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One of the major chess innovations of recent years is the ability to watch major chess events live, from the comfort of your own home. I personally find it difficult to tear myself away from the computer screen when the World's best are playing - especially as the quick draw seems to have disappeared from the top tournaments! TonyK

Download PGN of May '06 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov Variation [B32-B33]

I was intrigued to see Van Wely choose to play the Sveshnikov in Carlsen,M-Van_Wely,L as his young opponent likes to play it as Black himself.

Surprisingly, for a game between two such sharp tacticians, the pieces were swapped and a draw was soon agreed.

Richter-Rauzer [B60 to B69]

I haven't been looking at this for a while, the Classical has certainly taken a back seat to the Najdorf recently, at least at the top level.

However, two games caught my eye this month, for two completely different reasons. Both games occurred in the old mainline, after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 O-O 10. f4 Qa5:

The first one, Sadvakasov, D - Miroshnichenko, E, featured 11. e5 dxe5 12. Qxe5 which leads to an ending thought to be OK for Black. In fact he seems to be in some trouble!

The second game was something else entirely. White preferred 11. Kb1, and the game continued 11...h6 12. h4 Rd8 13. Bd3 e5 14. Qe3 Bg4:

which is a known and respectable defence, however, White's subsequent play made it look like a forced loss! Don't miss the brilliant demonstration Shirov, A - Damljanovic, B!

Could this be the beginning of the end for this line?

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

Well, I am still reeling from Topalov's wonderful finish in Sofia!

In Anand, V - Topalov, V he played his favourite 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e6 7. Be3 b5 8. Qd2 b4 line, and after 9. Na4 Nbd7:

Anand tried 10. c4!?, but walked into some deep preparation , and eventually lost.

The main move is 10. 0-0-0, of course, but Black seems to be doing well with 10...Qa5 11 b3 Bb7 nowadays, see Ponomariov, R - Grischuk, A, where Black was clearly better until his inexplicable blunder.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

The big news in the Najdorf is the emergence of a new line for White, championed by the Romanian super-GM Nisipeanu, 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nde2!?:

The knight is headed for g3, and then f5 or h5. White's plans are positionally motivated, but can turn tactical at any moment.

Black has 3 obvious replies, 7...Nbd7 (Topalov's choice), 7...Be7 (Bobby Fischer's choice) and 7...Be6.

The last of these, 7...Be6, is met by 8. f4!?, threatening f5, and this led to a crushing White victory in Kryvoruchko, Y - Kovchan, A, although check out the curious blunders by both players towards the end.

Also look at the Nisipeanu-Gelfand game in the notes, rarely will you see Gelfand beaten in such simple fashion!

7...Nbd7 seemed fine for Black after the Nisipeanu, L - Topalov, V match in Bucharest, but then Nisipeanu took it on again just afterwards, in the French league, and won very fast, see Nisipeanu, L - Bologan, V!

Leading the Sofia tournament by a point Kamsky decided to take Topalov on in Kamsky, G - Topalov, V with 6 Bg5, but answered 7...Qb6 with the limp 8 Nb3. He then confused his move order and was horribly mangled.

As first Fischer, then Kasparov and now Topalov, all preferred to play the Poisoned Pawn, it seems reasonable to deduce that this is Black's best?!

Back in June! Tony Kosten


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