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Hello everyone! In my opinion, this time the update is exceptional from a theoretical point of view. There is also only one draw amongst our games, so I hope you would also like the fighting spirit of these battles.

Download PGN of June '15 Open Sicilian games

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The Kan 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.Qd3 [B41]

Our first game Hovhannisyan,R - Vorobiov,E saw one more attempt to solve Black's problems in the fashionable line with 7.Qd3. The position after 8...exd5 was tested many times in practice, but each time White manages to fix a small, but long-lasting advantage.

For some reason, though, in this particular game the Armenian player went for the over-ambitious 9.Bg5. This approach was strongly met by 11...Qb6 (novelty), so Black had comfortably equalized. Moreover, GM Evgeny Vorobiov was able to seize the initiative quite soon, so White's further mistakes led to a quick loss. In general, after the strongest move 9.Be2 I still do not see a convincing way to solve the problems, so the ball is still in Black's court in this line.

The Taimanov 6.f4 a6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Bd3 b5 [B47]

Our next game, Quezada Perez,Y - Molina,R has definite theoretical value for the line with 6.f4. In the April update I suggested 13.g4 as a possible improvement of White's previous play, and indeed the Cuban Grandmaster played this.

However, in the diagram position after 14...Nxd5 he introduced another novelty 15.Rhe1. The surprise effect worked well, and a few moves later White's attack was crushing. Well, despite the convincing victory, I still believe 15.Rhf1 is stronger. In general, it looks like Black should find a better way of handling this line.

The Taimanov 7.Qf3 Nf6 8.0-0-0 Nxd4 [B48]

The original setup with Qf3 is becoming one of White's main weapons against the Taimanov. Our next game Libiszewski,F - Pile,R saw a rare attempt to simplify matters by means of 8...Nxd4, followed by 9...e5.

In the Diagram position after 11...Be6 White came up with the logical novelty 12.g4 and soon obtained full control of the key d5-square. Black's position was very unpleasant, and the decisive mistake on move 17 allowed Libiszewski to develop a crushing attack.

The Classical Richter-Rauzer 6...Bd7 7.Qd2 Rc8 [B61]

In past few years, the well-forgotten line with 6...Bd7 has gained some popularity, mainly due to the efforts of Russian GM Alexei Dreev. The Diagram position after 16...Bc5 always seemed somewhat shaky, but playable:

However, it looks like our next game Quesada Perez,Y - Henriquez Villagra clearly changes the previous assessment. Indeed, after 17.Qe5 Bb4 White can choose between 2 promising ways to extend his initiative - 18.Qg3 or 18.Qe2, which led to a difficult endgame for Black. The only practical chance was missed by Cristobal on move 28 - the correct 28...Ke8! would allow him to stay in the game. Instead, after 28...Bh3, as played in 2 preceding games, Black's position was already completely lost.

The Classical Richter-Rauzer 7...a6 8.0-0-0 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Be7 [B66]

Another theoretical discussion took place in Salgado Lopez,I - Demuth,A. The players entered into a rich double-edged position after 14.Kb1:

when Black introduced a very interesting novelty, 14...Rfc8!? It turns out that in many cases Black is ready to meet White's k-side attack with the typical ...d6-d5 advance, and that makes his position more attractive. In this particular game the standard 15.Ne2 was strongly met by 15...d5! 16.e5 Ne4, so Ivan was forced to allow the pin of his centralised knight. That factor yielded Black decent counter-play, so till move 23 Adrien had no reasons for complaints. However, one serious mistake, 23...Bf2?, completely changed the situation. Ivan's further play wasn't very precise, but eventually he won quite convincingly.

The Perenyi piece sac 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 h5 [B81]

Our next game Lu Shanglei - Liu Qingnan also has a definite theoretical value.

In the Diagram position after 13...Qd5 White tried to take control of the light squares by means of 14.Rg1, but Liu Qingnan was able to prove that this plan is too slow. The players entered into an equal endgame, but then Lu Shanglei committed the first mistake on move 21, leaving the opponent's rook too active in his camp. Still, had White played 22.Nd6! the most probable result of this game would be a draw. Alas, Lu Shanglei wasn't at his best in the further play, and eventually lost.

The Scheveningen Be2 Main line with 11.Qe1 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 [B85]

The game Navara,D - Fier,A was a continuation of their previous theoretical discussion, which was covered in the April Update. This time GM Fier came up with the dubious novelty 18...Qc7?!:

And so Navara got excellent attacking prospects. The critical moment came on move 21, when David allowed Black to release the pressure by means of 21...Nxf4!, so the game ended in a draw quite quickly.

Anyway, it would be interesting to check out what David's preparation was based on. At the moment, 18...Rad8 or 18...g6 look playable for Black in this line.

Najdorf 6.h3 e6 7.g4 Be7 8.g5 [B90]

Our last game Navara,D - Solodovnichenko,Y saw an original way of handling the fashionable 6.h3 line of the Najdorf.

In the theoretical Diagram position after 12.Qd2 Yuri came up with a new concept - putting pressure on the e4-pawn to prevent White from pushing f2-f4-f5, so his attacking possibilities are somewhat reduced. It looks like Black's position would be perfectly playable had he played 15...Rb8! intending to open-up the b-file. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Grandmaster wasn't at his best, so after committing mistakes on moves 15 and 17, White's attack became decisive.

See you next month!

Enjoy! Michael Roiz

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