ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello everybody,
Some food for thought this month from strong open tournaments in Bangkok, Zurich and Grenke, and team championships in Austria and China.

Download PGN of May ’17 Anti-Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6, 6.Bc4 Nb6 7.Bb3 d5 8.exd6 Qxd6 9.0-0 Be6 [B22]

This line has been known for decades, and theory's (correct) evaluation has always been that Black is fine. In Schebler, G - Huschenbeth, N, two German GMs reached this position in the Bangkok Open and White (now rated under 2400) played the rare 10.Na3 dxc3 11.Bxe6!?:

This is a line covered in some detail on the site before, and while Black is fine, he can reach positions of the type seen in the game, where he has a doubled extra pawn but zero winning chances and a rather passive defence. Huschenbeth erred in his defence and Schebler went on to score a good upset over his 200+ higher-rated opponent.

c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 e6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Na3 [B22]

Schebler again relied on the c3-Sicilian in his next round of the Bangkok Open against another strong German GM, Jan Gustafsson (Schebler, G - Gustafsson, J). Gustafsson picked a line which, in my view, is a much better choice if Black wants to play for a win. After 6...Qd8, instead of 7.Nc4 Schebler chose the less critical 7.Nc2:

and the players reached a rich position with chances for both sides. After mutual errors a draw resulted.

c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 3.exd5 Nf6 [B22]

Ivan Ivanisevic likes to sacrifice a pawn in many of his black openings, and used this gambit line against a much weaker player in Pilhoefer, A - Ivanisevic, I. After 4.d4 cxd4 5.Bb5+ Nbd7 6.Qxd4 g6 7.d6!:

Ivanisevic chose the new 7...Bg7 and, despite the result of the opening and the game, White ought to be a little better if he declines the pawn sacrifice.

Anti-Sveshnikov: 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 Nf6 [B30]

We have seen several recent examples of White playing dynamically with Ng5 and f4, but in Muzychuk, A - Paehtz, E White played the more positional 6.Bg5:

Paehtz responded well, "playing around" the knight on d5 and generating fully sufficient counterplay on the queenside. A good game which shows ideas which are useful in all Sicilian variations where Black concedes an outpost on d5.

Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 4.c3 Ngf6 5.Qe2 [B51]

This line is a good choice for those white players who wish to play in Spanish style against 3...Nd7, which seems to be the modern main line of the Moscow Variation. In Grandelius, N - Sadzikowski, D, we see a Dave Smerdon novelty after 5...a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 Bb7 8.d4 e5 9.0-0 Be7 10.Rd1 Qc7 11.d5 c4, namely 12.b4 cxb3 13.axb3:

Grandelius won a nice attacking game but Black had no problems from the opening after executing the thematic ...f5 break.

Moscow Variation: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7, 10...Qa5 [B52]

This system, developed by Anand and his team, has become increasingly popular and White has struggled to demonstrate anything against it. Recent high level games have focussed on 11.Bd2:

but, as summarised in the notes to Ni Hua - Li Chao and Kryvoruchko, Y - Zhou, W, Black is fine in these lines.

Moscow Variation: 3...Bd7 4.c4 [B52]

In Rozentalis, E - Brkic, A, Rozentalis gave an excellent demonstration of White's chances in the typical position arising after 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 g6 8.f3 Nxd4 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.Qxd4:

In the first phase, he focussed on restraint, before increasing his space advantage all over the board and winning a good endgame.

Till next time, Sam

>> Previous Update >>

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