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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) which sicilian to play? (Read 25442 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #44 - 06/25/08 at 16:44:11
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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?

  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #43 - 06/23/08 at 00:56:13
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Smyslov_Fan wrote on 06/22/08 at 07:11:00:
 Of course, there are major problems with 2...e6, perhaps the most important is that White gets a nice version of the Maroczy Bind with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd4 4.Nd4 (Almost anything) 5.c4!?


Assume you are referring to the Kan, since this particular move order isn't a problem for those who play the Taimanov.  4..Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 is pretty easy for Black. 

  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #42 - 06/23/08 at 00:43:22
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the Taimanov is very solid and flexible choice.  of course the only problem is white then has a lot of choices also.   i heard good things about the safest sicilian and any other book by chess stars publishing.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #41 - 06/22/08 at 07:11:00
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wcywing,

Thanks for reviving this thread, I missed it when it first came out!


Paddy, I love your description of White's plan against the Classical.  You are right, but I've never explained it so simply to my students before. 

I came to the Sicilian from the French, and that is fossilized in my playing 2...e6 to make up for my mistake on move 1. Lips Sealed

I really enjoy the Taimanov/Paulsen/Kan pawn structure.  It offers Black a slightly different set of positional strengths and weaknesses than other Sicilians, which means that White has to invest a fair bit of energy on the deviations.  And Black can switch to main lines with ...d6 most of the time anyway. 

Talk about tricky openings!  Of course, there are major problems with 2...e6, perhaps the most important is that White gets a nice version of the Maroczy Bind with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd4 4.Nd4 (Almost anything) 5.c4!?

Even this has its bonuses because the Maroczy Bind is a rare visitor in 1.e4 openings, and if Black knows what he's doing he can thrive.

Again, thanks for reviving this thread!
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #40 - 06/21/08 at 03:09:12
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i just got Greet's new book on the accelerated Dragon, it is awesome.  the hyper accelerated dragon is my choice, because it avoids those anoying Bb5 anti-sicilians.  i am sticking with the Be2 open sicilian for now.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #39 - 02/06/08 at 15:08:22
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Bibs wrote on 02/04/08 at 14:41:31:
Yes - move this to Rauzer thread.




Moderator - please can you move the last few posts on the Classical/Richter-Rauser for us?
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #38 - 02/04/08 at 14:41:31
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Seems our thoughts along similar lines Paddy.

I also looked at playing Classical. Everything else fine, but rauzer obviously the main concern.
Not sure I entirely trust the 'Kozul Suicide' line, but the main man is still playing it. Certainly interesting to wade through a few dozen of his games.
Took out Shirov last year.
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1477575

But f3, with Nc3-e2 as per Leko-Moro world cup last year appears to be causing more headaches than f4 currently.
Best remains Spraggett-Chandler (as on p41, line d2 of pdf)?
Because why move the bishop back to g5, just Kb1 as on p44.
Next update?

So -  if that hairy stuff not one's cup of tea, have to find something else. Maybe a good idea to have alook on cbase or chessgames anf dind suitable heroes then base your repertoire thereon.

Yes the en vogue Nc6, Bf4 stuff appears troublesome currently. Half remember a Haslinger-Rowson game maybe, yes Paddy I think you are right.

Perhaps Tony K may have ideas. Considering that he authored the Classical-bar-Rauzer CDs. Follow-up on the way perchance?
No updates on ebook or pdf btw for quite some time. More soon hopefully?

Yes - move this to Rauzer thread.

Meanwhile some homework for all:
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessopening?eco=B67
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?playercomp=black&pid=13992&eco=B67&title...

among others ...
« Last Edit: 02/04/08 at 15:54:42 by Bibs »  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #37 - 02/04/08 at 12:42:18
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LeeRoth wrote on 02/03/08 at 16:07:53:
I used to play the Classical and meet the Rauzer with 7..a6 8.0-0-0 h6, but I gave it up because I couldn't find a satisfactory answer to 9.Nxc6
LeeRoth 


Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, the ...a6, ...h6 line seemed to be doing well in the 1990s but the antipositional-looking 9 Nc6 bxc6 10 Bf4 d5 11 Qe3 has been proving difficult for Black to handle, although I notice that Rowson has been prepared to take it on. By the way, this is the repertoire line for White given by Wells in Experts vs the Sicilian 2.

Moderator: perhaps this discussion become a separate thread, such as "Black vs the Richter-Rauser".
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #36 - 02/04/08 at 07:48:03
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even though i am staying e5 for the moment, i might go to the dragon complex(accelerated and the regular dragon), or even the Najdorf, i will need something sharp, even though anti-sicilians are very popular.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #35 - 02/03/08 at 17:45:44
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Regarding the position after 7..a6 8.0-0-0 h6 9.Be3 Bd7 10.f4 b5 11.Bd3 Be7 12.h3 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 b4 14.Ne2 e5 15.Be3 Qa5 16.Kb1 O-O 17.g4 exf4 18.Bxf4 Be6 19.Nc1

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In the 1990s, Veingold played 19..d5 from this position and won a number of nice games as Black.  But Yermolinsky thinks that White is better here.  In Chess Explained The Classical Sicilian, he writes, "In this type of position (e4 vs d6) White always profits from having his king on the queenside, his rook on the d-file, and an opportunity to launch the g-pawn forward.  Black needs to search for counterplay elsewhere."

  

  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #34 - 02/03/08 at 16:07:53
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I used to play the Classical and meet the Rauzer with 7..a6 8.0-0-0 h6, but I gave it up because I couldn't find a satisfactory answer to 9.Nxc6

After 9.Be3, I was always happy to see 10.f4, as I had put in the most time studying these lines and because Black gets his standard counterplay. 

For example, 10... b5 11. Bd3 Be7 and now:

12. Kb1 O-O 13. h3 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 Bc6 15. Qe3 Qc7 16. e5 dxe5 17. Bxe5 Qb7

12. h3 Nxd4 13. Bxd4 b4 14. Ne2 e5 15. Be3 Qa5 16. Kb1 O-O 17. g4 exf4 18. Bxf4 Be6

and, in either case, it's a game.

After 10.f3 b5 11.g4 Ne5 12.Bd3 used to be the main line, but I would usually see 12.h4 instead.  Black can jump in with 12..b4 or play the slower 12..Qc7 when play would usually come to resemble a Keres Attack.   

The current trend at GM level seems to be for White to instead play 11.Nxc6 Bxc6 12.Ne2 (heading for d4).  Kasparov won a big game from Kramnik back in the 90s in this line, but I think better play for Black has now been worked out.  In any event, if this worries you, you can avoid it with 10..Qc7 11.g4 Ne5 12.h4 with play similar to and often transposing into the 10..b5 11.g4 line.

If you're looking for games in the f3 line, note that some GMs are now playing 8.0-0-0 Bd7 instead of 8..h6.  But if 9.f3 they are happy to then play 9..h6.  I guess this is an attempt to avoid 8..h6 9.Nxc6, but maybe there is another reason for this move order!?

Anyway, hope this helps
LeeRoth
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #33 - 02/03/08 at 13:44:55
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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.



Thanks very much for the references DoubledPawns! However, I'm more interested in canvassing the views of forum members or section authors who have practical experience of playing the Classical. Theory is all very well, but I am sure that things can seem very different when the clock is running and you are staring down the barrel of the Richter-Rauser!
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #32 - 02/02/08 at 22:06:32
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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.


  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #31 - 02/02/08 at 18:30:06
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I've been thinking about this myself recently. I'm rated 2150 FIDE. For various periods in the past I  played the Dragon (risky) or the Accelerated Dragon (often tedious). Then I got interested in Sveshnikov's advocacy of the Kalashnikov - bad move! - this became my worst-scoring opening ever! Recently I have played 1...e5, defending the Spanish or playing the Antoshin Philidor; an interesting change, but not really me.

Now I'm thinking about going back to the Sicilian. I began to wonder why a lot of Russian juniors seem to be taught the classical as their first Sicilian. This arises after the moves 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6. Black's 2nd and 5th moves can be reversed. This system is very ancient but on the whole seems to be a quiet success story. It has several advantages.

1) Since Black's 2nd and 5th moves can be reversed, Black can vary the move order to avoid certain lines, or to "fit" certain opponents.

2) 6 Be2 can be handled with 6...e5, 6...e6 or 6...g6, to taste. Of these the strongest is perhaps 6...e5, the Boleslavsky system, which almost put 6 Be2 out of business in the 1950s. This was the ancestor of the fashionable Sveshnikov variation; Black gives White a potential strongpoint at d5 in return for central space and a fairly safe king. Note that here White has to retreat the knight to b3 or f3.
Nevertheless, 6...g6 is an attractive alternative - a Dragon in which Black has avoided the Yugoslav Attack. Similarly 6...e6 is a Scheveningen in which Black has avoided the dreaded Keres Attack.

3) Moves such as 6 g3, 6 Be3, 6 f3 and 6 f4 have all been tried over the years but none of these has proved to be really threatening to Black. It looks easy to get a playable game as Black against these lines, with far less preparation than is the case in the equivalent Najdorf variations (i.e. 5...a6 instead of 5...Nc6).

4) 6 Bc4, the Sozin Attack, has accumulated a lot of theory but Black is in quite good shape in the critical lines after 6...e6. But it is also perfectly possible to avoid the main lines of the Sozin and Velimirovic with 6...Qb6 or 6...Bd7, and even the provocative-looking moves 6...e5 and 6..Na5 have strong supporters.

BUT...
there is one snag with the Classical, and it seems a big one: since the late 1930s Black has struggled against the Richter-Rauser variation 6 Bg5, and even today this remains the real test of the Classical move order. After the normal moves 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 White's aim is to castle queenside, exerting immediate pressure along the d-file.

After that White has two main plans:

a) to play f4 and try to hit Black hard in the centre with e4-e5. This is the traditional plan, and still relevant.

b) to play the more restrained f3 and follow up in the style of the English Attack against the Najdorf with g4 and a kingside pawn storm. You would think that the bishop on g5 would be in the way of this plan and it is true that White usually needs to lose a tempo getting the bishop out of the way, but nevertheless White has achieved good results with this plan.

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?

  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #30 - 02/02/08 at 18:20:00
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i am also studying tactics, i am reading chess training pocket book by Alburt, chess tactics for students workbook by Bain, and TASC II software, which is really good.  i have enough opening books, i will try to get the other books on tactics (can't have enough), pawn structure, and others.  i know Fischer use Bc4 practically against every sicilian out there, except for a few exceptions. 

i will go back to the petroff, it served me well, besides if a bunch of GM's it has to be good, unless it falls out of fashion again.   Grin   

  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #29 - 02/02/08 at 01:01:44
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Greetings,

wcywing wrote on 02/01/08 at 22:16:44:
Dragan Glas wrote on 02/01/08 at 20:31:42:
True!

I was assuming that wcywing was a youngish club/tournament player who wished to get to grips with the Sicilian.

Given the latest information, I'd have posted differently.

Kindest regards,

Dragan Glas


i may be young at heart, but i'm not ancient or at midlife crisis yet    Wink
when i was a youngish club tournament/player, there was no such thing as 300 rated played in USCF  Shocked  now it seems to be normal.  i think the lowest class was class E.  at most places where i played a 2000 rated player is hard to find, so i did not have much compition to go against and tournaments were monthly at best.  now if i was a New York or some other major chess center, my rating might be higher, maybe.   

all the advice is good and much appreciated.  i am staying with the open siclian as white using Be2/Be3 as a starting point.  i am sticking with old reliable e5 against e4, study the 4N may not be so bad after all, i will try Bb4 too.  i will use the Sicilian in the future.   

I didn't mean to say you were "old" either - that's me! (It seems that "aggressive" openings are not the only thing to suffer sudden changes in assessments! Wink )

As regards finding other players of your own strength or - ideally - somewhat higher.

Perhaps if you asked around, contacted your local USCF representative, etc, they might be able to put you in touch with like-rated players in your area!?

You might also be interested in LeMoir's Essential Chess Sacrifices - all of these are from White's point-of-view, with sacrifices against the castled Black king and/or the Black king caught in the centre. Many of the sacrifices are in the Sicilian, which will be good preparation for you when both facing the Sicilian and when you play it as Black (you'll know for what to watch out!).

Quote:
kylemeister wrote Quote:
Dragan Glas wrote on Yesterday at 22:04:13:
I don't know the Petroff ... but I seem to recall Bronstein recommending 3..., Bb4 as a way of avoiding the Four Knights !? I'm sure those here will correct me if I'm wrong! Smiley

You're not wrong.  Well, I don't know about Bronstein, but 3...Bb4 is a major line.

I believe it was in his 200 Open Games, although I don't have the book with me - it's at the family home in Ireland. Sad

MNb, good point about the Dragon player not being as familiar with the Classical lines - even less, the Levenfish or fianchetto (g3)! - as (s)he is with the cut-and-thrust of the Yugoslav/Rauzer Attack.

Having said that, years ago I played a 2000+ player in Dublin (Ireland) where he entered the Classical line against my Dragon ... and then admitted to me that he didn't know what to do next (following move 9) - over the board!!  Shocked Cheesy

So, wcywing, make sure you know/understand what to do in the Classical lines against the different lines of the Sicilian!

By the way, MNb, what do you think of GM Nigel Davies recommendations regarding White's positional approach to the Sicilian under "Controlled Aggression?"
http://www.chesspublishing.com/content/repert2.htm

Quote:
The Sicilian is probably the most popular reply to 1 e4 and playing the sharpest lines involves a huge amount of work. Yet there are a number of players who do well on a diet of 6 Be2 lines against almost everything, whether it's the Najdorf (1…c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6), Scheveningen (5…e6), the Dragon (5…g6) or the so called Classical Sicilian (5…Nc6). You can't do this against absolutely everything and I suggest meeting the Kalashnikov (1….c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6) with 6 g3(!) and the Sveshnikov (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5) with 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Nd5 Be7 10 Bxf6 as Kasparov has done in a number of key games.

The way to get into these lines is to look out for complete games on the chesspublishing.com sites keeping an eye out for names such as Viktor Kupreichik and Ilya Smirin. These guys are both highly effective Be2 specialists.


Kindest regards,

Dragon Glas
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #28 - 02/02/08 at 00:23:34
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I agree that at the 1400-level, studying tactics is the best way to improve one's chess.

If you want to learn a variation of the Sicilian, however, then I will suggest the Four Knights Variation of the Sicilian (2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd4 4.Nd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6). One advantage of this variation is that there is less theory compared to most Sicilian variations (although you need to know what to do in the 6.Nc6 bc6 7.e5 Nd5 8.Ne4 variation). Against 6.Ndb5, you should play 6...Bb4, which saves you having to learn a lot of theory (7.Nd6 Ke7 is fine for Black).

Another major advantage of the Four Knights is that at the club level, many players will be unfamiliar with the variation, and are likely to play something solid such as 6.Be2 or 6.Be3, which is inferior after 6...Bb4!.

Against 2.Nc3, you can simply play 2...e6 and 3...Nc6 (usually followed by ...d5), which is fairly solid. If White plays 2.c3, simply 2...d5, leading to IQP positions which will improve your chess understanding.

Hope this helps!
  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #27 - 02/01/08 at 23:11:31
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Greetings,

kylemeister wrote on 02/01/08 at 21:46:43:
The "without understanding the Scheveningen, you cannot play the Sicilian" line is from Jaan Ehlvest.

Jeremy Silman opined not long ago that the Scheveningen is "a perfect first Sicilian for young players and old who wish to test the 1. e4 c5 waters."  While it's certainly true that Black's king can come under attack in the Schev, it might be pointed out that Black could choose lines which tend to avoid/minimize this -- e.g. 9...e5 in the (Modern) Classical, lines with ...Nc6, ...Be7, ...0-0 and ...d5 against the English, and lines where both sides tend to castle queenside (with an isolated White h-pawn) in the Keres.  (Personally, I played the Dragon for quite a while before I ever played the Scheveningen, though ...)

It seems to me hard to argue with the idea that a 1400-ish player should probably be playing 1...e5 and looking primarily at tactics/tactically-oriented games (books like Neishtadt's "Winning Quickly with Black" and L. Polgar's "5334 ..." come to mind), though.   

kylemeister, thank you for providing the source of that (misquoted, I fear) line. Smiley

I agree on the need to concentrate on the tactics at that level.

When I was starting out, that's virtually all I did...

I had Reinfeld's Winning Chess (beginner), then Pachman's Modern Chess Tactics/Attack and Defence in Modern Chess Tactics (intermediate - well, all levels really!) - great books those (along with the latter's three-in-one abridged volume Modern Chess Strategy).

After my long 12-year break - due to serious eye problems - to regain my "chess-sight" (no pun intended!), I revisited the above books on tactics and also went through Neishtadt's Test Your Tactical Ability, a really worthwhile book for anyone who puts the time into studying/working through it.

Doubtless, one could say the same about any tactical book for those serious about improving.

Following my most recent break - since 2000 - I've just bought Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book and Emm's Ultimate Puzzle Book. I'll revisit Pachman's and Neishtadt's books on tactics, as a refresher, and then hit these two ... along with both of Reinfeld's 1001 ... books and any others I can find! Cheesy

Van Perlo's Endgame Tactics is fun too!

I do enjoy combinations!

If I have made a mistake through all these years, it was to not "thoroughly" analyse my games. I was inclined, like a lot of amateurs, to just annotate the errors as one-move improvements - "I should have played X". It was only through reading both Rowson's and Yermolinsky's books recently, that it was brought home to me what I'd known in the back of my mind. Perhaps this time round...

But enough about me...  Embarrassed Lips Sealed

Kindest regards,

Dragan Glas
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #26 - 02/01/08 at 22:28:44
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wcywing wrote on 02/01/08 at 22:16:44:
i am staying with the open siclian as white using Be2/Be3 as a starting point.  i am sticking with old reliable e5 against e4.  i will use the Sicilian in the future.   


Rather avoid 2...d6/5...g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 0-0 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.0-0 (or 9.f4 Be6 10.g4 Rc8) Be6 10.f4 Rc8 11.g4 (11.f5 Nd7 12.g4 Ne5 13.g5 Rxc3!) Na5 12.f5 Bc4 13. Nxa5 Bxe2 14.Qxe2 Qxa5 15.g5 Rxc3! and White must fight for equality. This typical exchange sac does not work with the bishop on g5 iso e3, hence 7.0-0 0-0 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Kh1 and either 10.f4, 10.Be3 or 10.Bg5, depending on Black's 10th move.
Neither am I impressed by 2...d6/5...Nc6 6.Be2 e5 (Boleslavsky) and even 2...d6/5...e6 6.Be2 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 not playing ...a6.
Hence I recommend a mix of Be2 and Bc4 systems. But - as I already know Willempie's reaction - this is a matter of taste.
  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #25 - 02/01/08 at 22:18:10
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Dragan Glas wrote on 02/01/08 at 22:04:13:
I don't know the Petroff ... but I seem to recall Bronstein recommending 3..., Bb4 as a way of avoiding the Four Knights !? I'm sure those here will correct me if I'm wrong! Smiley




You're not wrong.  Well, I don't know about Bronstein, but 3...Bb4 is a major line.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #24 - 02/01/08 at 22:16:44
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Dragan Glas wrote on 02/01/08 at 20:31:42:
True!

I was assuming that wcywing was a youngish club/tournament player who wished to get to grips with the Sicilian.

Given the latest information, I'd have posted differently.

Kindest regards,

Dragan Glas


i may be young at heart, but i'm not ancient or at midlife crisis yet    Wink
when i was a youngish club tournament/player, there was no such thing as 300 rated played in USCF  Shocked  now it seems to be normal.  i think the lowest class was class E.  at most places where i played a 2000 rated player is hard to find, so i did not have much compition to go against and tournaments were monthly at best.  now if i was a New York or some other major chess center, my rating might be higher, maybe.    

all the advice is good and much appreciated.  i am staying with the open siclian as white using Be2/Be3 as a starting point.  i am sticking with old reliable e5 against e4, study the 4N may not be so bad after all, i will try Bb4 too.  i will use the Sicilian in the future.  
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #23 - 02/01/08 at 22:15:28
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Willempie wrote on 02/01/08 at 16:31:10:
I disagree that the open is too difficult. It is much simpler to understand than the various anti's because when you just play normal moves you get a decent position.


I agree completely. Picking up an anti-Sicilian way too often leads to spending ones time to lines like 2.Nc3 e6 and 3...d5 or 2.Nf3 e6 not 3.d4. This time can be used more useful.
While it is true, that playing the Open Sicilian allows Black to play his pet-line, Black often will not know his stuff in non-topical variations. All Dragoneers know the last developments in the Jugoslav, but do they also know the wrinkles of the Karpov Variation (6.Be2 and Bg5) ?
It is not true indeed that plans are difficult to remember, if you chose your variations carefully. White's play in the Classical Scheveningen and in the Sozin is often a bit stereotypal: either e4-e5, f4-f5 or g2-g4-g5. After that it is just tactics. Just avoid hot stuff like the Jugoslav Attack, the 6.Bg5 Najdorf, the Perenyi-Attack and even the Richter-Rauser.
  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #22 - 02/01/08 at 22:04:13
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Greetings,

wcywing wrote on 02/01/08 at 03:26:54:
Dragan Glas wrote on 02/01/08 at 00:14:40:
Greetings,

I don't know what age you are, but it seems that the young - kids and teens - have a mania for "booking-up" on the most tactical lines they can find.

I certainly did when I was that age!  Embarrassed


well as for my age i am almost twice the age of Carlsen.

Ah! Embarrassed
Quote:
...  back in the day i played Petroff/Phildor then accelerated dragon, then center counter.  i liked the Petroff but many people played Nc3 almost forcing a 4N game  Angry  so i tried d6 against that, but one game showed me that was not good.

I don't know the Petroff ... but I seem to recall Bronstein recommending 3..., Bb4 as a way of avoiding the Four Knights !? I'm sure those here will correct me if I'm wrong! Smiley

Alternatively, you could become so proficient in the Four Knights that no-one will play it against you - and resign themselves to playing the Petroff! Smiley

Or perhaps there's some "move-ordering" that those-in-the-know could recommend!?

Quote:
... now that i am restarting i will go back to e5; e5 will be my solid defense and later the Scheveningen.  i will get Soltis's book to play agaist the sicilian, and maybe  some the other books with games and annotations. 

i was very active in scholastic chess but then military, school, etc slowed down tournament chess.   Sad   however i still play but it is usually against beginers and very rarely against someone who has even played in rated tournaments.  i usually win most of time, but i use very little theory etc.  i plan to get back in the tournament scene, but i know i need to take the rust off.

Both Rowson (Chess for Zebras) and Yermolinsky (The Road to Chess Mastery) essentially advise the same thing: learn to calculate accurately, play(!) and analyse your own games thoroughly.

Having experienced my own series of breaks from chess - the longest being 12 years (I'm one week past my 49th birthday!) - I know how difficult it can be to get one's "chess sight" back. It's one of the reasons I got Rowson's book, as he deals with the "older" player's struggles to improve.

Certainly, for myself, the first thing I would do - and have done in the past - is to concentrate on "Tactics! Tactics! Tactics!".

Without that, you'll be unable to play open games of any sort, get back into tournament-level chess nor analyse your games as thoroughly as you'll need, to return to your former level and/or improve on that.

Get your "chess-sight" back first!

LeeRoth's point about concentrating too much on openings does have a certain grain of truth in it.

At your current level, trying to "book up" on a new opening is not much use.

If you're comfortable with and understand the middle-game positions resulting from the Petroff, stick with it!

It is both a "solid" and "aggressive" opening - as belgian recommended.

[By "solid", LeeRoth, I mean "firm ground" = "sound".]

Besides, if Kamsky can get back into top-flight chess with a relatively poor knowledge of the current cutting-edge of opening theory, then anybody should be able to do so - provided, like him, they play the middle-game well.

And Kamsky proved himself comfortable with the middle-game resulting from the Petroff - as Carlsen found out, to his cost, in the recent World Cup when he unwisely chose that defence as Black in their crucial decider!   Roll Eyes

Kindest regards,

Dragan Glas
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #21 - 02/01/08 at 21:46:43
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The "without understanding the Scheveningen, you cannot play the Sicilian" line is from Jaan Ehlvest.

Jeremy Silman opined not long ago that the Scheveningen is "a perfect first Sicilian for young players and old who wish to test the 1. e4 c5 waters."  While it's certainly true that Black's king can come under attack in the Schev, it might be pointed out that Black could choose lines which tend to avoid/minimize this -- e.g. 9...e5 in the (Modern) Classical, lines with ...Nc6, ...Be7, ...0-0 and ...d5 against the English, and lines where both sides tend to castle queenside (with an isolated White h-pawn) in the Keres.  (Personally, I played the Dragon for quite a while before I ever played the Scheveningen, though ...)

It seems to me hard to argue with the idea that a 1400-ish player should probably be playing 1...e5 and looking primarily at tactics/tactically-oriented games (books like Neishtadt's "Winning Quickly with Black" and L. Polgar's "5334 ..." come to mind), though.   
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #20 - 02/01/08 at 20:31:42
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Greetings,

belgian wrote on 02/01/08 at 01:35:58:
Dragan Glas wrote on 02/01/08 at 00:14:40:
For practical tournament play, one should have two kinds of opening - a "aggressive" one and a "solid" one.


True enough.

However, IMO until you reach a certain strength (say 1900 ELO, although the exact rating is up for debate), you only need one aggressive, but solid line.

If as a developing player you decide to forego 1.-e5, the e6 Sicilians are the way to go. A major benifit of these variations is that there are very few forced lines where you need to know the only right move to survive (which I believe to be the case in the Dragon and the Najdorf.)

Within this group, the Scheveningen is certainly a great choice.

<belgian/>

True!

I was assuming that wcywing was a youngish club/tournament player who wished to get to grips with the Sicilian.

Given the latest information, I'd have posted differently.

Kindest regards,

Dragan Glas
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #19 - 02/01/08 at 16:31:10
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I disagree that the open is and too difficult. It is much simpler to understand than the various anti's because when you just play normal moves you get a decent position. As white you just put your pieces on good squares and play active. It helps to know some basics of course, but I dont think you need to study much theory to play it. Knigths go to c3 and d4, bishops to e2 (or c4 if that is your fancy) and e3, castle short and only then try thinking about a plan. Most usual and good plan is to play f4, Kh1 and try to push f5 or e5. It is also much more valuable developmentwise as like in the e4-e5 openings you need to play active.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #18 - 02/01/08 at 14:28:27
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Whoa.

Winger,

IMHO, you are concentrating way too much on opening choices.  Forget it.  Assuming you are playing folks around your own rating, you don't need to play cutting edge stuff.  What you should be looking for is an opening that let's you get your pieces out and into a playable middlegame and doesn't neglect the center too much.  Do that and you'll be fine.

Against 1.e4, there are lots of good choices.  I would recommend sticking with 1..e5, which you already play.  Find a defense that suits you, and stick with it for awhile.  You need a simple defense to the Spanish, coupled with the Giuoco/Two Knights.  That will get you through most of it, and you can add other lines later.  The Petroff is also a good choice.

Forget the Sicilian for now.  Whatever main line you pick, you'll end up seeing a lot of c3s, Closeds, Grand Prixs anyway.  But if you must pick a Sicilian, I stand by the Dragons.  The Soviets used to teach these to their developing players because the plans are so clearcut.  As a friend of mine used to say: I'd rather be slightly worse but have a plan, than be theoretically equal and not know what to do.

The Scheveningen is not a good choice.  No how, no way.  In the main lines, Black plays ..e6 and ..d6 and then has to maintain his defensive front against White's attempts to play e5, f5 or g5.  There is a bewildering amount of plans and choices -- indeed, I suspect that it is in part this flexibility that makes the Schevy popular at the GM level.

Nor do I understand what people mean by "solid."  If they mean that you don't create weaknesses in the pawn structure, well that's sort of true, but not exactly.  If they mean solid compared to the najdorf, well OK.  But if by solid they mean that your king is safe, guess again.  As Black in the Schevy you often have to face nasty kingside attacks.

As White vs the Sicilian, pick a line.  A single line.  Do not play the open sicilian.  Way too much to learn, plans difficult to remember, and you're giving Black exactly what he wants -- a chance to play his pet defense againt you. 

I'd recommend the Closed Sicilian instead.  Not the Be3, Qd2 trickery, but the relatively simple plan of going for f4-f5 and a kingside attack.  It's simple and effective against most set-ups, the one exception being a Black ..f5 in response, in which case you go c3, d4 and just play chess. 

Opening is for getting the pieces out.  Try to win in the middlegame, not the opening.

My two cents,
LeeRoth      
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #17 - 02/01/08 at 03:26:54
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Dragan Glas wrote on 02/01/08 at 00:14:40:
Greetings,

I don't know what age you are, but it seems that the young - kids and teens - have a mania for "booking-up" on the most tactical lines they can find.

I certainly did when I was that age!  Embarrassed



well as for my age i am almost twice the age of Carlsen.   back in the day i played Petroff/Phildor then accelerated dragon, then center counter.  i liked the Petroff but many people played Nc3 almost forcing a 4N game  Angry  so i tried d6 against that, but one game showed me that was not good.  now that i am restarting i will go back to e5; e5 will be my solid defense and later the Scheveningen.  i will get Soltis's book to play agaist the sicilian, and maybe  some the other books with games and annotations.  

i was very active in scholastic chess but then military, school, etc slowed down tournament chess.   Sad   however i still play but it is usually against beginers and very rarely against someone who has even played in rated tournaments.  i usually win most of time, but i use very little theory etc.  i plan to get back in the tournament scene, but i know i need to take the rust off.  
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #16 - 02/01/08 at 01:35:58
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Dragan Glas wrote on 02/01/08 at 00:14:40:
For practical tournament play, one should have two kinds of opening - a "aggressive" one and a "solid" one.


True enough.

However, IMO until you reach a certain strength (say 1900 ELO, although the exact rating is up for debate), you only need one aggressive, but solid line.

If as a developing player you decide to forego 1.-e5, the e6 Sicilians are the way to go. A major benifit of these variations is that there are very few forced lines where you need to know the only right move to survive (which I believe to be the case in the Dragon and the Najdorf.)

Within this group, the Scheveningen is certainly a great choice.

<belgian/>
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #15 - 02/01/08 at 00:14:40
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Greetings,

wcywing
Although I'm a bit late posting - and I am not the equal of those here - as a long-time Dragon-player, I think my tuppence worth might help.  Wink

LeeRoth and kylemeister are right - don't start with the Sveshnikov!

I don't know what age you are, but it seems that the young - kids and teens - have a mania for "booking-up" on the most tactical lines they can find.

I certainly did when I was that age!  Embarrassed

The Sicilian Dragon, Najdorf and Sveshnikov - amongst a handful of other openings - are renowned for their lines running 20-40 moves deep.

They are like tightropes - whichever player steps off the tightrope...!

One might get away with this in the first two, but as LeeRoth has pointed out, the Sveshnikov sacrifices the pawn structure - the backward d-pawn - in favour of piece-play.

It would not be wise to add the burden of learning to handle such strategic weaknesses on top of learning the multi-move-deep lines.

For practical tournament play, one should have two kinds of opening - a "aggressive" one and a "solid" one.

The theory of the former usually is changing very rapidly - one moment the assessments favour White, the next they favour Black. (The Poisoned Pawn variation in the Najdorf is a classic example - until recently, theory favoured Black, currently it favours White.)

This is why you also have a "solid" opening - when the assessment of the "aggressive" one is against you, you have the "solid" opening on which to fall back until theory favours your "aggressive" opening again.

This is where woofwoof's suggestion is the right way to go.

The Scheveningen is considered the "Classic" Sicilian (not to be confused with the "Classical" variation of the Sicilian!) - as one writer put it, "If you don't know how to play the Scheveningen, you don't know the Sicilian!" (I forget whom at present...)

It is a robust and resilient variation with a great deal of pent-up counter-attacking potential, which is very dangerous against White players who over-reach themselves or mishandle their attack/play.

This is your "solid" Sicilian opening against 1. e4.

The Najdorf is not called the "sharpest" Sicilian for nothing!

It is not so much a "counter-attacking" opening - that's the Scheveningen - but a attacking "defence" for Black!

As already pointed out, theoretical assessments swing back-and-forth in this variation - and will continue to do so! - as one or the other side finds new ideas for White or Black.

This is your "aggressive" Sicilian opening against 1. e4.

But what of the Dragon, you may ask!?

The Dragon complex ("Normal" Dragon, Accelerated and Hyper-Accelerated) is, in some ways, a all-in-one system.

Its practitioners have the best of both worlds, in that, if the normal Dragon is under the cosh - as it appears to be at present - then one can fall back on the Accelerated version, or even the Hyper-Accelerated one, until someone comes up with ideas which rejuvenate the Dragon-proper.

Both of the "fast" versions of the Dragon cut down on White's options - including the Rossolimo (3. Bb5) and Grand Prix Attack, amongst others.

IM Andrew Greet's book is well-timed for the reasons stated above - and it is well-worth waiting for it to appear!  Smiley

[There's also Palliser's book, Beating the Anti-Sicilians, which specifically deals with how Black can deal with the many annoying attempts by White (GPA, Rossolimo/3.Bb5, Alapin/3.c3, Closed/2.Nc3, etc) to avoid the "Black Hole" that is the Sicilian!  Wink

I'm seriously thinking of getting both!  Smiley ]

MNb's, ErictheRed's and Willempie's suggestions are all well worth investigating - I certainly found them thought-provoking!

Besides Soltis' excellent book, there's also Jansa's Dynamics of Chess Strategy, in which he covers various openings (Ruy Lopez/Spanish, Grünfeld, Caro-Kann, Scandinavian, etc) - including a major section on both sides of the Scheveningen (mainly the White-side, along with subsections containing suggestions against the Sveshnikov and Dragon).

[It's only £5 from ChessCenter - see the right-hand link for the discounted books ... the book's link is: http://www.ukgamesshop.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=chbom... ]

There's also Levy's How to Play the Sicilian Defence (2nd edition was the latest/last), which covers the strategic themes/ideas for both sides of the Dragon (..., g6), Najdorf et al (...,e6), Löwenthal/Lasker/Pelikan/Sveshnikov (...,e5), Little Centre (pawns on e6 and d6), Bg5 Systems, Closed and Maròczy Bind (...,g6/e6) - including typical (exchange-/) sacrifices on any square you can think of as being of importance in the Sicilian!

I found it of inestimable value in understanding how/when to play certain set-ups - the book is sprinkled with "Golden Rules" for both sides. The strategies are demonstrated with games and parts of games throughout the text.

Finally...

Book Buying Tip
On Amazon, when you find a book, don't go with the main quoted price.

Click on the "X new and used available from (lowest price!)" link and then the "New" tab link.

Here you'll find listed various sellers - in different countries(!) - from which you can buy the book, brand new, through Amazon.

Thus you get the even cheaper/cheapest price whilst being protected by purchasing through Amazon!

Kindest regards,

Dragan Glas
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #14 - 01/28/08 at 16:55:26
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i will definatly get that book.  it has chapters on just about every opening complex.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #13 - 01/28/08 at 15:39:40
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If you want to play either side of the Open Sicilian, and especially if you want to play the Classical Be2 lines as White, I suggest a very effective and fairly easy study method: read Pawn Structure Chess by Andrew Soltis.  His chapter on the Open Sicilian is excellent, and what you learn from him will last a lifetime.  The rest of the book isn't too bad, either!

Honestly just understanding that chapter will be all the Open Sicilian preparation you'll really need to do until you get to 1700-1800 USCF, in my opinion.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #12 - 01/28/08 at 03:14:49
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at chessbase.com there was a very exciting game between Carlsen and Anaund.  Carlsen lost but it should how dangerous Be2 can be.  i will study that game a lot.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #11 - 01/27/08 at 18:16:38
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woofwoof wrote on 01/27/08 at 14:01:40:
Willempie wrote on 01/27/08 at 00:41:40:
typical tactics in the sicilian.


I take this to mean the thematic sacs?? Rxc3, Bxe6, Bxb5, Nf5, Nd5 and so on?

If so, there are also these 2 books "Sacrifices in the Sicilian" by David Levy. Its out of print but  may still be found over at Ebay or Abebooks. The other is "Essential chess sacrifices " by David LeMoir. Covers quite a bit on the sicilian.

I only hv the 1st one.

Later edit: My general overview of najdorf 'must knows' found here : http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1131118378

Notes on h3 & f4 found here : http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1128752569/0

I know i didnt cover 6.Bg5, But basically soundest ways are either Poisoned Pawn or the main line. I personally play main line. PP is far too much work. Anyway quite a nomber of PP threads around here if you are interested.

Yep that Lemoir book and iirc there is also one by Van der Tak, which seems very good for this purpose.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #10 - 01/27/08 at 17:55:48
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MNb wrote on 01/27/08 at 10:45:59:
As you have decided to play 1...e5  already I suggest only to study the Sicilian as White. Alas against the Sicilian a sound, practical choice like the Italian does not exist.


don't worry, most of my focus will be on the open games as my main defence, as white i will focus on Be2 open sicilian depending on the situation of course. 

thank you for everyone's help.  everyone has been very helpful.  fortunately or unfortunatly i have not faced the sicilian that often.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #9 - 01/27/08 at 14:01:40
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Willempie wrote on 01/27/08 at 00:41:40:
typical tactics in the sicilian.


I take this to mean the thematic sacs?? Rxc3, Bxe6, Bxb5, Nf5, Nd5 and so on?

If so, there are also these 2 books "Sacrifices in the Sicilian" by David Levy. Its out of print but  may still be found over at Ebay or Abebooks. The other is "Essential chess sacrifices " by David LeMoir. Covers quite a bit on the sicilian.

I only hv the 1st one.

Later edit: My general overview of najdorf 'must knows' found here : http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1131118378

Notes on h3 & f4 found here : http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1128752569/0

I know i didnt cover 6.Bg5, But basically soundest ways are either Poisoned Pawn or the main line. I personally play main line. PP is far too much work. Anyway quite a nomber of PP threads around here if you are interested.
« Last Edit: 01/27/08 at 16:56:20 by woofwoof »  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #8 - 01/27/08 at 10:45:59
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As you have decided to play 1...e5  already I suggest only to study the Sicilian as White. Alas against the Sicilian a sound, practical choice like the Italian does not exist. If you chose some Anti-Sicilian (2.c3, 3.Bb5 or the more suspect Morra Gambit and Grand Prix) you will soon find out that these require as much maintenance as the Open Sicilian. You might consider the Closed Sicilian, but 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 d5 does not appeal. So you'd rather take a deep breath and play the Open Sicilian. I did about 20 years ago, got only four games in a year, concluded that it was way too much work and still regret that decision. Fortunately it is possible to select some decent shortcuts.

Najdorf: 2...d6/5...a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 (Classical Scheveningen), e5 7.Nf3 (7.Nb3 is sharper but requires more work) and Ng4 7.Bg5.
Classical Scheveningen: 2...d6/5...e6 6.Be3 (more sophisticated than 6.Be2) Be7 (Nc6 7.Bc4 is Sozin, a6 7.Be2 ) 7.g4 is a kind of Keres-Attack.
Sozin: 2...d6/5...Nc6 6.Bc4 e6 (Qb6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.o-o) 7.Be3 Be7 (a6 8.Bb3 Bd7 9.Qe2 or Na5 9.f4) 8.Bb3 0-0 (Bd7 9.Qe2 or a6 9.f4 Qc7 10.Qf3) 9.o-o Nxd4 (a6 10.f4) 10.Bxd4 a6 11.f4 b5 12.a3.
Dragon: 2...d6/5...g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Kh1 and 10.f4 or 10.Bg5.
Svesjnikov: 2...Nc6/5...e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5
Accelerated Dragon: 2...Nc6/4...Nc6 5.Be2 Bg7 6.Nb3 will usually transpose to the Dragon.
Paulsen/Kan/Taimanov/Four Knights: 2...e6/4...a6 5.Be2 or 4...Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6 (d6 6.Be3) 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.e5.

The idea is only to play x.Be2 after Black has played .e6/a6 or g6. At first you will not have to study this deeply, but you must maintain this continuously while you improve. The good news is that this will sharpen you weapons against the Sicilian as well and you will also gradually replace these lines by more ambitious and more popular attacking systems.
This seems to be a mix from Woofwoof's and Wilempie's suggestions.
  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #7 - 01/27/08 at 05:50:47
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kylemeister wrote on 01/26/08 at 20:00:10:
Eh?  Be2 can certainly be played against the Taimanov and the Kan (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Be2 is a good order).


Ah! so there's a Be2 move in the Kan as well?? Oh Ok. Thats something new for me. Prior to this ive always thought things like Be2 always occurred on the 6th move, hence ive addressed on those sicilians that do.In life, one never stops learning isnt it?? Trust Kyle to always come up with bits of educational stuff every now & again. Thanks.
  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #6 - 01/27/08 at 00:41:40
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What will certainly help (for both white and black and with whichever system you decide to play) is going through games with typical tactics in the sicilian. I think that in that respect the book by Van der Tak on the sicilian may be far more useful than any theoretical book you can find. At 1400 and even at 1900 knowledge of the typical tactics will pay off far more than knowledge of the moves.
  

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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #5 - 01/27/08 at 00:21:11
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LeeRoth wrote on 01/26/08 at 23:54:00:
As Black, the Dragon and the Acc Dragon make better first Sicilians.  Plans are more clear cut and structure is more solid, which gives you a chance to concentrate on the tactics.  Wait for Andrew Greet's book on the Acc Dragon.  Then decide.  


i was waiting for Greet's book, but it keeps getting delayed...  Angry  i will wait some more i guess, i have thought about the Dragon, it avoids the bind.  i will have to get Dearing's book and Ward's book. 

as for anti-siclians, i have faced the Nc3 grandprix attack and the smith morra gambit.  i have never face the c3 sicilian yet.  in the mean time i will look at NCO to study the main lines.
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #4 - 01/26/08 at 23:54:00
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Not there.  You need more experience and rating points under your belt before you start playing positions with a backward d-pawn and a big hole on d5.

As Black, the Dragon and the Acc Dragon make better first Sicilians.  Plans are more clear cut and structure is more solid, which gives you a chance to concentrate on the tactics.  Wait for Andrew Greet's book on the Acc Dragon.  Then decide.

You will also need to be ready for anti-sicilians.  My guess is that you are likely to see a lot of these at your level.  Look into a good line against the c3 Sicilian and the Grand Prix Attack, especially. 

  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #3 - 01/26/08 at 20:08:13
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kylemeister wrote on 01/26/08 at 20:00:10:
But when a 1400 player is considering things like "The Sveshnikov Reloaded," things have gone a bit off the rails ...  


this may be true, but one must start somewhere. 
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #2 - 01/26/08 at 20:00:10
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Eh?  Be2 can certainly be played against the Taimanov and the Kan (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Be2 is a good order).

But when a 1400 player is considering things like "The Sveshnikov Reloaded," things have gone a bit off the rails ...
  
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Re: which sicilian to play?
Reply #1 - 01/26/08 at 19:05:05
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If you wish to play open sicilians with Be2, then you will have to be prepared to meet the following:

1) Boleslavsky 1.e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 e5

2) Najdorf 1.e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 or 6...e6

3) Scheveningen 1.e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2  Nc6

4) Classical dragon 1.e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 g6

but there are times you wont even get that far, cos black can play the Kan, Taimanov or  Sveshnikov, so where's your 6.Be2 now??

In my case anyway, I play 6.Bc4 against the 1st four above. It effectively prevents the Boleslavsky & classical dragon & leads to a sozin. 6.Bc4 against najdorf is also quite similar to a sozin. Saves me the trouble of having to prepare so many openings. Bc4 alone is a lot of work already. But you may try 6.Bg5 too if you prefer sharper positions.

In the case of the Schevy, if you follow up 6.Bc4 with Bb3,Be3,Qe2,0-0-0, f4 etc you will be playing the velimirovic attack. Alternatively you can play 6.g4 (Keres attack)

against kan, I suggest playing 1.e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 or 5.Nc3. But if you like maroczy bind type of positions you may also proceed 5.c4.

Against the Svesh I just play the main lines arising from Ndb5.

As to which sicilian to play, since you are not afraid of book lines & I take it that you are willing to invest time & money to stay updated, then its najdorf & Schevy. I did post an overview of what needs to be known to play a najdorf in some way earlier thread. I'll try to locate it & post it later on.
  

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which sicilian to play?
01/26/08 at 17:20:55
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someone suggested i start a thread on which sicilian to play and which system to play against the sicilian.  i am rated 1414.  i like tactical openings, and i'm not afraid to read books or lines.  however i'm not sure where to start with.  

with black i have played the accelerated dragon, i had some good games with but the results were not that great, something that i will study more on.  i have also thought about the Sveshnikov, the newest book by quality chess has reviews, from what i've read.  

i have not played against the sicilian that much, but i know i will face more of them especially against stronger players.  i will probaly play open sicilian with Be2 against most lines.  

any comments will be appreciated.  
  
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