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Hi all,
White is scoring well in classical OTB games in this month’s update, featuring plenty of unusual, yet dangerous (for Black) variations.

Download PGN of July ’21 Anti-Sicilian games

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2.Nc3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.d4!? [B23]

This line (like the Carlsen Variation, but with a trade of light-squared bishops) had escaped my attention, but looks quite interesting:

Quite a playable Dragon type structure arises after 5...cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nc6 7.Qd3 g6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.0-0 Nf6:

In Sanal, V - Stukan, M, we’ll cover early deviations, while Mamedov, R - Van Wely, L shows the dangers after the main move 10.Nd5!.

Grand Prix Attack: 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 [B23]

This is another dangerous line which Nadjorf players need to know or avoid. In Abasov, N - Grandelius, N, White avoided the direct 6.e5 in favour of 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qf2 Nbd7 9.h3:

Black was fine from the opening but lost a very complex game.

Rossolimo: 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Nf3 Nxb5 5.Nxb5 d6 6.d4 a6 7.Nc3 exd4 8.Qxd4 [B23]

In Mamedov, R - Kirk, E, White showed the dangers of this line after the main continuation 8...e5 9.Qd3:

This avoids 9.Qb4!?, which is likely to become popular after Gawain’s recent endorsement.

Rossolimo Variation: 3...e6 4.0-0 Nd4 [B30]

In Ragger, M - Van Foreest, J, White played the critical 5.Nxd4 cxd4 6.c3 a6 7.Be2! against this rare line:

However, after 7...Bc5, he avoided the best 8.Na3! in favour of 8.d3, when Black consolidated the d4-pawn and made an effortless draw.

Moscow: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Nxd7 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.Qe2 e6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Be7 9.c4 [B52]

In Bacrot, E - Oparin, G Black played Sam Shankland’s recommendation 9...Qa5! (aimed at preventing b3 and Bb2), to which White responded with the clever 10.Rd1!? (still aiming for the ideal setup).

The game quickly headed to a level endgame, but I expect further tests and there is a promising early alternative for White.

Moscow Variation: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0-0 Nf6 6.Qe2 [B52]

In that most august tournament, the Mr. Dodgy Invitational 2.0, after 5.0-0 Nf6 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.c3 e6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.e5 Ne4 Anish Giri played the innocuous-looking 11.Nbd2 Nxd2 12.Bxd2 Be7 against Nils Grandelius, with the new twist 13.g3!?:

In the French Team Championship, Grandelius, N - Mamedov, R featured the same line, rapidly resulting in an overwhelming position for White against an Anti-Sicilian expert.

Moscow Variation: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 [B52]

In Navara, D - Grandelius, N, after 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 White essayed the very rare 8.Qxd4!?:

After 8...Nc6 9.Qd3 Bg7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Bd2, White’s setup shouldn’t pose many problems, although Black’s aggressive response was objectively dubious.

Till next time, Sam

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