On 3...e6, my impression is that 4.Bxc6 is still quite promising for White, especially against players who are not sensitive to the need to play dynamically:
This description certainly doesn't match Radjabov, but even he struggled to make sense of Black's position against Anand, who improved on Bologan's play from a previous update in Anand - Radjabov.
4.0-0 Nge7 5.c3 is not looking so great at the moment, mainly due to 5...a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 d5!? 8.e5 d4 9.Be4 d3!? which may well turn out to be simply good for Black, though it is too early to be sure:
I wasn't too familiar with this line, so I opted for the standard 6...Bb7, which I have played before, in Houska J-Rowson. The game contains some interesting moments, but no theoretical problems for Black
On 3...Nf6 the critical reply is 4.Nc3, which can get quite sharp after 4...e5!?, And 4...Qc7 and 4...Nd4 are also perfectly playable so we will cover this in a future update, perhaps even the next one if there are some flickers of interest from subscribers. For this month I have looked at the less critical, but still mainstream move 4.Bxc6, when 4...dxc6 5.d3 follows:
In Morozevich - Carlsen I am not too sure how to assess the position out of the opening- I like Black's moves and want to like his position, but I suspect that White was in fact much better out of the opening, in spite of the final result.
Unusual Anti-Sicilian [B40]
Anybody who has played in the British Championship knows that for a few years now Jack Rudd likes to annotate (at some length) his game from the previous day for the daily bulletin.
Although he currently plays too quickly to make consistently good results, he is extremely dangerous, as can be witnessed in Rudd - McNab. The opening is not a major anti-Sicilian, but it has some theoretical value, even if the opening idea if perhaps only worth repeating in rapid or Blitz games, or when you are really out of other ideas.
Queenside Fianchetto [B20]
And now two games exclusively presented here:
Rowson - Savage was a training game I played just before the British to try to blow away some blundersome cobwebs before the event, and it was certainly worthwhile because as you can see from this game, I needed to get at least one blunder out of my system! The game has some marginal theoretical value, because Ben chose quite a principled approach against 2.b3, blocking the bishop on b2 with ...e5:
I don't think White can really hope for much in this line, but if anybody does want to play this line with White my impression is that there is a lot to be said for holding back with f4 until the position seems to be fully ripe. My thanks to Ben for letting me show it here.
Grand Prix Attack [B23]
Tweedie - Woods is a from a weekend tournament in Scotland, and came to my attention while I was teaching Connor, playing Black here, recently. It surprised me that 8 e5!? had not come to my attention before, because Black has to play quite carefully to survive:
It is not a theoretical problem, but anybody who likes to meet the Grand Prix attack with his knight on f6 should certainly know about it. My thanks to Connor (new British U-14 champion!).
That's all for a month or so. Keep the emails coming; even if I don't reply to them all directly, they do give me an idea of the sort of thing I should be covering. Jonathan