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Hi all,
No real classical tournaments to speak of this month, so I’ve drawn on rapid and blitz games again.

Download PGN of November ’20 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian, delayed d4: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 d5 7.exd6 [B22]

In Wolff, P - Shabalov, A, after 7...c4 8.Bc2 Qxd6 White tried 9.Na3!?, which has recently been a Mamedov favourite:











This can lead to some quite pleasant endgames for White if Black is not precise, and Wolff won an excellent game.


c3-Sicilian 2...Nf6, Main line 6 Bc4 Nb6 7 Bb3 d5 [B22]

Nakamura, H - Zierk, S featured 7..Qxd6 8.d4 cxd4 9.Na3. Black essayed the critical 9...dxc3:











and, after 10.Qe2, immediately erred with the horrible 10...Be6??. I’d love to know what (if anything) Nakamura had in store for 10...cxb2, since I don’t see anything.



Grand Prix Attack: 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bc4 [B23]

This line poses Black some unusual problems although, of course, he’s fine from a theoretical perspective. In Berczes, D - Kozak, A play continued along standard lines with 6...Nc6 7.0-0 Na5 8.Be2 Nf6 9.d3 0-0 10.Qe1 Nc6 11.Qh4 Nd4 and so on:











The game is a good example of Black’s queenside counterplay.



Kingside Fianchetto 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b6 [B40]

In Maghsoodloo, P - Carlsen, M the players tested an old recommendation of John Emms, 3...b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.e5:











White was doing excellently from the opening but lost because his opponent was Magnus Carlsen.



Rossolimo Variation: 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.b3 [B30]

In Carlsen, M - Maghsoodloo, P, White went for an unusual move order with 5.b3, but soon transposed into standard channels after 5...Ne7 6.0-0 Ng6 7.e5 f6 8.Bb2 Be7 9.d3:











Carlsen played a model game in the opening and early middlegame, until the blitz time control led to some later randomness.


Hybrid Variation: 4.c3 Bd7 5.0-0 Nf6 6.Re1 a6 7.Bf1 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 e6 [B51]

In Duda, J - Xiong, J the players followed established theory, and theoretical recommendations, after 10.Qd1 Be7 11.d3 0-0 12.Nd2 b5 13.Nf3 d5 14.e5 Nd7:











but Xiong met 15.d4 with 15...b4?! instead of the recommended 15...c4. Duda went on to win with a model attack on the kingside.



Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 a6 6.c4 [B51]

Edouard, R - Sebag, M featured the line after 6...e6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Be7:











White already needs to think about how to defend the c4-pawn, including with the conservative 9.Bc2, while after Edouard’s 9.Nc3 White is already committed to very dynamic play with g4. In this blitz game Sebag obtained a completely winning position but lost.


Moscow: 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.f3 0-0 [B52]

In Benjamin, J - Yermolinsky, A White essayed 10.Nde2?! (in lieu of the standard 10.Be3).











Don’t try this at home, because of Yermolinsky’s response!



Till next time, Sam

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