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Hi everyone! This month there are some pretty amazing innovations both in the Sveshnikov and the Najdorf with 6 Bg5 - the more I look at this move, the more I realise it is THE real problem for Black!

Download PGN of June '05 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov Variation (& others) [B32-B33]

Firstly, we haven't yet looked at the move 4...Qc7:

The amusing tactical point is that after 5 c4 Nf6 6 Nc3 Black can play the surprising 6...Nxe4 see the Ivanchuk - Movsesian game.

Several years ago, whilst I was playing a tournament on the island of La Rèunion, off the coast of East Africa, I was surprised to see, in the following standard Sveshnikov position:

a young player try the piece sac 13 Nxb5!?, and go on to draw against a GM.

Since then the line has 'filtered up' to the higher echelons and is considered very dangerous for Black, see Almasi - Sutovsky.

Black has been experimenting a lot with delaying castling to avoid the sharp variations with the open h-file that I have looked at in recent months, but leaving the king in the centre can have its drawbacks too, see Karjakin - Radjabov, which features a superb 'Kasparovian' exchange sac to gain light-squared domination.

The game Nataf - Spasov answers two questions from subscriber Franck Steenbekkers about the sharp move 18 f3!?:

The play features a double piece sacrifice which only leads to a draw with best play, but instead, on move 19, White can gain some advantage with a move suggested by De La Villa.

Richter-Rauzer [B60 to B69]

Franck Steenbekkers also asks: «What do you think of the way Mr. Chernikov plays the Rauzer with 6...g6

This line doesn't have a particularly good reputation as after 7 Bxf6 exf6the black structure is shattered - Black hopes to be able to play a later ...f5 and use his dark-squared bishop, when he will have dynamic compensation. Have a look at the interesting game Adamson - Gurevich from a few weeks ago.

Which is more important: the static weakness or the dynamic strength? I think the first is more important, especially as the d5-square provides such a nice post for a white piece, but in practical play this line is certainly worth trying, and anyway, other lines of the Richter-Rauser mostly favour White, too.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

The more I look at 6 Bg5 the more I like it for White, and I am not the only one as below the 2600 level lots of strong players are beginning to use this move again. In fact GM Mark Hebden recently told me that he thought that 7...Nc6 was Black's only decent defence!

This mainline position has been seen thousands of times:

White normally continuing 13 f5, but in Sulskis - Pelletier from the European Championship White hit Yannik with the stunning move 13 Nf5!? and gained a winning position!

Perhaps Black has better defences though - see my notes.

As we saw in the last two months the delayed Browne Sytem allows White to play 11 h4, so what if Black plays ...h6 earlier in the game? The problem is that White can then change his planned piece set-up and put his bishop on e2 instead:

And then Black is close to being busted! See the theoretical crush Vasquez - Contreras.

Finally this month, what about the old mainline with 9...b5 and 10...Bb7?:

This used to be all the rage when I was young but is under a cloud at the moment due to the move 12...Qg3! which was brought to prominence in the 15th game of the first Fischer-Spassky match. Black is close to losing in a key line which was much analysed by Luther in Experts vs the Sicilian. For the details see Vuckovic - Tadic where Black once again gets blown away!

Thanks to Franck for his email, and hopefully next month I will have some good news for the Najdorf!!

Till then, 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