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The current British Championship in Sheffield is not one I'll want to remember, but has, perhaps not surprisingly, thrown up several games pertaining to this column. I've also looked at a number of ideas stemming from two recent highly relevant works, Gawain Jones' How to Beat the Sicilian Defence and Quality Chess' Experts on the Anti-Sicilian.

Download PGN of July '11 Anti-Sicilian games

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The 2.c3 Variation 2...Nf6 [B22]

This month I've taken a look at a few ideas in one of the main lines, namely 1 e4 c5 2 c3 Nf6 3 e5 Nd5 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nf3 e6 6 cxd4 d6 7 Bc4 Nc6 8 0-0 Be7:

White's main move remains 9 Qe2, but that is, of course, far from forced and in Hess - Negi from the very-strong World Team Championship 9 a3 0-0 10 Re1 Bd7 11 Nbd2 was preferred. After 11...Rc8 White introduced a new wrinkle with 12 exd6!? Bxd6 13 Ne4. The Indian Grandmaster responded actively with the pawn sacrifice 13...Bf4!? and was doing OK prior to being outplayed in the complications.

I decided to switch back from 2...d5 to this solid but unbalanced variation in Kemp - Palliser last week, where White opted for quite a rare approach in 9 Bd2, preparing to develop the knight to c3 without allowing the queenside pawns to be smashed. Thankfully I had noted that Jacob Aagaard gave this some coverage in the aforementioned Quality Chess work, and after 9...0-0 10 Nc3 dxe5 11 dxe5 Nb6! Black should be fine from what I can see.

The 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Variation [B23]

This is sometimes referred to as the Tiviakov Variation, although in English chess circles it's also known as the Jones Variation after my fellow columnist. This month we examine developments after 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nd4 4 Bc4 and now both Carlsen's 4...Nf6!? and the more standard 4...e6 5 Nge2 Nf6 6 0-0 a6 7 d3 b5 8 Bb3 Nxb3 9 axb3 Bb7, reaching something of a tabiya:

Black enters a sharp and quite critical line in Adair - Dargan, but it turns out that White is the better prepared and he wins a crushing miniature.

The Closed Sicilian [B25]

Quite a rare approach after 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 g6 4 Bg2 Bg7 5 d3 d6 is 6 Nf3, but this can hardly be bad as the position is after all a reversed English:

Black quickly unbalances the struggle against his much lower-rated opponent in Atako - Adams with 6...e5 7 0-0 Nge7 8 Nd2 h5!?, going on to rather blow White away.

The Rossolimo/Moscow Hybrid Variation [B51]

The line 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 0-0 Bd7 5 Re1 Nf6 6 c3 a6 7 Ba4 b5 8 Bc2 remains quite topical, but Black should be OK after, amongst others, 8...Bg4:

This received Tiger Hillarp Persson's backing in Experts on the Anti-Sicilian and following 9 a4 g6 10 axb5 axb5 11 Rxa8 Qxa8 12 h3 Bxf3 13 Qxf3 Bg7! Black was able to equalize without too much difficulty in Sutovsky - Radjabov.

The Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 [B51]

It will be interesting to see if Gawain's book leads to a surge of interest in some of the more uncompromising lines after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+. In Jones - Bologan White followed his own recommendation with 3...Nd7 4 d4 a6 (I've also looked at some developments after the less-risky and equally unbalanced 4...cxd4 5 Qxd4 a6) 5 Bxd7+ Bxd7 6 dxc5! and with 6...dxc5 7 Nc3 e6 8 Bf4 Ne7 9 Ne5 Ng6 10 Qh5 the players continued to follow a Ni Hua-Carlsen game:

Despite Magnus' appearance on the black side, White must have quite a nice edge here and Bologan was brutally put to the sword.

The Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 [B52]

More solid for Black is, of course, 3...Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Qxd7 5 0-0 Nf6 6 Qe2 Nc6 when Gawain followed in Kaufman's footsteps in recommending 7 Rd1!?. Much remains to be explored here, with the flexible 7...Rc8 not necessarily the answer to Black's problems in view of 8 c3 e6 9 d4 cxd4 10 Bg5!:

An exchange on c3 would give White an excellent version of the Morra, but neither did returning the pawn on d3 particularly help Black in another fine game from White's perspective, Rendle - Sreeves.

That's all for this month, Richard

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