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Hello everybody! Apologies for the late update but, as can be seen from the selected games, I have been playing a lot and testing our featured lines against some decent opposition (with mixed results).

Download PGN of April '12 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 [B22]

Sevillano - Arnold continues our coverage of the 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bf5 line which had such notable successes a few months ago. Sevillano played my recommended 6.Be3 after which Arnold chose the logical 6...e6:

However, I think White has decent chances to play for an edge here since, with one extra move of development, he is much better placed to implement desirable plans with Na3-b5, Nbd2 + Bc4 or, as in the game, the interesting 7.Qa4.

2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 [B50]

Jan Smeets, a former European Champion, used this offbeat line against Korobov. Black played directly into an endgame typical of several lines of the c3-Sicilian:

then Black seemed to get overambitious, over pressed and lost. This is pretty much the Anti-Sicilian game plan for White and it worked to perfection in Game 2.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 [B51]

Edy Valeanu chose this line against me in the last round of the Irish National Club Championship. Rather than go for my recommendations with an early ...e5 and ...h6, he allowed me to play Bg5 and Bxf6 leading play into positions more typically arising from the Rauzer Variation:

While Black had a reasonable position from the opening, he needed to be very precise-Edy (who was having a poor tournament) made a couple of mistakes and I went on to win a nice game, see Game 3.

Moscow Hybrid 3...Nc6 [B51]

Kabanov - Caruana featured the line 4.Bxc6+ bxc6 5.0-0 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.e5 and now 7...e6!?:

This aims for the ...e6 ...d5 structure but without allowing White the aggressive 7...d5 8.e6!? option. White handled the opening in pretty lacklustre fashion and was later outplayed.

3...Bd7 [B52]

Collins - Romero Holmes featured Gawain's recommended line with an early Qe2, and one of the problem continuations, the clever waiting move 7...Rc8!?:

Gawain himself lost recently to this line after getting a level position with an early d3. I was more creative (pronounced "inaccurate") in the opening and got a tough endgame in which I was quite proud of my grim defence.

My game with Romero led me to wonder if all this Qe2 stuff is necessary, and whether White can simply play c3 and d4, allowing ...e6 and ...d5. Kuzubov - Jobava is a recent example of this plan and, while the game is far from remarkable, I have set out in the notes why this approach looks quite reasonable for White.

Till next time, Sam

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