ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Filling in again, I've once more made good use of various interesting not to mention important Anti-Sicilian developments from the British Championship in Sheffield. Look out especially for Mickey Adams' dangerous new idea in a critical line of the Rossolimo/Moscow hybrid.

Download PGN of August '11 Anti-Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

The 2 d3 Variation [B20]

The variation 1 e4 c5 2 d3 continues to grow in popularity. White hopes to outmanoeuvre Black without needing to know too much and ideally to attack in Grand-Prix or reversed Dutch style. In Jones - Bates we investigate some active ideas for Black; the ...d5 ones are playable, but 2...Nc6 3 f4 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Be2 d6 6 0-0 Bg4 7 Qe1 c4? did not work out well in the game:

Indeed, as a rough rule of thumb in the whole variation: Black should avoid ideas associated with ...c4.

In Stevic - Tischbierek we examine an important defence, 6...e6, which strangely has not been seen on the site before. After 7 c3 Black has usually developed his king's knight to e7, but I quite like the German Grandmaster's preference for f6; the main point being that, with White having gone c2-c3, Black's queenside counterplay will be much faster should White go all-in on the kingside.

Keres line 2 Ne2 [B20]

Vallejo had to face 1 e4 c5 2 Ne2 in Smirin - Vallejo Pons, a line he has specialised in himself. After 2...Nf6 3 Nbc3 d5 4 exd5 Nxd5 5 Nxd5 Qxd5 6 d4 the players reached a position where Jonathan Rowson had wondered if White might be better:

However, 6...e5! looks like a clear equalizer to me. Smirin obtained enough for his pawn after 7 Nc3! Qxd4 8 Be3, but no more than that. There were then a number of little ups and downs before peace broke out slightly prematurely on move 18.

The Morra Gambit [B21]

One of Black's main defences to the Morra is 1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Nxc3 Nc6 5 Nf3 e6 6 Bc4 a6 7 0-0 Nge7, but after 8 Bg5 f6 9 Be3 White undoubtedly has compensation. A critical line runs 9...Ng6 10 Bb3 b5 11 Nd5!:

Here Black is OK after 11...Rb8!, but the highly-risky 11...exd5?! was Black's choice in Esserman - Van Wely, where the American IM collected a notable scalp with a brutal attacking display.

The c3 Sicilian 2...d5 [B22]

We examine developments after 1 e4 c5 2 c3 d5 3 exd5 Qxd5 4 d4 Nc6 5 Nf3 Bg4 6 Be2 cxd4 7 cxd4 this month, which the Ginger GM, Simon Williams, has twice had as White. Here 7...e6 8 Nc3 Qa5 9 h3 Bh5 allows White the dangerous gambit option, 10 d5!?. Thus Black might try the move order 7...Nf6!? 8 Nc3 Qa5 9 h3 Bh5:

This is pretty risky, but hopes to slide into the 7...e6 lines (after 10 0-0 e6), whilst sidestepping the aforementioned gambit. Matters don't seem especially clear to me after 10 d5, although I may have neglected some old theory, but 10 b4!? was certainly a dangerous idea in Williams - Griffiths. Black may be OK with precise play after it, but within just three moves the young Irishman was already losing!

2...Nf6 [B22]

In the modern main line, 2...Nf6 3 e5 Nd5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Bc4 Nb6 6 Bb3, Black players have been losing confidence in 6...c4 7 Bc2 Qc7 8 Qe2 g5, and so 6...d5 7 exd6 Qxd6 has gained in popularity. Here 8 Na3 is quite a critical try, but after the cheeky 8...Qd3!? what can White do?

This rare idea, justified by the continuation 9 Bc2 Qd5 10 Nb5 Qe6+! 11 Qe2 Qxe2+ 12 Kxe2 Nd5, was seen in Rozentalis - Kovalyov and gave Black a very comfortable draw against a leading c3 Sicilian practitioner.

The Moscow Variation 3...Nc6 [B51]

My thanks to Kevin Goh Wei Ming for very kindly sharing his thoughts on 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Nc6 4 0-0 Bd7 5 Re1 Nf6 6 c3 a6 7 Bf1 Bg4 8 h3 (8 d4!? can also lead to the same thing) 8...Bh5?! (with hindsight one can definitely say that 8...Bxf3 9 Qxf3 g6 is safer) 9 g4 Bg6 10 d4!:

White's main point is that the new idea 10...cxd4 11 cxd4 d5 12 exd5 Nxd5 13 Nc3 e6 14 Nxd5! Qxd5 15 Bg2 gives him a dangerous initiative. Kevin was hoping to use this discovery himself, but after it debuted in Adams - Williams he decided to publish his analysis.

The Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 [B52]

Last month I mentioned that I rather liked the idea of meeting the semi-waiting move 3...Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Qxd7 5 0-0 Nc6 6 c3 Nf6 7 Rd1 with 7...g5!?:

I'm amazed that this bold advance hasn't been more popular - it certainly turns out well in Rendle - Gormally.

Until next month, Richard

>> Previous Update >>

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