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This month I have done something a little different and focused on the most theoretical line of the Closed Sicilian which previously had limited coverage on ChessPub.

Download PGN of May '10 Anti-Sicilian games

Closed Sicilian [B25]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.f4 (Instead 6.Be3 is well met by the Botvinnik System 6...e5!, rather than 6...e6, when 7.Qd2 followed by a quick Bh6 exploits the dark-squared weaknesses in Black's position.) 6...e6 (This is considered critical. While 6...e5 is still playable, Black will always have to watch out for the f4-f5 advance. By playing 6...e6 Black is ready to play a quick ...f5 himself, blocking White's advance.) 7.Nf3 Nge7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3:

If there is a 'main line' of the Closed Sicilian, this is it. White is threatening (or is he?! - see below!) to play d3-d4, so Black usually blocks this possibility with 9...Nd4. Now the critical move is 10.e5, but White can also play more slowly.

For 10.Qd2, see Cao Sang - Le Quang Long, and for 10.Rb1, see Labuckas - Malinin.

White can also play 10.Bf2, which is a little trickier because it could still transpose to the 10.e5 line, depending on the decisions made over the next couple of moves. See Adams - Lautier.

The real main lines start with the sharp 10.e5:

The next few moves are almost obligatory, 10...Nef5 11.Bf2 Nxf3+ 12.Qxf3:

Now Black sometimes chooses 12...Bd7!?, see Krapivin - Haba, but more common is 12...Nd4 13. Qd1 dxe5 14.fxe5 Bxe5 15.Ne4 f5! 16.Nxc5:

And now Black can choose between 16...Qd6 (16...Qc7 looks inferior and is considered in the notes) as in Muzychuk - Motoc, or the direct 16...f4!? - see Gupte - Arun Prasad.

If Black wants to avoid all of this, he can do so with 9...b6!?:

Now White can take up the challenge and play 10.d4, as in Rogul - Ulibin, or wait with 10.Bf2, which is covered in Himanshu - Arun Prasad.

I hope you enjoy this theoretical special. Until next month, David

Please post you queries on the Anti-Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions or queries.