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When Gary Lane used to write this column, the so-called Chameleon Sicilian received quite a bit of coverage, but it hasn't of late. Continuing to fill in, I've attempted to rectify that and have been inspired by some recent games, three from the ongoing World Cup event in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Download PGN of September '11 Anti-Sicilian games

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2 b3 g6!? [B20]

Black has a wide range of options after 1 e4 c5 2 b3, but don't be surprised if the provocative 2...g6!? becomes more popular after being recommended by no lesser theoretician than Peter Heine Nielsen in Experts on the Anti-Sicilian. After 3 Bb2 Nf6 4 e5 Nd5 an original position is reached in which it seems that Black should be able to obtain decent counterplay:

White tries 5 Qf3 in Kabanov - Navara, but this fails to entirely convince after 5...Nb4! 6 Bc4 e6 7 Na3 Bg7.

The c3 Sicilian 2...d5 [B22]

Every week plenty of games are played with 1 e4 c5 2 c3, but White is currently struggling to prove anything in some of the main lines. One of those is 2...d5 3 exd5 Qxd5 4 d4 Nf6 5 Nf3 e6 where I should remind you that John drew attention to the prophylactic 6 a3!?. That avoids the possibility of 6 Be3 cxd4 7 cxd4 Bb4+ which gives Black an easy game in my view. After 8 Nc3 0-0 (we also give a fair bit of coverage to 8...Bd7!?) 9 Bd3 b6 10 0-0 Bxc3 11 bxc3 Ba6 Black exchanges the light-squared bishops:

This results in a hanging-pawn position of the type often seen in the Nimzo or Panov, and is quite a comfortable version for Black, as Stevic - Grachev confirms.

2...Nf6 [B22]

Another important line is 2...Nf6 3 e5 Nd5 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nf3 e6 6 cxd4 d6 7 Bc4 and now the solid 7...Nb6 is a decent alternative to the popular 7...Nc6 8 0-0 Be7. White should probably retreat to b3 here, as Short's 8 Bd3 dxe5 9 dxe5 Na6! continues to hold up quite well for Black:

Certainly the new idea 10 0-0 Nc5 11 Bc2 Qxd1 12 Rxd1 Nd5 13 Rd4!? fails to bring White any advantage in a battle between two young American stars, Hess - Arnold.

Better viewing for White is Vajda - Rodriguez, although it seems that the rare 6...Bb4+!? deserves further attention. After the natural sequence 7 Bd2 Bxd2+ 8 Qxd2 b6 9 Nc3 Nxc3 10 bxc3 amazingly 10...Bb7 was a novelty:

This would have led to a rather unbalanced middlegame had Rodriguez exchanged on f3, rather than allowed White's knight to cause chaos on the kingside.

The Chameleon Sicilian [B23]

White can head into this via 1 e4 c5 2 Ne2, as well as with 2 Nc3 followed by 3 Nge2. After 2...Nf6 3 Nbc3 d6 4 g3 Black has a number of options:

He should really just counter-fianchetto on the kingside, offering White a choice between a sideline of the Dragon and a Closed Sicilian, whereas the overly-creative 4...b6?! was quickly butchered in Jobava - Guliyev.

A solid choice for Black is 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Nge2 e5, which may appeal to Sveshnikov and Kalashnikov players, and has been the choice of Evgeny Sveshnikov himself! After 4 Nd5 Nf6 5 Nxf6+ Qxf6 6 Nc3 d6 7 Nd5 Qd8 8 Bc4 White's position looks quite ideal:

However, 8...Rb8! begins timely counterplay and by playing around the knight on d5 Black was never more than a touch worse in Fedorchuk - Sveshnikov.

The Grand Prix Attack [B23]

Even in 2011 some quite strong players seem to stumble into the line 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 d6 3 f4 Nc6 4 Nf3 g6 5 Bb5 Bd7 6 0-0 Bg7 7 d3 a6 8 Bxc6 Bxc6 9 Qe1 Qd7 without really knowing what they're doing:

Carlsen crushed Topalov earlier this year after 10 a4 when the Bulgarian no.1 chose the optimistic 10...f5?!. Neither does 10...b5?! turn out well in Polgar - Dominguez, but I can't see too much wrong with Kasparov's calmer 10...b6.

A good mix overall this month between solid defence and attacking chess! Richard

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