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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Where did the Closed Sicilian go? (Read 26502 times)
MartinC
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #17 - 07/06/11 at 10:34:06
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In general terms I suspect that the closed sicillian - and perhaps 2 c3 - have suffered a bit from the development of the Bb5(+) stuff, which basically seems to do much the same job in repitoire terms but slightly better.
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #16 - 07/06/11 at 10:32:29
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Stefan Buecker wrote on 07/01/11 at 17:35:30:
Bowen wrote on 07/01/11 at 04:55:40:
Thank you, Stefan Buecker and all! I am constantly amazed that no opening variation can be so esoteric that it cannot receive a flurry of speedy, high quality responses. I have the Palliser book The Closed Sicilian and have of late been playing the Glek, 4 knights: 1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6, 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3... I have found that after a later d6...Nd4...c5...the positions that arise are similar to those in the Closed Sicilian, and with an eye to economy in preparation I thought it might not be a bad idea to study and play both openings with an eye to transpositional possibilities. Any thoughts on my clever, but devious plan? Smiley

Against Glek's 4.g3, the "Avant Gambit" 4...d5! 5.exd5 Nd4 is strong, an improved version of the Halloween Gambit, introduced in the game Labahn - Th. Avant, corr. 2000. See Kaissiber 16 (2001), p.4. 4...d5 also appears in a later analysis by Glek, but without a source, he neither mentions Th. Avant nor Kaissiber.


The Glek line you mention was analyzed by Glek himself in SOS 2, he concluded that it was a tricky line with White's only hope for a slight advantage being an immediate 6.Bg2 following 5...Nd4. This was published in 2004, light years ago in opening theory. However, in a dozen tournament games I have never had to face this line.
  
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bragesjo
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #15 - 07/06/11 at 08:50:49
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I have similar experience, my standardtime games in Dragon these days are usually only played in team matches against strong opponnents. I tend to meet lots of closed sicilians, Bb5+ , Morras and grandprix and other anti sicilians at both local club and at Internet. The funny thing is that local club players play open sicilians against all other players but me (they sometimes even open with 1 f4 to avoid theory) so I dont consider my self to be a Dragon player, only to be a sicilian player.
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #14 - 07/05/11 at 19:17:40
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Bowen wrote on 06/30/11 at 05:02:40:
In 2005 Richard Palliser published a fairly thorough book on the Closed Sicilian, Starting Out: Closed Sicilian usually at such times there is a wave of Closed Sicilian games adhering to the latest fashion, however, since then we have seen Rossilimos, Grand Prix Attacks, and Moscow variations proliferating. Is there something wrong with the venerable Closed Sicilian? Or, is it simply a matter of following fashion? One would think that if the Closed Sicilian is such a juicy opening and nobody at the top level is playing it, then it might just be time to bring it back.


I have never had a titled player play the Closed Sicilian against me, but when I used to play in local clubs, around 40% of my Sicilian games were (annoyingly enough Smiley) Closed Sicilians. When I play on ICC, I get Closed Sicilians around approximately 65% of my Sicilian games for some reason. I get an Open Sicilian in my Sicilian games very infrequently.
  

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MNb
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #13 - 07/01/11 at 22:12:29
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Fllg wrote on 07/01/11 at 17:27:38:
Here I have two better examples to illustrate my point:

Lane, Gary - Nunn, John
Stroud Open 1980

Ghizdavu played 14...Tac8, so thus my point - being dependent on the ambition of your opponent - is confirmed.

Fllg wrote on 07/01/11 at 17:27:38:
Stefanova, Antoaneta (2451) - Tregubov, Pavel (2626)
Wijk aan Zee (B) 2002

The same: 13...Be6 and 14...Rac8.

Fllg wrote on 07/01/11 at 17:27:38:
So it´s entirely possible to lose these boring positions even for players rated above 2600.

Sure. G.Giorgadze, rated 2610, managed to lose after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Nxd4 in 1998 - in 25 moves. That doesn't make this line less boring.

Fllg wrote on 07/01/11 at 17:27:38:
But I think we don´t have to continue this. You are surely right that White has better ways to play for an advantage, at least for regular use.

Agreed.

Stefan Buecker wrote on 07/01/11 at 16:55:16:
White cannot prove an advantage in the Open, which you probably know yourself.

Certainly. 1.e4 c5 is equal and then the game begins.

Stefan Buecker wrote on 07/01/11 at 16:55:16:
And he practically allows Black to decide the character of the game.

Here I happen to disagree, but I'll save that for another time. This thread is not the right place to discuss that point.
  

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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #12 - 07/01/11 at 17:35:30
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Bowen wrote on 07/01/11 at 04:55:40:
Thank you, Stefan Buecker and all! I am constantly amazed that no opening variation can be so esoteric that it cannot receive a flurry of speedy, high quality responses. I have the Palliser book The Closed Sicilian and have of late been playing the Glek, 4 knights: 1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6, 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3... I have found that after a later d6...Nd4...c5...the positions that arise are similar to those in the Closed Sicilian, and with an eye to economy in preparation I thought it might not be a bad idea to study and play both openings with an eye to transpositional possibilities. Any thoughts on my clever, but devious plan? Smiley

Against Glek's 4.g3, the "Avant Gambit" 4...d5! 5.exd5 Nd4 is strong, an improved version of the Halloween Gambit, introduced in the game Labahn - Th. Avant, corr. 2000. See Kaissiber 16 (2001), p.4. 4...d5 also appears in a later analysis by Glek, but without a source, he neither mentions Th. Avant nor Kaissiber.

Once I had planned to play various Black systems along the strategy of the Closed Sicilian, e.g. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 c5!?, or 1.e4 e5 2.f4 c5!?, or 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 c5!?. I didn't use these lines often, mainly only in Blitz or such. But there isn't much wrong with them.
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #11 - 07/01/11 at 17:27:38
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MNb wrote on 07/01/11 at 12:53:47:
I don't like the idea of depending on my opponent to avoid utterly boring stuff like this.

Here I have two better examples to illustrate my point:

Lane, Gary - Nunn, John
Stroud Open 1980



1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. Qxd4 Nf6 7. Bg5 Be7 8.
Bb5+ Nc6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Qc5 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Qe7+ 12. Qxe7+ Kxe7 13. O-O-O Be6
14. Ne2 Kd6 15. Rhe1 Kc5 16. c4 dxc4 17. Bxc6 bxc6 18. Nf4 Bg4 19. Re5+ Kb4 20.
Rd4 Be6 21. a3+ Kxa3 22. Nxe6 Kb4 23. Rc5 1-0


Stefanova, Antoaneta (2451) - Tregubov, Pavel (2626)
Wijk aan Zee (B) 2002



1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. Qxd4 Nf6 7. Bg5 Be7 8.
Bb5+ Nc6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Qc5 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Qe7+ 12. Qxe7+ Kxe7 13. O-O-O Rd8
14. Ne2 Bg4 15. Rd2 Kf8 16. Nf4 Ne7 17. h3 Bf3 18. Re1 Rac8 19. Re3 Be4 20. g4
g5 21. Nh5 f5 22. Nf6 f4 23. Re1 Bg6 24. Nd7+ Rxd7 25. Bxd7 Rxc3 26. Re5 Rxh3
27. Rxg5 Kf7 28. Re5 Be4 29. Rh5 Rc3 30. Bb5 Bg6 31. Rh2 Nc6 32. Bd3 Ne5 33.
Bxg6+ Kxg6 34. Rxd5 Nxg4 35. Rh4 Nf6 36. Rd4 f3 37. Rh3 h5 38. Kb2 Rc6 39. Rxf3
Ng4 40. Rf8 Rb6+ 41. Kc1 Nf6 42. Rb8 Kg5 43. a3 a5 44. a4 Kg6 45. Ra8 Ng4 46.
Rxa5 Nxf2 47. Rh4 1-0


So it´s entirely possible to lose these boring positions even for players rated above 2600.
But I think we don´t have to continue this. You are surely right that White has better ways to play for an advantage, at least for regular use.

« Last Edit: 07/01/11 at 18:35:48 by Fllg »  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #10 - 07/01/11 at 17:12:53
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Thank you very much for your clear and logical response, I will look further into a few Closed Sicilian lines and see what I can come up with, and whether it or not the opening will fit into my comfort zone!
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #9 - 07/01/11 at 16:55:16
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MNb wrote on 07/01/11 at 12:53:47:
@FM Bücker: I am not aware of having participated in a debate on the Closed Ruy Lopez or its sidelines, so your remark is not clear to me.
I'll admit immediately that this version of the Closed Sicilian is difficult. So is the Open Sicilian. Maybe that's why you as White achieve nothing with it?  Wink

I failed to see particular merits in 2...e6 then (in comparison to other lines of the Closed), and here your sympathy for 2...e6 showed again ("Hug-Korchnoi, Biel 1986 is not very inspiring either; nor are White's results in practice [...]").

I was refering to http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1238132634/31 with my claim that 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.f4 d5 4.d3 (Hort) dxe4?! was inaccurate and gives White an edge. Later I elaborated on it on Chesscafe. As I see it, 4...dxe4?! doesn't work. Thus 4. d3 results in a symmetry where White is still a move ahead.

In practice the Open Sicilian is as good as the Closed, it is a matter of taste, and if you prefer the Open, why not. White cannot prove an advantage in the Open, which you probably know yourself. And he practically allows Black to decide the character of the game. In an environment with too many 3.d4 players, many would have more success with 2.Nc3 or 2.a4.
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #8 - 07/01/11 at 12:53:47
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Fllg wrote on 07/01/11 at 04:31:53:
@ MNB: You are right about the Göring but I don´t think it´s a dead draw and how many Sicilian players are aware of and willing to enter it?


Ljubojevic,L (2550) - Parma,B (2510) [C44]
JUGch Umag (5), 1972



1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.cxd4 Bg4 7.Be2 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Qc4 10.Qb3 Qxb3 11.axb3 Nxd4 12.Bxb7 Rb8 13.Rxa7 Bc5 14.Ra8 Rxa8 15.Bxa8 Ne7 16.Be4 0-0 17.Bf4 Ne6 18.Bg3 Rb8 19.Bc2 Nc6 20.Kd2 Ncd4 21.Rd1 Nxb3+ 22.Bxb3 Rxb3 23.Kc2 Rb7 24.Rd7 Kf8 25.Ne4 Be7 ½-½



Ghizdavu,D (2385) - Sydor,A (2390) [C44]
Olympiade M fin-A Skopje (3), 1972



1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.cxd4 Bg4 7.Be2 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Qc4 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.Qe2+ Qxe2+ 12.Kxe2 Ne7 13.Be3 0-0-0 14.Rac1 Nf5 15.Rhd1 Rhe8 16.Kf3 Nh4+ 17.Kg3 Nf5+ 18.Kf3 Nh4+ ½-½

I don't like the idea of depending on my opponent to avoid utterly boring stuff like this.

@FM Bücker: I am not aware of having participated in a debate on the Closed Ruy Lopez or its sidelines, so your remark is not clear to me.
I'll admit immediately that this version of the Closed Sicilian is difficult. So is the Open Sicilian. Maybe that's why you as White achieve nothing with it?  Wink
Then again this line of the Closed Sicilian sure gives more chances than that transposition to the Göring Gambit. Btw Hug also played 8.Ne2. Robert Fontaine as Black went successfully berserk against Bricard in 2002. So you may be right, you understand more of stuff like this then I do, but I am not encouraged. Not to mention the fact that I exactly fall in the category that loses more as White than wins according to your statistical analysis!
  

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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #7 - 07/01/11 at 04:55:40
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Thank you, Stefan Buecker and all! I am constantly amazed that no opening variation can be so esoteric that it cannot receive a flurry of speedy, high quality responses. I have the Palliser book The Closed Sicilian and have of late been playing the Glek, 4 knights: 1.e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6, 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3... I have found that after a later d6...Nd4...c5...the positions that arise are similar to those in the Closed Sicilian, and with an eye to economy in preparation I thought it might not be a bad idea to study and play both openings with an eye to transpositional possibilities. Any thoughts on my clever, but devious plan? Smiley
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #6 - 07/01/11 at 04:31:53
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@ Stefan: Thanks!

@ MNB: You are right about the Göring but I don´t think it´s a dead draw and how many Sicilian players are aware of and willing to enter it?
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #5 - 07/01/11 at 02:58:19
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@Fllg. Congratulations to the 70%. Varying your own openings is never a bad idea.

@MNb. We have discussed this before. The Closed Spanish is fascinating and subtle, so is the Closed Sicilian. The Spanish with an early Nc3 and d2-d4 is rarely played, it is said to be too primitive. The Open Sicilian is similar: it attacks directly, and achieves nothing.

8.dxe4! Nc6 9.Ne2 is the key position. MegaBase 2008 gives 70 games, score: 42% for White. The line is strategically difficult, which is why some players cannot handle it (perhaps me included). If you order the games according to White's Elo, you find these scores for White:

Games  1-10 - score 60% +46 / -44 ("success" W./B.*)
Games 11-20 - score 50% +50 /-48
Games 21-30 - score 50% +34 /-33
Games 31-40 - score 30% -47 / +48
Games 41-50 - score 40% -9 / +10
Games 51-60 - score 35% +51 / -50
Games 61-70 - score 30%

(* meaning: White played 46 Elo "stronger" than expected, Black 44 "weaker")

These highest-rated players did not face, in average, much weaker opponents, e.g. the ten best Whities had: average 2457, success 2503; their opponents: average 2430, success 2386.

The lower-rated Whities, No's 41-70: average 2080, success 2081; their opponents: average 2213, success 2184. Looking at all games, White played about as "expected", Black 20 points below his average.

Not a convincing "proof", considering the small number of games, but maybe it qualifies as a trend. Studying my own games, I was always satisfied with the opening, but found it hard to convert the advantage. There are few static advantages, the play is very dynamic. To convert one advantage into another isn't easy. In this respect Bobby Fischer excelled: convert an advantage in development into an advantage in space, then maybe into a pawn, returning the pawn for piece play, finding a way to establish a passed pawn, etc. Not everybody is able to play that way.

Anyway, in my opinion 8.dxe4! is objectively a strong move. If the strategy is too difficult for many, it's not the fault of the opening. 
  
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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #4 - 07/01/11 at 00:41:00
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Fllg wrote on 06/30/11 at 16:47:21:
Black surely gets an equal game in a number of lines including 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 d5 but White has a few ways to try to liven the game up: 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4!?

Now that's a paradox. White tries to liven the game up by chosing the most boring variation of the Göring Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.cxd4 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be2 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Qc4 10.Qb3 or 10.Bxc6+.
The extra move g2-g3 doesn't make any difference.

Fllg wrote on 06/30/11 at 16:47:21:
or 5.d3 Nf6 6.Bg2 and if 6... d4 7.Ne4 Nxe4 8.dxe4!? may be interesting which has also been recommended by Stefan Buecker if I remember correctly.

Hug-Korchnoi, Biel 1986 is not very inspiring either; nor are White's results in practice, if my database is to be relied on.
  

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Re: Where did the Closed Sicilian go?
Reply #3 - 06/30/11 at 16:47:21
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The Closed Sicilian is a decent choice for White. I played it almost exclusively vs. the Sicilian from 1990 to 1995 after studying two small booklets on the line 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.f4 written by Stefan Buecker.

My overall score has been 70% in 55 games. Admittedly I gave it up because I became a bit bored and my results vs. players rated above 2300 where bad. That may not have anything to do with the opening of course.  Wink

Black surely gets an equal game in a number of lines including 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 d5 but White has a few ways to try to liven the game up: 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4!? or 5.d3 Nf6 6.Bg2 and if 6... d4 7.Ne4 Nxe4 8.dxe4!? may be interesting which has also been recommended by Stefan Buecker if I remember correctly.
« Last Edit: 06/30/11 at 19:04:40 by Fllg »  
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