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Whilst updating my Classical Sicilian CD I couldn't help but notice all the great battles there were between Topalov and Kramnik in this line some ten years ago! Anyway, this update comes to you fairly soon after the last one as I figured that subscribers who weren't too interested in the Classical lines might be suffering from withdrawal symptoms! TonyK

Download PGN of October '06 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov [B33]

The super-sharp variation of the 'Positional line' is back with us again, but this time White is preferring 16 b3 to 16 Ra2. After the further 16...Kh8 17 Nce3 g6 18 h4 Bxh4 19 g3 Bg5 White has recently been trying Topalov's move 20 f4!?:

The next two games then continued 20...exf4 21 gxf4 Bh4+ 22 Kd2 when in Korneev, O - Devereaux, M Black played Leko's 22...Ne7 and later Rogozenko's suggestion 29...d5! sacrificing a pawn for good play.

Instead, Van Wely preferred 22...f5!? which looks a bit dodgy to me, although I suppose he must think otherwise! Anyway you can see my thoughts on this in Ponomariov,R-Van Wely,L.

Classical Two Knights [B56]

Petrosian, T - Motylev, A has a look at a sharp White try 6 Be3 Ng4 7 Bb5. White allows Black to capture on e3, simply continuing his development and hoping to exploit the open f-file:

This variation can be dangerous for Black but he has a good pawn sacrifice at his disposal to try to send play into a promising endgame.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

A line that always bothered me was 6 Bc4 e6 7 Bb3 b5 8 Bg5 Be7 9 Qf3:

White brings his pieces out to aggressive squares as quickly as possible and tries to blow Black away. Now, after 9...Qc7 we looked at 10 0-0-0 a little while ago in the game Nisipeanu, L - Karjakin, S, but what about 10 e5 threatening the knight on f6 and rook on a8?

Play continues 10...Bb7 11 exd6 Bxd6 12 Qe3 Bc5 13 O-O-O Nc6 14 Bxf6 gxf6 and now White has two tries, 15 Nd5!? with sharp play as in Houska, J - Palliser, R, and the better 15 Ne4 which seems to force a draw with best play, see Kogan, A - Sutovsky, E. In both cases Black must defend very carefully indeed!

Incidentally, the fact that Black always survives these attempts, even if only just, is testament to Black's resources in the Najdorf.

In the 6 Be3 e5 7 Nf3 line I was surprised to see Black play 9...Nbd7 in the game Korneev, O - Kuzubov, Y. Although I don't think that White played the most precisely, his new plan was certainly enough for an advantage and he won rather convincingly.

Following 6 f3 e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 Be3 Be7 9 Qd2 O-O 10 O-O-O Nbd7 11 g4 b5 12 g5 b4 13 Ne2 Ne8 14 Kb1 a5 15 Nbc1:

several games went 15...a4 with complicated play. Instead, in Vescovi,G-Di Berardino,D Black played an idea which was first played a couple of years ago: 15...Nb6 16 Ng3 d5! which seems to promise him equal play, or perhaps even more.

A few moves later White decided to sacrifice his queen for interesting, if not completely sufficient, compensation, and finally won after Black blundered.

More queen sacrifices abound in the notes to Shabalov, A - Areshchenko, A, a superb game, although it was probably all worked out beforehand with the aid of a computer!

The opening was a Poisoned Pawn with the old move 10 e5!?:

Unfortunately this is another line that now seems to lead to a forced draw with correct play! Having said that I would be tempted to try it in a real game as Black must avoid a lot of pitfalls en route.

See you in November, 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