Closed Sicilian [B25]
The USA championship was decided by a tie-break and the game Stripunsky - Nakamura was critical. The opening moves saw White's pet line in the Closed Sicilian 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 g6 4 Bg2 Bg7 5 d3 d6 6 Nh3 and now 6...Nh6 which is hardly ever played:
White didn't seem too sure how to respond and indulged in lots of manoeuvres with his pieces before Black crashed through on the queenside to win.
The game Stripunsky - Braylovsky is a reminder how White has to be careful not to meander because Black advances his pawns on the queenside to great effect.
Just before the future of 6 Nh3 is confined to history the game Short - Williams is a reminder on how to successfully conduct the opening. Short is a world class player and after emerging from the opening with a space advantage he continuously applies pressure on Black.
Star game of the month
The star game of the month is Svesnikov - Jeric which saw the Grand Prix Attack upon 1 e4 c5 2 f4 Nc6 3 Nf3 g6 4 Bb5 Bg7 and now White tried the unusual 5 c3:
It forced Black into unfamiliar territory and White soon secured an initiative.
The Rossolimo [B30]
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 0-0 Nge7:
The game Bellini - Moiseenko examines 5 Re1 Nd4 and Black manages to defend against White's aggressive intentions adequately. A clever queen sacrifice secures a winning advantage for Black who copes better with creating a decent plan in the middlegame.
A better example of how White should play is revealed in Glek - Nataf. Black cannot withstand an inspired pawn sacrifice which helps White to dramatically improve the position of his queen's knight.
White can also try 5 b3 and the game Zhang Zong-Lautier is a heavyweight encounter. Black introduces a new idea on move 14 but White plays sharply and creates a space advantage.
It is important because Black was trying to improve on Akopian - Kasparov where the world number one plays poorly in a rapid game and is demolished in just 25 moves.
I welcome e-mails and games from subscribers, and you can always write on the Anti-Sicilians Forum.