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Hi all,
For the first time in a long time, this month’s update exclusively features classical games from important tournaments, including the Russian and Chinese team championships.

Download PGN of June ’21 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 7.Nc3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Qc7 9.Bd2 [B22]

In Paehtz, E - Dzagnidze, N, instead of the standard 9...Bb7, Black played 9…Be7 aiming for a quick trade with ...Ba6:

White had excellent attacking chances and won a good game.

Carlsen Variation: 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 g6 6.b3 Bh6 [B23]

This line is Gawain’s recommendation in his new repertoire book. In Popov, I - Timerkhanov, A Black essayed the dubious 6...Bh6 7.f4 e5?!:

This line is more or less refuted, due to the continuation in the game.

Rossolimo Variation: 3...e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d3 Qc7 6.Nbd2 e5 [B30]

In Xu, Y - Yu, Y, a line endorsed by Boris Gelfand at the 2020 Legends of Chess was essayed, 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d3 Qc7 6.Nbd2 e5 7.0-0 Ne7:

Black quickly seized the initiative and won a good game.

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

In Lobanov, S - Paravyan, D Black tried the sideline 4.0-0 Nd4?! (which is similar to, and can transpose to, 3...Nd4).

He solved his opening problems but went wrong later, in particular by developing his knight to f6 instead of e7.

Rossolimo Variation: 3...e5 [B30]

This line, aiming for a Botvinnik pawn structure, is a serious option.

In Vitiugov, N - Dubov, D, after 4.0-0 Dubov avoided 4...Bd6 (which we’ve covered several times) in favour of 4...Nge7. After 5.Bc4 he played the very direct 5...d5!?:

Black’s position looks loose but Dubov managed to equalise quite cleanly.

The rare 4.Nc3 led to a pleasant position for White in Zhao, J - Yu, Y, especially after the further moves 4...d6 5.0-0 Nf6 6.Re1 Be7 7.Nd5 0-0 8.Nxe7+ Nxe7 9.c3:

Although passive, Black’s dark squared bishop is a useful defensive piece in Spanish structures, and White’s bishop pair gives a pleasant edge.

Rossolimo Variation: 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 e5 [B31]

In Abdumalik, Z - Muzychuk, M the players contested this old main line, with the game proceeding along established theory after 6.h3 e5 7.Nc3 Qe7 8.Be3 Nf6 9.Qd2 Nd7 10.0-0 Nf8 11.Bh6:

Muzychuk used a promising plan based on a quick ...g5, and had no problems from the opening.

Zaitsev Variation: 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qe2 g6 6.Be2 [B53]

In Murzin, V - Fedoseev, V, Black essayed the unusual 6...Bg7 7.0-0 Nh6, with similar play to rare lines of the Accelerated Dragon:

His position is very flexible and solid, despite the spatial disadvantage, and Fedoseev outplayed his young opponent convincingly.

Till next time, Sam

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