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Hi all,
This month’s update exclusively features games from two elite tournaments, the Croatia GCT and Netanya Masters. We also see the World Champion's influence on players aiming for a Botvinnik pawn structure (black pawns on c5, d6, e5 and g6, or the converse structure with White) where Carlsen has been winning convincing games with both colours.

Download PGN of July ’19 Anti-Sicilian games

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Anti-Sveshnikov Variation 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 g6 [B30]

Carlsen essayed his pet line in Nepomniachtchi, I - Carlsen, M:

After 5.d3 h6 6.h4 d6 7.h5 g5 8.Nh2 Bg7 (varying from a previous game against MVL where he played 8...Nf6) the players soon reached a blocked position where Carlsen landed ...b5 and ...f5, Nepo blundered and lost.

Rossolimo Variation 3...e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d3 Ne7 6.h4 [B30]

In Giri, A - Carlsen, M, after 6...h5 7.e5 Black essayed the shocking (and very rare) 7...d6!?:

No one is able to compete with Carlsen at the moment and Giri soon went astray, losing a miniature.

Hybrid Variation 4.0-0 Bd7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 a6 7.Bf1 Bg4 [B51]

Giri remained faithful to the Rossolimo despite his opening round disaster and essayed 8.d4!? in Giri, A - Mamedyarov, S:

After 8...cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nc3 e6 12.h3 Black fell for a very effective trap (which has caught several GMs unawares) by retreating to h5, which is unplayable, instead of taking on f3, which is okay.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.d4 [B31]

In Svidler, P - Dubov, D, Black demonstrated his customary outstanding preparation, completely neutralising the sharp line beginning 8...cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.e5 f6 11.e6 Qd6 12.Qe2.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Nc3 [B31]

Pavel Eljanov demonstrated interesting ideas with both colours in sidelines here.

In Eljanov, P - Dubov, D, 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Nc3 was tried, and met with 5...Nh6!?:

A very tough fight ended in a white victory.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.c3 Nf6 5.Qe2 [B31]

In Smirin, I - Eljanov, P, after 4.c3 Nf6 5.Qe2 Black uncorked a brilliant pawn sacrifice, 5...e5 6.0-0 Bg7!:

Smirin took the pawn, which doesn’t seem to be a great idea, and was quickly in trouble. After more sedate moves Black has a comfortable Botvinnik setup, so this game is a major challenge to 4.c3.

Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Nxd7 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.Qe2 [B52]

Vishy made two quite different draws with the Moscow Variation in Croatia.

In Anand, V - Vachier Lagrave, M, after 4...Nxd7 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.Qe2 Rc8 7.b3:

the position quickly became stale and a draw was ultimately agreed.

Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 e5 [B52]

In Anand, V - Caruana, F, after 4...Qxd7 5.c4 e5, Black aimed for a Botvinnik structure but soon erred.

, meeting 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.d3 g6 8.h4 with 8...Nf6?! 9.Nd5 Nxd5? 10.cxd5 Nb4?!. Black was busted from the opening but somehow created enough confusion to draw.

Till next time, Sam

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