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Hi all,
This month we complete our coverage of important Anti-Sicilians from the Opera Euro Rapid, including three wins with White by the tournament winner, Wesley So.

Download PGN of March ’21 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian 2...Nf6, ...e6 and ...d6 system, 7...Be7 8.0-0 0-0 [B22]

In Aronian, L - Dominguez Perez, L, Black met 9.Qe2 with the rare 9...Bd7:

probably intending to meet 10.Nc3 with 10...Nxc3 11.bxc3 Bc6. Aronian varied with the direct 10.Bxd5 exd5 11.Nc3 Be6 12.Bf4, but Dominguez was doing very well out of the opening.

Anti-Sveshnikov: 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 g6 5.d3 h6 [B30]

In Grischuk, A - Carlsen, M Carlsen repeated his pet line 4...g6 5.d3 h6:

obtaining a complex middlegame which resulted in a draw after good play by both sides.

Rossolimo Variation 3...e6 4.0-0 Nge7 [B30]

In his recent Chessable repertoire So recommends the immediate 5.d4 here, but adopted different approaches in the Opera Euro Rapid.

In So, W - Radjabov, T, after 5.Re1 a6 6.Bxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 d6 9.c4 a typical Hedgehog position arose:

So won a good game, starting with a strong improvement after 9...Be7 10.Nc3 0-0, namely 11.Nxc6!.

So, W - Carlsen, M featured the line 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 Bb7 8.Re1 Rc8 9.a4:

This looks risky for Black and in the game Carlsen lost quickly after So reacted precisely to a piece sacrifice.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.Re1 Nh6 [B31]

In Carlsen, M - Dubov, D, after 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.Re1 Nh6 (Dubov’s pet line) Carlsen played the rare 7.e5:

This has some poison, as shown by the game where Dubov quickly fell into a difficult position.

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

So, W - Radjabov, T features a major tabiya after 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Be3 cxd4 11.cxd4 Qb6 12.Qc1 a5 13.Nc3 Nxc3 14.Qxc3:

Radjabov had tried 14...Bg4 against Grischuk, but chose 14...Bf5 against So, who went on to win a fine game after (in a mirror of his game with Carlsen) defending accurately after a bishop sacrifice on the kingside.

Delayed Alapin 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Be2 Bd7 5.d3 g6 [B50]

Aronian has shown some fondness for this line, and in Aronian, L - Dubov, D Black essayed 4...Bd7 5.d3 g6:

getting a decent position from the opening and winning a tough battle.

Moscow Variation 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 [B51]

In Vachier Lagrave, M - Nepmoniachtchi, I Nepo repeated his previous game after 6...g6 7.c3 Ne5 8.Be2 Bg7 9.d4:

but then decided to take on f3 without trading pawns on d4. White didn’t have much from the opening and the game was drawn after minor adventures.

Till next time, Sam

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