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Hi everyone,
I am glad to introduce another update which this time features a Sveshnikov (actually the first for my updates), and some other really sharp Sicilians - including a Poisoned Pawn novelty at move 25! I hope you enjoy it!

Download PGN of May '14 Open Sicilian games

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Sveshnikov 9.Nd5, 11.c4 Nd4 [B33]

Our first game Kosintseva, T - Muzychuk, A saw an interesting attempt to solve Black's space problems with a pawn sacrifice. A critical position arises after Black's 16th move, where White has a pleasant choice:

Tatiana was playing quite well, but later, after 22.Nc2?! Black was able to achieve a draw. In general, 11...Nd4 doesn't look like a correct sacrifice, but White has to find a couple of precise moves in order to secure an edge.

The Kan 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Qc7 7.Be3!? [B41]

The game Boruchovsky, A - Kveinys, A is quite important for theory. The rare 7.Be3!? was correctly met by 8...Bc5! and 9...d6!, so the critical Diagram position arises after 10.e5:

Most probably Black should be able to equalize after 10...Ne4, but this looks a bit risky from a human point of view. Aloyzas's choice 10...Ng4 is natural, but it leads to a somewhat passive and worse position. Black's further play could be improved, but Avital's technical play is very impressive in this game.

The Kan with 6.Bd3 Qb6 7.Nf3 Qc7, 9...Bc5 [B43]

The game Safarli, E - Korobov, A is quite illustrative for the chosen theoretical line.

In the Diagram position (after 10...Ne7) White came up with the strong novelty 11.b4!, but after 12.Rb1?! (instead of 12.a4) Black was able to get enough counterplay for the sacrificed pawn. Korobov's play was very strong and energetic till move 17, but his subsequent mistakes were fatal and led to a quick disaster. In general, as this game shows, the chosen system is quite risky for Black, but gives a lot of dynamic play.

The Four Knights with 6.Ndb5 Bb4 7.Bf4 [B45]

A very sharp line was seen in Shanava, K - Abdulov, Or. The Diagram position after 10.0-0-0 was well explored in our archive earlier:

According to our previous analysis, Black is doing fine after 10...Bxc3, but Abdulov didn't want to exchange his dark-squared bishop. After 10...Nxc3?! White's advantage is not yet decisive, but Black's subsequent mistakes were convincingly punished by Konstantine's energetic play.

The Najdorf with 6.Be3 Ng4, 10.Qd2 [B90]

A popular line occurred in Adams,M - Vachier Lagrave,M. This game should definitely suit Najdorf players, since the position after 11....b5 seems very comfortable for Black:

This time Michael deviated from his previous game against Boris Gelfand with the rare 12.h4!? After the reply 12...b4 White can choose between several moves, but 13.Nd5 looks the most promising. Michael's choice of 13.Na4 is also playable, but it requires very precise play from White. After the inaccurate 19.Qxb4? Black got a stable advantage and managed to win this game in good style.

The Najdorf with 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Qc7 [B90]

The players entered a very popular line in Bok, B - Gajewski, G. The whole line with 11...h6 is one of Black's most popular responses nowadays. White comes up with the logical novelty 15.Nd2, and the critical position arises after White's 16th move:

Black's position seems quite solid after 16...Nd7, but the 'greedy' 16...Qxc2? was perfectly punished by Benjamin. His beautiful play (especially 19.g4! and 30.Nf6+!) should make a profound impression on everyone.

The Najdorf/Scheveningen with 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Be7 [B84]

Alexei Shirov is known to be a great attacking player, and our next game Shirov, A - Williams, S reminds us of this once again. In the Diagram position after 9.g4 Black is at a crossroads:

The principled 9...d5 looks like the best reaction, as the game's 9...b5?! turned out to be somewhat slow. In fact, after 12.Rg1! White's attack forced Williams to push ...d6-d5 in a worse situation. The position was still playable for him, but after 19...Rad8?! 20.b4! Black was forced to give up a piece and soon lost.

The Najdorf Poisoned Pawn, 10.e5, 12...g5 [B97]

Our last game Yu Yangui - Wei Yi once more saw an extremely sharp and popular Poisoned Pawn line with a piece sacrifice on the 18th move. This time White's novelty 25.Rd1 was strongly met by 25...Kc7!.

Black should be able to equalize anyway, but in the Diagram position, after 32...Kg8, the young Chinese player could pose Black some practical problems by means of 33.Rxe8+, followed by 34.Be6+.

In general, this game doesn't change the satisfactory evaluation of this line for Black. However, White may still find some additional attacking possibilities, such as 21.Qf2!? which has never been tried.

See you next month, Michael Roiz

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