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Anti-Sicilians are rare guests at World Championship matches. Thus Anand - Gelfand was a welcome change, with 3 games played there covered here, including the decisive battle from the playoff!

Download PGN of June '12 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 [B22]

Van Veen - Smeets discusses an interesting option for Black in the highly drawish 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 d5 7.exd6 Qxd6 8.Ba3 a6! line, 13...Qc6:

This looks like a good try for a win compared to the over-analysed 13...Qd7.

2.Nf3 b6!? [B27]

Robson - Kamsky shows an original handling of Christian Bauer's favourite 2.Nf3 b6!? line:

Play proceeded by analogy with the English Attack against the Taimanov, with a repetition after a well-played game.

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

This was, of course, one of the key battlegrounds of the Anand - Gelfand match, especially after Vishy got nowhere against the Sveshnikov. Game 12 shows wonderful resourcefulness from Gelfand after 5.d3 Ne7 6.b3 d6:

while the second playoff game features the more striking 5.b3 e5!?

Which had also occurred in Game 10, see the notes.

3...g6 [B31]

Ghaem Maghami - Wang Hao showcases Black's resources in a line I had always believed to be promising for White. As throughout the 3.Bb5 lines, the main idea is to play ...c4!

liberating the black bishops.

3...Nf6, 4...Qc7 [B30]

Brunello - Lenic shows a trap which a large number of good players have fallen for. White lands Nd5 with impressive effect:

though Brunello somehow only went on to draw.

5.f3 Variation [B55]

Rodriguez Villa - Shirov shows a typically enterprising effort by the Latvian/Spanish GM, following 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.f3 e5 6.Bb5+:

with an early pawn sacrifice leaving White pinned all over the board.

Till next time, Sam

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