ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello everyone,
There are still not so many live, 'offline', tournaments for now, but the situation is slowly improving. I am happy to offer you some 'live chess games', as well as exciting tie-breaks from the recent Hybrid European championship.

Download PGN of June ’21 Open Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Kalashnikov 5.Nb5 d6 6.N1c3 a6 7.Na3 Be7 [B32]

The game Grischuk, A - Radjabov, T featured one of the fashionable lines in the Kalashnikov with 7...Be7 8.Be3. This choice could hardly surprise Teimour, since he already played this position many years ago, and the players followed Morozevich - Radjabov, Zug 2013, till 14...Nxe4:

and now Alexander deviated with 15.a4, which was tested in a few GM games before. Teimour reacted with 15...bxa3, and a few moves later the game reached its critical point. On move 19 White played 19.Qxd5, and after 19...Nb4! followed by ...d6-d5 Black easily solved all his problems. Instead, 19.Bxd5! could still have put Black's k-side under some pressure.

Sveshnikov 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 [B33]

In the next game, Alekseenko, K - Krasenkow, M, White was in a must-win situation, and Kirill decided to surprise his experienced opponent with an early novelty, 9.b4:

Michal reacted with the standard 9...a6 10.Na3 a5, and soon obtained an excellent position. However, at some point he started to play passively and came under strong pressure in the endgame. Alas, the battle was decided by a miss-click - one of the main downsides of Hybrid tournaments.

Anyway, 9.b4 is an interesting try, but it hardly offers White anything special.

The Four Knights 6.Be2 Gambit Line [B45]

The next game, Firouzja, A - Grischuk, A, saw White employ the gambit line where the unopposed dark-squared bishop offers him excellent compensation for the pawn:

In the diagram position after 10.Ba3 Alexander deviated from the usual paths with 10...Nd6? His talented young opponent managed to demonstrate its drawbacks with energetic play and was soon close to victory. However, starting with 19.c3?! Alireza started to spoil his advantage, and eventually it was GM Grischuk who gained the full point. Undoubtedly, 10...Qa5, as previously analyzed in Gashimov, V - Belikov, V has to be preferred.

The Four Knights 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.e5 Nd5 8.Ne4 Qc7 9.f4 [B45]

In the next game, Pichot, A - Aronian, L , Levon deviated from his usual Ruy Lopez in favor of the rare 9...Bb7:

His surprising choice was fully justified - on move 14 Alan switched to passive defence with 14.Nf3?! followed by 15.fxe5?, and was soon defeated by a direct attack.

Even so, I am not sure if 9...Bb7 is as good as other common lines. Indeed, White's play can easily be improved with 13.Nd6!?

Taimanov 6.Be3 a6 7.g4!? [B48]

The aggressive and relatively unexplored 7.g4!? was tested in our next top-level game Nepomniachtchi, I - Caruana, F:

Here Fabiano responded with the rare 7...Nxd4, and after the natural novelty 9.0-0-0 White's development advantage started to tell.

In general, it was a well-played game by both players, where Fabiano managed to hold a slightly inferior endgame.

Classical Richter-Rauzer 6.Bg5 g6 7.Bxf6 exf6 8.Bb5 [B60]

The game Sutovsky, E - Greenfeld, A saw Alon employ Dubov's line with 6...g6. Accordingly to his aggressive style, Emil went for a pawn sarifice with 12.f4:

followed by 13.f5. However, then he wrongly initiated a queen trade, and, as a result, White found himself in a difficult endgame. The rest of the game was full of mutual mistakes, where both players missed their winning chances.

Classical Richter-Rauzer 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 b5 [B67]

In my opinion, the game Grischuk, A - Lupulescu, C has exceptional theoretical value. The diagram position after 15.Ng3 was previously covered on our site in Timofeev - Eliseev, where White won by direct attack.

Constantin's 15...Qc5! looks clearly like the best way, but it didn't came as a surprise for Grischuk. Alexander illustrated his deep understanding of this system with 16.b3! and 18.Qe1!, and White's positional merits prevailed. Still, had GM Lupulescu played 20...Ke7! all 3 results were still possible! Instead, 20...Ra8? led to a strategically lost position.

Scheveningen 6...e6 7.Be3 Nbd7!? [B84]

Another theoretical discussion on Scheveningen territory took place in our last game Esipenko, A - Indjic, A, where Alexander deviated from Magnus's play with 7...Nbd7!?:

This flexible continuation allowed Black to prevent the standard..g2-g4 with 8...h5!? and his king felt relatively safe in the centre.

It was an exciting game, where Alexandar's brave play (that started with 17...Rxc3?!) was fully justified, and he managed to defeat his talented young opponent. At the moment, 7...Nbd7!? looks like an attractive way to hande the position.

See you next month, Michael

>> Previous Update >>

Please feel free to share any of your thoughts at the Open Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write directly to