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As promised in the last update, this one is entirely devoted to the riveting World Championship (or should we call it the 'Toppy show'?) which has just ended!

What a great tournament, and what fun for Sicilian fans! Out of the 56 games played, 49 opened with 1 e4, and of those, 24 were Sicilians, and 13 Najdorfs!!

Here is my theoretical look at them, TonyK

Download PGN of October '05 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov Variation [B32-B33]

Leko defended the Positional mainline a couple of times and was suffering in both. Instead of 16...Kh8 he tried 16...g6!?:

The point is that 17 Nce3 is now met by 17...Kg7 when h4 is less effective as the black king is not on the h-file. However, after 17 0-0 instead, Black has cut down on his options (he sometimes plays ...f5 without ...g6), see Kasimdzhanov - Leko, with the Anand, V - Leko, P game in the notes.

Later in the tournament Morozevich eschewed 11 c3 in favour of the rare more 11 c4!?, a speciality of my Austrian team-mate Dr Walter Wittmann:

This leads to a closed position, but I don't think White can really count on any advantage. Indeed, Black was clearly on top in Morozevich - Leko, but unfortunately erred in time trouble on his 39th move.

Paulsen/Taimanov [B40 to B49]

Judit Polgar tried her speciality against the English Attack a couple of times, with 9...Ne7 and 10...b5:

but lost both games rather convincingly, see Anand - Polgar. She was also suffering against 7 Bd3 in Adams, M - Polgar, J (note to move 7).

Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

In September a subscriber asked if I could have a closer look at the Perenyi Attack:

, and by chance this occurred in the 3rd-round game Polgar - Kasimdzhanov, where White missed the most amazingly simple wins but triumphed anyway!

Whilst Topalov was carefully halving his way to victory in the second half of the tournament he had one or two slight 'scares'. Perhaps the worst of these was Adams - Topalov, a fairly standard line with 6 Be2 featuring the dangerous pawn sac 14 e5!?:

White won the exchange for a pawn, but Black had nearly sufficient compensation because of his strong bishop on d5.

The convincing win of Kasimjanov (the official spelling of his name seems to have been changed mid-tournament!) against Judit Polgar is briefly examined in the note to move 10.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

Bologan's 13 Na5! (see last month) was repeated by Anand to achieve a quick win in Anand - Kasimdzhanov:

but Black's opening seems to be OK, and according to my analysis he only went wrong on moves 17-19. The curious Black resource on move 19 is worth a look!

The new World Champion nearly came a cropper as early as the first round when he played 8...b4!? (instead of the normal 8...Nbd7):

Now, whereas this seems to be fine when White has played 8 g4, it appears very risky after 8 Qd2 as White is one move closer to castling and can forget about the kingside pawn advance and instead prefer a central attack with the pieces.

This worked perfectly in Leko - Topalov, but just when Leko had victory in his grasp he faltered!

Svidler - Kasimdzhanov is a wonderful game, full of surprising tactics. The one I liked most appears in the notes:

Black to play and win! subscriber (and cricket fan) Peter Svidler enjoyed a great tournament, and if Svidler - Topalov had gone differently who knows, he might be the new World Champion!

Veselin rendered our 6...Ng4 eBook mainline inoffensive with his powerful play, which included the stunning move 15...Nf3+!:

This combination seems to force a draw with best play, and although Peter played on (at some risk, and who could blame him seeing what was at stake!) I don't think he ever really had more than equality, and maybe not even that.

Later in the tournament he preferred 11 f3 to 11 Nf5 (see the notes), and this may prove to be the way forward for White.

Both Adams and Morozevich favoured 6 Be2, and both essayed 9 Kh1 against Kasimjanov:

Morozevich - Kasimdzhanov was the most interesting of these and featured the currently trendy 9...Nc6.

I will deal with all the interesting emails from subscribers in next month's update, Tony Kosten


Please feel free to share any of your thoughts with me, whatever they are, suggestions, criticisms (just the polite ones, please), etc. Drop me a line at the Open Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write directly to