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Hi all,
An update with several new or rarely played ideas, including one on move 12 by Anand, and on move 4(!) by Carlsen!

Download PGN of September ’18 Anti-Sicilian games

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c3-Sicilian 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Be3 [B22]

Dariusz Swiercz defended this line in consecutive black games at the Barcelona Sants Open.

Ramirez Garcia, J - Swiercz, D featured 6.Be3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bd3, which allows Black to comfortably trade light-squared bishops in a few ways, including the game’s 9...Bd7 10.0-0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Bb5:

This leads to a balanced position with chances for both sides, and Swiercz convincingly outplayed his lower-rated opponent.

c3-Sicilian 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Na3 a6 7.Nc4 [B22]

In Kulkarni, R - Swiercz, D White went for a trendy line with 6.Na3 a6 7.Nc4 Nbd7. After 8.Be2 b5 9.Ne3 Qc6:

White tried to pressurise the b5-pawn with a4, but Black was well placed and had the more comfortable side of a draw.

Anti-Sveshnikov 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 g6 [B30]

In Vachier Lagrave, M - Carlsen, M, the World Champion essayed the rare 4...g6:

White had several opportunities to gain an edge in an Italian/Spanish structure (as explained in the notes), but in the game all the lines were closed with a positional draw, admittedly one with a pretty finish.

Rossolimo, Move-Order Tricks 4...Qc7 5.0-0 Nd4 [B30]

Wei Yi - Inarkiev, E featured some brilliant attacking play after 4.Nc3 Qc7 5.0-0 Nd4:

Black’s fine, of course, but White produced a masterpiece and the clocks ought to have been stopped around move 25.

Rossolimo Variation 3...Nf6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 [B30]

In Amin, B - Rapport, R we look at the more standard approach of 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Nd7 6.e5:

when White aims to exploit his extra space and superior structure while Black relies on a solid position with the bishop pair.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be3 b6 9.Qd2 e5 [B31]

Anand, V - Carlsen, M saw a new concept in a very standard position after 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be3 b6 9.Qd2 e5 10.Bh6 Qd6 11.Bxg7 Kxg7, the logical 12.a4!?:

Carlsen defended well, bringing his knight to e6, and later mistakes by Vishy allowed Black strong counterplay.

Moscow variation 3...Nd7 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 [B51]

In Jakovenko, D - Nepomniatchi, I, Black essayed a popular response to the main line 4.0-0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1, namely 6...g6 7.c3 Bg7 8.Bc2 0-0 9.d4 e5:

Jakovenko tried 10.a4!? and won a good game.

Moscow variation 3...Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 [B51]

A thematic mini-match occurred in Nakamura, H - Vachier Lagrave, M where, in blitz and rapid games in Saint Louis, the players discussed the position after 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Ngf6 6.0-0 a6 7.Be2 g6 (and repeated several further moves). In both games Hikauru went for 8.c4:

which surprised me since (as discussed in the notes) I believe 8.Nc3 is quite dangerous for Black.

Till next time, Sam

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