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Hi everybody,
This month's update turns out to be something of a tribute to Gawain Jones, four of whose games are featured!

Download PGN of April ’17 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bf5 [B22]

This line is one of Gawain's favourites with Black, but he switched sides in Jones, G - Pichot, A, showing his increased use of the c3-Sicilian in important games. After 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Qb3 cxd4 8.Nxd4, Black has a choice between a slightly inferior endgame and middlegame complications:

Pichot opted for the latter and lost a game with remarkable tactical content.

c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 7.Bc4 Nc6 8.0-0 Be7 [B40]

In Jones, G - Mchedlishvili, M Gawain opted for 9.Bd2, a line developed by his compatriot David Howell, and the players reached an established main line after 9...0-0 10.Nc3 Nxc3 11.Bxc3 dxe5 12.dxe5 b6:

Gawain played the rare 13.Qe2 Bb7 14.Rac1 and won a complex game, though not because of the opening.

Rossolimo: 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 d5 9.d3 c4 [B31]

This idea of Boris Gelfand has become less trendy than 8...f5!?, but remains very viable. In Areshchenko, A - Hracek, Z White played a testing novelty, 10.exd5 cxd5 11.dxc4 dxc4 12.Qe2!?:

Black missed one (hidden) chance to equalise and White won a good game.

Rossolimo/Moscow Hybrid: 6.c3 a6 7.Bf1 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 g6 [B51]

This line remains viable, despite increasing enthusiasm for the alternative 9...e6. Wang, H - Bu, X featured 10.d3 Bg7 11.Be3 0-0 12.Nd2 Nd7 13.Qd1 b5 when the waiting move 14.a3 was met with the cunning 14...e6!?:

Black convincingly equalised and this line seems in good shape.

Moscow: 3...Nd7 4.0-0 Ngf6 5.d4 exd4 6.Qxd4 [B51]

I've covered this line before in one of my own games, but in Jones, G - Henriquez, C Gawain showed several promising ideas after 6...a6 7.Bxd7+ Bxd7 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bxf6 gxf6:

I think White has a decent version of the Rauzer and the line seems dangerous for Black.

Moscow: 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 e5 [B51]

Bartel, M - Jarmula, L is a model game for White in this rare line, featuring an unusual move order with 7.c3 Be7 8.a4!?:

Black unwisely refrained from ...f5 at several points, which would have promised decent counterplay.

Moscow: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Bg7 8.f3 [B52]

Anand's line 8...Qc7!? 9.b3 Qa5 has been holding up well and a couple of recent games have tested Robin van Kampen's suggested 10.Qd3!?:

In Jones, G - Yilmaz, M I summarise the key ideas, none of which seem very threatening for Black.

Anti-Najdorf: 3.Nc3 a6 4.g3 [B50]

Safarli, E - Idani, P features a little played line with 3...a6 4.g3 e5:

Safarli quickly gained a very pleasant endgame which he converted with impressive technique.

Till next time, Sam

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