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Hi everyone, I was very pleased to receive a number of really interesting emails this month, two of which contained theoretically important improvements!

On top of that there are several really amazing games here.

Download PGN of May '05 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov Variation [B32-B33]

First, Ron Langeveld wrote to me saying: «I noticed your analysis of the Kramnik - Van Wely game in the recent April 2005 Sveshnikov corner. There is an important, and rather obvious novelty for White to play on move 25 instead of b5.»

This is the position. I have incorporated Ron's innovation and his excellent analysis into a revised version of last month's Kramnik - Van Wely game.

To avoid all this sharp theory where Black has to defend against an h-file attack, GM Stefan Kindermann once told me that he couldn't understand why Black didn't simply play 12...Rb8, instead:

In fact, in Motylev - Filippov White replied with 13 h4 anyway, to stop ...Bg5, but I have my reservations about this as the white king has nowhere safe to go.

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

After 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Sveshnikov players often prefer 5...e6 to 5...e5, hoping for the continuation 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bf4 e5 8 Bg5 when a Sveshnikov is reached whilst avoiding certain continuations, such as 7 a4 or 7 Nd5. However, the problem with this particular move order (in my view) is 6 Nxc6! bxc6 7 e5 Nd5 8 Ne4:

Recently Black has tried to revive this line with the move 8...Bb7, planning ...c5 to open the long diagonal, see Svidler - Malakhov.

Incidentally, at the end of this game we reach rook and bishop against rook, an ending I used to regularly win many years ago. I had this same endgame twice recently and both times was dismayed to discover just how easy it was for my opponent to draw by employing the 'seventh rank defence'!

I suggest everyone have a look at this sometime, as knowledge of it may save you quite a few half points in the future.

Last month Bob Herrera asked about the line 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Nxc6 bxc6:

Which is a favourite of Svidler and, in particular, Rublevsky. Well, this month Anand was prepared to play this line with Black as well, and, on top of that, came prepared with a stunning innovation sacrificing an exchange and pawn.

His opponent clearly wasn't happy with this state of affairs, and almost immediately struck back with a rook sacrifice of her own! Don't miss the fabulous game Polgar - Anand!

Richter-Rauzer [B60 to B69]

Tom Hendrich wrote: «I am putting together a Najdorf repertoire, and of course one of the key issues is addressing a response for 6 Bg5. I came across a note in John Emms' book, "Play the Najdorf: Scheveningen Style", that indicated a person could transpose to a Richter-Rauzer with 6...Nc6.
From my perspective, I can't see anything particularly horrible about the idea, particularly given the level of games I am likely to be engaged in. If you don't mind my asking, am I overlooking something obviously bad about the notion of 6...Nc6? Do you feel this option worth pursuing? Do you have any suggestions?»

Clearly, apart from a few side lines, this move takes play away from the Najdorf and over to the mainline Richter-Rauzer, see the opening notes to Azarov - Zhigalko. The question is: if Black prefers playing these lines to pure Najdorf lines then perhaps he should play 5...Nc6 instead of 5...a6 ?

While we're on the subject, there is very large thread 'about' 6...Nc6 on the Forum, but as most of the replies seem to concern 7...Nc6, there might be an error somewhere!

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

Barely a month goes by without the theoretical argument over Topalov's move raging. In the game Anand - Topalov they continued their examination of Anand's 12 b3:

This time Topalov preferred my (obvious, it is true) suggestion of 12...Bd7 13 Nb2 d5, but then produced an idea of his own, a surprising piece sacrifice.

Anand quickly found a stunning reply and sacrificed his own queen for a virulent initiative, the game continuing to produce obscure material situations, until at the end Black may even have been better but forced a draw.

A truly fabulous game!

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

The move 6 a4 is underestimated in my opinion, as White often plays this move anyway (except when he wants to play long castles) to stop ...b5, why not play it immediately?:

Curiously it doesn't seem to have been covered before on this site, so I managed to rectify this omission with the interesting game Hansen - Nakamura.

Motylev - Inarkiev looks at the sharp line with 10...a5!?:

Here Black plays a good innovation, but then loses his way. However, I think he could have justified his opening with a surprising combination on move 18 - see the notes.

Finally, IM David Vigorito wrote:

«Very happy to see you doing the Sicilian section now. I must comment on the gave Navara-Adly in your recent update. This line with 11.h4 seems to have been a little secret for a few years. The line you mention with 11...Nc5 is faulty. 17.Nd5! basically just wins for White after 17...Ncd3 18.Kb1 Qa5 19.Qf1!! This is the "secret move" which was first played vs me by IM Chapman (AUS) on ICC in 2001. An Italian IM also played it vs me once online. Fritz likes Black at first but as you keep feeding it the moves it rapidly changes it's tune. I have no problem revealing this because I am only interested in the black cause!
Keep up your fine work.»

I had a look and David is absolutely right! This being so, the 11 h4!? line looks better and better!

I guess those guys on the Forum who have written 6 Bg5 off may soon have to rethink!

Anyway, I have had to alter my analysis of the game Navara - Adly!

Thanks to David and Ron for sharing their big novelties with the rest of us!

Till next month, 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