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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf? (Read 37479 times)
ErictheRed
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #45 - 07/20/14 at 19:34:09
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I just don't like touching the pawns in front of my king as White there, but what do I know?  Presumably that was some kind of preparation from Grandelius.
  
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kylemeister
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #44 - 07/20/14 at 15:00:32
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By the way, Grandelius got another crack at this line today, and opted for h4 on move 14 (as opposed to move 16 as in his earlier game, or move 15 as suggested by Eric ...).  Obodchuk's article had "with counterplay" after 16...Kh8.

  
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ErictheRed
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #43 - 07/13/14 at 19:22:27
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Ludde wrote on 07/13/14 at 11:58:19:
kylemeister wrote on 04/01/14 at 17:53:09:
In the Obodchuk article I mentioned, he liked deviating from those correspondence games (and from Edouard-Raetsky) with 11...Bb4 12. Be2 0-0 13. e5 Nh7 14. Ne4 a5, which had been played by the Croatian grandmaster Jankovic.


After some research I have a feeling this is indeed quite acceptable for black. White has Bxh6 at one point forcing a draw, but as soon as the white-squared bishops gets exchanged (Ba6) black seems to be able to hold on the kingside. With the central pawn majority and open b-file he then has good longterm chances.


Really?  13...Nh7(!) was a new move to me and I haven't done any real research here, but following 11...Bb4 12. Be2 0-0 13. e5 Nh7 14. Ne4 a5 instead of the move 15.c3 played by Grandelius against Janjovic, I'd think that 15.Qg3, 15.h4, 15.Kb1 all need to be looked at and my gut tells me that White should be somewhat better.  Of course, home analysis isn't done with one's gut (though over-the-board decisions are often made that way), so I don't know.  It just seems that White's kingside play will be faster than Black's queenside.

By the way in the game, I'm not entirely sure that 18.Bxh6 would have only lead to a draw; it looks more like "strong attack for White to me," but this is my initial, gut reaction and I could be wrong.  The correspondence players around here could probably answer that question better than I can:



Anyway it's all pretty interesting.


  
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Ludde
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #42 - 07/13/14 at 11:58:19
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kylemeister wrote on 04/01/14 at 17:53:09:
In the Obodchuk article I mentioned, he liked deviating from those correspondence games (and from Edouard-Raetsky) with 11...Bb4 12. Be2 0-0 13. e5 Nh7 14. Ne4 a5, which had been played by the Croatian grandmaster Jankovic.


After some research I have a feeling this is indeed quite acceptable for black. White has Bxh6 at one point forcing a draw, but as soon as the white-squared bishops gets exchanged (Ba6) black seems to be able to hold on the kingside. With the central pawn majority and open b-file he then has good longterm chances.
  
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OrangeCounty
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #41 - 04/07/14 at 22:12:20
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I played a casual game with a friend in this line at a time control of G/40.

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 h6 9 Nxc6 bxc6 10 Bf4 d5 11 Qe3 Be7 12 Be2 0-0 13 Qg3 Kh8 14 Bc7 Qe8 15 Be5 Rg8 16 Qe3 Nh7 17 h4 Bf6 18 f4 Qe7 19 Bxf6 Qxf6 20 g4 g5 21 hxg5 hxg5 22 Rxh7+ Kxh7 23 Rh1+ Kg7 and now Rh7+(!) wins but I played g5-g6 and eventually went wrong in time trouble and even lost.

No problems in the opening though.  Thank you all, I'm understanding why this is supposed to be good for White now.
  
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kylemeister
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #40 - 04/01/14 at 17:53:09
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In the Obodchuk article I mentioned, he liked deviating from those correspondence games (and from Edouard-Raetsky) with 11...Bb4 12. Be2 0-0 13. e5 Nh7 14. Ne4 a5, which had been played by the Croatian grandmaster Jankovic.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #39 - 04/01/14 at 17:20:31
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Notice in that Noble-Keuter game that Vass posted, White's attack was made possible by the weakness on h6 and the pin down the d-file, two things that he doesn't have in the Taimanov version of that structure. 

It all just looks quite depressing for Black to me.
  
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OrangeCounty
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #38 - 04/01/14 at 16:44:30
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Thank you very much for the replies.  I will go over the games tonight.
  
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Vass
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #37 - 04/01/14 at 08:44:34
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I can only confirm - this variation is hard to play for black in the correspondence chess, too. Look at some games where the first players know how to play it:



  
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ErictheRed
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #36 - 04/01/14 at 00:39:10
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OrangeCounty wrote on 04/01/14 at 00:12:14:
I have a chess playing compatriot who plays the Classical, and I intend to take up the Rauzer against him (as a matter of fact, I have done so on a few occasions already.  However, after 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 h6 9 Nxc6 (! - according to some) bxc6 10 Bf4 d5 what exactly is White trying to do?

I'm not a new player - though not a Grandmaster - but I simply don't understand why White should be better here.  Closing the center allows Black to play for his (faster) attack on the Queenside, and keeping the pawn on e4 leaves White without an obvious break.  Sure, you can poke around at Black's pieces a little bit, but things like 11 Qe3 Be7 12 Be2 0-0 13 Qg3 Kh8 14 Bc7 Qd7 15 Be5 Qb7 do not appear particularly productive.

Thoughts on why this line is supposed to be structurally useful to White?


Perhaps you should compare the position to those that arise after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Nxc6 bc 7.Bd3 d5.  The concrete lines are different, but White's effectively up an entire tempo or so in the Richter-Rauzer version with the same pawn structure. 

In the Ricther-Rauzer line, Black's kingside has been compromised by ...h7-h6 already, providing White a potential target for attack.  The rook on d1 exerts unpleasant pressure down the d-file and Black has problems to solve with his light-squared bishop.  White's bishop on f4 means that Black doesn't have b8 for a rook, so it's difficult to create play down the b-file.  And don't forget that White is ahead in development in an opposite-side castled situation where Black's kingside has been slightly compromised.

It's not like this refutes the whole Classical Sicilian or anything, but White has a lot going for him.  In concrete terms, 13.h4 is probably better than the 13.Qg3 of your line, trying to extract a defensive tempo out of Black and generally threatening to get on with things (i.e. 14.g4 is coming if Black does nothing). 

Black's 13th move must be a mistake in this game, but here's something to just show the ideas (and this is a recent game where Black is a GM, it's not like Raetsky is a fish):

« Last Edit: 04/01/14 at 18:23:16 by ErictheRed »  
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OrangeCounty
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #35 - 04/01/14 at 00:12:14
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I have a chess playing compatriot who plays the Classical, and I intend to take up the Rauzer against him (as a matter of fact, I have done so on a few occasions already.  However, after 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 h6 9 Nxc6 (! - according to some) bxc6 10 Bf4 d5 what exactly is White trying to do?

I'm not a new player - though not a Grandmaster - but I simply don't understand why White should be better here.  Closing the center allows Black to play for his (faster) attack on the Queenside, and keeping the pawn on e4 leaves White without an obvious break.  Sure, you can poke around at Black's pieces a little bit, but things like 11 Qe3 Be7 12 Be2 0-0 13 Qg3 Kh8 14 Bc7 Qd7 15 Be5 Qb7 do not appear particularly productive.

Thoughts on why this line is supposed to be structurally useful to White?
  
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #34 - 02/21/14 at 23:06:48
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raja wrote on 12/29/11 at 20:03:53:
Please tell me why Classical sicilian is not as popular as Najdorf? Does Najdorf give more winning chances than classical? Undecided


In my opinion :

1. Bobby Fischer and Kasparov´s main weapon vs 1.e4.
2. The reputation of the Rauzer. (Maybe it is better than its reputation after all).

There are pros and cons. Najdorf is more theorethical than the classical. Classical is "safer". The battle doesnt tend to be so bloody (often white chooses how bloody it will be...by playing 6.Bg5 for example) as it is in the Najdorf.

Najdorf is less flexible vs the anti-sicilians ...especially vs the Grand Prix but also Moscow/Rossolimo where the Classical player has more options. One could compare them like this also to see which opening "wins" :

vs

Be2-Boleslavsky  - Approx equal.
f4 system           - Classical sicilian wins (f4 setup is more popular vs Najdorf)
English attack : Approx equal. Hard to say. If I had to chose I would probably say Classical wins.
Sozin: Classical wins. Qb6 -Benko system is very solid and stable.
g3 system Approx equal but the classical is slightly more flexible here. Classical has the possibility to face the g3 system with either a Scheveningen (-e6),or Boleslavsky (-e5) AND a Dragon set up (-g6 without having committed to -a6).

Rauzer vs 6.Bg5 in the Najdorf - Hard to say because theoretically black is probably in better shape in the
Najdorf 6.Bg5 but on the other hand its more difficult (in practical play) to face 6.Bg5 in the Najdorf as blacks king position is often under heavy fire. So which opening wins ? Hard to say but if I have to chose I vote for Najdorf as it has some more setups to chose from.

Najdorf players also have to face two other options 6.h3 (sound and fully playable) and 6.Rg1 (6.Rg1 probably not too dangerous  and sound after all).

All in all ...if considering.... : flexibility,Theory!,score (according to 'Easy guide to the classical sicilian' The classical scores better than the Najdorf... but that book was written some years ago),to face the anti-sicilians..... I would chose playing the Classical sicilian (I play the accelerated dragon now) instead of the Najdorf. Thats my opinion. Other players may be of the opinion that the Rauzer is the achilles heel of the Classical and more difficult to face than 6.Bg5. What I remember is that Khalifman in his Anand book series wrote/concluded that in the Rauzer black has chances "for a successful defence in all variations"...(or something similar).

You also asked : Does the Najdorf give more winning chances ? : Despite the above text the answer is probably YES. Classical is safer ...little more solid which probably gives it a better score. The Najdorf can become very messy which also gives blacks good chances to fight his way to a win or to a complete collapse.

This is my opinion.....which could be far from the truth of course  Tongue

  

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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #33 - 01/25/14 at 11:44:32
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ChevyBanginStyle wrote on 01/24/14 at 22:20:31:
given my experience with the Dragon. ...... There is a lot of old theory on the Velimirovic and Sozin, but there are some good modern lines that bypass the complications of the old lines.

Especially when coming from the Dragon 6...Bd7 is a fine shortcut: 7.Bb3 g6 8.f3 (8.Be3 Ng4!) Nxd4! 9.Qxd4 Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Qd2 b5. So White has to play 7.O-O and after e6 Black has avoided the Velimirovic. It's quite annoying for White.
So I agree that for Black the Richter Rauser is the only obstacle. The good news is that Black has a wide choice. The bad news is that every option has its problems.
  

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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #32 - 01/24/14 at 22:20:31
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Lauri Torni wrote on 01/24/14 at 12:37:34:
MartinC wrote on 01/24/14 at 09:28:41:
Surely the thing is that white has a much greater margin of error in the rauser than the 6 Bg5 Najdorf?

Black is nearly always one way from oblivion in that after all. Just so is white so the trade off is OK Smiley Much less fun when white can get away with playing decent moves and you still have to be very accurate.


This is exactly the case: When compared to Najdorf black saves a huge amount of preparation time, but also white needs very little work to play Rauser efectively.


I disagree somewhat with that. Having switched to the Najdorf, I feel like the Rauzer is more work than the Old Main Line of the 6.Bg5 Najdorf. The Poisoned Pawn is also a lot of work, but so many of the sharp lines have been resolved in Black's favor. The gives Black a significant buffer of safety if he learns the known theory. Both are sharp of course, but my feeling is that the Rauzer is more difficult to play and demands more creativity and independent research to play well. It may appear there is not much theory, but it was (is?) an important Sicilian that once generated of a lot of theory. In many instances, I think the Najdorf actually cuts the theoretical workload in preparation, as it often uses positional methods to bypass problems Black has in the Classical. Maybe this is a minority opinion, but so often being able to play Nbd7 in the Najdorf is quite a relief!

I think I should add that I adopted the Classical Sicilian with the intention that it would be less work than the Najdorf, given my experience with the Dragon. Early on, I realized the main continuations to study were 6.Bc4 and 6.Bg5. I never faced 6.Bc4, but I was happy with Black's position. There is a lot of old theory on the Velimirovic and Sozin, but there are some good modern lines that bypass the complications of the old lines. 6.Bg5 is another story though. I never faced anyone who knew the theory very well, but many of the positions seemed to be very dangerous at times. Maybe you can play an old line and hope to be slightly worse in a more stable position, but that's not the way I wanted to go. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that this approach was not too practical for the nonprofessional, despite my initial impressions. You also present yourself as a bit of a target if you consistently play the Classical, so you need very good preparation against the Rauzer. You could use it as a temporary theoretical shortcut (i.e. using 6.Bg5 g6?! if you're really pressed for time), but this approach has its perils.
  
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Lauri Torni
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Re: why Classical sicilian not as popular as Najdorf?
Reply #31 - 01/24/14 at 12:37:34
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MartinC wrote on 01/24/14 at 09:28:41:
Surely the thing is that white has a much greater margin of error in the rauser than the 6 Bg5 Najdorf?

Black is nearly always one way from oblivion in that after all. Just so is white so the trade off is OK Smiley Much less fun when white can get away with playing decent moves and you still have to be very accurate.


This is exactly the case: When compared to Najdorf black saves a huge amount of preparation time, but also white needs very little work to play Rauser efectively.
  

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