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There were so many interesting, really high-class games this last month or so that it was difficult to whittle the choice down for this update, and I used a variety of criteria to decide (startling new moves, important theoretical games, and brilliant tactics!) but I think you will agree that they are all very interesting in their own way.

Looking at the games played in Wijk aan Zee it struck me that the Najdorf and Sveshnikov are perhaps the most popular openings at this rarefied level, does this mean that lines involving ...e5 in the Sicilian are more correct than the other ones?!

Download PGN of February '05 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov Variation [B32-B33]

Lets begin with a look at the surprising new move 9 Nb4!? in the Kalashnikov, first sprung on an unsuspecting world by Ivanchuk last October:

White avoids exchanges, asks "what is the black queen's knight doing on e7?", and plans c4 to attack the black queenside. In the last few months it has quite caught on and theory is developing rapidly, see Abrahamyan - Hahn.

Over to the Sveshnikov, and the sensational game Anand - Leko which helped the Hungarian GM towards his impressive first place at Wijk aan Zee.

10...f5 (as in the last game) has been the main move for Black in the Sveshnikov for a long time now, but 10...Bg7 also has its adepts. In the following typical position young Magnus plays ...Rb8-b6-g6! in successive moves to start a decisive kingside attack!

You don't often see such strong players as Cheparinov so completely splattered with the white pieces! Don't miss Cheparinov - Carlsen. (I hope you like these games Madhav!)

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

I always thought the following 'Maroczy-style' position was innocuous for Black:

However, in Kramnik - Svidler the World Champion played the unusual 8 a3!? then sacrificed a piece to trap the black king in the centre. Svidler defended well, but just when a draw seemed in his pocket took a hot pawn and lost.

I am sure we will be seeing this eighth move again very soon!

Sutovsky - Arakhamia features English Attack play against a Taimanov and a stunningly quick white victory.

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

Sometimes, when quickly playing through games, something strikes you as wrong, and you go back through the game again to check. In the following position:

Radjabov played the shocking 13 a5!?, putting the pawn en prise!

On closer inspection this is actually a very dangerous pawn sacrifice, see what happened to Black in Radjabov - Schlosser.

In The Easy Guide to the Najdorf I proposed answering 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bc4 e6 7 Bb3 b5 8 0-0 Be7 9 Qf3 by 9...Qc7 10 Qg3 Nc6 11 Nxc6 Qxc6 12 Re1 Bb7 13 a3 Rd8!:

We have a good opportunity to examine the developments here in the brilliant game Gormally - Sutovsky - Black sacrifices a whole rook 'out-of-the-blue' and the ensuing tactics have to be seen to be believed!

This is the game of the month for me!

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

At the beginning of February (and following on from my Jauary update) loyal subscriber Franck Steebekkers wrote:

"What do you think of the attack on the Nc6 system in the 6 Bg5 Najdorf Mr.Luther wrote in his chapter in Expert versus the Sicilian??"

So, I had a look at the line he reccomends, which continues 8. e5 h6 9. Bh4 and on 9...g5 10. fxg5 Nd5 he gives the continuation 11. Nxd5 exd5 12. exd6 Bxd6 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Qd4:

Now, by the most incredible good fortune, the excellent game Dworakowska - Areshchenko was played at the Gibraltar Masters on the 30th January this year, and this has given me a good opportunity to examine the current state of this line.

In my book I preferred 9...Nxd4 and Luther gives what seems to be a very convincing line against this, but I think I have found a good line for Black, so have a look at my analysis of Luther - Senff.

Many thanks to Franck for his question, and his help here.

Till next month, Tony K


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