2 c3 Sicilian
Tiviakov - Van Der Wiel saw the sharp line 2...d5 3 ed Nf6, which is a line I would like to see work for Black, and I feel it did work, at least theoretically, in this game:
However, I suspect the approach of Pavasovic, 4.d4 cd 5.Bb5+!? mentioned in the notes, is difficult for Black to deal with.
Tiviakov - Bosch saw Black play another line that I like, but I think he made an inaccuracy that gave White some initiative in a position that should otherwise be ok for Black. That said, this seems to be the way it goes in the C3 Sicilian!
Tiviakov - Timman is an important game from the theoretical frontline of the c3 Sicilian with 8...g5:
Although White won this game, I think Timman's play in the opening was very precise and I think White will need an improvement on this game if he wishes to venture down this path at a high level.
Gavrilov - Yakovich is an offshoot of the same line, but one that is considered much less dangerous for Black. That said, Black's play in this game, though effective, was far from obvious, and yet it might be that otherwise White is doing well so it worth taking a look for both sides.
Benjamin - Stipunsky is a fairly random c3 Sicilian, included to highlight that strong GMs can and do miss simple checkmates, and to remind subscribers of some general themes in the 2...Nf6 line. Basically, when White has a pawn on e5, both sides should be on the look-out for a kingside attack:
I watched Shaw - Kartunnen at the Olympiad two boards down from my own. When we analysed the game as a team I was far from sure that White was always better, but looking at it again now I suspect he was, at least after Black committed himself to ...Nc5. In general, as I highlight in Chess for Zebras, the key to success in the opening for Black is flexibility and potential, so wherever possible you should maximise the reactive power of your position rather than committing yourself too early.
Finally, In case you prefer 2...d5 to 2...Nf6, I wanted to add a few thoughts on what is, I think, an underestimated variation: 3.ed Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.dc!?:
as seen in Afromeev - Dvalishvilli.
That's all for now- hope you are having a good summer. Jonathan