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Hi all,
Some very high ratings in this edition (and no blitz or rapid games!), with action from the Prague Masters, Saint Louis and the World Team Championship.

Download PGN of March ’19 Anti-Sicilian games

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Anti-Sveshnikov Variation 5.d3 Nf6 6.Bg5 0-0 7.Bxf6 Bxf6 8.Nd5 [B30]

In Ivanchuk, V - Kasimdzhanov, R White went for the direct 6.Bg5 0-0 7.Bxf6 Bxf6 8.Nd5:

It’s been known for ages that simple occupation of d5 doesn’t give White an advantage in these structures, and Kasimdzhanov equalised cleanly with ...Bg5 (which was traded), an idea known from the Sveshnikov.

Rossolimo Variation 3...e6 4. 0-0 Nge7 5.Re1 a6 6.Bf1 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.d4 [B30]

Hansen, E - Le, Q shows a clean equalising plan for Black after 8...Nf6 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Bd7 11.c4 Be7:

Hansen didn’t lose heart and went on to claim an impressive scalp.

Rossolimo Variation 3...Nf6 4.Nc3 Qc7 5.0-0 Nd4 6.Re1 [B30]

I’ve never liked this line for Black since seeing Shirov - Van Wely years ago, and White’s crushing victory from the opening in Harikrishna, P - Duda, J doesn’t change my view! After 6...a6 7.Bf1 Ng4 Hari essayed the dangerous pawn sacrifice 8.e5!?:

after which Black needs to play very precisely.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.e5 Nd5 7.Nc3 Nc7 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.Ne4 b6 [B31]

In Adams, M - Adhiban, B, White essayed 10.h3 (instead of the critical 10.Nf6+), a recommendation in a recent repertoire book.

He got nothing from the opening and the arising positions (once the c7-knight lands on d4) seem too closed to play for a win, especially since neither side has any decent pawn breaks.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 e6 7.c3 b5 8.Bc2 c4 9.a4 Bb7 10.d4 cxd3 11.Qxd3 Nc5 12.Qe2 bxa4 [B51]

Amin, B - Cheparinov, I was a clash between two major experts on this line. Amin came armed with an interesting new idea, 13.Be3 Nfd7 14.Bxc5 Nxc5 15.Rxa4!? (too dangerous to take) 15...Be7 16.Rd4, bringing the rook into play on the central files:

An horrific blunder cost a piece, but not the game since Amin was very resourceful and Cheparinov’s conversion was very poor.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.a4 e6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 b6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 Bb7 9.0-0 [B51]

In Adams, M - Grandelius, N, the Swedish number 1 refrained from ...Qc7, instead allowing a central break after 9...Ngf6 10.Rd1 Be7 11.Be3 0-0 12.e5:

The position was level but Adams is brilliant in these structures, and gave a technical masterclass.

2 c3 Sicilian/French Tarrasch 2...e6 3.d4 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bb5 Bd6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.0-0 Nge7 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.Nb3 [C09]

This line gives Black a very slightly improved version of the French Tarrasch with 3...c5 4.exd5 exd5, since White has committed to the useful (but not essential) c3.

In Adhiban, B - Maghsoodloo, P Black equalised convincingly after 10...Bd6 11.Bg5:

but Adhiban went on to win a fine game.

Vitiugov, N - Rapport, R showed a very convincing defence after 10...Bb6 11.Re1 Bg4 12.Be3 Bxe3 13.Rxe3 Nf5 14.Re1 (14.Rd3!?) 14...Nh4:

Rapport exchanged a lot of pieces and easily held the resulting IQP position.

Till next time, Sam

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