c3 Sicilian [B22]
A relatively short game to start with, in which White plays a string of natural moves and ends up in a lost position! C3 Sicilian players should know about this trap-because it could easily happen to you! See Shaw - Webb, 4NCL.
In Howell - Medvegy, Eu Ch, Cork, White plays a slightly irregular line and might have had a chance to be better, but then over-presses in the ending and loses.
Tiviakov's games in the c3 Sicilian are always noteworthy and this is again the case with Tiviakov - Castano, Huila Centenery. Note that these top c3 Sicilian players often play Bc4 before d4:
The sharp Hodgson/Gallagher line is a real 'blast from the past':
Sveshnikov seemed to get confused in Sveshnikov - Meijers, Latvian Ch, and I had to check up the theory books to remind myself what White was supposed to do.
Howell - Epishin, CCA-ICC Open is another David Howell game in the c3 Sicilian, but this one was much more impressive than the last. Epishin's play is provocative, but there is something 'Fischeresque' about the clear way that David deals with it.
The g3 lines of Morozevich - Svidler, Russian Team Championship, are often considered harmless, but I think this may be mistaken:
They don't pose any immediate danger to black's king, but the g2 bishop does a good job of targeting black's queenside, and this proved enough for an advantage in this heavyweight clash.
I have no idea if Black was following my advice (based on a suggestion of Paul Motwani) in the following game, but it is noteworthy that Vallejo was willing to temporarily sacrifice a pawn. If this approach is sound, and I think it is, it means that Najdorf players should probably meet 2.Ne2:
with 2...Nf6, see Vallejo Pons-Dunis, French League.
Grand Prix Attack [B21]
I have a sneaky suspicion that Yudasin - Christiansen, HB Global CC was not played at a normal time limit, but I am not sure. In any case, Black was successful with the line we looked at in the last update, with 2...d5 and 3...Nf6:
though I am not sure that he was always doing well.
These last two games help us explore the line: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qa4!? which is a favourite of GMs Kovalev and Peter Wells:
In both games Black manages to win, but I think this is a reasonable line for White, and there may only be one or two fully adequate responses for Black.
Until next month, Jonathan