ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello everyone,
In my opinion the current tournament in the Isle of Man is one of the most exciting chess events this year, just like the recently finished World Cup.
Therefore I've decided to largely focus on this event, and most of the games come from there. I have to admit once again that this update will mostly attract Najdorf players as there is only 1 game that is devoted to the Sveshnikov.

Download PGN of October ’19 Open Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Sveshnikov 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 9.a4 [B33]

Our first game, Anand, V - Baron, T, saw White employ the early novelty 11.Be2!?:

Tal's standard reaction with 11...a6 12.Na3 a5 left Black with strategic issues, but the real mistake came on move 16. Had GM Baron played 16...exf4 there would be plenty of play ahead, but instead 16...Bf6? led to a quick collapse.

We should definitely see more practical tests of 11.Be2!?, but at the moment 12...Bf5!? looks like Black's best try.

Najdorf Defence 6.h4 [B90]

In Perez Candelario, M - Aziz Gargatagli, H Black met the relatively rare 6.h4 with the practically unexplored 6...h6:

In response White took the game into Sozin paths with 7.Bc4, and soon complicated matters with 11.Nxe6. This brave decision was justified, since Black immediately went astray with 13...0-0-0?!, but then White missed his chance to develop a powerful attack when he played 15.exd5?! In general, it was an exciting encounter with mutual mistakes, when finally 20...Bxh4? decided it in White's favor.

Najdorf Defence 6.Nb3 [B90]

In our next game, Svidler, P - Vachier Lagrave, M, Peter was in a must-win situation, and he chose the relatively less common 6.Nb3. Maxime responded with the rare 6...Nbd7, and after 7.Be3 h5 8.a4! Black found himself in a somewhat passive position:

The really critical moment in this important encounter came on move 19, when Peter missed a golden opportunity of seizing the initiative with 19.f4! and let Black activate all his forces. At the end, it was Maxime who missed his winning chances, but a draw was a good result for him anyway.

In my opinion, 6...Nbd7 is playable for Black, but 7...h5 is too provocative. Perhaps 7...g6 would be the best choice.

Najdorf 6.h3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.g4 [B90]

An interesting theoretical discussion took place in Carlsen, M - Ganguly, S, where Black employed the relatively fresh 8...h6 9.Be3 Nbd7:

White responded with 10.a4!, which seems to pose Black major problems. GM Ganguly immediately went astray with 11...Qc7? and soon got into a very difficult situation with no counter-play. As usual, Magnus convincingly converted his big positional advantage into a full point.

Undoubtedly, 11...Bb7! should be played instead. I expect further practical tests of this position.

Najdorf 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.exd5 g6 12.0-0-0 [B90]

In the next game, Robson, R - Bjerre, J, the players entered the well-known theoretical position after 13...Nfxd5:

At this moment White played the new move 14.Bg1!, which is connected with a promising pawn sacrifice. The real test of Ray's idea would be seen had Black played 15...hxg4, while 15...Qc7?! let White seize the initiative. The further long and exciting play was full of mutual mistakes, where both players missed their winning chances.

Najdorf 6.f4 Qc7 [B93]

In my opinion, the game Yu Yangyi - Wei Yi has exceptional theoretical value. The position after 6...Qc7 was always considered acceptable for Black:

but this assessment might be changed as 7.f5! looks very annoying. The surprise effect did its job, and Wei Yi then invited more trouble with 7...g6?! (7...e5 was better, even though it doesn't seem to solve Black's problems), and after 8.g4! Black got into a difficult situation. Luckily for him, on move 14 GM Yu Yangyj prematurely exchanged queens and spoiled all his advantage. Instead, had he played 14.c3! White would have kept the initiative.

Najdorf 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Qe2 e6 8.0-0-0 Qc7 [B94]

The next game, Henderson de la Fuente, L - Saric, I, also has a certain theoretical value. The position after 9.g4!? is new to our site, and it definitely contains danger for an unprepared player:

This time GM Saric was familiar with it and reacted correctly with 9...h6! 10.Be3 b5. In response, White carelessly played 11.Bg2?!, and after 11...b4! got into trouble. Luckily for Lance, his higher-rated opponent soon returned the favor, so the game ended in a draw after some interesting play.

Najdorf 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 [B95]

The last game, Perez, M - Pichot, A, saw a very rare setup with 7.Qd2, that wasn't seen on our site before:

Black reacted with 7...h6, that practically forced the exchanged of the dark-squared bishop. However, it was connected with a loss of time, so that after 11.f4 White had a definite development advantage. At this moment Black wrongly left his queen on f6 with 11...Be7?! and soon came under strong pressure. In general, it was a very well played game by Max, and White's victory was well-deserved.

In my opinion, 7...Be7 or 7...b5 are more attractive options for Black.

See you next month, Michael

>> Previous Update >>

Please feel free to share any of your thoughts at the Open Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write directly to