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This month I've taken the unusual opportunity of taking all examples exclusively from supertournaments in Grenke and Shenzen.

Download PGN of April ’19 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian, delayed d2-d4, 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 d5 7.exd6 Qxd6 8.0-0 [B22]

MVL - Keymer, V featured the solid defence with 8...Be6:

As in many of his games in Grenke, Keymer had a fine position out of the opening but went astray in time trouble.

Closed Sicilian 2...a6 3.Nge2 d6 4.a4 Nf6 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 e6 7.0-0 [B23]

Naiditsch, A - Keymer, V saw this complex line being put to good use, leading to a very rich position after 7...Be7 8.f4 0-0 9.d3 Rb8 10.h3 Nd7 11.g4:

Naidistch won with a creative kingside attack but Black had no complaints from the opening.

Carlsen Variation 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 Nf6 6.b3 [B23]

Caruana, F - MVL featured an impressively direct central response to this popular line, with 6...e6 7.Bb2 d5!?:

Black got a decent IQP position and had active pieces in the endgame, securing a draw.

Anti-Sveshnikov 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 d6 6.Nd2 [B30]

This line's reputation as a risk-free attempt where White dominates d5 will need to be revisited after Svidler, P - Carlsen, M. The players followed an old Leko - Kramnik game for some time after 6...Nf6 7.Nf1 Nd7 8.Nd5 Nb6 9.Nxb6 axb6 10.c3 0-0 11.Ne3 Bg5 12.0-0, before Carlsen varied with 12...Kh8!? aiming for a rapid ...f5:

White was overrun in the centre and on the kingside.

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

Meier, G - Caruana, F shows Caruana borrowing another idea from Carlsen, and playing a thematic pawn sacrifice after 10.a3 b6 11.b4 Nf8!?:

The resulting positions look unpleasant for White in practice and I think that players are going to shy away from a3 and b4 in these structures in the future, especially since AlphaZero appears to favour plans with a4.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 [B51]

A couple of top games in this topical line.

In Harikrishna, P - Giri, A, after 6.c3 b5 7.a4 Giri played 7...c4:

, a move which has been tested by strong players including Svidler and Nepo (against Svidler) but where Black seems to be taking his life in his hands.

Jakovenko, D - Ding Liren featured 6.Re1 e6 7.a4 b6 8.c3 Bb7 9.Qe2 Qc7 10.Na3 Be7 and now 11.Bb1:

A Spanish structure arose after 11...e5 12.d4 where Ding was in some trouble.

Moscow 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Nxd7 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.Qe2 e6 7.c3 [B52]

Meier, G - Aronian, L was a typical game for this line after 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.Qe2 e6 7.c3 Be7 8.d4 0-0 9.e5 dxe5 10.dxe5 Nd5:

White found it difficult to exploit his kingside space advantage without allowing counterplay in the centre, and a well played game ended in a draw.

Till next time, Sam

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