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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ? (Read 3975 times)
kylemeister
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #19 - 01/04/24 at 19:00:36
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Speaking of Nxc6 in the Sozin, I noticed a GM recently playing it (in a rapid game) as early as move 8 (Kadric-Bacrot).

Bacrot comments on the game (in French) here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6Cw3QnTzaI
  
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FreeRepublic
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #18 - 04/11/23 at 19:26:06
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emary wrote on 02/01/23 at 09:55:23:
(1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 e6)
Santos recommends the flexible 7.Be3 aiming for 0-0-0 if playable.

A sample line from the free Short and Sweet version of the course,
annotations by Santos, a bit shortened:
7.Be3 Be7 (most common but not most accurate) 8.Qe2 0-0
9.0-0-0 a6 10. Nxc6 (a fresh idea and even better than 10.Bb3) bxc6 11.Bc5 N (preparing e4-e5) e5 12. Rd2 Qc7 13.Ba3 Rd8
14.Rhd1 (the pressure on d6 paralyzes all Black pieces).


I first saw 10.Nxc6! in Cheparinov's work. He covered both 11.Bc5!? and 11.h4!? Both are very dangerous. However, perhaps contrary to the authors, I'm not sure that either is fatal.
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #17 - 04/10/23 at 13:17:32
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The Santos book looks interesting. I just got the short and sweet version for starters.
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #16 - 04/08/23 at 21:54:46
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Kerangali wrote on 03/15/23 at 20:33:59:
Cheparinov in his ModernChess Classical course.


I think it's a very good course.

After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9.f4 Be7, the approach taken by Cheparinov and Shankland, may be easier for Black than 9...b5.

I've spent more time looking at 9.f3 Nxd4. This is covered in several recent works, including Cheparinov. It's not so easy for me to understand why this should be any better than the earlier line 9.f3 Be7. The only thing that I can grasp with some certainty is that after 9. f3 Be7 10. h4 Rc8 11. Nc6, Black does  not benefit from overprotection of the knight - quite the opposite! 

There are many ways the game can proceed after 9.f3 Nxd4!? and no published work quite does this justice IMO. Still, it is coming into focus. I think that more players/theoreticians will conclude that Black is O.K. If so, more attention might be devoted to 6.Bc4. Cheparinov does a very good job covering that line IMO.

After the less challenging 6.Be2 recent authors have focussed on 6...e5 and 6...g6, and with good reason. Yet let's not forget 6...e6. I think it is equally good.
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #15 - 03/16/23 at 06:45:24
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Kerangali wrote on 03/15/23 at 20:33:59:
Cheparinov looks a bit tired ....


Not too surprising considering that he published courses on the King's Indian, Gruenfeld, Benko, Scotch, Ruy Lopez, Classical Sicilian, 4. f3 Nimzo on modern chess and one on the Najdorf on chessable during the last 12 months or so.

Kerangali wrote on 03/15/23 at 20:33:59:
... but his moves and ideas are very fluent, quite above GM standard imho.


I agree, I also very much like what I have looked at so far.
  
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Kerangali
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #14 - 03/15/23 at 20:33:59
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Hi,
Coming back to this 9...Nxe4 10.Qf3 Ng5 11.Bxg5 Nxd4 variation of the Bc4 Qb6 Classical Sicilian, it turns out that this idea is analysed (and dismissed) by Cheparinov in his ModernChess Classical course. He plays 12.Bxf7+ as suggested by MartinC, congrats!
Funnily, this Nxe4 Qf3 Ng5 idea appears in the free preview of Cheparinov course ("minor lines"), in the b3 system. The preview also contains an amazing discussion of the Nd5 gambit early in the Classical. Cheparinov looks a bit tired but his moves and ideas are very fluent, quite above GM standard imho.
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #13 - 02/06/23 at 17:39:56
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Pilnik - Geller, Göteborg Interzonal 1955 was a Boleslavsky variation rather than a Najdorf. https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1048757

Against the Najdorf, Pilnik switched up between 6.Be2, 6.g3, and 6.f4. Against the Classical he was mostly faithful to 6.Be2, and we can see the Soviets pretty consistently going for this as black. On the one hand three draws and two losses doesn't seem like a great record as white, but look at the players: Taimanov, Petrosian(!) twice, Geller, Smyslov. Of those four, only Geller really had the Classical Sicilian in his repertoire, so for the others it was pretty clearly a case of playing the man.

I think if it becomes known you play 6.Be2 against the Najdorf, you will start to see a lot of Najdorfs. Smiley Not because 6.Be2 is weak, but because black doesn't need to know a lot of theory just to avoid getting run over. When I play the open Sicilian, if my opponent is an actual Najdorf player I go 6.Be2, and if they are not then I go 6.Bg5. My record with 6.Be2 is average, with 6.Bg5 it is 100%, because black really does need to know what they are doing there.
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #12 - 02/06/23 at 15:40:32
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Just another remark about the reviewer's apparent confusion in thinking that the anti-Najdorf line stems from Geller. I would guess that Santos might use Geller-Fischer from round 2 of the 1962 Curacao Candidates for illustrative purposes. (Another of the games I most readily recall with that kind of structure had Geller on the other side, against Pilnik. In both cases he won, because he was Geller.  Smiley)
  
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Kerangali
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #11 - 02/05/23 at 23:56:47
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Wow, very nice lines with lots of surprising moves! Some thoughts on this 10.Qf3 Ng5 line:
A) the 11.Bxf7+ Nxf7 Nxc6 line wins the exchange by force, but the position remains slippery with definite compensation for Black. Playing through with White, I couldn't stabilize the position without losing a pair of pawns. OTB, Black can certainly play for 3 results here.
B) the 11.Bxg5 Nxd4 12.Qxf7+ line gives more control to White. He can afford to let go f-g pawns while cornering Black's King on the Qside. White can't lose, but can he win?
C) As pointed out by MartinC, the 11.Bxg5 Nxd4 12.Bxf7+ Kd8 13.Qg3 line is perhaps the most dangerous in practice for Black, with more middlegame ahead. Instead, the 13.Qe4 Qxg5 14.Qxd4 line (no Knight check here, I think) allows Black to exchange Queens for shattered pawns and bishop pair. Not sure why it's favoured by StockFish (early pawn win?).

To come back to GM Santos Chessable course, the Short & Sweet trailer doesn't show his 6.Bc4 Qb6 Classical/Sozin. Cautious as he is, my bet is on 7.Nb3 !?
Judging from the Short & Sweet, his course looks well organised, with emphasis on control, ideas easy (or made easy) to understand, no speculative lines. That makes it valuable for taking on sicilian mainlines, with plenty of room to outplay opponents in all lines. Except maybe for the Dragon: First, he recommends the Maroczy Bind in the Accelerated, keeping control and cutting off the possibility of improved Dragons by Black through Accelerated move order. But then, in the Dragon proper, he goes head on for the most complex line (9.Bc4 and 10.0-0-0), risking the reader to be torn apart by typically over-booked Dragon players. Maybe a "play 9.0-0-0, take the extra pawn and see Black try and draw" approach was more in line with the other chapters. But then, this is just from browsing the Short & Sweet, hopefully full course readers will chime in.
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #10 - 02/03/23 at 21:54:11
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MartinC wrote on 02/03/23 at 09:13:50:
Fun line!

One potential minor SF annoyance - 10 Bxf7+ (a truly amazing move!) Nxf7 11 Nxc6 Qf5 12 Nd5 QxQ 13 PxQ bc 14 Nc7+ Kd8 15 Nxa8

That knight gets out to b6, there's some comp but I'm not quite convinced. 

Or 11 Bxf7+ Kd8 12 Qg3 ^ Qxd6+, so 12.. Nxc2+ 13 Ke2 Nd4+ 14 Kf1 then it seems to prefer 14.. Bd7 15 Qxd6 Qxg5 16 Qxd4 - a bit annoying for black with more pieces staying on perhaps.

Or playing that semi ending at the end of your main line. Holdable but it does think black is defending.  Doesn't look like any total busts though Smiley Impressive.

In the second line (10.Qf3 Ng5 11.Bg5 Nd4 12.Bf7 Kd8) 13.Qe4!? is stronger acc. to comp e.g. ...Nf3 14.gf Qg5 15.Nd5 and Black has some issues with development (there is sample line ...Qf5 16.Qb4! Qf7 17.Qb6 Kd7? 18.0-0-0! with winning attack).
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #9 - 02/03/23 at 09:13:50
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Fun line!

One potential minor SF annoyance - 10 Bxf7+ (a truly amazing move!) Nxf7 11 Nxc6 Qf5 12 Nd5 QxQ 13 PxQ bc 14 Nc7+ Kd8 15 Nxa8

That knight gets out to b6, there's some comp but I'm not quite convinced. 

Or 11 Bxf7+ Kd8 12 Qg3 ^ Qxd6+, so 12.. Nxc2+ 13 Ke2 Nd4+ 14 Kf1 then it seems to prefer 14.. Bd7 15 Qxd6 Qxg5 16 Qxd4 - a bit annoying for black with more pieces staying on perhaps.

Or playing that semi ending at the end of your main line. Holdable but it does think black is defending.  Doesn't look like any total busts though Smiley Impressive.
  
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #8 - 02/02/23 at 23:05:10
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I see that ECO (2021) gave 9...Nxe4 as "?", but after 10. Qf3 only addressed 10...Ne5.

Twenty years earlier, GMMikhailGolubev's Sozin book had 9...Nxe4"?!" and considered four replies to 10. Qf3, none of which was 10...Ng5.
  
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Kerangali
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #7 - 02/02/23 at 22:22:48
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Maybe roguish, but certainly here to stay!
I remember a fascinating line:
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qb6 and then: 7.Ndb5 (alt. 7.Nb3) 7...a6 8.Be3 Qa5 9. Nd4 and here the main line is 9...e6, but  maybe 9...Nxe4 is ok for Black (see diagram):
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That was considered a blunder due to 10.Qf3 hitting f7 and c6, but it's not so clear after 10...Ng5 11.Bxg5 Nxd4 12.Qxf7+ (or Bxf7) 12...Kd8 13.h4! h6! 14.0-0-0 hxg5 15.hxg5 Qxg5+ 16.Kb1 (diagram):
* * * * * * * *
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Everything is hanging, but Black has the ultra-dynamic 16...Be6! 17.Bxe6 Rxh1 18.Rxh1 Nxe6 19.Qxe6 Qxg2 and Black seems to hold.
I had this line in store (for White) but never managed to get it on the board. Clearly these tactics are not for humans. Is 9...Nxe4 refuted nowadays? perhaps too roguish after all... 

EDIT: renumbered moves in main line
« Last Edit: 02/03/23 at 13:07:36 by Kerangali »  
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kylemeister
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #6 - 02/02/23 at 20:55:02
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Kerangali wrote on 02/02/23 at 20:15:22:
Is this move known to Shankland's Classical chessable course ? 

Well, he went with Benko's roguish 6...Qb6.

(Fischer's description, which stuck in my head)
  
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Kerangali
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Re: Santos' White Repertoire against the Sicilian ?
Reply #5 - 02/02/23 at 20:15:22
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Assuming the Sozin is not optimal against Najdorf (quick Nd7-c5) and Scheveningen (quick Na6-c5),  maybe it's a good idea to disrupt Classical theory with this early ...Nxc6? If it works, White avoids a bunch of 20th century Sozin/Velimirovic theory. Is this move known to Shankland's Classical chessable course ? 
  
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