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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Open Sicilian Repertoire (Read 2539 times)
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #24 - 03/30/19 at 15:09:57
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mn wrote on 10/25/18 at 21:53:05:
Hi, so I'm putting together an Open (mostly) Sicilian repertoire "seriously", maybe for the first time. I kind of wanted to share my plan, and have the ChessPub community check for move order issues, and the like, as I'm not so experienced with this Open Sicilian stuff.

So, basically, as a base I'm starting with the Rossolimo (hence why I said "Open (mostly)". I don't particularly want to play against the Sveshnikov or Kalashnikov, and I've already been playing the Rossolimo for a few years. I think it's a good opening, and I like it.

Against 2...g6, I'm planning 3 d4 cd4 4 Qxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3, to avoid having the deal with the Accelerated Dragon, when I've already avoided the "proper" Acc. move order with 2...Nc6 3 Bb5

Against early ...e6 based Sicilians, I want to play an approach involving Be2, centered around the so-called Classical Scheveningen. This also includes the line of the Taimanov where White meets ...Bb4 with Na4, Nxc6 and Nb6xc8, and 5 Be2 against the Kan, where Delchev and Semkov say Black has nothing better than to transpose to the Taimanov.

The issue is that Scheveningen lines with a delayed ...a6 (e.g. ...Qc7/...Nxd4 recommended by Van Kampen) are quite solid. Therefore, if I can do so without any move order issues, I'd like to play an approach involving 0-0-0 whenever Black plays ...e6 and delays/omits ...a6. These lines would be 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 Be3 Be7/Nc6 (6...a6 7 Be2) 7 Qe2(!), and 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be2 Nf6 7 Be3, intending Qd2 and 0-0-0 (if Black continues to not play ...a6).

Against 2...d6, I'm planning 9 0-0-0 and 10 Qe1 against the Dragon, and probably some sort of Sozin against the Classical, as the Rauzer seems like a lot of work for a Sicilian I don't see played very often in my area.

This, of course, leaves the Najdorf. Well, here, I'm not entirely sure. I was playing 6 h3 for a while, but then 6...e5 and 6...e6 are both "independent" Najdorf options available to Black, both with a lot of theory. Ideally, I'd like to go 6 Be2, as 6...e6 is a position that would arise from many different branches of my intended repertoire. However, after 6...e5, I'm not entirely sure what to do. 6 Bc4 leaves Black with "only one" (sort of) option, in 6...e6, but the critical lines after 7 Bb3 Nbd7 are again very sharp and theoretical. Same goes for 6 Be3 e5 (6...e6 7 Be2, but 6...Ng4 - ?; I was looking at 7 Bg5 h6 8 Bc1 for a bit, but is this any good?) 7 Nb3 etc.

Thanks!


I don't see any real problems with your repertoire ideas - it seems the main challenge you are facing is what to do against the Najdorf.

I would say go for 6.Be2, as it fits well with your Be2 preferences against 2...e6. Against 6...e5, there are various options of similar value - from the positional 7.Nf3, to 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Be6 10.Qd2 (or 10.Qd3, going for Nd5), to 9/10.Bf3 and a4 approaches, playing to restrain Black. I have the feeling one of these approaches will appeal to you, but if not, maybe play the English Attack with 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3, using Shaw's 1.e4 Sicilian repertoire as a starting point.

  

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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #23 - 03/28/19 at 19:56:50
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I also remember that one. Kibitzer "Howard" has the details here: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1386211

The Tseshkovsky game was in one of my first issues of Chess Life and Review. The Byrne game was before I joined USCF. At that time I was playing the Najdorf, but I had a bad habit of looking at game scores without playing them out on a board, so not very much would stick. For example in my vague memory Browne played ...Rh2 (which makes no sense whatsoever) instead of ...Rh3. I'm not sure if mis-remembering someone else's rook move from 40 years ago counts as a good thing or a bad thing.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #22 - 03/28/19 at 18:05:50
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 03/25/19 at 20:37:04:
This 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 was tried quite a bit in the late 1970's, one of the ideas is to play g2-g4 instead of castling - a precursor to the English Attack.

A bit of history I recall is that Robert Byrne, who played such a Be3/Be2/g4 at least a few times, lost with it against Browne in '75.  Then in '76 Browne played the same way against Tseshkovsky and got smashed by, presumably, a prepared improvement.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #21 - 03/28/19 at 17:05:36
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MNb wrote on 03/28/19 at 06:46:34:
If you don't mind some weird stuff now and then you might take a look at 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Qc7 8.g4 d5 9.exd5 Bb4 10.dxe6 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qxc3+ 12.Kf1 fxe6 13.Rg1 idea 14.Rg3.In the 1990's Ivanchuk won both as White and as Black.

Shirov - Ivanchuk, 1994 http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1060442
Ivanchuk - Gelfand, 1999 http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1406026
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #20 - 03/28/19 at 06:46:34
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mn wrote on 03/27/19 at 18:49:45:
not to mention that long castling doesn't much elsewhere appear in my repertoire (I think only in the Dragon and a few specific Scheveningen cases).

If you don't mind some weird stuff now and then you might take a look at 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Qc7 8.g4 d5 9.exd5 Bb4 10.dxe6 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qxc3+ 12.Kf1 fxe6 13.Rg1 idea 14.Rg3.In the 1990's Ivanchuk won both as White and as Black.
  

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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #19 - 03/27/19 at 18:49:45
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Alright, time to catch up with this thread:

A) Thanks for the tip about the ...Qc7/...b5 line - I see Illingworth recommends going Qd2/f3/g4, but it's not entirely clear to me why Be2 should be more useful than ...Qc7 in the English Attack, not to mention that long castling doesn't much elsewhere appear in my repertoire (I think only in the Dragon and a few specific Scheveningen cases).

B) 6 a4 I've considered (and actually used to play a long time ago), but not only does 6...g6 look like a decent move to me, but 6...e6 would take me out of my Scheveningen repertoire as well.

C) 6 f4 I was looking at a bit last night, and may investigate further.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #18 - 03/27/19 at 17:47:23
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Granted, it may not have bite, but at least it has one tooth. That's one more than 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.O-O b5 9.a3 Bb7 10.f3 Nbd7 11.Qd2 O-O.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #17 - 03/27/19 at 17:24:41
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 03/27/19 at 13:52:55:
so there can't be much wrong with it.

What's wrong with 6.f4 is that e5 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.a4 Be7 9.Bd3 O-O 10.O-O Nc5 11.Kh1 exf4 doesn't beat the Sicilian anymore. It lacks bite.
  

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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #16 - 03/27/19 at 15:48:51
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 03/27/19 at 13:52:55:
6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.O-O b5 9.a3 Bb7 10.f3 Nbd7 11.Qd2 O-O, mentioned by LeeRoth, is not a good advertisement for mixing Be2 and Be3 in the Scheveningen.

It reminds me of a game Wotulo-Larsen, used by Soltis in Pawn Structure Chess.

an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 03/27/19 at 13:52:55:
Also to be considered are 6.a4 e5 7.Nf3 or 6.f4 e5 7.Nf3. [...] The last one (6.f4) was recommended in all three editions of Nunn (and Gallagher) Beating the Sicilian, so there can't be much wrong with it. [...] Whatever you choose, you need to consider how you would proceed against 6...g6.

I recall that the first edition also had 6. a4, against which Nunn considered 6...e5 to be a little dubious.  Though that doesn't seem to be the general view these days. 

I noticed that the recent book by the brothers Doknjas has (6. a4) ...g6, which also seems to be more well-regarded now than it was by Nunn back in the day.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #15 - 03/27/19 at 13:52:55
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Re: Najdorf 6.Be2 e5 7.Nf3 vs 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3

6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.O-O b5 9.a3 Bb7 10.f3 Nbd7 11.Qd2 O-O, mentioned by LeeRoth, is not a good advertisement for mixing Be2 and Be3 in the Scheveningen.

Also to be considered are 6.a4 e5 7.Nf3 or 6.f4 e5 7.Nf3. In the Scheveningen, an early a2-a4 in reply to ...a7-a6 is considered a little inaccurate, but you may not mind it. The last one (6.f4) was recommended in all three editions of Nunn (and Gallagher) Beating the Sicilian, so there can't be much wrong with it. If black goes 6...e6 here then 7.Be2 is an excellent Scheveningen move order for white. Whatever you choose, you need to consider how you would proceed against 6...g6.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #14 - 03/27/19 at 09:35:28
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After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6, the main line is 7.O-O, 8.f4, etc.  The move 7.Be3 can be used when White wants a system with Qd2 and O-O-O or it can be used as a way to aim for the main Schevy lines after 7..Be7. 

There is nothing really wrong with 7.Be3, although the relatively early Be3 expends a tempo.  As An Ordinary Chessplayer correctly points out, this gives Black the option of continuing “Najdorf style” with 7..Qc7 8.O-O b5 9.a3 Bb7 10.f3 Nbd7 11.Qd2 O-O as Kasparov used to do.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #13 - 03/26/19 at 10:00:33
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mn wrote on 03/25/19 at 19:28:15:
Which of these variations do you prefer, and does anyone have any practice experience in these systems? Do they have enough bite? The Najdorf is still the one big opening where I really don't know what I want to play.

Statistics prefer 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3. WHile I'm not sure what exactly it's telling that White fares badly even with 6.Be2 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bg5 Nbd7. It should also be noted that 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 h6 is hardly uncommon - and then Be2 would be a loss of tempo.
Whether such lines do have enough bite not only depends on their objective correctness, but also on your level and on the effort you make to study them. In general results afte5r 6.Be2 e5 7.Nf3 may be dissatisfying, if you manage to find decent lines against all Black options and study the resulting middlegames it will be a powerful weapon for you.
  

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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #12 - 03/25/19 at 20:37:04
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mn wrote on 03/25/19 at 19:28:15:
Given I want to play the Classical Scheveningen as White, it doesn't really make too much of a difference for my repertoire whether I start with 6 Be2 or 6 Be3 (6...e6 7 Be2), aside from the possibility of 6 Be3 Ng4.
I'm not too sure of that. This 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 was tried quite a bit in the late 1970's, one of the ideas is to play g2-g4 instead of castling - a precursor to the English Attack. But with kingside castling I remember that 7.Be3 gives black the chance to omit ...Nc6 and get in a quick ...b5, something that is very risky after 7.O-O or 7.f4. Obviously not 7...b5 right away, because of 8.Bf3, but something like 7...Qc7 8.f4 (8.g4 is the other plan, but these days white would probably play 6.Be3 and omit Be2 entirely) 8...b5 9.Bf3 Bb7 10.e5 (this would be +/- if white had O-O instead of Be3) 10...dxe5 11.Bxb7 Qxb7 12.fxe5 Nfd7.

The Scheveningen is a transpositional nightmare, there are so many nuances. Back in the day I went through Pritchett's book. What he had done was "coerced" a lot of the move orders to fit his chapter structure. So it became quite puzzling for me trying to understand why all these moves were interchangeable. Then I started finding the actual games, and it turned out that the moves were not interchangeable at all!
Edited:
It wouldn't surprise me if the line I gave is good for white after 13.O-O. My memory isn't what it used to be. I think the plan of ...b5 is valid though, even if I have botched the actual moves for black.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #11 - 03/25/19 at 19:28:15
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So, what are the pros and cons of 6 Be2 e5 7 Nf3 vs. 6 Be3 e5 7 Nf3 - ? From my understanding, White would like his Bishops on c4 and g5, so neither Bishop move is 100% ideal in this structure.
Given I want to play the Classical Scheveningen as White, it doesn't really make too much of a difference for my repertoire whether I start with 6 Be2 or 6 Be3 (6...e6 7 Be2), aside from the possibility of 6 Be3 Ng4. I wouldn't mind facing this line necessarily, but if the 6 Be3 e5 7 Nf3 and 6 Be2 e5 7 Nf3 are otherwise equivalent, that would be a logical deciding factor.

Which of these variations do you prefer, and does anyone have any practice experience in these systems? Do they have enough bite? The Najdorf is still the one big opening where I really don't know what I want to play.
  
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Re: Open Sicilian Repertoire
Reply #10 - 12/07/18 at 13:22:07
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Yes, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6, in Lutes (1993) Sicilian Defense O'Kelly Variation, 3.d4 was =/unclear, whereas 3.c3 was +=, and 3.c4 was +/-, if black did not transpose to the Kan. In the intro on p.83 he gives:
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nf3! Bb4 7.Bc4 Qc7 8.Qd3! b5 9.Bb3 Bb7 10.Bd2 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 d6 unclear (Estrin, 1986).

Another idea for black is 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5, and here white has not played the most critical line of the Rubinstein.

In all these cases white could consider c2-c3, transposing to a Morra Gambit accepted or declined.
  
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