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I have decided to just focus on a couple of important variations this month to see if you, the subscribers, like a more concentrated approach. Please give me your feedback.
Thus this time we will take a look at what has been going on recently in lines of the Sicilian where White plays an early Bb5. This is both topical and extremely common.

Download PGN of April '07 Anti-Sicilian games

Rossolimo [B31]

Various move-order tricks are used by White to talk Black out of the Sveshnikov Sicilian, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3, for instance, intending to answer 3...Nf6 with 4 Bb5:

In Game One this works spectacularly well when Black enters the tactical sequence beginning with 4...e5?! 5 Bxc6 dxc6 6 Nxe5 Nxe4:

I am not impressed with this line.

In Game Two Jeff Horner plays his own version of the Rossolimo with 7 Bg5 h6 and then 8 Bxe7:

Can this be good?

...d6 & ...Nc6 Transposition [B51]

The next two games feature another very early capture on c6, which is surprisingly popular, 4 Bxc6+ bxc6:

Here, in Game Three White wins handily, but please check out my suggested improvements for Black!

Game Four shows that Tiviakov likes the occasional gamble when he tries 6...f5!?:

Following 7 exf5 Bxf5 8 d4 he plays 8...cxd4?! 9 cxd4 e4 and I show why this is dubious, although Ovetchkin failed to find the right moves in this game. As Jonathan showed in his annotations to a Grischuk game some time ago, Black should probably prefer to defer the capture on d4 and keep the c-file closed, although the line is very risky anyway.

Game Five sees White playing c3 and d4 and punishing slow play from the opponent with excellent tactics, see 14 Nfxe5!:

After this Black's position crumbles.

Moscow Variation [B52]

In Game Six we see a Chinese Grandmaster play like a Grandmother with the extremely quiet 9 Nf3:

Lines where White plays Nc3 do not impress, he needs to have the options of c3 and d4, or c4 with a Maroczy to get anything meaningful. Here it's dead equal throughout.

Game Seven is a main line 3 Bb5+ Bd7 where 14 Rc3! sets the tone:

Will White be able to use the Rook aggressively on the third rank? Degraeve manages to do so. This is a very dangerous line for Black, which has caught many strong players off guard!

Finally Game Eight features the quieter 6 Qe2:

where Fressinet fails to make progress against Grischuk's accurate defence.

So as you can see these lines are still being uses extensively by the world's top players. A good reason to keep on top of them! Andrew

Please post you queries on the Anti-Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions or queries.