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Another month which illustrates the importance of Black choosing intelligently in the Anti-Sicilians. While a notoriously difficult line for Black was selected in Vadja - Tunik, both Muzychuk and Radjabov showed good preparation in lines where White is struggling to demonstrate anything. For good measure, despite the length and result of Fier - Hausner, 2.Nf3 Nf6!? is not a bad move!

Download PGN of July '12 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian 2...d5 [B22]

Vadja - Tunik sees Black going into a notoriously dangerous IQP position:

White didn't need any new resources here in my view, but Vadja's 16.Qc2!? is an interesting alternative to 16.Bg5 and led to a convincing success.

c3-Sicilian 2...Nf6 [B22]

Kosintseva - Hou is another IQP position, this time arising in the solid system with ...e6 and ...d6:

In general I think Black has good chances to equalise, in particular due to the passive placement of the white bishop on d2.

c3-Sicilian 2...e6 [C09]

Kosintseva - Muzychuk is another game in a line I have long endorsed for Black, playing for an IQP and (often) a transposition to the French Tarrasch. Here Muzychuk opted for the more aggressive development of the bishop to d6 (rather than to b6 as we have seen in several previous games). Black had no problems out of the opening, but the surprising aspect of this game is how quickly Kosintseva got into trouble with White by playing quite natural-looking moves.

Rossolimo Variation 3...e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 [B30]

Teimour Radjabov relied on this line 3 times in the recent Tal Memorial, making +1 with no problems. McShane - Radjabov shows the young Azeri's prep in the line with 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.b3 d6 (not bothering with Gelfand's 5...e5!?):

Grischuk could show no advantage, while McShane quickly got into a tough position where White was successfully holding a fortress until an error at the end of the first time control ended the game.

Hybrid - 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 [B51]

Yildiz - Muzychuk showed White opting for the reasonably popular 8.d4:

In general I prefer Black in the arising positions, since White has taken on a lot of kingside structural damage for no particular reason. Anna Muzychuk won a fine game, avenging her younger sister's loss with White in the same line from two years ago.

Nimzowitsch Variation [B29]

Fier - Hausner is an amusing miniature in a critical line of the Nimzowitsch. Fier (perhaps unwittingly) follows some old analysis of Van der Wiel which is meant to lead to a white advantage:

In fact I think that Black is fine, though Hausner went very wrong very quickly.

See you next time, Sam

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