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Hello everyone,
Most of the games belong to the Najdorf section this time, and there is no Sveshnikov. However, all the games were exciting and they were all decisive.

Download PGN of July ’19 Open Sicilian games

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Taimanov 5...a6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Qf3 [B46]

We start with Dominguez Perez, L - Nisipeanu, L where Black employed the important novelty 10...d6!:

This move made it possible for Black to consolidate and equalize, but later the impulsive 23...d5? spoiled all GM Nisipeanu's efforts and led to a collapse.

This line still seems problematic for Black, since 9.Qg3!? (as previously covered in Oparin - Rublevsky) looks unpleasant.

Classical Richter-Rauzer 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f3 Be7 [B67]

The next game, Ivanchuk, V - Maghsoodloo, P, saw the players enter a relatively rare theoretical Rauzer position after 16.Ne2:

At this moment Parham played the new move 16...d5?! which led to unfavorable French-style play. Moreover, the next careless move, 17...a5?, could have yielded White a decisive attack, had Vassily played 18.g6! Alas, from this point on GM Ivanchuk started to go astray and eventually lost the game.

In general, this line looks promising for White. In particular, 13.Qxd4!? might pose Black even more problems.

Najdorf Defence 6.Rg1 b5 [B90]

The game Motylev, A - Kokarev, D saw Alexander choose the relatively rare 6.Rg1, that was seen on our site long time ago. In response, Dmitry employed the natural novelty 8...e6:

and achieved a comfortable position. Furthermore, Alexander pushed too hard by sacrificing the e-pawn, and had Black then played 14...Be7! White would have faced difficulties. Instead, 14...Nc6?! followed by 17...g6? allowed GM Motylev to win the game in attacking style.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bc4 Qc7 9.Bb3 Be6 [B90]

In my opinion, the game Le Quang Liem - Xiong, J has exceptional theoretical value. In the position after 11...g6 White played 12.Bh6!:

this seems to pose Black major problems. Indeed, Jeffery reacted with the natural 12....Rd8, but soon came under strong pressure. The critical moment arrived on move 18, when 18...Qc5? led to a quick collapse.

Undoubtedly, after 12.Bh6 the ball is now in Black's court.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Be7 9.Qd2 h5 10.0-0-0 Nbd7 [B90]

Another theoretical discussion occurred in Khanin, S - Paravyan, D. In the important theoretical position after 14.Bg5:

David went for the interesting new idea 14...Nb6!?, inviting White to take the pawn. The players soon entered a complex endgame where the powerful bishops provided Black full compensation for the pawn. Moreover, the careless 22.f4?! led Semen into an unpleasant situation, where he had to struggle for a draw. It was a dramatic game, when the higher-rated player was lucky to earn the full point.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 [B90]

The next game, Antipov, M - Parkhov, Y, saw Mikhail employ the rare and dubious 13.h3?!:

Yair responded naturally with 13...Qc7 and soon the game reached its first critical moment. Had Yair played 15...Bd7 White would have faced serious problems, while instead 15...Bc4? yielded White sufficient counter-play on the k-side. In the further complex play Mikhail managed to out-play his lower-rate opponent, so White's victory was well-deserved.

Doubtless, 13.h3?! cannot be recommended, since Black can even gain an advantage with 13...Nb6!?

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Be7 9.Qd2, 12...Nh5 [B90]

In Firat, B - Navara, D the players followed the recent game Hracek - Dziuba, which was covered on our site a few months ago. On move 16 David deviated with the 16...Nf4 that was mentioned as a possible alternative to 16...Qc7. In response, White employed the natural novelty 18.c4:

this immediately provoked GM Navara to go astray with 18...Qh5?! Still, had Black then played 20...axb5 the result of this game would be unpredictable. Unfortunately, 20...Bd8? practically killed the intrigue, but White's technique was still impressive.

Najdorf 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Bb3 e6 9.0-0!? [B94]

The last game, Iljushenok, I - Fedoseev, V, saw White played 9.0-0!?, which is new for our site:

Even though it was tried by Ilia in past, it looks like Vladimir wasn't well prepared for it and reacted with the dubious 9...h6?! and soon came under serious pressure. However, on move 15 GM Fedoseev could have achieved acceptable play with 15...Nfd7. Instead, 15...Nfe4? followed by 17...b4? led to a quick loss.

I expect further practical tests of 9.0-0!?, while 9..Be7 looks like the real test.

See you next month, Michael

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