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A little bit of everything in this month's edition. I've particularly tried to patch up a few of the holes in ChessPub's Antis archives by covering some important variations that haven't been featured before.

Download PGN of September '13 Anti-Sicilian games

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2.b3, 3...e5 [B20]

We start off by looking at the World Cup winner Vladimir Kramnik employing a rare 2.b3 on his way to the title. In Kramnik - Kobalia, Black opted for 3...e5?!, which I believe White should be very happy to see appearing on the board:

The former World Champion played a nice game to show how White can develop a healthy edge against this system.

2.c3 Sicilian 2...d5, 5...Bg4 6.Be2 old Mainline [B22]

I was somewhat surprised to find that the old main line of 2.c3 d5 hadn't been covered before. This month we take a look at the critical position displayed in the diagram below:

To be fair, this old chestnut isn't my preference with the white pieces, but it remains relevant all the same.

Kaidanov - Areshchenko features the popular 15.Rac1, after which, with best play, the game is completely equal. In fact, this line is one of the reasons Sveshnikov once claimed that after 2.c3 2...d5 is equal while 2...Nf6 is slightly better for White. I'm not sure about either assessment, to be honest (!), but this line is definitely worth knowing as I believe White can essentially make a draw by force against the ...Bg4 variation. While this is obviously not principled, it might be useful on occasion against stronger opponents or for tournament reasons.

In a battle of two of the world's great young talents, Sjugirov - Dubov saw White try 15.Na4!?. This has been considered harmless since Lautier-Topalov in 1998, but I guess neither player knew this game as they were still in diapers back then. White is soon struggling for equality.

Grand Prix Attack 5.Bb5 [B23]

The Jobava - Korobov mini-match from the World Cup saw the Bb5 Grand Prix essayed by the Georgian. Two games reached the diagram (new to ChessPub):

and here Jobava tried both 10.b3 and 10.h3. I look at both of them, but overall decide that the standard 10.Qh4 is White's best try for an advantage.

Closed Sicilian 2...d6 3.Nge2 [B23]

I haven't covered the Closed Sicilian since I started writing here, mainly because the theory evolution is pretty stagnant. However, Yemelin - Paravyan features a new (for this site) move with 4...h5!?:

I really like this idea, immediately taking White out of his comfort zone of Closed Sicilian autopilot. The game reached the following position:

when Black could have obtained a tremendous attack with the brave sacrifice 7...h4 8.g4 Nxg4!.

Rossolimo 3...e6 4.0-0 [B30]

Edouard - Hamdouchi visits an old favourite in the 3.Bb5 e6 Rossolimo. The diagram position - again, new to ChessPub - seems to me to be critical to White's chances in this line:

White wins a nice game, but I haven't managed to find an advantage after 9...Bc5, so the ball is probably still in White's court - see the notes.

Rossolimo 3...e6 4.Bxc6 [B30]

Svetushkin - Miton looks at 4.Bxc6 and Radjabov's pet system. I like the idea of marching the h-pawn up the board in this line:

but in the diagram it seems to me that 8...Qf6 9.e5 Qf5! gives Black good chances to equalise. The resulting positions are strategically rich as White tries to prove that his better pawn structure in the endgame compensates for fighting against the two bishops with a pair of knights. In the game, however, Black opted for the weaker novelty 8...Qc7?! and had a tough time of things.

Moscow Variation 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0-0 [B52]

Finally, Naroditsky - Baghdasaryan revisits the old main line of 3.Bb5+ Bd7. I think this line should definitely be given close examination by players of both colours as from the diagram White has a pleasant choice between an extremely drawish endgame and a surprisingly venomous kingside attack:

The option of playing for two results is extremely practical and likely to upset a lot of 2...d6 Sicilian players, so I'm surprised this line isn't more popular. Definitely worth a close look!

Til next month, where we'll look at a few more of the World Cup games as well - so much chess in the Northern Summer! Dave

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