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Hi all,
Apologies for the delayed update. This month Kovalev is the hero, with four games during his great run to 2700+ and an invitation to the Tata Steel Masters. Plus we have a special guest contribution from Richard Palliser.

Download PGN of February ’19 Anti-Sicilian games

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Closed Sicilian 2...d6 3.Nge2 Nf6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Nc6 [B26]

In Fedoseev, V - Giri, A, Black gained good counterplay after 6.d3 Bg7 7.h3 0-0 8.Be3 Rb8 9.f4 Ne8:

A very complex game ended in disaster when Fedoseev started losing the thread close to the time control.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d4!? [B31]

This line is gaining some traction. In So, W - Maze, S, Black went for 5...Bg7 which is probably the critical try:

In Kovalev, V - Praggnanandhaa, R we cover the major alternative, 5...cxd4.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.Ba4 [B51]

In Navara, D - Grandelius, N, Navara came up with a promising move order after 5.0-0 a6 6.c4 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.d3 0-0 9.h3 b6, namely 10.Bg5:

Grandelius went for a pawn sacrifice which didn’t prove effective.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 g6 7.c3 [B51]

7...Bh6!? is an interesting sideline which was tested in Kovalev, V - Tsydypov, Z:

A well played game ended in a draw.

Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0-0 Nf6 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Rd1 [B52]

In Edouard, R - Palliser, R Richard went for the critical 7...g5!?:

Check Richard’s instructive notes for plenty of new ideas.

Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 [B52]

In Kovalev, V - Aravindh, C, after 8...Nc6 9.Be3 Nf6 10.f3 0-0 11.Rc1 a6 White tried to exploit the b6-square with 12.Na4:

The opening and most of the middlegame went very well for Black, but Kovalev ended up winning a beautiful tactical battle.

Zaitsev Variation 4...Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Qd3 [B53]

In Kovalev, V - Aditya, M Black went for 5...Bd7 6.Qd3 Nb4?!:

Black loses too much time and, as I hope the notes show, this line is best kept for blitz.

See you next time, Sam

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