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Early Deviations

When starting a game, unless you possess psychic powers you can't be sure whether you are even going to get an Open Sicilian and thus the chance to employ your favourite opening. In fact these days I generally don't believe it until I see 3 d4 (i.e. after 1 e4 c5 2 d6) as I can recall numerous occasions when I have arrived at my board full of nervous anticipation for the exciting tactical struggle ahead only to be greeted by 3 iLb5+ or something equally wet! Indeed, chapter 12 details many a system where White deprives Black of the opportunity to enter the Dragon. By the way we're talking Anti-Sicilians and not Bruce Lee films!

The run of the mill start to the Dragon appears after 5...g6 below:

could play 6 Ae3 giving the impression of meeting 6...itg7 with 7 f3 (the Yugoslav Attack—see chapters 4-7) only to whip out 7 M.e2 heading for the Classical variation. Here 6 £>b3 is of no real independent significance and can also be found within the confines of chapter 8. Indeed there are a few available transpositions like this which, however, cause Black no early confusion as such moves as ..JLg7, and

However, from the traditional above starting position, there are three vaguely serious (i.e. this time around 6 Sgl doesn't fall into that category and, in case you were wondering, neither does 6 a3 or 6 <&e2) alternatives to the main continuations that you will find elsewhere in the book. These are:

With his 6th move White doesn't necessarily commit himself to one system or another. For example he

Game 1: Effectively 6 h3, not as in connection with the 6 Ac4 chapter but with a Ae3, Wd2 and 0-0-0 idea in mind.

Game 2: No hanging around here, with the swift bishop-pair developing, 6 Ag5 Ag7 7 &b5+.

Game 3: The moving-the-same-piece-twice (i.e. before moving others once) rule-breaking, but nevertheless trappy, 6 £ld5.

Game 1 G.PiriSi White A.Schneider Black Budapest 1997

1 e4 c5 2 £k3 £ic6 3 £>f3 g6 4 d4 cxd4 5 £>xd4 kgl 6 &e3 d6 7 #d2

Despite my billing this as 6 h3 (or 6 Ae3 ±g7 7 h3) White hasn't had to insert h3 yet as there is still no ...£ig4 to worry about.

With 6 h3 White still has the option of transposing to the traditional variation (chapter 9) or, I suppose, a Classical line (chapter 8) but of independent significance is the above position. Essentially (just to confuse you) what I'm saying is that we've reached this offbeat line via a strange, but not entirely uncommon, move order.

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