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Hi all,
This month we see several quick White wins, but also some important novelties for Black.

Download PGN of April ’22 Anti-Sicilian games

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Closed Sicilian 2...e6 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 [B23]

In Can, E - Volokitin, A, after 5...cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nf6 7.Bg5 Nc6! Black was on his way to a very acceptable opening position.

However, a very poor decision a few moves later led to a miniature.

Rossolimo Variation: 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Be3 [B31]

The line with 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Be3 cxd4 10.cxd4 Qb6 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12. Qc1 is quite topical at the moment, driven by Black's good results after 4.Bxc6.

We look at two model games for White after 12...Rb8 13.b3, first Navara, D - Valsecchi, A with 13...Bf5?!

And also Tari, A - Meskovs, N with 13...Qa5!:

Stopping the knight from developing to c3.

Rossolimo Variation: 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.d3 Nf6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Re1 [B31]

In Carlsen, M - Praggnanandhaa, R, the World Champion went for an offbeat position with 5.d3 Nf6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Re1 0-0 8.h3:

Pragg was doing okay from the opening but went on to lose a challenging queen endgame.

Hybrid Variation: 4.0-0 Bd7 5.Re1 a6 6.Bf1 Nf6 7.c3 [B51]

This line gives Black a few decent options, but 7...e6?! doesn't seem to be one of them:

In Gretarsson, H - Stefansson, V, after 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5, instead of Wesley So's recommended 10.e5 White played 10.exd5. There were a couple of equalising options but White won a miniature after some inaccuracies.

Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4!? Nf6 [B51]

This fresh line continues to give rise to interesting games. In Bjerre, J - Haubro, M, after 6.Bd3 Black went for an ambitious Najdorf treatment with 6...e5!? 7.Nb3 d5:

Despite the result of the game, the line seems very playable for Black.

In Grischuk, A - Shankland, S, Shankland showed excellent preparation to neutralise 6.c4 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bxd7 Bxd7 10.Qd3:

I think he basically closed the line.

Zaitsev Variation 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qe3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.0-0 Nf6 8.h3 0-0 9.Rd1 [B53]

This line should probably be named after Harikrishna, but in Harikrishna, P - Maghsoodloo, P he suffered a painful reversal from a very promising position after 9...Nd7 10.Nc3 h6?!:

An attempt to surprise Hari in a position where he's already had several games.

Till next time, Sam

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