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There was a post on the Forum asking for more coverage of the Novosibirsk (10..Bg7) Sveshnikov on the site in the next few months, which seemed like a good idea as this was certainly a bit lacking, so I decided to cover several recent games, and put in a new separate Roadmap.
There was also a request for a look at the 'Ga Pa' variation, which is handled by John-Paul Wallace.

Download PGN of January '07 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov [B33]

The Novosibirsk Variation starts 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 Bg7:

Black protects the f-pawn so as to be able to exchange the d5-knight by ...Ne7 without allowing mate in 1! This line is often preferred by those who wish to avoid the sharper mainlines involving piece sacs on b5, and tends to become more popular whenever the mainline is having problems.

White's main reply is 11. Bd3 (although 11. c3 is a good alternative for White, when Black should return to the mainlines with 11...f5) play continuing 11...Ne7 12. Nxe7 Qxe7 13. O-O O-O and now there is a divide, the quiet line 14. c3 is seen in Anand, V - Radjabov, T, which is a really convincing demonstration by Black, but White's sharpest possibility is 14. c4:

After 14...f5 the most popular move is 15. Qf3, see the theoretically important game Oleksienko, M - Zherebukh, Y, and the main alternative is the old line 15. Qh5 examined in Horvath, T - Nedev, T.

I have attempted to encapsulate all this in the new ChessPub Guide - my overall impression is that Black is doing more than OK in all these lines.

Back to a 'positional' 9. Nd5 Sveshnikov, and in Korneev, O - Shirov, A my Austrian club mate tries Smyslov's move 15. Bb5, which certainly makes a change from 15. Bc4 which has been so popular recently. In reply Shirov played an idea of Adorjan, 16...Bh3!?:

After this Black played powerfully and won convincingly.

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

One of the requests from the Missing variations post on the Forum was for some coverage of the 'Ga-Pa' Variation:

I decided to turn this task over to IM John-Paul Wallace, who writes:

The Ga Pa (or Gaw Paw) Variation is a Swedish speciality invented by Swedish theoretician Rolf Martens. Rolf is very well respected amongst the Swedish elite players as he puts a great deal of energy into developing 'sideline variations' into genuine weapons. The Ga Pa is his favourite! It means 'go for it!' and is pronounced "gaw paw' in English, as in fact the proper spelling is gå på with å being roughly the phonetic equivalent to 'aw' in English. If you are impressed by my attention to detail here then you should know I have lived in Scandinavia for a good 5 years!

Being a Swedish variation, GM Pia Cramling, has taken up this line on occasion, and her partner GM Juan Bellon-Lopez is a regular advocate of the line. In fact it is not surprising that he is so fond of the Gaw Paw because in this line Black strives for creative play - just the thing that GM Bellon-Lopez is famous for.

One advantage of the Gaw Paw is that there is very little known about it. It has not attracted too much attention - at least outside Sweden - and in the mega database I did not find a single ANNOTATED game - so it is obviously not considered a very relevant line. All the better it seems, as Black is scoring well in the database, including in recent games. Clearly White players are not prepared! I can suggest this opening as an excellent surprise weapon.

In our first game Meier, G - Braun, A we examine 6.e5 Bc5! 7.Be3 which is White's direct attempt at a refutation:

However, as you shall see it is Black who ends up doing the refuting in this line! Nevertheless, analysis may come up with more ideas for White here and I have made a few suggestions of where one should start looking.

In our second game Ruiz Bravo, A - Lapshun, Y we take a look at 6.Nb3 Bb4! and White's other 6 move alternatives. Again, practice is fully supporting the Black set-up to date.

Thanks J-P! Now, another game by Korneev, and another crushing defeat - sorry Oleg! The opening goes 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nb5 d6 6. Bf4 e5 7. Be3:

White tries to provoke a sort of Sveshnikov with a tempo less, the idea being that the b5-knight will be able to return directly to c3, rather than a3, where it is awkwardly placed. I (TK) remember buying a pamphlet on this variation (The Anti-Taimanov by Matthias Wahls) when I was younger, and winning a few games with it. Unfortunately, Black's play in Korneev, O - Laznicka, V seems pretty emphatic, and it would certainly dissuade me from playing this line with White again!

Scheveningen [B80-86]

Shirov,A-Illescas Cordoba,M starts 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 Qc7 7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 d6 9. f4 Bd7, a curious line where Black develops his queenside first, presumably to dissuade White from overt kingside aggression:

Of course, White being Shirov, he replied 10. g4!? anyway, and, although his position looked a bit dodgy for a while, in true Shirov fashion he managed to play a brilliant queen sac and win. Fantastic!

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

Finally, as we have covered the Najdorf so well this past few months (and many thanks to Daniel for his brilliant update last month) I was going to give it a miss this month, but then Lilux, R - HiarcsX, H dropped into my email box!

The game features a battle between Rybka and Hiarcs, arguably the two strongest programs around at the moment, and so I thought it only fair to analyse the game, which features a 'human-like' Sicilian exchange sac, using Fritz 10!

See you all next month, Tony Kosten


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