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Alexander Moiseenko is the star of this column; not so much because we feature three of his games, but rather for the lively concept he has brought to the fore in a line of the Sveshnikov which had been proving rather annoying for Black. Elsewhere we see developments in a range of lines with all the major recent events represented.

Download PGN of July '11 Open Sicilian games

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The Kalashnikov [B32]

Radjabov's opponents like to meet 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 with 6 N1c3, but I've never understood why more don't try the old main line with 6 c4 Be7 7 N1c3 a6 8 Na3 Be6 9 Be2 Bg5 10 0-0:

As he showed elsewhere in Bazna, the Azeri star has likely worked out the easiest way to draw as Black, but the position is still somewhere in the realm of +=/= in my view. Navara - Moiseenko continued 10...Bxc1 11 Rxc1 Nf6 12 Nc2 0-0 13 Qd3 Qb6 14 b3, reaching something of a tabiya. Black has usually covered d6 with a rook at this juncture, but the simplifying 14...Nb4!? looks like a good novelty. Indeed, Black was surely OK before losing his way and finding himself on the wrong end of an impressive piece of calculation from Navara.

The Sveshnikov [B33]

Moiseenko switched to his other main speciality, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 for the Ukrainian Championship. After 9 Bxf6 gxf6 10 Nd5 f5 White tested the fairly rare but sensible-looking 11 g3 fxe4 12 Bg2 in Volokitin - Moiseenko:

After 12...Be6 13 Bxe4 Bg7 14 Qh5 Rc8 15 c3 Ne7 16 Rd1 Nxd5 17 Bxd5 I'm not too sure why Moiseenko rejected 17...Qd7, which seems fine for Black, as we'll see. Instead his 17...Bxd5 18 Rxd5 Rc5 led to a defensible endgame, but I rather think this may be a case of 'don't copy this at home'. Whereas Black's position is quite normal to handle after 17...Qd7, he must play quite precisely to hold the slightly worse ending and in any case I'd be surprised if club players wanted to go down such a route.

In Kovchan - Moiseenko White preferred the annoying line 9 Nd5 Be7 10 Bxf6 Bxf6 11 c4; annoying because after 11...b4 12 Nc2 the queenside is closed and Black really struggles to generate winning chances. Step forward 11...Ne7!:

This isn't technically a novelty, but had remained pretty much undiscovered until Moiseenko brought it to the World's attention. After 12 Nxf6+ gxf6 13 cxb5 0-0 suddenly Black has typical Sveshnikov compensation and a dynamic position. Moreover, this new continuation seems to hold up objectively and gives Black far more winning chances than in the sterile positions after 11...b4.

The Kan [B42]

A critical test of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3 Bc5 6 Nb3 Ba7 must be 7 Qg4, although theory has always considered Black to obtain sufficient counterplay with 7...Nf6. After 8 Qg3 d6 9 Nc3 Nc6 I think that White does best to try 10 Bg5!? h6 11 Bd2, whereas 10 0-0 can be met by 10...h5!? or 10...b5:

The latter has twice been Smirin's choice of late and after the extremely bold 11 Qxg7? with 11...Rg8 12 Qh6 Ne5 Black obtained a strong initiative, going on to notch up a quick win in Molner - Smirin.

The Taimanov [B47]

After 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 White's main choices remain the English Attack and the classical lines with Bd3 or Be2, but 6 g3 is quite a popular sideline. Following 6...a6 7 Bg2 d6 8 0-0 Be7 9 Re1 Bd7 10 Nxc6 Bxc6 White again tends to take aim at g7 with 11 Qg4:

Again, however, Black can drive the queen backwards and obtain counterplay, here with 11...h5, after which there are a few reasonable ways to handle the position, as we'll see in Navara - Movsesian.

An even rarer choice which has recently regained some attention is 6 f4 a6 7 Nxc6 Qxc6 8 Bd3 b5 9 Qe2 Bb7 10 Bd2 Bc5 11 0-0-0, unpretentious but aggressive development:

Black should be OK here, but the thematic ...d5 break comes too early in Naiditsch - Vachier Lagrave where the French star is crushed down the central files.

The Classical: Richter-Rauzer [B67]

An English Attack approach remains popular after 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, although after 9 f3 Be7 White doesn't usually improve his king position as early as he did in So - Sasikiran, with 10 Kb1:

After 10...Qc7 11 h4 I rather like Saskiran's prophylactic 11...h6 12 Be3 h5!, although the young Filipino Grandmaster was ultimately successful after some very aggressive play in a rather unusual type of Hedgehog scenario.

The Najdorf: 6 Be2 [B92]

Last month we gave some coverage to 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e5 7 Nb3 Be7 8 Bg5, but only considered the solid, main continuation 8...Be6 and not Tony's old recommendation, 8...Nbd7:

This had been believed to have been partially resurrected of late by the inclusion after 9 a4 of 9...h6 10 Bh4 before 10...b6, but 11 Nd2! was a simple but effective novelty which gave White a definite pull in Nisipeanu - Nakamura.

6 Bg5 Polugaevsky Variation [B96]

Somewhat more topical and aggressive is 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4, but here the Polugaevsky is a pretty rare beast these days and 7...b5!? must have come as a surprise to White in Vallejo Pons-Bromberger. After 8 e5 dxe5 9 fxe5 Qc7 the Spanish no.2 opted for 10 Qe2 Nfd7 11 0-0-0 Bb7 12 Qg4 Qb6 13 Be2, sacrificing a pawn:

I suspect that this was at least as much over-the-board inspiration as preparation. After 13...Nxe5 14 Qh3 Nbd7 Black should be OK, although some questions remain to be answered and a typically-complex fight quickly unfolded in the game.

That's all from me until after the British Championship. All the best to those subscribers playing somewhere this summer - long live the Sicilian! Richard

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