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Hello everyone! Recently most of my updates were mainly based on the Najdorf, so this time I am glad to introduce an update where theoretical discussions and exciting battles were also seen in various other Sicilians.

Download PGN of October ’16 Open Sicilian games

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Sveshnikov 8...Be6?! [B33]

Our first game Kryvoruchko, Y - Itturizaga Bonelli, E has exceptional theoretical value for the sideline with 8...Be6 9.Nc4 Rb8, which has recently gained some popularity:

It looks like Yuriy was perfectly prepared for it, and he employed a deep positional plan, based on taking full control of the light squares with 15.g4! Even though Eduardo's play can definitely be improved, Black's position after 13.a4 seems very unpleasant, so I do not expect many followers of 9...Rb8 after this game.

Taimanov 6.f4 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 b6 8.Be3 [B47]

The game Piorun, K - Harikrishna, P saw another theoretical discussion in the relatively rare line with 7...b6. The position after 9.0-0-0 was previously covered in Balogh - Safarli and was considered to be acceptable for Black, but Pentala deviated from this with 9...Rc8:

In my opinion, the real test for this move would be 10.Be2!?, transposing to another theoretical position. Instead of that, 10.Kb1 Nf6 led to balanced play, and it was only Black's mistake on move 18 that invited serious trouble. At the end of the day, impressive technique from GM Kacper Piorun.

Taimanov 6.f4 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 b6 8.Bd2 [B47]

The game Quesada Perez, Y - Ganguly, S saw White employing the aggressive setup with 8.Bd2!?, followed by 9.Nb5:

In my opinion, the best reply is 9...Qb8!?, but it hasn't been checked yet, whereas 9...Qc6 10.Bb4 Nf6 doesn't look like a convincing way to equalize - in fact, the previously played 11.Bxf8 Kxf8 12.e5 led White to a somewhat better ending in Naiditsch - Nisipeanu. The game's 11.e5 seems less precise, though Black's task wasn't easy from a practical point of view. Indeed, the natural-looking 17...Be8?! led GM Ganguly into a difficult position, where his material advantage had little value. Even though White's technical job wasn't perfect, the rest of the game looks very spectacular.

Taimanov 7.Qf3 Bd6 8.0-0-0 Be5 9.g3 [B48]

In the game Caruana, F - Movsesian, S the players entered the fashionable theoretical position after 13...e5:

Now Fabiano's new idea 14.Rd1! looks like a clear improvement over White's previous play and poses Black definite problems. In my opinion, the best way of meeting it was 14...b5!? - it would offer Black a somewhat worse, but solid position. Instead of this, after 14...exf4 15.e5! Black's light-squared bishop was stuck on its initial spot for a long time. The next critical moment came on move 20, when the over-optimistic 20...d5? led Black into a hopeless position.

Scheveningen 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.f4 Nc6 9.g4 [B84]

Our next game Caruana, F - Grandelius, N saw White deviating from the main Scheveningen paths with an early 9.g4!?:

I was surprised to discover that this move was only played a few times by strong players as the position looks promising for White. Anyway, Nils's reply 9...Nd7?! definitely cannot be recommended - it leads to a passive position, where White's initiative on the k-side plays itself. Luckily for GM Grandelius, his higher-rated opponent failed to handle the position properly, so the game ended in a draw after a spectacular battle with mutual mistakes.

In general, 9.g4!? looks promising for White, so maybe 7...Qc7!? might be more flexible.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Qc7 [B90]

Another theoretical discussion took place in the game Schroeder, J - Leko, P, where Jan-Christian came up with the interesting novelty 15.b4!?:

, allowing Black to damage his pawn structure on the k-side. Peter went for the most challenging 15...Bxf3 (15...Bh5!? looks playable too) 16.gxf3, but his next move 16...Qd8?! was dubious and led Black into an unpleasant position quite soon. The really critical moment came on move 35, when the lower-rated opponent missed a golden opportunity to get a decisive advantage by means of 35.f5! At the end a draw was agreed in a very sharp position.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Nbd7 9.Qd2 b5 10.0-0-0 [B90]

Our next game Kryvoruchky, Y - Van Wely, L also has important theoretical value. In the position after 15.Nd5:

Black went for the risky 15...Bxd5?!, exposing the c6-square too early. Later Yuriy missed the strong 19.Bh3!, yielding White a big positional advantage, so instead after 19.Kb1?! 20.c4 Nf4! Black was able to solve his problems. Another critical moment of the game came on move 32, when White went wrong with 32.Kc2, spoiling his advantage once again. Instead, 32.Rf1 would have put Loek under strong pressure.

Regarding the opening, 15...Nxd5 is Black's best move. In this case the play might transpose to Brkic - Cheparinov, in the PGN Archive.

Najdorf 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nbd7 8.Qe2 [B96]

Our last top-level game Kramnik, V - Gelfand, B is an excellent illustration of Vladimir's exceptional opening knowledge. In the theoretical position after 11.g4 Boris went for the natural 11...Rc8?!:

but it was brilliantly refuted by Vladimir - this imperceptible mistake turns out to be a crucial loss of time. As was pointed out by GM Kramnik, his home preparation lasted till move 21, when Black committed the decisive mistake 21...Rc6? (Instead, 21...Na4 was still playable).

Anyway, 11...Be7 is the move Black should play, but the setup with 8.Qe2 still looks promising for White, so I expect further practical tests in this position.

See you next month! Enjoy! Michael

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