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Hi and welcome to this month's report on the Sicilian mainlines!
I've been a Sicilian player for many years, and I'm sure you'll agree when I say that it's a proper man's opening. The sort of people who avoid the Mainlines with stuff like the c3 Sicilian, and Bb5 check, are the sort of wimpy types who will stab you in the back once you've turned away. The sort of guy who will enter a witness protection programme at the drop of a hat, to save his backside.
Real men play the Sicilian. Named after the largest Island in the med, the birthplace of the mafia, it doesn't tend to attract your timid types, more your Clint Eastwood, Bobby De Niro, John Wayne, Garry Kasparov, Iron jaw type of guy. The sort of no-nonsense, straight up, Gary Cooper player. No Pee-wee Hermans welcome here.

Download PGN of September '13 Open Sicilian games

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The Kan 5 Nc3 b5 [B43]

Anyway enough pontificating. We start this month's report with the game Svetushkin, D - Fedorchuk, S where Black demonstrated that White has problems in the line with 10.e5?!, as the response 10..f5!:

Is so powerful that I think 10.e5 may soon be filed away in the box "failed opening tries" White has scored dismally from this position, and Black often gets very nice attacking chances, with a bishop on b7 and a rook on g8 (after a subsequent ...Nh6 and capture on h6) that rather resembles a Kan player's dream. Worthy of study for sure, since I don't believe most White players realise how dangerous this whole line is for them.

The Taimanov 5...a6 6 Nxc6 [B46]

A game where White did rather better in the Kan/Taimanov is Sutovsky, E - Laznicka, V. Laznicka erred with the move 14..d4?!:

which turned out to be a positional error, as it took the juice out of the position while at the same time handing White the c4 square forever. Sutovsky was his typically ruthless self in the execution of the final attack, and really this game could serve as a template for those players trying to beat the Kan/Taimanov.

The Taimanov 6 f4 [B47]

Next up is a very interesting debate in the Taimanov opening, the game Vallejo Pons, F - Negi, P. The normally well-prepared Spainard did not come up with anything especially new in this opening, and in fact 15.exf6?!:

Turned out to be an optimistic exchange sacrifice, as he ran into trouble in the ending. Clearly White needs to find something better in this line, but it's not obvious what the improvement could be.

The Scheveningen 6 Be2 [B85]

Nisipeanu, L - Navara, D turned into a real attacking gem for the Romanian, but that had little to do with the opening. After the thematic central break 17...d5!:

Black was absolutely fine, even if he later went wrong in the complications.

The Najdorf 6 Be3 Ng4 [B90]

Kamsky, G - Nakamura, H was another slugfest. In the 6.Be3 Ng4 Najdorf Nakamura went for the slightly less common 10...Nf6 line:

This is less common than the response 10...Ne5, but probably that's down to the scalding loss Polgar once suffered against Kasparov. As you will be able to see in the notes though, things weren't exactly clear in that game either. As it was Kamsky managed to get a very promising attacking position, but quickly went wrong with 29.Rd1?, when instead 29.Rc1!

Was much better, cutting off the Black king with a very dangerous attack.

6 h3 e5 [B90]

More sedate was the game Svidler, P - Bologan, V, which ended in an early draw. The key position occurred after 11.Bg2:

Bologan tried 11...Rc8 in response - Anand had already played 11...0-0 against Svidler, so no doubt Bologan was keen to avoid his opponent's preparation. However, in neither game did Svidler gain any advantage, so clearly the ball is in White's court in this line.

6 Bg5 Nbd7 [B94]

We finish the report with Vachier Lagrave,M - Dominguez Perez,L, a key game from the World cup.

This game demonstrated how important it is for Black to be wary in the opening phase of the Sicilian. With the move 11 Rhe1 White was able to set up many ideas of sacrifices on d5, or f5 etc.:

Later on he was able to take advantage of this factor.

Anyway I hope you enjoy this report, and I look forward to doing many more in the future! Danny.

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