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This update covers a wide range of anti-Sicilians. All the games are recent and involve strong players, but that is the only unifying theme. The score this month is 7-1 to White, but in several of the games the result had little to do with the opening.

Download PGN of June '11 Anti-Sicilian games

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Let's get started with the hotchpotch.

Keres Variation 2.Ne2 [B20]

2.Ne2 can be tricky, especially for a 2...d6 player who has not seen it before, but preparing against it should be quick and easy.

In my view Shaposhnikov - Kurukin is an example of what not to play with Black. In the notes I suggest a couple of fairly straightforward antidotes.

2.Na3 Variation [B20]

A few years ago 2.Na3 arrived as a surprise weapon, but it has evolved to reach semi-respectability. In Savchenko - Bukavshin after 1.e4 c5 2.Na3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Black borrowed an idea from the regular Rossolimo with 3...Na5!?:

Perhaps the best thing about 2.Na3 is that its weirdness seems to be contagious!

The 2.c3 Variation 2...d5 [B22]

In Vajda - Rodriguez Lopez Black chose the following line against 1.e4 c5 2.c3: 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 g6:

If Black wants to play a ...g6 line then ...Nf6 is not a good prelude. On ChessPublishing we have seen before that Black struggles in this line and this recent game updates and confirms that view.

Khalifman - Sitnikov started 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.d4 Bg4 6.dxc5:

My general advice to Black in this and similar positions is to exchange on d1. However in the game Black chose 6...Qxc5 and did not enjoy the experience.

Anti-Sveshnikov Variation 3...e5 [B30]

Magem Badals - Moiseenko shows what can sensibly, if inelegantly, be described as a Kalashnikov-avoiding line: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3. The game continued 3...e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 Nf6 6.Ng5 0-0 7.f4 d6:

Moiseenko is an expert on ...e5 lines of the Sicilian and he repeats the same lines consistently, so his repertoire must stand up to serious preparation. That makes him a good man to study.

The Rossolimo Variation 3 Bb5 e6 4 0-0 [B30]

Rublevsky is a renowned expert on 3.Bb5 systems and in Rublevsky - Vorobiov after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qc7 9.Nxc6:

he shows why Black must chose very carefully between his three possible recaptures.

The next game Efimenko - Kryvoruchko reached the same position after eight moves, but then White chose instead 9.Re1:

The play is often complex, but in the notes I also suggest a rare line for Black on move 11 that seems to make a dull draw likely.

Zaitsev Variation 4.Qxd4 [B53]

The position after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 can be reached by various move orders, and now 7.Nc3 is usual. Instead in Kryakvin - Frolyanov White preferred 7.c4:

The game continued 7...Nf6 but the notes about 7...f5 are equally relevant.

I'm afraid I will have to stop writing my updates for now due to my other work commitments, John Shaw

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