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Hi everybody,
This month we see a mix of unusual setups for White, and serious development of a Rossolimo mainline through the tireless analysis of Boris Gelfand.

Download PGN of August ’17 Anti-Sicilian games

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Queenside Fianchetto 2.b3 g6 3.Bb2 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 [B20]

MVL's Najdorf has held up beautifully in the past few months, and in Andreikin, D - MVL White essayed the rare 2.b3, leading to sharp play after 2...g6 3.Bb2 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.Bxc3 Bg7 7.h4:

White has no advantage and MVL demonstrated the energetic and precise play which would subsequently bring him his first supertournament victory in St. Louis (congratulations!).

c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 d6 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 Nc6 7.Bc4 dxe5 [B22]

Black has been holding his own in this line after the standard 8.dxe5, but in Karpatchev, A - Lubbe, N Black went for the ambitious 8.Nc3 Qd6 9.d5 Nd8!?:

in place of the normal equaliser 9...Nd4. I prefer these positions for White but it's worth considering for black players who fancy their defensive skills with an extra pawn.

Anti-Sveshnikov: 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 Nf6 6.a3 [B30]

In Lu, S - Wang Hao we see Black's resources after slow play by White (6.a3):

Black can play around the d5-knight with success, but in the game he even achieves the ...d5-break, overrunning White in the centre and winning quickly.

Rossolimo: 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 Re1 Nh6 7.h3 0-0 8.c3 f5 9.e5 Nf7 [B31]

It seems that the top guys don't need to analyse the Anti-Sicilians, instead just copying ideas by MVL and, in particular, Boris Gelfand. Having introduced this line (now the main line of the Sicilian after 2...Nc6), Boris uncorked a new idea with 10.d3 d6! 11.Bf4 Ba6!:

As with everything from Boris' laboratory, this holds up extremely well after 11.e6 Ne5 13.Bxe5 (Nepomniachtchi, I - Gelfand, B ), 11.Nbd2 (Grischuk, A - Radjabov, T) and the critical 11.e6 Ne5 13.Nxe5 (Amin, B - Ter Sahakyan, S).

Rossolimo: 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 [B31]

This line has been almost abandoned in favour of Gelfand's treatment of 4...bxc6. Although fashion is fickle, the positions after 4...dxc6 do seem easier for White to handle. Cheparinov, I - Kveinys, A demonstrates some nice ideas for White in the relatively passive but solid line 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 Qe7:

, but of course Black's game is fully playable.

Rossolimo: 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 [B31]

For those despairing of Gelfand's 4...bxc6, I've included Zviaginsev, V - Antipov, M with 5.d3:

White should get little or nothing from the opening, although Morozevich has used the line to good effect in rapid, and Zviaginsev wins a miniature.

Till next time, Sam

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