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Hi all,
Christmas greetings!
This month we see action from the Skilling Cup, and some strong OTB Russian events.

Download PGN of December ’20 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 g6 5.Nf3 Bg7 [B22]

The World Champion adopted the c3-Sicilian in the Skilling Cup, and in Carlsen, M - Giri, A he obtained an excellent position with an extra pawn in the topical line 6.Na3 cxd4 7.Nb5 Na6 8.Be3 Nf6:

after Giri mixed up his move order.

c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 d5 7.exd6 Qxd6 8.0-0 Be6 9.Bxe6 Qxe6 [B22]

In Carlsen, M - Nepomniachtchi, I White obtained some light pressure with the thematic 10.a4 Qd7 11.a5 Nd5 12.a6:

After several adventures the game was decided by a late blunder.

Rossolimo: 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 [B31]

I had previously neglected to cover the rare 5...Qc7!?, aiming to get a pawn to e5 without committing the bishop to g7 or the knight to h6:

In Giri, A - Carlsen, M we look at the natural 6.0-0, while De Silva, L - Motylev, A is a lighter game featuring the most popular 6.h3.

Rossolimo: 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 f5 9.e5 Nf7 10.d3 [B31]

Dubov is the most active champion of this line with Black, and in Chigaev, M - Dubov, D he tried 10...h6!?:

Something went wrong with Dubov’s prep and Chigaev won an excellent game.

Anti-Najdorf: 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 dxe5 5.Nxe5 [B50]

In Fedoseev, V - Bykov, O Black met this line (a favourite of Mamedov) with the ambitious 5...g6, to which Fedoseev responded with the logical novelty 6.d4:

White had some prospects for an edge out of the opening.

Hybrid Variation: 4.0-0 Bd7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.c3 a6 7.Bf1 Bg4 8.h3 Bh5?! 9.g4 Bg6 10.d4 [B51]

This line is really dubious for Black and he essayed the probably losing, but quite common 10...Bxe4 in Demchenko, A - Martynyuk, E:

White avoided the standard refutation (11.Rxe4!) in favour of 11.g5, but went on to win easily.

Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 4.a4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 [B51]

Nepomniachtchi, I - Fedoseev, V was a typical well-played game in the common Najdorf structures which arise in this line after 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 b6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 Bb7 9.0-0 e5:

Black had no problems.

Till next time, Sam

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