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This month we have some coverage of lines which I have recommended for Black and are still going strong. I also try to put some sellotape on the Howell - Wang Yue line from White's perspective, and offer a different Anti-Sicilian for consideration, namely the long-discarded but quite interesting Closed Sicilian.

Download PGN of March '12 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...e6 [B22]

Jones - Socko is another example of the 2...e6 plan against the c3-Sicilian. I said in my notes to Howell - Short that this is a good choice for Black (though he must be able to handle the French generally and the Advance variation in particular), who gets an IQP position known to be safe since the Karpov - Korchnoi matches:

This game further confirms that view.

c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 [B22]

We have a few games in the ...Nc6 and ...Bf5 line which Wang Yue used to such effect against David Howell. Unfortunately, not many white players have used my recommendation of 6.Be3, instead preferring to follow the English GM with 6.Na3:

and watch their positions collapse about 5 moves later! Pacher - Istratesceu is an example of this 6.Na3 rubbish.

Meanwhile the considerably more sensible 6.Be3 is essayed in Potapov - Wen Yang:

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

In the universal system with ...d6 and ...e6, Black normally develops his knight to c6. Jones - Vitiugov shows the benefits of delaying this development.

Rossolimo 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 [B23]

Luke McShane was flying the flag for this English speciality against Shirov in the Bundesliga. Unfortunately he didn't manage to upset the verdict in these pages of theoretical guru John Shaw, who liked Black's position after a key pawn sacrifice:

See McShane - Shirov

The Closed Sicilian [B25]

Just out of interest, I checked whether anyone had played 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 recently. Here is the start position of the Old Main Line:

In fact a few decent players have been getting good results in this line over the past few months, including Russian GM Alexander Krapivin and Czech IM Pavel Simacek. Latvian GM Ilmars Starostits scored 3/3 with the line against decent opposition in the Staufer Open this January, which games are covered in Staorstits - Stets.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 [B51]

More trouble for White in the line essayed in Ponomariov - Volokitin. Black, using a slightly different move order, played into one of Volokitin's recommended setups, getting comfortable equality in Gallagher - Parligras:

White's play in the middlegame will not make it into Gallagher's best games collection, but I still like this line for Black.

Till next time, Sam

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