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Hi all,
Several games from the Prague Masters are covered this month, with more action from strong team competitions.

Download PGN of March ’20 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 Mainline 6.Na3 Nc6 7.Nb5 Qd8 [B22]

In Mamedov, R - Bharath, S, the players went for an endgame after 6...Nc6 7.Nb5 Qd8 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8:

After 10.b4 Bb6 11.Nd6 Ke7 12.Nc4, Black avoided the best 12...Ne4, instead getting a prospectless position after 12...Bc7?.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 [B31]

David Anton met 7.d4 with 7...a6 in two rounds of the Prague Masters:

In Vitiugov, N - Anton Guijarro, D, 8.Bxc6 was played, while 8.Bd3 was preferred in Grandelius, N - Anton Guijarro, D.

In Chigaev, M - Saric, I, we discuss the important line with 7.h3 e5:

with Chigaev winning an impressive game with an attack reminiscent of a Ruy Lopez.

Rossolimo 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 h6 10.0-0 b6 [B31]

This ambitious line was recently essayed by Magnus Carlsen with Black, so of course its popularity went through the roof.

After 11.Nh2 Nf8 12.f4 exf4, in Inarkiev, E - Studer, N White essayed 13.Bxf4 before overzealous play landed him in a lost position, which he managed to save with a final trick before the time control.

Anti-Advance French 4.e5 d4 [B40]

This hybrid line is important for white players who don’t like 4.exd5 exd5 (or 4...Qxd5), and for black players who don’t like the Advance French. In Vitiugov, N - Harikrishna, P, the players followed a long theoretical line with 5.Na3 (the normal 5.Bd3 can transpose) 5...Nc6 6.Bd3 Nge7 7.0-0 Ng6 8.Re1 Be7 9.Nc4 b5 10.Be4 Bb7 11.Qb3 a6 12.a4:

Here Black can choose from a couple of positional pawn sacrifices for reasonable compensation.

Moscow 3...Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6 6.Bxd7+ Bxd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.Qd3 Rc8 9.0-0 h6 [B51]

This is one of the main battlegrounds in the Moscow. In Grandelius, N - Duda, J, the players followed established theory with 10.Nd2 Qc7 11.Rd1 Nf6 12.Nf1 Bg4 13.Re1 Be6 14.Ne3 Be7 15.Rd1 0-0 16.a4:

before Duda played the impressive novelty 16...Bc4!. In addition to its theoretical importance, the game shows lots of useful themes in typical middlegames and endgames arising from this structure, where Black compensates for the d5-outpost with active piece play.

Moscow: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.f3 Nc6 10.Be3 0-0 11.0-0 a6 [B52]

Ragger, M - Grandelius, N was another outing for Jorden van Foreest’s innovative pawn sacrifice 12.Qd3 Rfc8 13.b3 b5!?. After 14.cxb5 Ne5 15.Qd2 d5 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 axb5 18.Rad1:

Grandelius varied from van Foreest’s 18...b4 with the novelty 18...Qxd5. Soon Black achieved a decent blockade to compensate for a pawn deficit, and Ragger repeated moves.

Till next time, Sam

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