Latest Updates:
Normal Topic Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian (Read 6812 times)
Paddy
God Member
*****
Offline


The truth will out!

Posts: 905
Location: Manchester
Joined: 01/10/03
Gender: Male
Re: Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian
Reply #6 - 04/27/06 at 23:44:27
Post Tools
Mortal Games wrote on 03/25/06 at 03:02:01:
Hi!
A new book on the Classical Sicilian by Yermolinsky is out. This is a new series called Chess Explained. Did someone read this book? Can someone tell if this book is really great? Or if the plans of the variations are really discussed? 



Chess Explained: the Classical Sicilian, by Alex Yermolinsky, GAMBIT Publications Ltd. (http://www.gambitbooks.com), 2006, 111 large pages £12.99

The flood of chess opening books continues, but this new book by the former US champion Alex Yermolinsky sees the market-leading Gambit publishers adopting a different format from their usual attempt to provide a thorough “tree” analysis of an opening. “Yermo” provides 25 annotated games, with the emphasis on understanding rather than comprehensive coverage, hence more verbal explanation than variations. The aim is to provide a good “feel” for the opening. The author’s chosen topic is a slightly surprising one for launching the new series, in the sense that it is not a “sexy” one such as the Najdorf or the Dragon.

The Classical Sicilian is a Yermolinsky speciality however; it involves the move order 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 (or d6) 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 (or Nc6). Up to the 1930s, this was one of the common routes to reach both the Dragon (which would often arise after 6 Be2 g6) and the Scheveningen (6 Be2 e6). Then aggressive Whites started playing 6 Bg5, after which 6...g6 is risky (to say the least) so the main line rapidly became 6...e6 7 Qd2! with the plan of 0-0-0, known as the Richter-Rauser Attack. In the 1940s Boleslavsky demonstrated in some influential games that 6 Be2 could equally well be answered by the dynamic 6...e5!; it was soon realised that 6 Bg5 enabled White to avoid that variation as well. The 1950s saw interest developing in an alternative plan for White which also ruled out the Dragon and the Boleslavky: the even more aggressive 6 Bc4 (Sozin) which for a while in the 1960s and early 70s became a serious rival in popularity to 6 Bg5, largely under the influence of Fischer and Velimirovic.

The present book represents the current pecking order of White’s options against the Classical: 37 pages on the Richter-Rauser; 18 pages on the Sozin (focusing on 6...Qb6 but glancing at the interesting 6...Na5; no treatment of 6...e6), 9 pages on the Boleslavsky; and one game each with the much rarer options 6 g3, 6 Be3 and 6 f3 (no mention of 6 f4).

I guess that it is the Richter-Rauser that puts many players off playing the Classical. This has scored consistently well for White for over half a century and, although Black has many options, the middlegame positions are often easier for White to play, especially since he usually has the much safer king. Black’s chances tend to come in the endgame (in many lines he has the two bishops as well as extra pawns in the centre) - if he can last that long.

Yermo’s text reads pretty well and I didn’t get the impression that he was holding much back. I would say that if you liked his first book “The Road to Chess Improvement” (and are interested in this Sicilian line) you will like this one too.

In recent years the Classical Sicilian has declined in popularity, especially compared to the Najdorf and the Sveshnikov, but it received a recent boost at the 2006 European Championships; where the new champion Zdenko Kozul scored 3.5/4 with Black, including winning all three of his games against the much-feared Richter-Rauser!

There is a list of games and an index of variations, but no bibliography. Interested readers should try to get hold of The Complete Richter Rauser by Wells and Osnos, and the Easy Guide to the Classical Sicilian by Yrjola.

Verdict: Yermo’s book represents a good way to get to grips with this sound and interesting opening system. Recommended ****
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Mortal Games
God Member
*****
Offline



Posts: 587
Joined: 07/24/04
Gender: Male
Re: Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian
Reply #5 - 04/11/06 at 18:57:20
Post Tools
Many thanks for your overview, it was very instructive! I saw the review of John Watson that says that it is a must buy specialy because of Bc4 Qb6 variation, but I think in general John Watson reviews are a bit rosy to all books. I waited to see Carsten Hansen review but he do not review the book this month. I think the book is not what I expected and I prefer to wait in this new series for the book of Peter Wells in the Queen´s Indian.
  

It has been said that chess players are good at two things, Chess and Excuses.  It has also been said that Chess is where all excuses fail! In order to win you must dare to fail!
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
SotN
YaBB Newbies
*
Offline


I love ChessPublishing
.com!

Posts: 11
Joined: 04/15/05
Re: Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian
Reply #4 - 04/01/06 at 10:55:22
Post Tools
Keano wrote on 03/31/06 at 12:19:49:
what does he recommend after 6.f3!? - presumably 6...e5 to avoid transpositions to other systems - then how does he evaluate those positions?


The line with 6...e5 is indeed covered (Fedorov - Ivanchuck, Moscow 2005) but instead of 11.0-0-0 (after which black has enough dynamic counterplay) Yermo argues that 11.0-0 d5 followed by 15.Rad1 after exchanges on d5 might not equalize that easily.
Also 6...Nxd4 7.Qxd4 g6 is covered, which (according to the game Ehlvest - Kotsur, Istanbul 2000) is playable, black has a nice type of Dragon, if that's your sort of thing.

Cheers,
SotN
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Keano
God Member
*****
Offline


Money doesn't talk, it
swears.

Posts: 2891
Location: Toulouse
Joined: 05/25/05
Gender: Male
Re: Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian
Reply #3 - 03/31/06 at 12:19:49
Post Tools
what does he recommend after 6.f3!? - presumably 6...e5 to avoid transpositions to other systems - then how does he evaluate those positions?
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
SotN
YaBB Newbies
*
Offline


I love ChessPublishing
.com!

Posts: 11
Joined: 04/15/05
Re: Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian
Reply #2 - 03/31/06 at 10:36:09
Post Tools
ubiyca wrote on 03/30/06 at 19:13:24:
Here's a review from IM John Donaldson:

<snip>

"He does this by presenting 25 deeply annotated games which examine each of White's tries including 6.g3, 6.f3, 6.Be3, 6.Be2 and the two most principled systems 6.Bc4 and 6.Bg5. In each of the games Yermo not only points out the theoretical niceties of the variation, but also takes special care to explain common middlegame themes such as the doubled f-pawn for two Bishops structure seen in some lines of the Richter-Rauzer (6.Bg5) . There is more explanatory prose than variations given, but the commentary is insightful enough that the reader is quickly keyed into what is important."

<snip>

"Can this book teach you enough to play the Black side of this opening? I believe the answer is an unequivocally yes for all rated from 2000-2400. Those below may find it a bit too detailed and will need to work harder to keep up. Experts and Masters will find this book just right. I think it may find an audience among stronger players, particularly  those thinking of taking up the Classical  Sicilian who are looking for some orientation before plunging into heavy duty study."


For starters, He missed covering 6.f4. Furtermore, Yermo only covers true Classical Sicilian lines, so any transpositions to other variations (like the dragon after 6.Be2, 6.f4, 6.g3) aren't covered. This is apparent in the first game. He covers (as main line, other sixth moves for black are also covered briefly) 6.g3 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 g6 followed by lines like 8.e5 and some Pure Classical ones (don't have the book here). He also mentions (roughly): "8.Bg2 Bg7 is the normal line from the dragon." and no further coverage. So Donaldson's: "Can this book teach you enough to play the Black side of this opening? I believe the answer is an unequivocally yes for all rated from 2000-2400." is only true if you have something about the dragon, or also The Easy Guide to the Classical Sicilian (Everyman, 2000, Jouni Yrjola, isbn 1857445244), which I think is one of the very few recent works on the Classical.

Which gets me to another point: what is the target audience? I got the impression it was for those below 2000, but as Donaldson rightly remarks, that may not be the case. It falls short for both groups I guess, this book seems to be a nice introduction for what hould be studied, but additional sources are needed. Which are very scarce for the Classical Sicilian.

Considering the explanation of plans, I dont know. There is a lot more prose than variations, this is true, but to call it "explanation of plans", not sure. I got the feeling that it's more of an overview what current theory says, than how to handle the positions, or something in the lines of "White plays a3 to be able to drop the Bishop back to a2". The overview in the beginning of each chapter does mention which variations we get in each game, followed by along which path the game progresses. But to call that "explanation of plans".... I guess I just prefer diagrams with arrows over the prose Yermo gives.

What you do get is 25 games about the Classical Sicilian, with over half the coverage about the Rauzer. Here multiple lines are covered (6... Bd7, 6...e6 with ...a6 and ...h6, and with Be7), so black players can pretty much choose there. What I do find somewhat odd, is that Yermo only covers 6.Bc4 Qb6, considering he did cover so many lines on the Rauzer. I guess he had to put everything in 25 games, and the Sozin's main lines would have taken at least that much. Also, another guess would be that Yermo only played ...Qb6 against the Sozin (haven't checked this though), which is why he only covered that.

All in all, I expected a little more out of it, but the treatment about the Qb6 Sozin and the thorough coverage of the Rauzer make up for the lack of complete repertoire in the first chapter. For completeness I would recommend also study-ing The Easy Guide to the Classical Sicilian as well, together they should give a good Classical repertoire.

Hope this helps,
SotN
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
ubiyca
YaBB Newbies
*
Offline



Posts: 47
Location: California, USA
Joined: 06/14/04
Gender: Male
Re: Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian
Reply #1 - 03/30/06 at 19:13:24
Post Tools
Here's a review from IM John Donaldson:

"Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian (Gambit 2006 - www.gambitbooks.com, 112 pages, figurine algebraic, paperback, $19.95) by Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky is the first in a series of new opening books by Gambit. Judging from this volume the series is something different. This is not your traditional heavy duty theoretical work with lots of analysis and little explanation, rather it seeks to impart the essentials without dumbing down the material to the level of many introductory opening books.

Yermolinsky, whose previous book, The Road to Chess Improvement was well received by critics and public alike, shares his experiences on the Black side of the Classical Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6)  acquired from several decades testing it against strong Grandmasters. He does this by presenting 25 deeply annotated games which examine each of White's tries including 6.g3, 6.f3, 6.Be3, 6.Be2 and the two most principled systems 6.Bc4 and 6.Bg5. In each of the games Yermo not only points out the theoretical niceties of the variation, but also takes special care to explain common middlegame themes such as the doubled f-pawn for two Bishops structure seen in some lines of the Richter-Rauzer (6.Bg5) . There is more explanatory prose than variations given, but the commentary is insightful enough that the reader is quickly keyed into what is important.

As GM Yermolinsky points out in his introduction the Classical Sicilian is not as popular at the top levels as it was 15 years ago. This objectivity extends to Yermo's evaluation of individual lines where it is clear that he feels the Richter-Rauzer is White's most testing response. He doesn't hide the fact that in many lines Black is looking for improvements. Not for nothing Yermo calls the sequence 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 b5 10.Bxf6 gxf6 the Kozul Suicide Variation for the Croatian Grandmaster who has passionately but not always successfully championed the Black side. Prospective Classical Sicilian defenders can take heart in the numerous suggestions and improvements that GM Yermolinsky offers.

Can this book teach you enough to play the Black side of this opening? I believe the answer is an unequivocally yes for all rated from 2000-2400. Those below may find it a bit too detailed and will need to work harder to keep up. Experts and Masters will find this book just right. I think it may find an audience among stronger players, particularly  those thinking of taking up the Classical  Sicilian who are looking for some orientation before plunging into heavy duty study."

And, for you to decide on your own, here's an excerpt (.pdf file): http://www.gambitbooks.com/pdfs/425Samp.pdf
  

vbhat.wordpress.com
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Mortal Games
God Member
*****
Offline



Posts: 587
Joined: 07/24/04
Gender: Male
Chess Explained - The Classical Sicilian
03/25/06 at 03:02:01
Post Tools
Hi!
A new book on the Classical Sicilian by Yermolinsky is out. This is a new series called Chess Explained. Did someone read this book? Can someone tell if this book is really great? Or if the plans of the variations are really discussed?
  

It has been said that chess players are good at two things, Chess and Excuses.  It has also been said that Chess is where all excuses fail! In order to win you must dare to fail!
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Bookmarks: del.icio.us Digg Facebook Google Google+ Linked in reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Yahoo