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Hi all,
A month where the rating favourites did well, though this wasn’t a reflection of positions out of the opening.

Download PGN of April ’18 Anti-Sicilian games

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2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 d5 5.exd5 exd5 6.d4 [B24/40]

In Matlakov, M - Sadikhov, U we look at the popular position arising after 6...Nf6 7.0-0 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Be3:

Black has a playable game but needs to be more precise than White, as illustrated by the game and the notes. In particular, look out for the sequence on moves 28 and 29 where White “corrects” Black’s pawn structure, but gains a sizeable advantage.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 h6 10.0-0 [B31]

In Gu, X - Wang, H here is the standard position after 10.0-0:

Black essayed 10...b6 11.Nf2 Nf8 (allowing f4, and varying from the 11...g5 of a game between Caruana and Nakamura). The game was level for some time until White blundered.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 [B51]

In Guseinov, G - Cheparinov, I the players discussed one of the main lines after 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 e6 7.c3 b5 8.Bc2 and here, instead of the popular 8...c4, the game saw 8...Bb7 9.d4:

Black’s queenside counterplay looked slightly too slow, though the game ended in a draw after some adventures.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.a4 [B51]

The trendy 4.a4 was discussed in a couple of games. In Jones, G - Inarkiev, E, after 4...Ngf6 5.Nc3 a6 Gawain tried 6.Be2!?:

Inarkiev chose a Dragon formation and was convincingly outplayed.

4...a6 5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.d4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 0-0 featured in Trent, L - Jakovenko, D:

An interesting game was balanced for a long time after 10.a5 Qc7 11.Bxe6! until Jakovenko took over near the time control.

Moscow 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7 Qxd7 5.c4 [B52]

In Le, Q - Pena Gomez, M the players reached a standard Maroczy position after 5...Nc6 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 g6 8.Nc3 Bg7 9.Be3 Nf6 10.h3 0-0 11.0-0:

The players soon reached a favourable structure for White (where Black’s b-pawn is traded for White’s e-pawn) and Le Quang Liem won a good game.

Zaitsev Variation 4...Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Qd3 [B53]

Andreikin, D - Everett, E was another typical Maroczy Bind game after 6...g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.c4 Nf6 9.Nc3 0-0 10.h3 a6 11.Bxc6 Bxc6:

Black was doing fine until the 500+ rating point gap did its work.

Prins Variation 5.f3 e5 6.Nb3 d5 [B55]

In Nabaty, T - Sjugirov, S an endgame was quickly reached after 7.Bg5 Be6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.exd5 Qxd5 10.Qxd5 Bxd5:

Black’s bishop pair comfortably compensates for his weakened structure and the game ended in a cute repetition.

Till next time, Sam

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