2 c3 [B22]
In October we looked at 1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 7.Nc3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Qc7 9.Bd2 Bb7 10.Bd3 d6 11.0-0 Nd7 12.Ng5! dxe5 13.Qh5 g6 14.Qh3 Be7, followed by 15.Rae1, and in Kulhanek - Manik we see that 15.Rfe1 is dangerous as well:
Though perhaps not as much...
Grand Prix Attack [B23]
Gawain Jones recently authored a book on the GPA. He practices what he preaches and here we will look at a couple of his recent games. In Jones - Kurnosov Black plays the direct 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.f4 d5 4.Nf3 d4!? and quickly gets a good game.
The position reached after 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 Nd4 6.0-0 Nxb5 7.Nxb5 d5 8.exd5 (8.e5 is White's other option) 8...a6 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.d4 is very important:
In Jones - Markovitz Black plays the risky 10...Nxd5 which is met by 11.dxc5! Nxc3 12.Qxd8+ Kxd8 13.bxc3. In the notes we also check on the more solid 10...c4 which would be my choice.
Rossolimo 3...e6 [B30]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 Bb7 8.Re1 Rc8 is considered to be a solid line for Black. In Ni Hua - Ronchetti White tries to soften up Black's queenside with 9.a4!? This is a reasonable try but will hardly scare Black off.
3.c3 Sicilian [B50]
In this no-name system we look at 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Bd3:
This should not be very dangerous but in Gagunashvili - Sanikidze White finds creative ways to maintain some initiative.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Be2 is still the main line of this system, and in Teterev - Smirnov we look at the critical 4...Nc6. This does not look like a practical way to meet White's rare system because of the dangerous gambit 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 Nxe4 7.d5 Qa5+ 8.Nc3 Nxc3 9.bxc3:
White is offering three pawns!
Moscow 3.Bb5+ [B51-2]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 is Black's most ambitious answer to the Moscow and can lead to different types of positions. 4.0-0 a6 5.Bxd7+ Bxd7 6.d4 cxd4 7.Qxd4 Rc8!? looks very slow for Black:
but he reaches a decent Najdorf structure in Nguyen Van Huy - Pashikia.
Adams' funny little 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.h3 remains fashionable. In Movsesian - Dominguez we see Black follow Agdestein's tactical idea (which we first saw in December). White again gets nothing and this could (should!?) spell the end of 9.h3 at a high level.
Best wishes, David