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Hi all,
Apologies for the very late update. This month I look at some of my own games from recent classical tournaments, and important games from the Berlin Grand Prix. We also examine a solution to Christiansen’s suggested line in the c3-Sicilian, which has been endorsed and analysed by Harikrishna, Shankland and Giri.

Download PGN of March ’22 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 7.Bc4 [B22]

In Collins, S - O’Gorman, T, Black chose 7...Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 Bd7!?:

a very solid line. I didn’t respond optimally and Black was doing very well from the opening.

In Collins, S - Ros Alonso, J, I faced 7...Nb6 8.Bd3 Nc6 9.0-0 dxe5:

After 10.dxe5 Nb4 11.Be4 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Bd7, not knowing the line I quickly played 13.Nc3. Instead 13.Bxb7 is critical, as analysed in the notes.

c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 c4 7.Bc2 d6 8.exd6 Qxd6 9.0-0 Bg4 [B22]

In Collins, S - Kanyamarala, T, after 10.h3 Bh5 11.Re1 my opponent chose the relatively rare 11...e6:

instead of the main line with 11...0-0-0. A very interesting middlegame resulted.

c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 d6 5.exd6 e6 6.g3 Bxd6 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 Nc6 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Qc7 12.c4 [B22]

This line has become very popular after Christiansen’s recommendation in his Chessable Alapin course. Other Chessable authors (Harikrishna, Shankland and Giri) all recommend 12...Nf6 13.Nc3 Bd7 for Black and, unsurprisingly, they’re right:

In Vazquez, G - Santos Latasa, J we look at the critical 14.Nb5 and other 14th move alternatives.

In Languidey, S - Supi, L we look at the most common move 14.b3, when White needs to be careful to hold the balance.

c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Bc4 [B22]

This move order has recently become a pet line of Mamedov and Mamedyarov. In Harikrishna, P - Dominguez Perez, L, after 4...Nb6 5.Bb3 Nc6, White avoided a transposition to standard lines with 6.Nf3 and preferred 6.d4, leading to an interesting position after 6...cxd4 7.cxd4 d5:

Harkrishna played very well for a long time, but Dominguez ultimately prevailed in a complex game.

Carlsen Variation: 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 g6 6.b3 Bh6 7.f4 Nf6 8.Bb2 0-0 9.0-0-0 e5 10.g3 [B23]

This fresh variation continues to lead to pitched Sicilian battles with opposite side castling:

In Shirov, A - Dominguez Perez, L, Black was very comfortable after 10...Re8 11.Kb1 Nd4 12.Bg2 Bg4 13.Rf1 d5!. Shirov found the best move 14.h3!, leading to an unclear game where he held the balance with very creative play, until a late error undid his good work.

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

Lupulescu, C - Nanu, C is a good example of White’s attacking chances in these positions.

particularly when Black allowed the e5-advance after 9...a5?! 10.Bh6 Re8 11.e5.

Till next time, Sam

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