White to fix a clear advantage and achieve a nice victory. In my opinion, the whole setup with 9.Nd5 contains definite strategic danger for Black, so it deserves more practical tests. Possibly 10...Nb6!? might be playable, though it is still not to everyone's taste.

Najdorf 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Qe2 [B94]

Our last game Solak, D - Donchenko, A saw another theoretical discussion in one of sharpest lines of the Najdorf with 6.Bg5. The complex theoretical position after 14...Bd6 looks acceptable, though White's development advantage requires a lot of accuracy from Black:

In this game Solak came up with a natural novelty 15.Kb1. The real test of his innovation would have occurred had Donchenko played 15...0-0!, but instead, 15...Kf8?! led to a very dangerous position. The further play did contain mutual mistakes, but the higher-rated player was able to develop a crushing attack at the end.


See you next month! Michael Roiz

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