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Something of a bloodthirsty update, although that's hardly a surprise considering all the strong tournaments which have already taken place in 2014 and the lines which come under the microscope this month.

Download PGN of February '14 Open Sicilian games

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The Sveshnikov 10...f5, 12 exf5 [B33]

We haven't considered 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Bxf6 gxf6 10 Nd5 for a while. After 10...f5 11 c3 Bg7 going 12 exf5 Bxf5 13 Nc2 isn't the most critical test ever, but has received some attention of late. Notably for the defence Krasenkow continues to believe in 13...Be6 14 g3 0-0 15 Bg2 f5 16 0-0 a5:

Here 17 Nf4 isn't anything for White and Black wins a fine, fighting game after the alternative 17 Re1 in Gabrielian - Krasenkow which enabled him to tie for first in the Moscow Open.

The Sveshnikov 9 Nd5, 11 c3 [B33]

Another fairly positional line is 9 Nd5 Be7 10 Bxf6 Bxf6 11 c3 Bg5 12 Nc2 0-0 13 a4 bxa4 14 Rxa4:

Here Black tends to push his a-pawn, but Moiseenko went 14...Rb8 in Prizant - Moiseenko. It turned out well, but I still have my doubts about leaving a6 undefended like this.

The Keres Attack without ...Nf6 [B54]

After 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 d6 6 g4 Black doesn't have to transpose to the Keres proper and we haven't yet given 6...Nge7 as much coverage as it deserves. After 7 Nb3 a6 White has tended to catch up in development, but 8 h4 b5 9 Bg2 Bb7 10 g5 Rc8 was a recent try:

I haven't, however, managed to unearth a particularly great continuation for White here and he was gradually outplayed in Nakamura - Van Wely.

The Classical Sicilian Richter-Rauzer 9 f3 Be7 10 Be3!? [B67]

Zdenko Kozul has remained true to his favourite 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 Bd7 of late, with his opponents rather queuing up to go 9 f3 Be7 10 Be3!?, accepting a tempo-down version of an English Attack:

Kozul tried 10...Qc7, then switched to 10...0-0 and was defeated by Palac, but just four days later Jankovic launched a further improvement. All the details can be found in Palac - Kozul, with the conclusion: Black is OK.

The Scheveningen 6 Be2 [B83]

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Be2 can, of course, become pretty theoretical, but it doesn't have to with 6...Be7 7 Be3 Nc6 8 f4 Qc7 one not overly explored sideline should White now go 9 g4 or 9 Ndb5:

That latter move was tried in Vachier Lagrave-Mareco where 9...Qb8 10 g5 Nd7 11 h4 a6 12 Nd4 Qc7 13 g5 looked pretty active and easy to play for White, who went on to win a most impressive game after a thematic knight sacrifice on f5. Do not skip this game!

Najdorf 6 Bg5 Nbd7 [B94]

It would hardly be right not to update our coverage of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 Nbd7 which remains pretty topical:

In response White continues to test and explore 7 Qe2, but Black seems to be OK after both 7...h6 8 Bh4 b5 and the transposition to a Gelfand Variation with 7...e6 8 f4 Qc7 [B96], as in Gao Rui-Mackenzie. As such, I still consider 7 Bc4 more challenging when one might join Shabalov in experimenting with 7...g6!?. Instead, a big main line was debated in Van Kampen-Tseitlin, which wasn't a perfect game, but Black is just in big trouble in the line from what I can see.

Danny Gormally is unfortunately unable to continue writing this section, so next month... a new contributor! Richard

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