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2.c3 Sicilian 2...g6/Hyper Accelerated Dragon [B27]
Fressinet - Al Modiahki continues our discussion of the ...g6/...d5 system. The diagram is an important branching point for the variation
, but as I mentioned last month, I like White's prospects in this variation.
2.c3 Sicilian 2...d5, 6.Na3 [B22]
I've never really paid much attention to the Na3 systems against 2...d5/...e6, though it's a favourite of that great 2.c3 specialist Tiviakov. However, I've recently decided to check them out a little more, and I've been pleasantly surprised with what I've found. Consequently, I've decided to annotate Spathopoulos - Balogh and Salgado Lopez-Wojtaszek as two nifty examples of how to play these systems.
The first game sees White get overrun by his much higher rated opponent, but the critical tabia after move nine gives us a chance to get to grips with White's possibilities in this variation:
Then, in the second game, White gets a nice edge with the unusual 10.Bd2!?:
You'll see in the notes that I think White has good chances for a slight advantage even against Black's best play.
2.c3 Sicilian 2...d5, 5...Bg4 6.dxc5 [B22]
Zhigalko - Al Modiahki sees the Qatari GM get revenge against the 2.c3 Sicilian, but perhaps not deservedly so!
This is one of my favourite lines for White, as well as the mirror variation with ...Nf6 instead of ...Nc6. The unusual pawn structure leads to a sharp endgame in which a well-prepared wielder of the white pieces has excellent chances for an advantage.
Wing Gambit 3.a3 Nf6!? [B20]
And now for something a bit different. It's WING TIME!
Okay, so White was over 500 points higher rated than his opponent, which may explain the opening, but even so it's something special to see a 2600+ GM try out 2.b4. Zherebukh - Saez Coma gives me a chance to show you guys some home-cooked analysis from my chess kitchen. Actually, I have a confession to make: I actually respect the Wing Gambit! Really; if you don't immediately believe me, check out my notes. Hopefully you'll be convinced that White really does get some decent compensation for the pawn in quite a lot of lines.
Rossolimo/Moscow Hybrid 4.0-0, 7.Ba4 [B51]
Macieja - Kotronias is notable in that the famous Greek theoretician goes down in flames immediately out of the opening. Quite a rare occurrence, and thus a good advertisement for adding the 'old' line of dropping the bishop back to a4 to the arsenal:
The improvement for Black on move 11 is the main theoretical lesson to come out of this game.
Anti-Sveshnikov 4...Qc7 [B30]
Naiditsch - Yu is the first of two 3.Bb5 Antis by the top German player. Naiditsch really knows his Bb5 systems well, and this game is another impressive performance.
This system for Black is theoretically sound, but practically speaking, White has a much easier time of things.
Rossolimo 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 [B31]
Naiditsch - Bu is a similarly impressive performance. 3...g6 4.Bxc6 remains the easiest solution for White, and Naiditsch follows the theoretical recommendation against Black's setup with ...Nf6.
The diagram is a fairly standard position for this variation, but I believe White definitely has the better chances. In the game, Bu makes an unfortunate blunder and doesn't last long - 2/2 for Naiditsch in China with 3.Bb5!
Til next month, when I'm sure we'll have plenty from the Olympiad to talk about! Dave
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