ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
It's been all go here now that I'm editing CHESS and with the European Club Cup starting in Eilat this week. However, September was a pretty good month for the Sicilian and as ever this column was an honour to produce.

Download PGN of October '12 Open Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

The Sveshnikov 9 Nd5, 11 c3 [B33]

Having prepared 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 for his world title match, Boris Gelfand unsurprisingly sees no reason not to keep playing it. He essayed the Sveshnikov twice in the London Grand Prix and must have been happy when Nakamura opted for the rather uncritical 7 Nd5. More critical is, of course, 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Nd5 Be7 10 Bxf6 Bxf6 when too many games of late have gone 11 c4. Kudos therefore to the Cuban Grandmaster for going 11 c3 Rb8 12 Nc2 Bg5 13 Be2 0-0 14 0-0 in Dominguez Perez-Gelfand:

However, after 14...a5! 15 Qd3 Be6 Gelfand didn't really have any problems and held comfortably after a fine positional pawn sacrifice.

The Taimanov 6 g3 [B47]

The young Ponomariov used to employ 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 on occasion, so it was interesting to see him going 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 g3 a6 7 Bg2 d6 8 0-0 Bd7 9 Nxc6 Bxc6 10 a4 Nf6 11 a5 Be7 12 Be3 in Ponomariov - Bruzon Batista:

Leko once used this line against Ponomariov and the Ukrainian's 12...0-0 was subsequently approved by theory, but Bruzon shows that Black should also be OK after 12...Nd7.

Brazilian Taimanov [B48]

The Brazilian Taimanov with 6 Be3 a6 7 Qd2 Nf6 8 0-0-0 Be7 9 f3 0-0 10 g4 b5 11 g5 Nh5 just won't go away:

As we've seen this year, 12 Kb1 has been looking quite critical, but leading Open Sicilian star Alexei Shirov preferred 12 Nce2 and soon obtained the advantage in Shirov - Munoz after following some analysis of John Emms's. Quite what Shirov had in store for the critical 12...Rd8 is not, however, so clear.

The Najdorf: 6 h3 [B90]

The line 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 h3 is another which remains quite trendy. Yes, Black is OK in a few ways, but if White wants an Open Sicilian struggle without too much theory he could do much worse than this variation:

In Movsesian - Fedorov we consider 6...g6, as well as 6...Nxd4!? 7 g4 Nxd4 8 Qxd4 e5 9 Qd3 Be6, which turned out well enough in the game. Then in Saric - Wojtaszek we see that 6...e5 7 Nde2 h5!? is still holding up well enough for Black, as is the Scheveningen approach with 6...e6 7 g4 Be7.

The Najdorf: English Attack [B90]

After 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 the limelight hasn't just been hogged by 6 Bg5 of late, with 6 Be3 making something of a comeback at top level. A variation which has scored fairly well for Black is 6...e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 f3 h5 when 9 Qd2 Nbd7 10 0-0-0 Rc8 11 Kb1 Be7 12 Bd3 Qc7 13 h3 h4 14 f4 b5 15 Rhe1 reaches quite a critical position

Black has a few options here and after 15...Bc4 16 Bf2, but should probably avoid the 16...Nb6?! of Agopov - Edouard.

A sharper choice for Black is 6...e6 7 f3 b5 8 Qd2 Nbd7 9 g4 h6 10 0-0-0 b4 when a critical line remains 11 Nce2 Qc7 12 h4 d5:

We round up various developments here in Leko - Grischuk, where Black forgot his theory in a key position, but still managed to draw after some adventures.

Finally, it's back to 6 Be3 e5 and a line which arguably shouldn't be classified as an English Attack, namely 7 Nb3 Be6 8 Qd2!? when White intends to go f2-f4, rather than the usual f2-f3, such as with 8...Nbd7 9 f4 Rc8 10 0-0-0:

I can't really explain why this fell out of fashion, but White certainly does well enough with it in Jakovenko - Fernandez.

Until next month, Richard

>> Previous Update >>


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