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Hi, There was a mixed reaction to my idea of doing a Poisoned Pawn special, but as there were three very interesting games played in this line last month I decided to look at it anyway. We also have the usual bunch of exciting Sicilians, this time from Wijk aan Zee of course. TonyK

Download PGN of January '06 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov Variation [B33]

As I have mentioned recently, rather than play 17...g6 in the diagram position, allowing 18 h4,

, Rogozenko considers 17...Bxe3 18 Nxe3 Ne7 to be safest, and he may be right as the World Champion successfully played this way himself in Corus, see Karjakin - Topalov.

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

One of the big early surprises at Wijk was the game Adams - Topalov where White preferred 13 Qd2 to the 13 Nb3 he played at San Luis:

he then manoeuvred his bishop to g3 to play a devastating e5 and f5 breakthrough and destroy the Champ's defences, to record a memorable victory.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

Well, what with the Poisoned Pawn games, and all the Najdorfs played at Wijk aan Zee this is certainly a good month for this section! Incidentally, I will cover the other important games from Wijk next month.

I have never understood why, after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e5, the move 7 Nf3 is not played more often:

Curiously, when I looked in the ChessPub Guides I couldn't even find one reference to this move! After my loss to Sokolov last year I was extremely interested to see how Leko handled this line as Black in Anand - Leko, and I wasn't disappointed. Although he lost badly, his opening shows the way forward for Black.

Back to 7 Nb3, and the game Karjakin,S-Anand led to wild complications after Black played 15...a4!:

and White replied 16 Nbd4!?. Later on we reach this position where White seems to be on top:

but then Anand uncorked the amazing double piece sac 24...Nc7!! 25 Qxc7 Rc8! and although my computer at first thinks that White is +7 pawns, in fact it seems that White is probably getting mated - a must-see game!

It is good to see the Forum back again, and my attention was drawn to one of the threads which mentioned the line 6 Bg5 e5 7 f4 h6 8 Bh4 Nbd7 9 Qf3 e5!?:

Can this be good? I searched my reference books and couldn't find any mention of it! This post quoted the game Berg - Campos Moreno which seemed OK for Black. However, if you look at the note to move eleven you will see that White can force a very favourable ending by force, so I'm afraid it is back to the drawing board for Black!

Onto the Poisoned Pawn, and the old mainline with 8 Qd2 Qxb2 9 Rb1 Qa3 10 f5 Nc6 11 fxe6 fxe6 12 Nxc6 bxc6 13 e5 dxe5 14 Bxf6 gxf6 15 Ne4 where White sacs a second pawn to ruin the black kingside:

there were two games featuring both Black choices, 15...Qxa2 (see Bender - Senff) and 15...Be7 (Thinius - Kersten), this month. These lines lead to an inordinate number of draws by perpetual, but in fact, if you exam the notes carefully, you will see that at this moment in time White is unable to prove a draw - Black currently has the upper hand!

I suppose this is inevitable in this age of computers - it is easy to fend off many apparently strong attacks if you can thoroughly analyse them at home with the help of Hiarcs or Fritz!

Finally, a look at Fischer's move 11...h5:

I think this is inferior to the 11...Nc6 of Kasimdzhanov - Sadvakasov I analysed a little while ago. In Bluvshtein,M-Roschina Black tries an idea of Korchnoi, but fails to follow-up correctly.

I will be back! 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