Push to activate: A new catalytic strategy for the activation of anthracene derivatives has been developed. From symmetrical starting materials, enantioselective cycloaddition reactions can be achieved by employing a C2-symmetric aminocatalyst. This selectivity is due to the gain or loss of conjugation between the enamine and the anthracene in the two transition-state structures. This methodology is demonstrated in 14 examples with 70–96 % yield and 76–95 % ee.
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