2.Na3!? - Zvjaginsev Variation [B20]
This month I look at three games in the novel and slightly outrageous 2.Na3!? line, which presumably has to be called 'The Zvjaginsev Variation':
In the three games examined, Black tried 2...Nc6 and 2...e6 which are both fine, but I would like to see an answer to 2...b6!?, targeting the e4 pawn:
C3 Sicilian [B22]
Only one game examined, but an important one. White needs an improvement on the play in Najer - Lautier where Black equalised without doing anything remarkable.
This is the position after White's 11 Nd4.
Rossolimo [B30 & B51]
Another theoretically important game, which played a major part in Rublevsky winning this year's Russian Championship. The line with 3...d6 4.Bxc6+ is not generally considered dangerous for Black:
but it can be played with some poison and it proved to be enough to knock Dreev off balance in Rublevksy - Dreev. I think Black can play better at move eight, so this game does not constitute a refutation of the whole line.
Vescovi - Limp was included not so much for its theoretical value, but because I found it strategically instructive and aesthetically pleasing in equal measure.
Grand Prix Attack [B20]
Finally, Yudasin - Sorkin, a rapid game in a backwater of the Grand Prix attack. I selected this game to make the more general point that the Grand Prix doesn't have to be all about a quick all or nothing check mate, but can be played more positionally, using the f4/e4 duo as a wider space-gaining strategy:
That's all for now. There have been quite a few reader queries and I look forward to dealing with them in the next update. Jonathan