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Several topical lines are discussed this month and there's a typically crazy Sutovsky game to look forward to, but first I must give my apologies to Najdorf and Taimanov fans who will have to wait until next month for coverage of their favourite openings.

Download PGN of May '12 Open Sicilian games

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The Lowenthal [B32]

We begin with 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 a6 6 Nd6+ Bxd6 7 Qxd6. Now 7...Qf6 is the Lowenthal proper, but quite what one should classify 7...Qe7 as I'm less sure. This move gives Black must less fun, but does neutralise both 8 Qc7 and the exchange of queens. Thus White went 8 Qd1 Nf6 9 Nc3 d6 10 Be2 0-0 11 Be3 in Berg - Li Chao from the Sigeman tournament:

This must be a little better for White with his bishops, but Black is very solid and with 11...b5!? 12 0-0 Bb7 13 a4! Nd4! began to simplify down to a slightly worse rook ending, which he held.

The Grivas [B32]

It's quite rare that Nigel Short employs the Sicilian, but perhaps he had finally been persuaded to try 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Qb6 by his fellow sometime Greek resident, Efstratios Grivas. After 5 Nb3 Nf6 6 Bd3 e6 7 0-0 Be7 8 Be3 Qc7 White might well deploy his final piece with 9 Nc3, but 9 f4 d6 10 c4 is an ambitious alternative:

In Liu Qingnan-Short Black logically took the bishop-pair with 10...Nb4, going on to triumph after the board caught fire in the run up to move 40.

The Sveshnikov [B33]

I'm sure many were pleased when 1 e4 finally made an appearance in Game 5 of the World Championship. Gelfand, however, was ready, eschewing his usual Najdorf and Petroff in favour of 1...c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5. No doubt surprised Anand opted for the safety-first, fashionable line 9 Nd5 Be7 10 Bxf6 Bxf6 11 c4, but never really had anything in Anand - Gelfand before giving up 3 d4 for the Rossolimo in subsequent games.

It would be interesting to know what the Israeli no.1 had in store for 9 Bxf6 gxf6 10 Nd5. One option is, of course, the Novosibirsk, but Black must know what he's doing after 10...Bg7 11 Bd3 Ne7 12 Nxe7 Qxe7 13 0-0 0-0 14 c4 f5 15 Qh5:

There are a few choices here, of which 15...Rb8! is the most reliable and not the 15...Qb7?! of Harikrishna - Wang Yue.

The Kan 5 c4, 8 0-0 [B41]

Recently there has been much discussion on the Forum concerning the startling idea of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 c4 Nf6 6 Nc3 Bb4 7 Bd3 Nc6 8 0-0!?:

After 8...Nxd4 9 e5 White actually regains his piece in view of the double-attack 9...Ng8? 10 Qg4. This move was discovered and originally analysed by Helmut Froeyman, and published on the ChessPub Forum under the username 'brabo' in 2007.

The rising Australian star Max Illingworth has both tested this line and written an article on it, and we finally consider it in Haast - Muzychuk.

5 Bd3 [B42]

The main line is arguably still 5 Bd3 and we have developments after all of 5...Nc6, 5...Nf6 6 0-0 e5 and 5...g6 to consider in the notes to Howell - Miezis. Grandelius made good use of an idea mentioned on these pages after 5...g6 in the Sigeman event, but our main game features Miezis' favourite 5...Nc6 6 Nxc6 dxc6 7 0-0 e5:

However, Black is simply worse after 8 Nd2 as far as I can see and after the unfortunate experiment 8...b5? 9 a4! was blown away by the English Grandmaster.

5 Nc3 [B43]

Last month we saw that Black had begun to fight back against 5 Nc3 b5 6 Bd3 Qb6 7 Nf3 with 7...Qc7 8 0-0 Bb7 9 Re1 Be7. Here 10 Bd2!? is a fiendish little move:

The idea is 10...d6?! 11 a4 bxa4 and now both 12 Rxa4 and 12 e5!? are promising, with the latter unsurprisingly Sutovsky's choice in Sutovsky - Olszewski.

The Classical: Rauzer [B67]

Quite an important line of the Rauzer runs 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 Bd7 9 f4 b5 and here 10 a3!? looks like a typical club player move:

However, the move has a number of points and it's not so clear how Black ought to proceed. Indeed, a leading Classical authority was quickly caught out after 10...Rb8?! 11 e5! in Sutovsky - Kozul.

That's all for this month, but I'll be back pretty soon to keep all the Taimanov and Najdorf aficionados happy! Until then,


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