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As a new contributor I am glad to introduce my first update. As usual in this section we have a lot of exciting games, most of which were played by strong Grandmasters and have important theoretical value. I have also tried to cover a variety of different topical lines.

Download PGN of March '14 Open Sicilian games

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The Four Knights with 6 Ndb5 Bb4 7 a3 [B45]

The game Sutovsky, E - Savina, A Gibraltar Masters 2014, saw an original way to fight against the isolated pawn:

Emil is known to be a very talented attacking player, but this time he comes up with an interesting positional approach, 15.c4!? Some inaccuracies from his opponent allowed him to make good use of his q-side pawn majority with excellent play, but as I show the problems were solvable - Black's passed pawn may become quite strong in case of precise play.

The Taimanov 5...a6 6 Nxc6, 11...Kf8!? [B46]

Quite a topical line appeared in Nadanian, A - Grachev, B EUR-ch Yerevan 2014:

Instead of 12...c5 Boris tried the rare 12...h5. The critical test for such a strategy should be on move 16, when Boris erred with 16...dxc4? instead of 16...d4. The subsequent inaccuracies were perfectly exploited by the Armenian player, but the position was already unpleasant for Black.

The Taimanov 5...Qc7 6 g3 [B47]

In our next game Adams, M - Adhiban, B Gibraltar Masters 2014, the English Grandmaster met the relatively rare 7...Nge7 system with the tricky 8.Be3!?:

The right way to equalize in this case is 8...b5! but instead Black went for the dubious 8...Ne5 and got an unpleasant position. White had a several promising possibilities, such as 14.e5!? or 17.f5!?, but after his somewhat slow play Black was able to equalize. Moreover, towards the end Michael Adams even had to be careful.

The Taimanov 5...Qc7 6 Be3, 8 f4!? [B48]

The game Solak, D - Navara, D EUR-ch Yerevan 2014, is a typical opening disaster. This game saw the recently fashionable 8.f4!?:

but in the diagram position after 8...Bb4 9.Bd3 David's novelty 9...0-0?! seems unsuccessful. The modest 11...d6 would have led to a worse but playable position, but instead Black failed to provide much resistance after 11...Ng4?! and 12...e5?.

The Classical Richter-Rauzer 6...a6 7 Qd2 Nxd4 [B60]

An interesting theoretical battle was convincingly won by White in Akopian,V-Ter Sahakyan,S Bronstein mem Open 2014.

It seems Black should try 9...e5!? in order to make this rare line playable again, as 9...Qc7, which was successfully tried several times before by GM Ivan Saric, was strongly met by Vladimir's novelty 10.Nd5! As a result White was clearly better in the arising endgame, but the young Armenian player was just able to hold.

The Richter-Rauzer short castles, 8....Nxd4, 10 f4 h6 [B65]

The game Li Chao-Greenfeld,A Festival des Jeux 2014, saw one more theoretical battle in Wittmann's old line.

In the diagram position after 14...Bd7 the Chinese Grandmaster came up with a new attacking idea. White's aggressive set-up looks quite dangerous after 17.g4, but my analysis proves that precise play would allow Black to maintain equal chances in the worst case. After 19...d5?! Li Chao was better, but he failed to play correctly and made some mistakes as well. In fact, Black could take over the initiative, but finally the Chinese player was lucky to win this game. Still, the ball remains in White's court!

The Scheveningen - Keres Attack 7...h6 8 Bg2 g5 [B81]

The following game, Mista, A - Najer, E TCh-CZE Extraliga 2014, is also interesting from a theoretical point of view.

In the diagram position after White's 12th move Evgeny came up with the original idea 12...Qc7!?. White's response was the most principled, so there was a critical moment a few moves later. It looks like 14...Qc5 15.Bh4 Nge5 could definitely suit Black's followers. The decisive mistake came on the next move, but Alexander erred as well. Even so, White was lucky to win this game with a nice direct attack.

The Najdorf 6 Be3 e5, 8 h3 [B90]

The game Motylev, A - Tari, A EUR-ch Yerevan 2014, was extremely complicated and quite important for theory.

The very sharp diagram position arose after Black's 15th move, when Alexander Motylev deviated from the known paths with 16.Nd2. Both players were on top form almost till the end, but finally the higher rated player was able to earn a full point. Still, the way Aryan played in this game seems suitable for Najdorf players.

See you next month with more exciting games. The Candidates Matches are coming! Enjoy! Michael Roiz

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