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Hi, Firstly, many apologies for another late update, I have spent a lot of time trying to get the new Forum working, and also had to play some chess tournaments - I have to make some money from time-to-time!

On a completely different note, somebody was explaining to me recently that a mathematician has 'proved' that chess is either a win for White or a win for Black, but can't be a draw! Sounds ridiculous! TonyK

Download PGN of December '05 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov Variation [B33]

In Korneev - Maze, after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d6 6. N1c3 a6 7. Na3 Black played 7...Be7!? (instead of 7...b5) 8.Nc4 Nf6 9. Bg5 transposing to an obscure variation of the Sveshnikov:

I didn't know this variation at all, but on further investigation it seems that it is a favourite of Roeder (see the notes), and that Black plays an endgame with a pawn less but has two strong bishops as compensation.

I think this line is worth checking out!

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

Following 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Ndb5 Bb4 White normally takes the bishop pair by 7. a3, although this is hardly frightening for Black, but in Novak - Priehoda White tried the time-consuming move 7. Nd6+ instead:

this shouldn't really offer anything, but actually led to a beautiful attack where White left his rook hanging for a number of moves.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be2 a6 is normally met by 7 0-0, but White can also get his bishop to the h1-a8 diagonal more quickly by 7. f4 b5 8. Nxc6 Qxc6 9. Bf3:

And this strategy proved very successful in Moldovan - Plischki, although if you look at the notes you will see that Black may be able to equalise with accurate play.

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

Jens - Hillarp Persson is very reminiscent of my game against Tratar from last month (Kosten - Tratar) although it starts life as an 'anti-Perenyi' in Fed's terminology: Black left his king in the centre and was hit by a line-opening Nd5 sacrifice.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

One of the lines that has been giving me problems over the years is 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. g3 e5 7. Nb3:

So I am always interested when really strong players have to face this as Black, as I am always hoping that they can show me a better way to handle the black pieces!

However, in Malakhov - Vallejo Pons the Spanish GM gets into exactly the sort of passive position that Black is supposed to avoid, and all his tactical ingenuity is insufficient to save him from defeat!

Onto 6...Bg5, and whenever I have the white pieces against 2500+ GMs who play the Najdorf I am always tempted to play this, but I have noticed that most of my opponents prefer to reply with the Poisoned Pawn, which confirms my belief that objectively this is probably Black's best defence. In fact, providing there is sufficient interest from you subscribers I am tempted to do a Poisoned Pawn special soon, what do you think?

Anyway, this month I found a few fun games and the first of these features 7...Bd7!? which was recommended by Danny King in one of his books, I think?

Unfortunately, Pruijssers - Adly is hardly a good advertisement for this move, as Black rapidly finds himself worse.

10...h6 is a rare move in the mainline:

But the Nxe6 sacs that were supposed to have 'refuted' it are easily diffused with the aid of today's machines. You might think that it is time for a revival, however, in Kosmo - Berczes White plays a powerful new move that leads to a virulent, maybe winning attack. Difficult to believe that he only has a 2232 rating!

Finally, Van Rosmalen - Den Boer gives us an opportunity to have a look at the sharp theory of the mainline.

Bye, Tony Kosten


Please feel free to share any of your thoughts with me, whatever they are, suggestions, criticisms (just the polite ones, please), etc. Drop me a line at the Open Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write directly to