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Firstly, apologies to subscribers and Tony for being wildly late. Other work commitments, an Olympiad in Siberia and general exhaustion are my big three excuses. On the plus side, I can now offer some interesting anti-Sicilians from the Olympiad.

Download PGN of August '10 Anti-Sicilian games

2.d3 [B20]

Moser - Petrenko showcases White's attacking prospects with 2.d3.

and suggests that Black should not pretend this is just like a normal Closed Sicilian.

2.c3 Sicilian [B22]

Ghaem Maghami-Leon Hoyos is a high-level (both players almost 2600) c3-Sicilian where Black chooses an interesting fighting line rather than killing the game with an equalising variation:

He succeeds in creating imbalance, but White won the fight this time.

The second c3-Sicilan game is Potapov - Fernando (that's Russia 5 versus Portugal):

In a sharp theory line White offers a repetition; Black declines and is crushed. This line is a tricky psychological ploy for 2.c3 exponents to add to their repertoire.

These two games are a morality play for Black when facing 2.c3 - make things interesting and it may be White who enjoys himself.

The Modern Grand Prix [B23]

Xie - Votava is an Olympiad success for one of my favourite anti-Sicilians - the 7.a4 line of the Modern Grand Prix:

With accurate play Black may be level, but White is asking plenty of questions in what is still a relatively unexplored variation.

The Closed Sicilian [B23]

We have two Closed Sicilians: one by the World No. 1, the other by the Scottish Women's team Board 1. There is about 800 points difference between these two White players, but it is Heather Lang who plays the more theoretical line.

Carlsen - Vallejo Pons is a low-theory scrap which turns into a rout:

It does show what the Closed Sicilian can do given enough talent and aggression. The Closed Sicilian's poor reputation perhaps has a lot to do with passive moves in the middlegame by its typical exponents rather than any fatal theoretical flaw.

Lang - Dembo was a grading mismatch (400 more for Black) but White follows a suggestion of IM Richard Palliser with tremendous effect, 12.a3!:

The final result may be a draw, but it is an unqualified success for Richard's idea.

Moscow Variation [B52]

One non-Olympiad game: Smeets - Bezemer is a 3.Bb5+ Bd7 line where White avoids the usual c4-lines:

Objectively, White may not have much, but it is not a dead draw like so many of the main lines.

I shall catch up on the other missing update as quickly as possible.

Regards, John

Please post you queries on the Anti-Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions or queries.