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This month I have had a look at a wide variety of openings in recent games.

Download PGN of October '10 Anti-Sicilian games

The Big Clamp [B20]

I recently had a good look at the Big Clamp lines with Bg2. The game Stevic - Sanikidze is of the Be2 variety. In such lines Black often plays ...d5 and after d2-d3 has the option of exchanging queens with ...dxe4. The resulting endings are traditionally regarded as almost equal, but with a slight preference for White:

This game strengthens that view and suggests Black should select a more aggressive line.

2.c3 Sicilian [B22]

The c3-Sicilan retains its reputation as the club player's favourite, so it is interesting to see a fast-improving 2665 GM, Sergei Zhigalko, playing it repeatedly with success. Zhigalko - Lemmers shows one of his recent games in a key line:

10.Re1 is an old Sveshnikov speciality. In fact, in Sveshnikov's new book this move is given an !.

Grand Prix Attack

Zuyev - Gutman is a rare line of the Grand Prix Attack where White loses a tempo playing Bb5-c4 and then sets out to prove Black's bishop is misplaced on d7:

It works in this game, but I think Black has a better reply.


The next couple of games show some new ideas in the main lines of the Rossolimo that start 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4:

Safarli-I.Malakhov is in the 6...b5 branch and is a first test of accepting a pawn sac invented by Morozevich, 10.d5!?:

Bartel - Krasenkow is in the 6...c4 line and demonstrates an interesting way for White to avoid the absolute main lines and still fight for an advantage, 8.Bf4!?:

Yemelin - Bernard is another Rossolimo but this time the 3.Bb5 d6 line. Again White finds a tricky way to avoid the main lines, by playing 4.Bxc6+ bxc6 5.e5!?:

Black chooses a non-critical reply. So the key analysis is in the notes, not the game continuation.

2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.h3

The line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.h3 has some highly-rated supporters (Zvjaginsev and Bauer among others):

White hopes to get a playable game with minimal theory. However, the next two games show how Black can turn it into a theoretical fight. If my analysis holds up, White is struggling to hang on to equality.

Zvjaginsev - Leroy shows the line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.h3 Nc6 5.Bd3 d5! 6.e5:

Now Black played the usual 6...Nd7 but my interest is in 6...c4! when Black forgets about equalizing and fights directly for the advantage.

Kaforos - Banikas is a recent example of 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.h3 Nc6 5.d4, a sacrificial line with a poor reputation:

Black's play in this game is especially convincing.

Regards, John Shaw

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