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Hi everyone,
This is the first (belated) of two updates structured around the FIDE Grand Swiss in the Isle of Man, where dozens of important Anti-Sicilian games where played.

Download PGN of October ’19 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 e6 6.d4 cxd4 7.cxd4 d6 8.0-0 Be7 [B22]

In Mamedov, R - Svidler, P, White essayed the solid 9.Qe2 0-0 10.Rd1, leading to IQP play after 10...Bd7 11.Bd2 Ndb4 12.exd6 Bxd6:

The game remained balanced throughout and, when White pushed d5, Svidler responded precisely to reach a drawn endgame.

Carlsen Variation: 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 g6 6.b3 [B23]

Recently black players have moved away from 6...Bg7 in favour of 6...Bh6!? 7.f4:

Now there are two main systems for Black, the ambitious 7...f5!? (So, W - Volokitin, A) and the more solid 7...Nf6 (Womacka, M - Shevchenko, K), leading to unbalanced play in both cases.

Closed Sicilian: 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.Be3 Nd4 [B24]

In McShane, L - Lu, S, the strong English GM essayed 7.Qd2 Qa5 8.Nh3:

Lu fell for a standard opening trick and landed in a dreadful endgame.

Rossolimo, Gelfand Variation: 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 f5 9.e5 Nf7 10.d4 cxd4 11.cxd4 Bb7 12.Nc3 c5 13.dxc5 e6 [B31]

Via different move orders, two high level games reached this important position recently:

In Kovalev, V - Nakamura, H, Black responded to the conservative 14.Be3 with 14...g5!?. White reacted very badly and was basically lost out of the opening.

In Anand, V - Gelfand, B, Anand essayed 14.b4!?. I assume Gelfand forgot his notes due to the rapid time control, and was soon in trouble.

Rossolimo, 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 [B31]

A couple of sidelines were tried in the Isle of Man.

In Nakamura, H - Mamedov, R, the unusual 5.Re1 Nf6 6.Bxc6:

was made to look quite innocuous.

By contrast, Caruana, F - Fedoseev, V saw huge pressure being exerted after 5.c3 e5 6.d4!?:

Caruana’s post game comments gave some important clues about this variation and, in particular, it seems that Black should respond (after 6...cxd4 7.cxd4 exd4 8.Bf4 Nge7 9.Bd6) with 9...a6! (not 9...0-0, as played in the game and as everyone plays), directed against the Qa4 setup which Caruana used in the game.

Till next time, Sam

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