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Hi all,
This month’s update is comprised entirely of games from the World Cup, which had so much great chess that next month’s column might be similar! In particular, several matches turned into Rossolimo discussions, while 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 was barely tested during the tournament.

Download PGN of September ’19 Anti-Sicilian games

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Hybrid Variation 4.0-0 Bd7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.c3 a6 7.Bf1 Bg4 [B51]

Svidler, P - Albornoz Cabrera, C was an outstanding effort with the enterprising 8.d4!?:

Black went for the forcing 8...Bxf3 9.gxf3 cxd4 10.cxd4 d5, apparently well-prepared for 11.Nc3, but Svidler essayed 11.e5 Nh5 12.e6 and won a miniature.

Rossolimo Variation 3...Nf6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 [B30]

The match between Dominguez and Abasov featured several Rossolimo battles. In the tiebreak Dominguez Perez, L - Abasov, N, Abasov repeated the experimental 5.d3 g6 6.h3 Nh5?! which worked well for him in the first round:

Dominguez put on a masterclass until time trouble blunders spoiled the game, though the result was justified.

Rossolimo, Gelfand Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0-0 Bg7 6.Re1 Nh6 7.c3 0-0 8.d4 [B31]

Levon Aronian tested the Rossolimo a couple of times in his match against Le Quang Liem. In the tiebreak Aronian, L - Le, Q he went for this line (which top players seem to be trending towards, since Black has been doing well after the old 8.h3) and, after 8...cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.e5 f6:

played 11.exf6. The game never strayed far from equality and Black has little to fear in this line.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4 f6 [B31]

In Vachier-Lagrave, M - Radjabov, T, the Frenchman varied from an earlier game against Magnus Carlsen by essaying 7.Qa4:

Radjabov was never worse in the arising Maroczy structure.

Rossolimo 3...g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.Qd2 h6 [B31]

In Dominguez Perez, L - Abasov, N Black showed an important new concept after 10.0-0 b6 11.Nh2, namely 11...Nf6!?:

The idea was demonstrated after 12.a3 Be6 13.b4 Nd5!?, which worked well in the game and could have more general applications in these structures.

Rossolimo Variation 3...g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.h3 Qb6 [B31]

8.a4 was the prelude to a grand battle between two exciting players in Firouzja, A - Dubov, D.

Dubov had various difficult opportunities to equalise, but ultimately succumbed to relentless pressure.

Zaitsev Variation 4...Nf6 [B53]

There were a couple of interesting games in this line, which is often a straightforward attempt to obtain a Maroczy structure.

In Yu, Y - Adhiban, B, after 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.c4 a6 7.Bxd7+, Black played the enterprising 7...Nfxd7!?:

A well played game ended in a draw.

In Escobar Forero, A - Dominguez Perez, L, after 5.Be2 Nc6 6.Qe3 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.h3 0-0 9.Rd1 Be6:

White avoided the main move 10.Nc3 in favour of a Maroczy with 10.c4. White almost won a wonderful attacking game against very risky play, but got confused in the complications.

Till next time, Sam

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