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Hi all,
Lots of top players are in action in this month’s update, including four games by the World Champion.

Download PGN of December ’19 Anti-Sicilian games

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Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 [B31]

Black has an interesting option I haven’t covered before, 6...Qc7!?, aiming to play ...d6 without allowing e5:

In Giri, A - Carlsen, M we discuss 7.h3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d4 cxd4 10.cxd4 0-0 11.Nc3 Bb7 and early deviations, while the alternatives at move 11 are covered in Radjabov, T - Dubov, D.

Following the trendy 6...Nh6, Svidler, P - Dubov, D shows Dubov’s latest idea in the main line 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 f5 9.e5 Nf7 10.d4 cxd4 11.cxd4, namely 11...Bb7 12.Na3 c5 13.dxc5 Qa5!?:

This led to an effortless draw but White has some options to retain some pressure.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 e5 [B31]

Dominguez Perez, L - Karttunen, M saw Dominguez choose the rare 9.Nbd2 after 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 e5 7.0-0 Qe7 8.Be3 Nf6.

Black got decent chances out of the opening but mishandled his initiative, after which White exploited his structural superiority with excellent technique.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.d4 d5 [B31]

In Adams, M - Saric, I White chose the rare 8.e5 (8.exd5 is probably more critical) 8...Ne4 9.Be3, as recently tried by Gawain Jones.

Saric showed good preparation to equalise completely.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6 [B51]

Some rare ideas for White and Black this month, both played by Carlsen.

In Vachier Lagrave, M - Carlsen, M, 6.Bxd7+ was met by 6....Qxd7!?:

As with all of Carlsen’s opening experiments, this has a sound positional basis and was well prepared, and although MVL ought to have won the game this had little to do with the opening.

In Carlsen, M - Nepmoniachtchi, I Carlsen chose the rare 6.Be2!? Ngf6 7.0-0 e5 8.Qe3 Nc5 9.Nfd2!?:

Nepmoniachtchi’s 9...b5?! was a dubious overreaction and White won a model game.

Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Nxd7 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.Qe2 e6 [B52]

Carlsen, M - Giri, A showed an important new idea in the slow system 7.b3 (7.d4 is more direct) 7...Be7 8.c4 0-0 9.Bb2 Rc8 10.d4:

Everybody (including Giri) had taken on d4 here, but the game saw the excellent novelty 10...d5!?. This seems to be completely sound and Giri equalised without any problems.

Till next time, Sam

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