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Hi all,
Lots of exciting games this month, including two wins from Gawain's remarkable performance at Tata Steel.

Download PGN of February ’17 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Na3 [B22]

This pet line of Tiviakov's continues to pose some problems for Black.

In Jones, G - Dobrov, V, Gawain reached a pleasant position using Tiviakov's favourite 12.Bc4:

Dobrov created too many tactical weaknesses and was crushed in an entertaining attack.

In Adhibhan, B - Van Wely, L Black played a more accurate defence with the immediate 6...Qd8:

Incautious play then left White with a very strong passed d-pawn, although the game ended in a draw.

c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bg4 [B22]

Ni, S - Gunina, V is an example of how quickly Black's game can go downhill if improvising against the c3-Sicilian. Needing a win with Black to stay in the FIDE Women's World Championship, Gunina met 6.Be2 e6 7.h3 with 7...Bf5?!:

It's not hard to see that this leaves Black a tempo down on known lines and, after some hesitation, Ni produced an excellent attack.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 f5 [B30]

Fressinet, L - Muzychuk, A is the latest outing of this fashionable line, and a completely new approach for Black, namely 9.e5 Nf7 10.d3 e6!? 11.Nbd2 g5!:

Muzychuk demonstrated the main ideas behind this new concept, following up with ...Kh8 and ...Rg8, but then hesitated and lost.

Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 [B51]

MVL - Steinberg, N features a solid variation after 6.Re1 e5:

Steinberg obtained an excellent version of the Closed Spanish and made a draw from a position of strength.

In Jones, G - Guramishvili, S a familiar position was reached after 6.c3 b5 7.Bc2 Bb7 8.Qe2 e6 9.d4 Be7 10.Re1:

Black played 10...d5?! and quickly got a bad French, which Gawain handled with energy and precision.

Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 4.c3 Ngf6 5.Qe2 a6 6.Ba4 e6 [B51]

In Salomon, J - MVL the French number 1 played yet another of his pet lines:

and showcased a key strategic resource based on an exchange sacrifice.

3 c3 Variation 4.Be2 g6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Bb5+ [B50]

This old favourite of Michael Adams was used to good effect in Ragger, M - Guramishvili, S, where the interesting 6...Bd7 7.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 8.Re1 0-0 9.d4 Ne8!? was played:

This idea (to bring the knight to c7 and, possibly, e6) has been used by Bologan to good effect.

Till next time, Sam

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