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Greetings, Happy New Year, and apologies for the tardiness of this update. I had hoped to make some time for this work between Christmas and New Year, but festivities got in the way and one mince pie led to another... Then the first ten days of January I was playing a tournament in Italy, and only now, in the early middlegame of the first month of 2006, have I found time to look at the most important anti-Sicilian games from the end of 2005.

Download PGN of December '05 Anti-Sicilian games

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:

In any case, my early thoughts on this line are given in Zvjaginsev - Khalifman, Zvjaginsev - Dreev and Zvjaginsev - Motylev.

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

I welcome e-mails from subscribers, please write to You can also try the Anti-Sicilians Forum.