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In this update I will concentrate on one line: 2.d3. I selected this move because, despite its harmless appearance, I want to create a challenging repertoire for White with an anti-Sicilian. In general, the anti-Sicilians are often disparaged as quiet lines for theory-dodgers, with quotes such as "The top players always play 2.Nf3 and 3.d4. That tells you something." True, but there are exceptions: Slovakian Super-GM Movsesian repeatedly uses 2.d3 (30 games and counting). Sure, that's just one counterexample to the myriad of Open players, but it does show 2.d3 is playable all the way up to 2700+ level, and not just as a surprise weapon.

Download PGN of September '10 Anti-Sicilian games

The Big Clamp [B20]

White has a standard plan: d2-d3, g2-g3, Bg2, f2-f4, Nf3 and 0-0. The final location of the b1-knight is flexible: c3, transposing to the Closed Sicilian is an option, especially if Black is committed to a suboptimal anti-Closed line. However, the usual method is c2-c3 and Na3, often with c2 as the next stop. Meanwhile Black's usual plan involves ...g7-g6, Bg7 and later ...b7-b5-b4.

The positions are sometimes referred to as the Big Clamp (though some reserve that for Be2 lines). In general, White dreams of a full-blooded middlegame where his attack on the kingside is more potent than Black's queenside counterplay.

We shall consider Black's various replies.

Federov - Landenbergue shows what happens after 2...d5 3.exd5:

For those happy with a reversed KID, Movsesian - Likavsky, which answers...d5 with Nd2, is an option. Here is the position after 7 moves:

White's extra tempo means that standard KID tricks arrive quickly enough to catch out even very classy players.

Movsesian - Weiss covers 2...e6 followed by ...d5 and a rare approach from White, 4.exd5:

In the rest of the games we see Black's usual reply: a kingside fianchetto. So 1.e4 c5 2.d3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 and then:

Strikovic - Bogosavljevic covers the ...e6 and ...Nge7 set-up, which is so renowned against the Closed Sicilian:

As we shall see, against the Big Clamp it is not so impressive.

Movsesian - Pinter starts our look at the ...e5 and ...Nge7 line and covers a Big Clamp style line for White.

In fact against ...e5 and ...Nge7 I recommend transposing to the Closed Sicilian [B25], as Black cannot reach the ideal (in my view) ...e6 and ...Nge7 set-up:

Markowski - Smirin and Visser - Marcelin are two demonstrations of White's prospects.

Finally, we consider Black's set-up with ...Nf6 and leaving the e7-pawn at home:

This is a serious challenge to the Big Clamp, but the analysis in Moser - Calzetta Ruiz shows an interesting way to fight for an advantage.

Regards, John Shaw

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