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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) a3 against e6 Sicilians (Read 8469 times)
kylemeister
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #12 - 07/01/14 at 18:46:09
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I'd say that in the Classical Scheveningen, Nb3 is typically a response to ...Bd7, avoiding ...Nxd4 plus ...Bc6 and trying to cause Black some discomfort from the bishop's position (e.g. having to move it again if he wants to meet g4 and g5 with ...Nd7).
  
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OrangeCounty
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #11 - 07/01/14 at 18:12:11
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As I recall, lines with an early a3 are not considered harmless in the main line Taimanov, although with ...Qb6 and Nd4-b3 they probably lose a lot of their sting (White plays Be2, Be3, f4, g4 and looks to castle Queenside).  However, the Scheveningen transposition seems unfortunate for Black because Nd4-b3 is often a useful move in the Scheveningen with ...Nc6 to preserve the minor pieces.

After 6 Be3 Qc7 7 a3 d6 (7...Be7) 8 Be2 Be7 (...d6) 9 0-0 0-0 I should think that White may be able to extract some advantage from the knight's position at b3, since were the knight still at d4, Nxd4 and Bxd4 e5 would be coming.  But Classical Scheveningen positions have gone so far down the rabbit hole of move order jiujitsu that I can hardly be sure.
  
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #10 - 06/11/14 at 19:37:53
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Kasparov talks about how was prepared to play e5 line  in first world championship line,  in his books. Karpov played g4 anyway without Nf6. It's relatively rare these days because white didn't find anything much against it. A similar position in be2 e5 Nadjorf early f4 ideas for white have been neutralised with e5xf4 etc.
  
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RdC
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #9 - 06/05/14 at 23:49:13
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kylemeister wrote on 06/05/14 at 23:15:00:
But with a Najdorf move order (which was usually the case with Kasparov as far as I know), the 9...e5 line isn't an option.


It's all related as Kasparov wanted to avoid the Keres attack after his experiences in the abandoned 1984-85 match. In some ways, opening authors do a dis-service by categorising lines with names. It's fully possible to move from one named line to another and discussion of positions on their merits would be an alternative approach, if more difficult to capture in book form.
  
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kylemeister
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #8 - 06/05/14 at 23:15:00
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RdC wrote on 06/05/14 at 22:32:38:
As noted, it dates from the 1974 match between Karpov and Spassky. There are relatively few recent examples, with the Hedgehog style treatment being more popular from Kasparov's play against Karpov and Anand. An early a3 isn't especially useful. In order to make it useful, there's an idea in some variations where you sneak the Bishop to c4 and then drop it back to a2, so that may be an avenue to explore.


But with a Najdorf move order (which was usually the case with Kasparov as far as I know), the 9...e5 line isn't an option.

The a3 Sozin does seem a possibility here (not to be confused with the a4 Sozin which has been favored by John Emms ...).  Incidentally reminds me of a fairly recent game which struck me as rather thematic-looking, between GM Saltaev and IM Hoeksema in the Dutch league.
  
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RdC
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #7 - 06/05/14 at 22:32:38
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brabo wrote on 06/05/14 at 20:54:12:
This 9...,e5 line was already discussed earlier on chesspub,


As noted, it dates from the 1974 match between Karpov and Spassky. There are relatively few recent examples, with the Hedgehog style treatment being more popular from Kasparov's play against Karpov and Anand. An early a3 isn't especially useful. In order to make it useful, there's an idea in some variations where you sneak the Bishop to c4 and then drop it back to a2, so that may be an avenue to explore.


  
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #6 - 06/05/14 at 20:54:12
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kylemeister wrote on 06/05/14 at 19:42:54:
Well,  9...e5 in the position after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Nc6 7. 0-0 Be7 8. Be3 0-0 9. f4 is quite a main line, though I believe it raised a few eyebrows when (as far as I know) Spassky introduced it against Karpov in the '74 Candidates.

This 9...,e5 line was already discussed earlier on chesspub, see http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1333369435/2
  
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kylemeister
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #5 - 06/05/14 at 19:42:54
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Well,  9...e5 in the position after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Nc6 7. 0-0 Be7 8. Be3 0-0 9. f4 is quite a main line, though I believe it raised a few eyebrows when (as far as I know) Spassky introduced it against Karpov in the '74 Candidates.
  
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #4 - 06/05/14 at 19:01:05
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TN wrote on 06/05/14 at 13:10:21:
That might still be acceptable from a practical point of view if Black has no experience in Scheveningen positions.


Kylemeister's line looked interesting, using the tempo gain to move from a Scheveningen structure to a Boleslavsky one. In fact there's a handful of games where Black has tried playing e5 after first playing e6 in main lines, but it's hardly a mainstream idea. A game in 1995 at the Donner Memorial between Judit Polgar and Granda Zuniga is one high level example. It used to be said that Granda Zuniga either didn't know or just ignored theory.
  
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #3 - 06/05/14 at 13:10:21
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After 6...Be7, I think 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd5 9.Ne4 will favour White (as a3 is quite useful for stopping c4 Bb4 ideas), so probably 6...d6 is the right move order to equalise. That might still be acceptable from a practical point of view if Black has no experience in Scheveningen positions. And yeah, brabo's line just feels like an improved Steinitz French for White.
  

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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #2 - 06/05/14 at 09:37:26
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That is the line in my repertoire today against the Grivas.
It is very dangerous for black. A recent example was shown a few days ago on chessvibes: http://www.chessvibes.com/?q=my-second-im-norm in which the famous writer Doggers defeated the Italian IM Bruno Fabio. However he didn't insert a3. I didn't check in detail but his own analysis of move 10 hint that a3 could be necessary.
  
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Re: a3 against e6 Sicilians
Reply #1 - 06/05/14 at 03:41:51
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In the case of that second line it is surely quite natural (well, it was my first thought) to aim for this sort of thing:  6...Be7 7. Be3 O-O 8. f4 d6 9. Be2 e5 10. Nb3 exf4 11. Bxf4 Be6 12. O-O d5 = (from a game Ljubojevic-Lautier).
  
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RdC
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a3 against e6 Sicilians
06/04/14 at 23:54:02
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In a recent game, I faced the Grivas Sicilian. This went 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 5. Nb3 e6 . Here I became concerned about Bb4 ideas but decided to allow them. The game continued 6. Be3 Qc7 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. Be2. Black now elected to go into a Sicilian Hedgehog formation with 8. .. d6. But 8. .. Bb4 is also playable and may be advantageous to Black. Apparently theory is that White should prevent the pin with a3 at some relevant stage.

This reminded me of a line I was aware of, forty-five years ago, that in the sequence 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6, it was possible to play 6. a3. 6. Ndb5 has always struck me as a move that you would only play if you knew and trusted established theory. Should Black responded to 6. a3 with 6. .. d6, you are in a Scheveningen, possibly with an extra tempo for Black. So perhaps 6. a3 in that move order is still viable on the grounds that tempi aren't that relevant to Hedgehog style defences.
« Last Edit: 06/05/14 at 18:50:45 by RdC »  
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