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This month we traverse the weird, the routine, the trendy and even take a sneaky trip back down memory lane.

Download PGN of April ’16 Anti-Sicilian games

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Queenside Fianchetto 2.b3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 [B20]

First up, Navara - Wojtaszek is a 2.b3 that leads to a position I analysed a few months ago:

My suggested novelty 6.Qf3!? is still waiting to be played (hint, hint!) as Navara tries something different, and is lucky to get away with it.

2.c3 Sicilian 2...Nf6, ...e6/...d6 system [B22]

One of Australia's brightest talents is IM Justin Tan, who was unlucky not to make more of the opening he got in Tan - Grigoriants.

This game is worth paying attention to because the Russian GM plays what today has become a popular line for Black, particularly if Black wants to play for a win. However, in my opinion it's just weak!

2.c3 Sicilian 2...Nf6, 4...d6 [B22]

We're used to seeing Sveshnikov's name mentioned in connection with the 2.c3 Sicilian, but here we see the son of the great legend trying it out. V.Sveshnikov-Kovalenko saw Black play the extremely rare 6...dxe5, which is actually not a bad move at all:

I suggest recapturing with the pawn, because the other capture, as happened in this game, is a bit wet.

Delayed Wing Gambit 2...Nc6 3.b4 [B30]

Now I'm going to do something a little bit sneaky: Moussard - Matlakov is not only a game from 2015, but even one that I've analysed before on this site!

Don't hold it against me, though; I was recently looking at this variation with my stronger engines and found some little improvements on my old analysis. There haven't been any more recent games in this line by strong players than this one, though, so I've decided to give it a fresh run. You can compare this analysis to the one from the archives, which should be enough to set you up to play it with the white pieces.

Delayed Wing Gambit 2...d6 3.b4 [B50]

Rodriguez Vila-Di Berardino is another delayed Wing, but this time after 2...d6:

This version is also acceptable for White in my opinion, though 3...Nf6 is a bit annoying. In this game Black took the bait, and White was already better by move 5. Not bad!

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 [B31]

Bok - Kotronias takes us into far more charted waters:

After a long period of indecision, I have finally settled upon my favourite variation for White against 3...g6. In this game Kotronias tries the tricky 6...Nh6, but as you will see from the archived references in this game, I tend to favour White against Black's other tries as well. In the game Kotronias tries to play like an engine, as always, but to be honest these positions are far more dangerous for Black and I'd hate to be sitting on that side of the board. True enough, the Greek GM couldn't hold it together and Bok pulled off a sparkling win.

Svetushkin - Schuh features the same variation but the more restrained black setup with ...f6:

I really wanted to show this game because it's almost a textbook execution of White's main plan against the black pawn structure. It almost looks too easy.

Delayed Alapin 2...d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Be2 [B50]

Finally, Harikrishna - Donchenko saw a very rare guest for GM practice: 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3. This move used to be popular over a decade ago, and I'm not sure why people stopped playing it. Black tried one of the main defences with 4...g6, but White's game is quite easy to play, even if objectively things are equal:

For some reason it doesn't matter what Anti the Indian GM chooses, his opponents always seem to crumble against him!

Cheers, Dave

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