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This month we saw Norway Chess, which was a joy. Further elite OTB events included the Danish Championship (no Anti-Sicilians!) and the Russian Higher League.

Download PGN of October ’20 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian: 2...d5 Mainline, 6.Na3 Nc6 7.Be3 [B22]

In Aronian, L - Caruana, F, Aronian gave a model display of White’s attacking chances after 6...Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nb5 Qd7 9.Nbxd4 and now the rare 9...a6:

However, Black managed to come out on top.

Grand Prix Attack: 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bb5 Nd4 6.0-0 Nxb5 7.Nxb5 [B23]

The Grand Prix is a rare guest in elite events, but Tari, A - Duda, J was a model display of White’s chances after 7...d6 8.d3 a6:

Duda went wrong early and was under pressure, but a single mistake allowed him back into the game.

Carlsen Variation: 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 Nf6 6.b3 [B23]

This line continues to lead to full-blooded Sicilian battles with castling on opposite sides, and Samusenko, M - Sakaev, K shows some resources after 6...a6 7.Bb2 e6 8.0-0-0 Be7 9.Kb1:

Anti-Sveshnikov Variation: 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 Nf6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Ng5 [B30]

We’ve covered this important line a lot, and Ponkratov, P - Samusenko, M saw a rare move after 7...h6 8.f4 d6 9.Nf3 exf4 10.Bxf4 Be6 11.Nd5, Sveshnikov’s favourite 11...Nb4?!:

White won a nice thematic game but of course Black has counterplay.

Rossolimo Variation: 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 [B31]

The recent trend towards these c3-systems, away from early Bxc6 lines, will be accelerated with Caruana, F - Carlsen, M. Caruana repeated his game with Fedoseev from the Grand Swiss in 2019 after 5...e5 6.d4 cxd4 7.cxd4 exd4 8.Bf4 and was excellently prepared up to move 19 or so.

Carlsen defended wonderfully but perhaps your next opponent won’t?

The line with 5...Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Be3 was tested in Belenkaya, D - Kovaleskaya, E:

White played a model game for many moves, before allowing the black bishop pair to generate very strong counterplay.

Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6 6.Bxd7+ Bxd7 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nc3 [B51]

In Goganov, A - Chigaev, M, Black avoided the forcing 8...e5 in favour of the Scheveningen-style 8...e6!?:

This looks like a better chance for Black to try to generate winning chances, since the positions after 8...e5 have been quite exhaustively mapped.

Hybrid Variation: 5.Re1 Nf6 6.c3 a6 7.Bc4 Bg4 8.d4 Bxf3 9.gxf3 e6 [B51]

In Obgolts, E - Lobanov, S, Black played an old ChessPub suggestion after 10.d5 Ne5 11.Bf1 g5:

This line leads to rich play and the game is a great advert for Black’s chances.

Till next time, Sam

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