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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Is the Classical Sicilian that bad? (Read 13994 times)
FreeRepublic
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #57 - 11/04/17 at 20:45:10
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Many posts have encouraged black to play the Kozul variation. I was put off on that a few years ago by the advent of the English attack from that variation. I don't think the English attack is a refutation, just one more headache for black.

So Kozul players must be prepared for both
1e4 c5 2Nf3 Nc6 3d4 cxd4 4Nxd4 Nf6 5Nc3 d6 6Bg5 e6 7Qd2 a6 80-0-0 b5
9f4
and
9f3
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #56 - 11/04/17 at 20:37:14
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You are right. It was a hot topic, though I am not aware of a really strong reply.

After 1e4 c5 2Nf3 Nc6 3d4 cxd4 4Nxd4 Nf6 5Nc3 d6 6Bg5 e6 7Qd2 a6 80-0-0 Nxd4!? 9Qxd4 Be7, 10h4 scores very well for white. However, if black replies ...Qc7 (vs. e5) 11f3 b5, we get back to English attack lines that seem O.K. For example, 12Kb1 Bb7 13Qd2 Rc8 and black outscores white in my data base.

Statistical scores and computer evaluations both have their pitfalls. Like an ECO evaluation, they are not definitive. Still, it may point the way towards lines you might want to play.
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #55 - 11/04/17 at 19:47:00
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I seem to recall that that line was a hot topic about 20 years ago.  (Reminds me of a suggestion by ErictheRed to play stuff top players were playing back around that time.)
  
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FreeRepublic
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #54 - 11/04/17 at 19:20:39
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I forgot to mention that this line is also covered in the Complete Richter Rauzer by Wells and Osnos pg 58-61.
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #53 - 11/04/17 at 19:14:05
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White has many 6th move alternatives in the Classical Sicilian, but in my opinion 6Bg5! is the most dangerous. 6Bc4!? is also aggressive. All other sixth moves, Be2, Be3, f4, g3 lead to interesting games with equal chances.

Alex Yermolinsky devoted a large proportion (50%?) of his Classical Sicilian book to 6Bg5. 6Bg5 is the move chosen for white in Experts vs. the Sicilian and in Dismantling the Sicilian.

As black, I've considered most of black responses. I've only recently turned my attention to the following line:
1e4 c5 2Nf3 Nc6 (or d6) 3d4 cxd4 4Nxd4 Nf6 5Nc3 d6 (or Nc6) 6Bg5 e6 7Qd2 a6 80-0-0 Nxd4!? 9Qxd4 Be7.

I'm somewhat encouraged by what I've seen. As black, I'm not expecting an easy game, but I do want my share of chances. Chess Publishing and other sources treat this line with respect.

White has two major plans: 10f4 and the English attack 10f3 (10h4 or 10Kb1 followed by f3). After 10f4 b5, the main line is 11Bxf6 gxf6 and now 12e5 and 12f5 are among the moves that have been played.
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #52 - 09/09/17 at 09:48:44
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TN wrote on 09/09/17 at 03:13:23:
Also, I worked on this ...Be7/...0-0 a couple of years ago but found some problem lines. It's better to play 7...a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 in my opinion.


According to computer engines, the unlikely looking 11. .. b6 is the improvement in the Fischer game. That at least enables the Bishop to emerge at a6, even if it does block the retreat of the Queen.
  
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TN
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #51 - 09/09/17 at 03:13:23
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That hilarious game below:



Also, I worked on this ...Be7/...0-0 a couple of years ago but found some problem lines. It's better to play 7...a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 in my opinion.
  

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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #50 - 09/09/17 at 01:40:29
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FreeRepublic wrote on 09/08/17 at 21:39:16:
I played white in a speed game.

After
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O O-O 9. f4 h6 10. Bh4,

I was surprised by ...a6.

It is a perfectly natural move and seems to lead to reasonable play. If there is a refutation, it was not immediately obvious to me.


Hmm, in a Russian opening encylopedia from the '90s, V. Osnos (who co-authored The Complete Richter-Rauzer with Peter Wells) awarded 10...a6 a question mark, giving 11. Nxc6 bc 12. e5 etc. from a game Matanovic-Sofrevski. 

(Side note:  I know of Sofrevski mainly from an account that he was prepared by Geller for a game against Fischer, which resulted in Fischer winning in 19 moves.)
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #49 - 09/08/17 at 21:39:16
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I played white in a speed game.

After
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O O-O 9. f4 h6 10. Bh4,

I was surprised by ...a6.

It is a perfectly natural move and seems to lead to reasonable play. If there is a refutation, it was not immediately obvious to me.
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #48 - 06/19/17 at 17:30:42
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You are right. 11...Bd7 really is a sideline (a very rare one). It would have been nice to make it work.

I've shifted my attention to:
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O O-O 9. f4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 h6 11. Bh4 Qa5 12. Bc4 e5 13. fxe5 dxe5 14. Qd3.

I discussed this a little in a post a couple days ago.

It's not a new line. In fact it is one of black's main lines. I was not optimistic at first, but I'm starting to like it for black.

There are a lot of nuances for both sides, so preparation and experience may pay good dividends.
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #47 - 06/19/17 at 14:48:58
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Note though that 11. .. Bd7 is really a sideline: the most common move by far is 11. .. Qa5 (also possible is 11. .. a6).
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #46 - 06/19/17 at 11:37:46
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Jup. The positions after 12 e5 look very prospectless for Black and what the main problem is: it's just sooo easy for White to calculate that far! And it's not hard to assess this position as better for White, either.
Most people that play the Sicilian and are reasonably educated should at least know that these Bxf6, Qxd6 stuff often results in good compensation for Black and therefore should rather refrain from doing that, which means they will start calculating e5 pretty soon and that's where the fun ends, right?
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #45 - 06/19/17 at 03:52:21
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It does look like Black has a few decent options against 12 Bxf6, and indeed 12 e5 appears to be the real issue.
  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #44 - 06/19/17 at 02:31:11
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It looks like after some fairly deep analysis (Stockfish 8 to depth 40) that Black has some equalizing lines after 13. .. Bh4. Both 14. exd6 Qa5 and 14. exd6 Bc6 appear to work. In the former line Stockfish likes 15. a3 instead of Pruijsser's 15. Qe5, although Qe5 may be ok too with correct play. (Note too I am not saying the computer is infallible here: take with a grain of salt).


« Last Edit: 06/19/17 at 11:04:15 by jdart »  
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Re: Is the Classical Sicilian that bad?
Reply #43 - 06/17/17 at 01:14:57
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Well the line I considered for black:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O O-O 9. f4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 h6 11. Bh4 Bd7 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Nd5 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. Bd3! Rfe8 is suffering, as detailed by MN.

Alex Yermolinsky covers many lines in his book. Here is one found on pg 75.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O O-O 9. f4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 h6 11. Bh4 Qa5 12. Bc4 e5 13. fxe5 dxe5 14. Qd3. The play up to this point seems natural. Black has not had to contort himself to stay in the game (at least not yet). Alex explains his game against Michael Adams in detail. He suggests a few more moves as possibly most precise: 15...Bg4 15. Rdf1 Rac8 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17Bb3.

There are some tactics under the surface. For example Alex mentions the natural 16Bb3 Rxc3! 17Qxc3 Qxc3 18bxc3 Ba3ch 19Kb1 Nxe4 with advantage to black.

After 17Bb3, black might reply with Bh4, or Be6, or R(f)d8. Besides 17Bb3, white can consider 17Kb1 and 17Nd5.

I rather like the lines where black plays Be6 allowing Bxe6 fxe6. Black gets control of central squares with his doubled e pawns and the open f file can prove beneficial.

Yermolinsky present the moves ...Bg4 and ...Bh4. This bishop duo on the king side looks odd to me, but it seems they can gum up the works in white's hoped-for attack.

Working with Stockfish, it seems that black can get chances. However, practice has favored white. So I suggest that players of the black pieces prepare. Try to get a feel and understanding for this line before your first game.
  
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