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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) which sicilian to play? (Read 26895 times)
sssthepro
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #59 - 07/20/08 at 13:30:40
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I posted a thread about the Classical Sicilian once. Matemax shot down my idea (well, someone else's idea that I developed on) against the Nxc6 line. Maybe we can move the discussion to that thread. Also, maybe someone can help me revive my idea Smiley. If not, Nxc6 seems to kill the ...a6 and ...h6 line.

I don't like the Bxf6 lines in the Kozul lines. I don't like my king getting stuck in the centre. However, if White does not play that, and if White moves the bishop back to e3 as in normal ...h6 lines, then I am quite happy with my position.

Another idea that I got from Chess Strategy in Action is that Black can play ...h5 to stop g4. That forces White to play in the centre, which is supposedly good for Black. Maybe the hope of reviving the Classical Sicilian lies in this line?

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1196775985
« Last Edit: 07/21/08 at 08:33:24 by sssthepro »  
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lnn2
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #58 - 07/14/08 at 16:08:35
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agree with Bibs and Paddy on the Classical, everything wonderful about it except for 6. Bg5. 6... Bd7 perhaps still the best, despite Nepomniatchi-Dreev drubbing.

One solution is to play slightly less volatile lines in the Najdorf. stuff like 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2 Nc6, 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 h5, and 6. Bc4 can be met by the transposition e6 7. Bb3 Nc6!? which was recommended by Vigorito on chesslecture.com.

I am sure there are also other lesser but playable lines known to Najdorf experts (more suggestions for Najdorf sidelines anyone??)... Ok White is entitled to his += birthright in these lines, but you get a playable unbalanced position!
  
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Paddy
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #57 - 07/13/08 at 22:33:09
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Markovich wrote on 07/10/08 at 18:37:51:
Paddy wrote on 07/10/08 at 13:19:22:
I am also reminded that Tarrasch once opined that when you have an IQP it is good to have the knight pair.


Really?  I thought I was familiar with the Great Man's works, but I don't recall this.  I wonder where he said it.

I don't understand what he meant, except that obviously, you can't possibly wind up with the wrong bishop.


Mark, still not tracked down the Tarrasch ref, but by chance this was in a recent Chess Today by Baburin:

"Knights are very handy when one has the isolated d-pawn – this is something I learnt while working on the Winning Pawn Structures book."

The IQP position he was thinking of is also given as an evaluation exercise at

http://chessmind.powerblogs.com
  
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wcywing
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #56 - 07/13/08 at 01:53:58
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i have Soltis's pawn structure chess, it is very informative, especially on the sicilian/english pawn structure.  it explains why certain moves are played.  best thing it was under $10   Grin
  
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wcywing
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #55 - 07/11/08 at 23:22:14
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does anyone play sicilian four knights now?  i think it was recomemed  in the book meeting e4.  i never read the book so don't know what the author recomends.
  
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Markovich
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #54 - 07/11/08 at 13:03:06
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Holbox wrote on 07/11/08 at 11:02:32:
In the 4n variation the black's d weakness is, i think, fully compensated by white's weakness on c2, and in some cases the e3 square. The only only upset for black should be the bishop pair but usually black exchanges one of them.


When I was studying this variation way back when, I remember being impressed that Black's pawn was on d4, which seemed to imply pressure against c2. 

The analogue with the Tarrasch Defense is that that Black often has a satisfactory game once his pawn goes to d4, with pressure on e2.  But there has been much practical dispute of that particular point in the Tarrasch, and a corresponding rise in the popularity of the 9.dxc5, 10.Bg5 variation (where Black's d-pawn is allowed to advance and White plays around it with his pieces).

So I would not be so quick to conclude that Black's pawn being on d4 already in the main line of the Classical Sicilian fully atones for the IQP.

  

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Markovich
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #53 - 07/11/08 at 12:54:10
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Paddy wrote on 07/10/08 at 23:56:45:
Markovich wrote on 07/10/08 at 18:37:51:
Paddy wrote on 07/10/08 at 13:19:22:
I am also reminded that Tarrasch once opined that when you have an IQP it is good to have the knight pair.


Really?  I thought I was familiar with the Great Man's works, but I don't recall this.  I wonder where he said it.

I don't understand what he meant, except that obviously, you can't possibly wind up with the wrong bishop.


I'm sure I read this somewhere. If I find the ref. I'll post it here.

Meanwhile, here's a (sort of) related quotation from Alexander Khalifman in 'Opening for White according to Anand' Volume 9: referring to the Sicilian 4N main line, he writes:
"As for the two-bishop advantage, Black has good chances to exchange one of the bishops (the one on d3) either for a bishop (Bc8-f5) or a knight (Nc6-e5). He will contain the action of the other bishop with his pawns somehow (d5-d4, h7-h6). Finally the weakness of Black's isolated queen's pawn is not so great, since knights are much more effective than bishops in the fight against an isolated pawn."

I find such generalizations as that last one interesting, but not always helpful when my clock is ticking...  Smiley



Ah, maybe it is simply that White would prefer to have the knights.  I think I can understand that, since they're usually better blockaders.
  

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Holbox
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #52 - 07/11/08 at 11:02:32
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In the 4n variation the black's d weakness is, i think, fully compensated by white's weakness on c2, and in some cases the e3 square. The only only upset for black should be the bishop pair but usually black exchanges one of them.
  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #51 - 07/11/08 at 10:05:21
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Hello,

I remember reading something similar in "Both sides of the chessboard" discussing Spassky's ability at playing IQP position's, think related to Bf4 QGD game.

Bye John S
  
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Paddy
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #50 - 07/10/08 at 23:56:45
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Markovich wrote on 07/10/08 at 18:37:51:
Paddy wrote on 07/10/08 at 13:19:22:
I am also reminded that Tarrasch once opined that when you have an IQP it is good to have the knight pair.


Really?  I thought I was familiar with the Great Man's works, but I don't recall this.  I wonder where he said it.

I don't understand what he meant, except that obviously, you can't possibly wind up with the wrong bishop.


I'm sure I read this somewhere. If I find the ref. I'll post it here.

Meanwhile, here's a (sort of) related quotation from Alexander Khalifman in 'Opening for White according to Anand' Volume 9: referring to the Sicilian 4N main line, he writes:
"As for the two-bishop advantage, Black has good chances to exchange one of the bishops (the one on d3) either for a bishop (Bc8-f5) or a knight (Nc6-e5). He will contain the action of the other bishop with his pawns somehow (d5-d4, h7-h6). Finally the weakness of Black's isolated queen's pawn is not so great, since knights are much more effective than bishops in the fight against an isolated pawn."

I find such generalizations as that last one interesting, but not always helpful when my clock is ticking...  Smiley

  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #49 - 07/10/08 at 18:37:51
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Paddy wrote on 07/10/08 at 13:19:22:
I am also reminded that Tarrasch once opined that when you have an IQP it is good to have the knight pair.


Really?  I thought I was familiar with the Great Man's works, but I don't recall this.  I wonder where he said it.

I don't understand what he meant, except that obviously, you can't possibly wind up with the wrong bishop.
  

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Paddy
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #48 - 07/10/08 at 13:19:22
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wcywing wrote on 07/03/08 at 01:08:16:
does Lev Alburt recommend the classical sicilian as well?  i heard his comprehensive chess course was based on soviet chess training.  of course who knows which soviet coach gave Lev his lessons.   


As a young player, Alburt played the Sicilian Four Knights for a while but gave it up after this defeat by twenty-year old Anatoly Karpov:

[Event "Daugavpils"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1971.??.??"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Karpov, Anatoly"]
[Black "Alburt, Lev"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B45"]
[PlyCount "111"]
[EventDate "1971.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Ndb5 Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8.
Nxc3 d5 9. exd5 exd5 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O d4 12. Ne2 Qd5 13. Nf4! Qd6 14. Nh5! Ng4
15. Bf4 Qd8 16. Ng3 Qh4 17. Nf5 Bxf5 18. Bxf5 Nh6 19. Bg3 Qg5 20. Be4 f5 21. f4
Qg6 22. Bf3 Ng4 23. Qd3 Rad8 24. Rfe1 Kh8 25. Re2 Rfe8 26. Rae1 Re3 27. Qb5
Rxe2 28. Bxe2 Ne3 29. Qd3 h6 30. Bf3 Re8 31. b4 a6 32. c3 Ng4 33. Rxe8+ Qxe8
34. cxd4 Qd7 35. d5 Ne7 36. h3 Nf6 37. Bh4 Qd6 38. Qd4 b6 39. a4 a5 40. bxa5
bxa5 41. Be1 Nc6 42. Qc4 Ne7 43. Bxa5 Nexd5 44. Qd4 Qe6 45. Bd2 Ne4 46. a5 Nxd2
47. Qxd2 Nf6 48. Kh2 Kh7 49. Qe2 Ne4 50. a6 Qc6 51. a7 Qa4 52. Qe3 h5 53. Bxh5
Qa5 54. Be2 g6 55. Bf3 Nd2 56. Qe7+ 1-0

In 'Chess Openings for Black Explained', Alburt wrote: "I know now that my abandoning the system altogether was a very premature reaction. After all, Karpov went on to dominate top-level chess until Kasparov arrived on the scene."

The Sicilian 4N is a strange line, very untypical of the Sicilian as a whole. In the main line Black gets easy development and a safe king, in return for taking on an IQP and conceding the bishop pair.

In Chess Life (October 1991), Alburt & Parr made the interesting point: "Among weaker players the 'advantage' of the two bishops, which can be so important in master play, may actually be a disadvantage. Knights are generally more effective pieces and there is simply no point in teaching 'D' players openings in which the main point is to garner the two bishops."

I am also reminded that Tarrasch once opined that when you have an IQP it is good to have the knight pair.

Whatever the assessment of the main line above, the main problem with the 4N might be that White has two earlier options leading to very different types of position: the super-sharp 7 Bf4 and the weird and wonderful 6 Nxc6 bxc6 7 e5 Nd5 8 Ne4 Qc7 9 f4 Qb6 10 c4 Bb4+ 11 Ke2! f5.

I should add that 7 Nd6+ was long dismissed as harmless but might be tricky for Black to deal with over the board.
« Last Edit: 07/10/08 at 23:55:46 by Paddy »  
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Schaakhamster
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #47 - 07/03/08 at 11:15:46
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DoubledPawns wrote on 02/02/08 at 22:06:32:
Paddy wrote on 02/02/08 at 18:30:06:
I'm reluctant to invest time and effort in the Classical until/unless I'm sure of having some long-term satisfactory answer to 6 Bg5. Any views on this from forum members with relevant experience or from or our IM/GM CPub section authors?



If you are looking for a recent book on the Classical Sicilian, then there is "Starting Out: Classical Sicilian" by Raetsky and Chetverik (released November 2007).

I also remember that in SOS 3, Oleg Chernikov suggests 6...g6!? as a surprise weapon against 6.Bg5. Theory claims that White has a clear advantage, but Chernikov argues that this is not the case. For more info, see the book.

Finally, there were a few very recent surveys in the Yearbooks covering the 6...Bd7 7.Qd2 Rc8 variation, and although I haven't studied them, I think the conclusion was that White has to play precisely to get a small edge.




I have been looking at this line and there should be some scope for creativity. Dreev is the player to take a look at.
  
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wcywing
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #46 - 07/03/08 at 01:08:16
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does Lev Alburt recommend the classical sicilian as well?  i heard his comprehensive chess course was based on soviet chess training.  of course who knows which soviet coach gave Lev his lessons.
  
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Paddy
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #45 - 06/26/08 at 11:14:31
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Quote:
Paddy wrote on 02/02/08 at 18:30:06:
I began to wonder why a lot of Russian juniors seem to be taught the classical as their first Sicilian.


Thanks for the info Paddy,
do you also know what russian juniors are taught against 1.d4 and 1.c4?



It is difficult and misleading to try to generalize too much on this topic. The old Soviet coaching system has broken up but private coaching persists. Even the old system was never as systematic or monolythic as its reputation. There was always quite fierce competition between coaches to get results for their students (and therefore good stipends for the coaches). There was not total uniformity, since each coach or "school" was in a sort of "arms race". 

I know of no sources other than Zak and Shereshevsky which deal with this subject directly and in any detail. Here are some snippets that might be of interest:

Valdimir Zak (coach of the young Korchnoi and Spassky) used to insist on his charges studying and playing strictly classical openings for some considerable time. This did not go down well with some of his more willful pupils (see The Road to Chess Improvement by Yermolinsky).

In "Improve Your Chess Results", Zak criticised other coaches for teaching the Dragon, especially to girls (!), on the grounds that it is too stereotyped and limited in ideas. "Instead of a wide outlook, the pupils acquire a narrow specialization which fetters their imagination".

"One day I was lucky to have a training camp with Vladimir Yurkov, who taught me the Scheveningen defense. Without understanding it you cannot play the Sicilian." GM Jaan Ehlvest in his book "The story of a chess player".

Bologan's excellent book "Victor Bologan: Selected Games 1985-2004" gives lots of insights into the early opening choices of the Moldavian school led by Chebanenko, who gave his lazier pupils a lot of "short-cuts", side-lines which are nevertheless sound and playable on a long-term basis. At least one of these (a6 Slav) has become high fashion!

In his interesting book "The Soviet Chess Conveyor"  Shereshevsky recommended choosing openings with a lot of strategic content which are unlikely to be overtuned by the latest innovations. Regarding playing Black against 1 d4: "The majority of my pupils stick to a white square strategy with Black in the closed opening systems they usually choose i.e. the Nimzovitch defence, the Bogoljubov defence if White plays 3 Nf3 or the more risky Ragozin defence." Of course, Shereshevsky was dealing with young players who were already strong and had prospects of becoming master strength or beyond. Against 1 e4 he recommended the Closed Lopez and the French.

I hope this is of interest. Anyone know any other sources of info?
  
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