ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello everybody,
I was recently asked to cover some relatively uncommon lines, such as the 4 knights (B45). I will definitely keep this line in mind, but for now I didn't find any relevant games, so instead, this month we will discuss the Keres Attack, which is also a rare guest in modern chess.

Download PGN of August ’19 Open Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Classical Richter-Rauzer 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 Be7 10.Nf3 b5 11.a3 [B68]

We start with Shankland, S - Maghsoodloo, P, where Sam employed the relatively unexplored 11.a3:

in one of the most fashionable lines of the Rauzer. Parham responded naturally with 11...b4, but failed to develop serious play on the q-side, and after 15.e5 he came under definite positional pressure. Perhaps the psychological effect of GM Shankland's preparation was too strong as his talented young opponent soon committed a few more mistakes and quickly lost.

Despite such a defeat, 11.a3 doesn't seem to refute Black's setup, since both 11...h6!? and 13...Bc6!? look acceptable.

Classical Richter-Rauzer 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 Be7 10.Nf3 b5 11.Bxf6 [B69]

Another interesting theoretical discussion in this line of the Rauzer occurred in Zou, C - Sethuraman, S. In the important position after 16...Na5!:

White tried the relatively fresh 17.Nd4, that was met by the thematic 17...b4 18.Nce2 e5. The balance was kept till move 25, when 25.Nd2? made it possible for Black to develop a powerful attack and win the game in nice style. Summing up, 16...Na5! still seems viable for Black, but 17.Nd4 should be tested more often.

Scheveningen, The Keres Attack 6.g4 h6 7.h4 Nc6 8.Rg1 [B81]

The next game, Vallejo Pons, F - Yu Yangyi, saw the players enter one of the sharpest lines of the Keres Attack, which was previously covered in Baramidze - Ftacnik. On move 12 Francisco deviated with 12.Qf3, which seems to be White's main attempt to fight for the initiative:

Undoubtedly GM Yu Yangyi was well prepared for this, though, and responded correctly. However, on move 18 he suddenly committed a serious mistake, 18...Rd8?, that should have led him into a difficult endgame. Luckily for the Chinese player, his opponent soon returned the favor and allowed Black to equalize.

At the moment it looks like Black doesn't face any serious problems in this line, so maybe White should switch to other continuations at an early stage, such as 8.Be3!?

Najdorf Defence 6.Nb3 e6 [B90]

In the next game, Anand, V - Svidler, P, Vishy chose Bartel's original idea 6.Nb3, which was covered on the site some time ago. In the rare theoretical position after 11.h4:

Peter employed the natural novelty 11...Rc8, but it was wrongly followed by 12...h6?! Luckily for GM Svidler White instantly returned the favor, so he kept the balance. The further play also saw mutual mistakes, but the really critical moment came on move 21, when 21.Bc5? led to a quick disaster. Had Vishy played 21.Nbc5! anything could have happened.

Najdorf 6.Bd3 g6 [B90]

The game Adams, M - Palliser, R saw Richard employ the flexible but almost unexplored setup with 8...Nbd7:

In my opinion, the real test would be seen had Black played 9...b5!?, while 9...Ne5 was nicely met by 10.Be2 b5 11.0-0-0! and White's setup was much more harmonious. Michael didn't manage to handle the position precisely, but at the end he still got the full point after 25...e6?, which led to a quick collapse.

Najdorf 6.g3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 [B91]

In Anand, V - Nepomniachtchi, I Ian quickly deviated from the main theoretical paths with 9...Nc6!?:

Vishy reacted with the normal 10.h3, and after a few natural moves Black came under typical positional pressure. The character of the play was extremely annoying for GM Nepomniatchi, so after committing a few mistakes he was defeated.

Despite such a convincing loss, 9...Nc6!? still seems viable for Black. In particular, Ian's play can be improved with 10...Na5!

Najdorf 6.g3 e6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.Be3!? [B80/B91]

The next game, Motylev, A - Xu, Yi, saw White employ the fresh and aggressive idea 8.Be3!? followed by 9.g4!:

It looks like Alexander's opponent was so confused that he instantly went astray with 10...b5? After GM Motylev's brilliant response 11.Nf5! Black was struggling to stay in the game, but then 15.0-0? drastically changed the character of the play. In the end, it was Alexander who must have been satisfied to share the point. Undoubtedly 8.Be3!? should be tested in practice again soon, while 8...0-0!? might be somewhat more accurate than 8...Qc7.

Najdorf 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nbd7 8.Qe2 Qc7 9.0-0-0 b5 10.g4 [B96]

In our last game, Frolyanov, D - Fedoseev, V, Vladimir went for the rare and dubious 10...h6?:

, and this was correctly met by 11.Bxf6 (a novelty!). Curiously, his next move 11...Nxf6? could have led to disaster had Dmitry played 12.Bg2!, followed by e4-e5, but luckily for Vladimir White chose the immediate 12.e5?, and this only made the play double-edged. In an attempt to retain the initiative Dmitry sacrificed a piece, but failed to handle the position properly - 17.Rhf1? made it possible for Black to remove his king from the danger zone and win the game.

As we can see, 10.g4 should certainly be met by 10...b4, inviting White to sacrifice a piece.

See you in September, Michael

>> Previous Update >>

Please feel free to share any of your thoughts at the Open Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write directly to