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It's a new year and I hope it will be a good one for you! Welcome to the January Update.

Download PGN of January '07 Anti-Sicilian games

2 Na3 [B20]

The fad for 2 Na3 will surely fade in 2007. If I am allowed to make one prediction for the coming year, this would be at the top of the list.

In Game One we see yet another reason why 2 Na3 b6! can be considered a very satisfactory move-order for Black. Stripunsky tries a weird and wonderful set-up, but the position after 6...d5!:

already slightly favoured Krush.

Wing Gambit [B20]

Have you read 'Challenging the Sicilian with 2 a3' by Alexei Bezgodov? Whether you believe it or not the book contains some of the most original and remarkable analysis that you will ever see.

Game Two is certainly unique and the position after 4 h4!?:

tells its own story. We saw GM Cvitan dealing coolly with 2 a3 last month, but he did not have to face such naked aggression!

2 d3 [B20]

In Game Three Todorcevic tries 2 d3, but his marriage of c2-c3 and f2-f4 is an unsuccessful one. After the straightforward 10...b4!:

Black was already putting on the pressure.

Grand Prix Attack [B21]

Game Four, Shyam-Thipsay shows why the Tal Gambit, 2 f4 d5! 3 exd5 Nf6!:

has put White's move-order completely out of fashion - see the Forum for some more discussion about this.

C3 Sicilian [B22]

Game Five is a theoretical 2 c3 Nf6 line, where the position after 12...g6:

is a bit deceptive. Perhaps White is a little better, but Antonio certainly doesn't manage to realise the nominal advantage.

Closed Sicilian [B25]

Game Six is a Short shunt. I don't know how he does it, employing innocuous lines of the Closed Sicilian such as 6 Nge2, but he wins in the end. Thematic is the position after 19 c3:

, removing the dead point in the centre and preparing to mobilize White's pawn chain.

3 Bc4 [B50]

On to Game Seven and a nice win by Spasov using 3 Bc4:

Slow manoeuvres are the order of the day until Black realises with a jolt that White was doing something all along, by which time it is too late.

Zaitsev [B53]

And finally, Game Eight, a victory for the cagey-looking move 4 Qxd4 e6!?, which, if you are happy with Scheveningen or Rauzer pawn structures, is worth more than a passing glance.

Thanks for reading. See you next month! Andrew

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