ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hi everyone,
Sorting a database of recent games quickly highlights the trends in Anti-Sicilians: a few weird sidelines, a respectable number of Bb5 variations, and a deluge of 2.c3 games. So this month it's mainly 2.c3 and Bb5 games.

Download PGN of February '08 Anti-Sicilian games

c3 Sicilian [B22]

We start with two games where strong players test low-theory lines against 2.c3 with Black. First there is Spence - Wang Yue:

The Chinese are rising fast in world chess so it is interesting to see how one of their squad plays for a win against lower rated opposition. Wang Yue selects a line that allows White a space advantage, but it does keep the tension.

Our second 2.c3 game is Berelovich - Tiviakov. Black, who is also an expert on the White side of the line, demonstrates a rare move in a well-known position, 9...g6!?:

It is perfectly sound but the problem, if there is one, is that against sensible play Black may struggle to find winning chances.

The final 2.c3 game is Shaw-Pinter and is another test of the line with 11.Bd2:

Black avoids the horrors of Goodger-Shaw (see the December update) but without playing the critical line. White had a position that tends towards an edge. Included in the notes is GM David Howell's latest idea for White, 11.Qd3.

Anti-Sveshnikov [B30]

After 2.Nf3 Nc6 avoiding the Sveshnikov is a common reason for choosing an anti-Sicilian. 3.Nc3 is one way and the Rossolimo another.

3.Nc3 as an anti-Sveshnikov is tested in Bartel - Carlsen, where Black chose the solid 3...e5:

Bartel repeated a line he had used with success before, but Carlsen was ready with a good equalizer.

Bb5 Variations [B31 & 51]

Smirin has a pet line in the Rossolimo that he has played for years. It's still working, as Smirin - Abasov shows:

but what does he have against Black's critical reply? Smirin has played this many times, which suggests he believes it is sound rather than just a surprise weapon.

Moscow Variation

After 2.Nf3 d6 Chadaev - Akopian shows a sharp way for Black to answer 3.Bb5+, with 7...g5!?:

Akopian tests an idea suggested by Psakhis. It's not a total success, but there is plenty of room for a creative player to play new positions.

Best wishes, John

Please post you queries on the Anti-Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write to if you have any questions or queries.