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I can't promise as many beautiful combinations as last month, but there are still some great games in this update, not least the extremely uncompromising fight between Ivanchuk and Nakamura. Keep an eye out too for developments in the trendy Delayed Poisoned Pawn.

Download PGN of November '11 Open Sicilian games

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The Kan 5 Nc3 [B43]

After 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Bd3 Nf6 Ivanchuk opted for the aggressive sideline 7 f4!? in the aforementioned Ivanchuk - Nakamura. This is new to the site and should likely be met by 7...d6 or 7...b5!?, since 7...Bb4 8 Nb3!? Bxc3+ 9 bxc3 d6 10 Ba3 asked quite a lot of Black's position:

Still, the American no.1 wasn't doing too badly until he allowed White to crash through on the kingside.

The Taimanov - 6 g3 [B47]

The variation 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 g3 will always have its adherents. White plays to maintain control and for a small positional edge (and perhaps an aggressive Nd5 blow if Black is careless!). After 6...a6 7 Bg2 I can't help but find myself drawn to the uncompromising attempt to cross White's plans with 7...h5!?, which Vallejo has employed, and 7...Nge7 8 Nb3 h5!? is a similar approach:

White refused to be intimidated, castling at this point in Antoniewski - Laznicka, but Black was doing fine until some overly-ambitious play left him a little lucky to escape with a draw.

The Taimanov - 6 Be3, 8 a3 [B49]

Instead after 6 Be3 a6 7 Be2 Nf6 play appears to be drifting into a Classical Taimanov or Scheveningen, but White can avoid the main lines of those with 8 a3!?, as John Emms extolled back in Dangerous Weapons: The Sicilian:

It's sufficiently dangerous to have caught Topalov's eye and in Topalov - Quinn we'll see that it's not such a comfortable version of the Scheveningen for Black after 8...d6 9 g4!.

The Anti-Perenyi 8...h5 [B81]

Talking of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 it's time we took a look at the Perenyi line 6 Be3 a6 7 g4 e5 8 Nf5 h5!? which has been fairly topical of late and usually reaches a key tabiya after 9 g5 Nxe4 10 Nxg7+ Bxg7 11 Nxe4 d5 12 Ng3:

The advance of the e-pawn has been coming under some pressure here, but pushing the d-pawn leads to some very complex and intriguing positions. White came well prepared with a surprising and strong idea (17 0-0!) in Borisek - Barrett, but even there Black should be able to obtain sufficient counterplay.

The Scheveningen Mainline [B85]

Many grandmaster games have transposed from the Taimanov to the Classical Scheveningen of late, such as with 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 d6 7 0-0 Nf6 8 Be3 Be7 9 f4 0-0:

We'll consider recent developments after both 10 a4 Qc7 and 10 Qe1 in Fedorchuk - Navara, all of which seem to suggest that Black is in decent shape here in general, although Navara was a little caught out by quite an old line.

The Najdorf: 6 g3 e5 [B91]

It's not often that you see Anish Giri lost by move 20 and, perhaps surprisingly, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 g3 e5 7 Nb3 was the line which did for him. Naiditsch - Giri is just further proof that after 7...Nbd7 8 Bg2 b5 9 0-0 Black must go 9...Be7, as 9...Bb7? 10 a4! b4 11 Nd5 a5 12 Bd2! prepares to open the queenside before he is ready:

6 Bg5 - Delayed Poisoned Pawn [B96]

A somewhat sharper and more topical line is the Delayed Poisoned Pawn, 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 h6!? 8 Bh4 Qb6. We round up White's various 9th moves, including the surprisingly topical 9 a3 in Robson - Dominguez Perez, where one of the main lines is debated, namely 9 Qd2 Qxb2 10 Rb1 Qa3 11 f5 Be7 12 fxe6 fxe6 13 Bc4! Nxe4! 14 Nxe4 Bxh4 15 g3 Bg5 16 Nxg5 hxg5:

Exchanging on e6 leads to simplification and a likely draw, as we've seen before, but White is struggling to do any better and soon falls into a vicious trap after 17 c3 Qc5 in the game.

Poisoned Pawn Najdorf [B97]

We turn our attention to the other main line, 11 e5 dxe5 12 fxe5, in Brkic - Palac, transposing to the Poisoned Pawn proper. There's nothing wrong with 12...Nfd7 as far as I know, but that has fallen completely out of fashion, partly because 12...Nd5 is very solid for Black while 12...g5!? leads to quite creative play. Sutovsky's favourite knight move looks like a pretty reliable choice, but if he is playing for the win, Black might well have to prefer the even more uncompromising positions which arise after the advance of the g-pawn.

Until next month, Richard

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