ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello everyone,
This time we focus on recent online top level tournaments (mostly the 'Legends of chess'). In my opinion, all the battles were exciting, full of attacking chess, and offer us many fresh ideas in various opening lines.

Download PGN of August ’20 Open Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Sveshnikov 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Ne7 [B33]

We start with an important theoretical discussion which took place in a game between 2 great experts, Carlsen, M - Gelfand, B. In the well-known theoretical position after 13.Be3:

Boris came up with the new idea 13...b6!? I am not sure when GM Gelfand's preparation ended, but he soon committed a serious mistake by avoiding 18...f5! As a result, Magnus managed to fully consolidate and convert his material advantage into a full point after some interesting play. Despite such a disappointing loss, I still like Boris's new approach and looking forward to see more practical tests of 13...b6!?

Grivas Sicilian 4...Qb6 5.Nb3 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.Qe2 [B33]

Another Carlsen, M - Gelfand, B game saw Boris trying to push for a win as Black, so he chose the relatively uncommon Grivas Sicilian. In reply Magnus deviated from the main 9.a3, and after 9.0-0-0 d5 10.e5 the players entered a position a-la French:

It looks like Boris didn't feel comfortable with this type of position, as he immediately went astray with 11....a6?!, allowing White to develop a powerful attack with 12.Qh5! Even though Magnus's further play wasn't the most precise, he still managed to decide the game in great attacking style.

Classical Richter-Rauzer 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f3 [B67]

The next game, Nakamura, H - Dubov, D, saw a somewhat unusual move order, but eventually the players reached a well-known theoretical position after 9.0-0-0. At this moment Daniil employed the relatively new 9...Nxd4 10.Qxd4 h6!?:

I am not sure if Hikaru was ready for it, but his innovation 12.Bc4 failed to pose Black any problems. Moreover, the careless 25.b3? put White on the verge of losing, and only 32...Ke7?? allowed Hikaru to score an important victory.

Undoubtedly, 10...h6!? should be tested in more games.

Scheveningen 7...h5!? [B80]

In the game Ding Liren - Carlsen,M the players quickly deviated from the main theoretical paths, though the position after 10.a3 already occurred in Magnus's practice, but previously he was on White's side. This time he came up with a new setup with 10...Bd7:

The real test of this idea would be seen had Magnus played 13...d5, but 13...e5?! led to a strategically dangerous position. The main critical moment of the game came on move 18, when Carlsen wrongly played 18...Rac8? and soon lost the b5-pawn. A well-deserved win for Ding Liren.

In my opinion, 7...h5!? is a good way to deviate from the main theoretical paths and maintain the pressure, but I prefer 10...Bb7.

Scheveningen/Najdorf 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Qc7 [B84]

The next game, Carlsen, M - Svidler, P, saw the players enter the well-known, but recently infrequent line of the English Attack. In the position after 12.exd5:

Peter employed the new (for our site) 12...Bxd5, but Magnus managed to energetically refute this idea with 14.Rhe1! and 16.a4!, after which Black's position seemed very dodgy, and 16...b4? turned out to be a decisive mistake.

In my opinion 12...Nxd5 is a safer option, but I still don't trust this setup.

Najdorf 6.Rg1 b5 [B90]

In Nepomniatchi, I - Carlsen, M Ian employed Zvjagincev's 6.Rg1, which was recently successfully played by... Magnus himself! It looks like Ian was well equipped - in fact, he soon introduced an interesting novelty 10.a4!?:

The surprise effect did its job, as Black soon went astray with 11...Be7?!, allowing White to seize the initiative after 12.Rg4! The further spectacular play was full of mutual mistakes, but the game was mainly decided by the blunder 19...h5? A short, but very attractive struggle!

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.h3 Be7 9.Qf3 [B90]

Another interesting theoretical discussion took place in Anand, V - Ding Liren, where Vishy chose the relatively uncommon setup with 8.h3 and 9.Qf3. GM Ding Liren pushed his q-side pawns, so the position after 17...b3 was full of venom for both sides:

The dynamic balance was kept till move 23 when GM Anand wrongly played 23.b4? and White's king soon came under a stunning attack.

In general, this game is a good illustration of why the setup with 8.h3 isn't so popular any more.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.Nd5 with 12...Nb6 [B90]

Our last game, Svidler, P - Ivanchuk, V, saw 2 great players enter the fashionable theoretical position after 14...Be7, which was analyzed in detail on our site. At this moment Peter employed the quiet 15.g3:

and managed to confuse his opponent. In fact, Vassily immediately went astray with 15....0-0?!, and soon came under strong pressure. However, Peter returned the favor by regaining the pawn on move 21, and his initiative soon disappeared. The further interesting play from both sides wasn't precise, and eventually Peter gained a full point from a drawish position.

See you next month, Michael

>> Previous Update >>

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