2.c3 Sicilian [B22]
In the murky line 1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Bc4 Nb6 5.Bb3 c4 6.Bc2 Nc6 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Qe2 g5 White plays 9.0-0 in Kantans - Shankland:
I have never seen this move before. Black is able to show the positional validity of his idea and is actually winning after 3 more moves! We also look at a couple of recent games in more conventional ideas in the notes.
Grand Prix Attack [B23]
In the line 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 (I also take a look at 5.a3!?) 5...Nd4 6.0-0 Nxb5 7.Nxb5:
Black has a fundamental choice between 7...d6 and 7...d5. In Santos - Fier White scores a notable upset against the former, while I share some secrets concerning the latter too.
Modern Grand Prix
In the heavyweight battle Tiviakov - Shirov, we look at the position arising after 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.0-0 a6 7.d3 b5 8.Bb3 Nxb3 9.axb3 Bb7:
Although I previously mentioned this line, I did not really get into it. Now we have a closer look.
The most striking game of the month arises after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Qc7 5.0-0 Nd4 6.Re1 a6 7.Bc4 Ng4:
White uncorks 8.Bxf7+!? This is not new, and in fact has been seen before on ChessPub. In Li Chao - Muzychuk White comes up with a striking novelty in a line that had previously appeared to be too speculative for White.
Sergei Movsesian is a one of a kind Anti-Sicilian practitioner. Even in non-theoretical lines, he, well, avoids theory! In Movsesian - Halkias he plays 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Qc7 5.d3 which looks like a safe move. After 5...a6 6.Bxc6 Qxc6 7.Bg5 e6 8.Qe2 b5 he goes for 9.0-0-0!? and outplays his opponent.
Moscow Variation [B51]
After having analysed so many Anti-Sicilians on this site, I decided to try a variation I had always avoided in the past. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 which is a novelty...for me. After 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 I played the trendy line 5...a6 6.Bxd7+ Bxd7 7.Nc3 Rc8:
I share my experience in Enkin - Vigorito.
Anish Giri put on an impressive display in the Corus B tournament, but in Game 7 he was upended by Anna Muzychuk, who played 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6 6.Bxd7+ Bxd7 7.c4!?:
Giri's reaction was not the best, and Muzychuk wins an endgame in fine style.
Zaitsev Variation [B53]
I recently realized that after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 5.Bb5 the tempting 5...Qa5+ had not been addressed. Black immediately gets an ending with the bishop pair after 6.Nc3 Qxb5 7.Nxb5 Nxd4 8.Nfxd4:
The game Zhigalko - Tihonov shows that that the problems Black incurs are not worth it!
Until next month, David