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Hi all,
This month’s update is full of games from the first half of Tata Steel, featuring a lot of ideas by Jordan Van Foreest amongst others.

Download PGN of January ’20 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 c4 7.Bc2 d5 8.exd6 Qxd6 [B22]

Like Gawain a couple of years ago, Van Foreest relied on the c3-Sicilian in Tata Steel. This seems to be a good choice since Black needs to take some risks to generate unbalanced positions. In Van Foreest, J - Dubov, D, after 9.0-0 g6 10.Na3 Bg7 11.b3 cxb3 12.axb3, the players continued down a theoretical line.

Dubov’s choice on move 16 (the most popular option in the position) was criticised by Van Foreest, who played an outstanding game.

c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Na3 Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nb5 Qd7 9.Nbxd4 [B22]

In Van Foreest, J - Yu Yangyi, Black tried the novelty 9...Bd6:

Van Foreest very convincingly outplayed his opponent, setting both players on a course for very different tournament fortunes.

Rossolimo 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.d4 [B31]

A lively debate developed around this position in Wijk, probably reflecting Black’s recent success with either recapture after 4.Bxc6.

In Anand, V - Carlsen, M the World Champion essayed the rare 7...a6:

We’ll likely see more games in this line, although the course of the game (a draw after a turgid defence) is unlikely to inspire.

The position after the more popular 7...d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Be3 Rb8 11.Qc1 Qb6 12.b3 was tested in Smeets, J - Mamedov, R and Caruana, F - Dubov, D.

Two convincing white wins (one with an attack, one after a long endgame) are likely to reduce the popularity of the line, though Black’s position is of course playable.

Rossolimo 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Re1 e5 [B31]

In Carlsen, M - Dubov, D perhaps the two biggest experts on the Rossolimo had a tough battle proceeding 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.d3 Qe7:

Carlsen played badly (by his standards) and held easily, as in a few games at the start of the tournament before he caught fire later in the event.

Moscow: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.f3 Nc6 10.Be3 [B52]

Jorden van Foreest developed an interesting idea after 10...0-0 11.0-0 a6 12.Qd3 Rfc8 13.b3, the aggressive 13...b5!?:

Having shown the move in McShane, L - Van Foreest, J, he again defended Black’s cause in Xiong, J - Van Foreest, J, where he lost, but a more precise move order would have given him a playable position.

Till next time, Sam

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