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This month we have some games from the Aeroflot tournament, plus a few games from the Corus tournament that I didn't have time to cover last month. TonyK

Download PGN of February '06 Open Sicilian games

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

I remember a student once asking me why Black didn't just play 5...d5 in the following position:

and to my great surprise Kamsky did just that in Corus, see Bacrot, E - Kamsky, G. Actually, although Black loses time with his queen it is perhaps not so bad, providing he is not too ambitious, as here.

One of the threads on the Forum asked about a 'Safe Sicilian', and I suggested that I examine the Four Knights in more detail, especially as Raetsky now seems to advocate it for both White and Black! The key position arises after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Ndb5 Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Nxc3 d5 9. exd5 exd5 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O d4 12. Ne2:

where Black normally continues 12...Bg4, but in the recent game Korneev, O - Lenic, L I saw that Black did well with 12...Re8!?, and only then ...Bg4.

To my surprise I noticed that Fed had already devoted quite a number of games to this in the past (see the 'Four Knights with ...e6' [B45] chapter, and associated games), so next month I will instead look at 7 Bf4!?, perhaps.

I also noticed that there was another recent thread about this line which mentioned that in practice (at sub-GM levels I suppose) White often plays a different 6th move (to 6 Ndb5 or 6 Nxc6), so this might be worth me investigating too.

In Carlsen, M - Vescovi, G White reached the following position:

but instead of 12 Bh6, (which was met by 12 Rb8! in Polgar - Anand) the youngster played the superior 12 Na4! and won a very smooth game. Still, I think Black has an important improvement, see the notes.

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

After the game Leko - Topalov, at San Luis, I didn't expect to see 8...b4!? too much:

but I was wrong as in Motylev, A - Bologan, V Black tries it again with success, improving Topalov's play on move 12.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

The latest move against Bologan's 13 Na5! is 13...Qd7!?:

although the game Anand, V - Gelfand, B is hardly an advertisement for this!

The line 6 g3 e5 7 Nb3 is certainly very popular at the moment, and was even tried by Leko against the World Champion at the Corus tournament. Topalov replied with the simple 7...Be7 8. Bg2 Be6 9. O-O O-O 10. a4 Nbd7:

and achieved a good position, soon winning a pawn.

However, this is not the end of the story, as you can see from Malakhov, V - Smirnov, P where Black was quickly in trouble against White's simple plan.

A little while ago I commented, in the following position from the 6 Be2 and 9 Kh1 line:

(where Kasimdzhanov played 10...b5!?) that Black normally plays 10...Be6, and this was tested in Adams, M - Karjakin, S, where Black tried a new idea from Grischuk with success.

Till March, 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