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At the end of October/beginning of November I played the Cap D'Agde tournament in the south of France, and was able to watch many of the games in the 'New Wave' rapid tournament, which featured the best youngsters (Radjabov, Carlsen, Karjakin, etc.) with some strong girls (Kosteniuk, Stefanova, etc.) and ... Karpov!
Not really sure what he was doing in the tournament, but anyway, many of the deciding games were very exciting and so I have included the most interesting ones here. TonyK

Download PGN of November '06 Open Sicilian games

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

One of the first things we learn about when studying the Sicilian is the thematic exchange sac on c3. In fact, there are quite a number of similar sacrifices that occur on other squares in the Sicilian. Have a look at this position:

Black has played his bishop to an active square on c5, but from here the bishop doesn't help defend the kingside, so White would like to swing his rook to the g-file to exploit this, but how? By playing 15 Rf3!, the idea being that when Black captures on f3 White will recapture with the g-pawn to open the g-file, and then play Rg1. To see this in action play through the game Carlsen,M-Vachier Lagrave,M.

Richter-Rauzer [B60 to B69]

Matthias asked: «I was wondering if you knew of ... any theory with regard to the Richter Rauzer Sicilian with Bc4 instead of the main line Qd2?»

Actually, I have to admit that I have never seen this before, and at first glance it looks like White is mixing two systems: the Sozin and the Richter. However, as a similar idea is currently rather popular in the Najdorf I thought I would do a little research.

Informator just gives the reference 7...Qb6 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. Ndb5 Ne5 10. Bb3 Rg8 11. O-O a6 12. Nd4?? (12. Na3 is forced, of course) 12...Qxd4 13. Qxd4 Nf3+ 0-1, Sursock, S - Larsen, B/Siegen 1970, which certainly isn't a good advert for the line! 8. Nb3 seems better, and transposes to a harmless variation of the Sozin Benko where White plays Bg5 (there are a few games in the archive).

7...Qb6 certainly seems logical, exploiting the fact that the bishop on g5 is not helping defend the dark squares, but 7...Be7 8. Bb3 Qa5 also looks good, threatening to win a piece after 9 Qd2?? Nxd4.

So, Matthias, in short I think you should stick to 7 Qd2, which seems to be very strong for White at the moment!

Scheveningen [B80-86]

Thanks to Jean-Paul who has analysed a couple of games this month, including Brodsky, M - Cheparinov, I, which takes another look at 8...b4:

With Cheparinov, "efficiently polishing off after a well executed novelty".

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 b5 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. Bg5 Be7 is certainly á la mode at the moment and Volokitin twice used the rare line 10. Bxf6!? Bxf6 11. O-O-O to win miniatures against Harikrishna in their marathon quarter-final at Cap D'Agde:

This is also very dangerous for Black, and I have made a big effort to fathom all the complications in Volokitin, A - Harikrishna, P.

Incidentally, I flew straight from Cap D'Agde to Graz, in Austria, for some team matches, and tried to play this very line against Czech GM Babula, a Najdorf expert, thinking that he might not have seen the Volokitin games played just a few days before, and that I would give him a nasty surprise. Unfortunately, he 'smelt a rat', and avoided the Najdorf altgether!

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

Of course, although the two previous games are classified under B80-B89 they were really both Najdorf's where Black played 6...a6 before a quick ...e6!

On to another Harikrishna, P - Volokitin, A tussle, with Penteala needing a win to stay in the match! Volokitin played Karjakin's move 21...d5!?, which J-P had previously adorned with two exclamation marks:

, but now I am not so sure about this assessment, as this time White avoided the repetition, and was soon winning!

Christian wrote to me saying: «I really like your comments and analysis on the Open Sicilians and am someone who likes ChessPublishing as it has the most complete database in regard of really important games. Perhaps you can be so kind as to do me a favour concerning the Najdorf ebook and add two separate chapters and some more games to both the lines 6. Be3 e5, Nf3!? and 7 Nde2!?»

Christian went on to discuss these lines in more detail, and by good chance J-P sent me a very interesting game in the 7 Nf3 line, Ivanchuk, V - Bologan, V. Make sure you have a look at the Carlsen game in the notes, as this looks it might represent the future for this variation.

Anyway, I agree that these variations deserve a separate chapter (but only one so far, not two!) and I will try to build this up over the coming months.

Chatting with Penteala at the evening meal at Cap D'Agde after he was eliminated, he told me how he had lost with Black each time, but then managed to win with White immediately afterwards to keep the match alive. Unfortunately, when it got down to the final blitz game he again had Black ... but this time, as it was a sudden death game, there was no chance of any revenge with White!

Anyway, this brings me to yet another Volokitin, A - Harikrishna, P game! This was played quite early in the day, and featured a truly astounding innovation from Volokitin, 8 g4!?:

Is it sound? Maybe! Although Volokitin won, he was quite clearly losing soon after the opening, but I think he could have improved before that, see my analysis.

Mike Yeo has several times asked me when am I going to get round to analysing the game Korneev, O - Sutovsky, E, where White refutes an important line in the 7...Nc6 variation, and so now I have!

The key position arises after 15 c4!?, see above. Black has a choice of replies, but the one chosen by Sutovsky loses, have a look at my notes!

Right, now on to some sharp Poisoned Pawn theory!

The decisive game in the final between Radjabov and Karjakin, in a situation where the winner gets an extra 8,000 Euros, was a superbly conducted sacrificial attack which kept all the spectators enthralled from beginning to end. White played a little-known innovation of Nataf's, 14 Rd1!?:

Instead of the traditional 14 Rb3. Don't miss Radjabov, T - Karjakin, S, but before finishing, what did both players (but not all the spectators!) miss in this position, White to play:

Next month GM Danny King will be doing a Najdorf Christmas special! Tony Kosten


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