2 c3 [B22]
Emms - Gallagher features a game between two ChessPub writers who have each written a book on the 2.c3 Sicilian! White delays the d4 advance in the main line and after 1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 d5 7.exd6 Qxd6 8.Na3 Black plays the safe-looking 8...a6!?:
After the further 9.0-0 Bf5 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 e6 13.Qf3 Qd7 comes the thematic 14.d5!, White plays very well and misses a knockout, after which Black manages to hold a long ending.
Grand Prix Attack [B23]
Another author (and new ChessPub contributor!) Gawain Jones also practices what he preaches and wins a thematic Grand Prix after the unusual 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.f4 d5 4.Nf3 Be7!? in Jones - Satyapragyan.
Modern Grand Prix
After 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 White plays the unusual 4.Nf3 in Khachiyan - Eckert:
This kind of idea, leaving the bishop to its fate, is often quite dangerous. Here, however, Black equalizes without doing anything special and then suddenly wins a piece when his much higher rated opponent miscombines.
Much more common is the retreat 4.Bc4. After 4...e6 5.Nge2 6.0-0 a6 (one of Black's better lines) Movsesian plays the unusual 7.a3:
This looks more passive than the common 7.a4, but it is flexible. Black gets a reasonable game but underestimates the dangers in Movsesian - Tregubov.
Rossolimo Variation [B30]
Back in February we saw Chinese prodigy Hou Yifan win a miniature after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 g6 5.e5 Ng4 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.h3 Nh6 8.g4:
This advance is consistent, but rather double-edged. After 8...Bg7 9.d3 Black avoided the premature 9...f5 and played the stronger 9...0-0 in Guseinov - Gopal. Almost immediately a tactical melee ensued and although White came out well on top, the notes show that matters are not so clear.
We have looked at the flexible 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 variation before and both sides should consider the transpositions to other variations that may occur. After 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg4 6.h3 we look at the solid 6...Bxf3!? in Miton - Markos. This is rather dry, but the sterile positions that arise may put off White as much as Black.
Rudd Variation? [B50]
The line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 dxe5 5.Nxe5 does not have a real name, as far as I know:
I do not think this should lead to much, but I hear it was recently covered in Dangerous Weapons: Anti-Sicilians so I am sure I will come back to it soon. British Grandmaster Luke McShane does not play much nowadays, but he puts on the squeeze in McShane - Gordon featuring an instructive and entertaining rook endgame.
Until next month, David