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Hi all,
Several games from important online events between very strong GMs this month. The time controls are all blitz or rapid, so while the openings are (for the most part) well played and interesting, the latter stages shouldn't be judged too harshly.

Download PGN of June ’20 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 [B22]

This old recommendation of Joe Gallagher seems a bit dubious these days, and Vysochin, S - Mchedlishvili, M saw Black get into trouble after 7.Bc4 Bb7 8.0-0 Na6?!:

a favourite of Jansa but a very dodgy line.

c3-Sicilian 2...Nf6, Delayed d4, 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 c4 7.Bc2 d5 8.exd6 Qxd6 9.0-0 Bg4 [B30]

This is one of Black's best options to play for a win against the c3-Sicilian, as shown by Nakamura, H - Dubov, D. After 10.Qe2 0-0-0 11.Na3 Qe6 12.Qxe6+ Bxe6:

Nakamura rejected the critical pawn grab 13.Ng5, instead playing 13.b3 and losing a long technical game with an inferior structure.

Rossolimo, Move-order tricks, 4...Qc7 5.0-0 Nd4 6.Re1 [B23]

I've been critical of this variation before, and Jones, G - Martirosyan, H is a great illustration of the dangers facing Black. After 6...Ng4, Gawain sacrificed a pawn with 7.e5 Nxf3+ 8.Qxf3 Nxe5 9.Qg3:

quickly winning a fine game. Black could have improved, but so could White, who enjoys excellent chances in this line.

Rossolimo: 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 h6 [B31]

Noel Studer has been playing this line successfully with Black, and his good run continued (not without some scary moments) in Eljanov, P - Studer, N. After 10.a3 b6 11.0-0 Nf8 12.b4 Ne6 13.bxc5 f5 14.exf5 gxf5 15.Qe1 0-0:

Eljanov varied from Wang Hao - Carlsen with 16.cxb6. The position was quite unclear from the opening, before Eljanov made the last couple of mistakes.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 f5 9.e5 Nf7 [B31]

The Dubov variation (or, at least, one of them!) was essayed in Ding, L - Dubov, D. The players followed Dubov's previous game against Svidler with 10.d4 cxd4 11.cxd4 Bb7 12.Na3 c5 13.dxc5 Qa5 14.Be3 Qb4:

but Ding went in a different direction with 15.Nc2 Qxb2 16.Ncd4!?. There were lots of interesting points in the opening, but Ding won a very fine game.

Moscow: 3...Nd7 4.a4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 b6 [B51]

Carlsen, M - Wei, Y saw this interesting line, and after 7.d4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 Bb7 9.0-0 Wei Yi chose a Scheveningen setup with 9...e6:

Black was doing fine from the opening, but Carlsen accelerated in the middlegame and won.

Moscow: 3...Nd7 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 a6 6.c4 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 [B51]

In Nakamura, H - Duda, J the players contested this stodgy line, which is reminiscent of structures arising from the English Opening (but with White's bishop on a4 instead of g2):

Duda was doing fine out of the opening, but Nakamura uncorked a very impressive attack late in the game.

Moscow: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Nxd7 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.Re1 e6 [B52]

Nakamura often essays this line with Black, but found himself on the white side in Nakamura, H - Dubov, D. After 7.c3 Be7 8.d4 0-0 9.e5 Ne8:

the central tension was quickly resolved and a well-played game ended in a draw.

Till next time, Sam

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