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I GUIDES '
1 e4 c5 2 4Jc3 4Jc6 3 93
The Closed Sicilian
CHESS PRESS OPENING GUIDES
Other titles this series include:
1901259056 Caro-Kann Advance Byron Jacobs 190125903 Dutch Leningrad Neil McDonald 1901259 10 2 French Advance Tony Kosten 1901259 3 Sicilian amanov J ames Plaskett 190125902 1 Scandinavian John Emms 1901259099 Semi-Slav Matthew Sadler 1901259005 Slav Matthew Sadler 1901259048 Spanish Exchange Andrew Kinsman 190125908 Trompowsky J oe Gallagher
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Chess Press Opening Guides
The Closed Sicilian
The Chess Press, Brighton
First published 1997 by The Chess Press, an imprint First Rank Publishing, 23 Ditchling Rise, Brighton, East Sussex, 1 4QL, association with Cadogan Books plc
Copyright 1997 Daniel King
Distributed by Cadogan Books plc, 27-29 Berwick Street, London WIV 3RF
rights reserved. part this publication may be reproduced, stored a retrieval system or transmitted any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission writing from the publishers.
CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 1 901259 06 4
Cover design by Ray Shell Design Production by Book Production Services Printed and bound Great Britain by BPC Wheatons, Exeter
1 e4 c5 2 ctJc3 ctJc6 3 93
Bibliography 8 Introduction 9
Part : Main L (1 e4 c5 2Lc3 Lc6 3 g3 g6 4 ~g2 ..tg7 5 d3 d6 6 14 e6 7 L13 Lge7 8 - -)
1 9 ie3l2Jd4 10 e5 Pawn Sacrifice 14 2 Alternaties after 9 j,e3 42 3 White does not play 9 ie3 52
Part : Sixth Alternatives (1 e4 c5 2Lc3 lJc6 3 g3 g6 4 ..tg2 ..tg7 5 d3 d6)
4 6 f4 e5 65 5 6 ie3 77 6 6l2Jge2 95 7 6 l2Jf3 and other SXth Moves for White 107
Part Three: Early Deviations (1 e4 c5)
8 Black plays ... e7 -e6 and ... d7 -d5 118 9 1 e4 c5 2 g3 127
Index of Complete Games 142
Encyclopaedia / Chess Openings vol.B, Sahovski Informator 1984
Beating the Anti-Sicilians, Gallagher (Batsford, 1994)
Winning with the Closed Sicilian, Lane (Batsford, 1992)
ChessBase MegaBase CD-R
New In Chess Yearbook
British Chess Magazine
Haing spent alarmngly large chunks of my life studying the white side of the Open Sicilian, find myself ask-ing, why did bother? Was really so ain as to think could refute the Dragon, or the Najdorf, or that funny line with ... e7 -e6 that can neer re-member the name of? (Is it a Kan, or a Taimano, and should aoid a trans-position to a Scheeningen?) There are certain players who long ago took the attitude that life is too short for all that business, and should hae joined their ranks long before now. Vassily Smyslo, Boris Spassky, Vlastimil Hort and Oleg Romanishin are just a few of the great players who hae mastered the Closed Sicilian. They are natural players who hae deeloped a 'feel' for the positions that arise rather than staking their reputations hours and hours of home preparation.
The great adantage of the 'Closed' is that it is possible to put your own stamp the opening - as all the aboe players hae done. There isn't one approed method, and it's not
going to be refuted oernight. What is important is an understanding of the ideas. Let's run through the first few moes and look at the reasoning be-hind them: 1 e4 c5 2lc3
This moe is important. Before White fianchettoes his king's bishop, it's crucial that ... d7-d5 is preented, otherwise Black can cut across his plans. For instance, 2 g3 would allow 2 ... d5, which is still fine for White, as we shall see Chapter 9, but it pre-ents the Closed Sicilian formation that we are heading for. 2 ... lc6
Systems with ... e7-e6 followed by ... d7 -d5 the next moe are dis-cussed Chapter 8. 3 g3 g6 4 ig2 ig7 5 d3
I'm taking this position as my fun-damental starting point. White fi-anchettoes his bishop which increases the influence oer d5, and general bolsters White's centre. When White decides to attack, the reason he can get away with it is that his pawn centre,
The CIosed SiciIian
a1though not dominant, is a tough one to crack. It is difficult for Black to get a counterunch through the pawn wa11 c2-d3-e4. As we sha11 see, from this point White can play the opening many different ways. After .,.
5 ... d6 ... the most frequently seen move is
still ... 6 f4
... aiming for a kingside attack. few years back Black genera11y played
6 ... ttJf6
However, there is a disadvantage to this natura1 developing move - it en-courages White to play the natura1 f4-f5 ...
Moving the pawn from f4 to f5 opens the dagona1 of the bishop to h6 as well as the f-file for the rook f1. White mght follow up by pushing his h-pawn a couple of squares to soften up Black's king position, or perhaps by doubling rooks the f-file, and so . The pawn e4, supported by a hea1thy pawn chain and the bishop g2, ensures that there is a strong bar-rier between Black' s pieces and White's king. view of the impres-sive power of White's attack with f4-f5, Black players started to prefer to adopt a dfferent defensive formation
Black's ... f7-f5 After the standard Closed Sicilian opening sequence 1 e4 c5 2 4Jc3 4Jc6 3 g3 g6 4 .tg2 .tg7 5 d3 d6 6 f4, they usua11y played ... 6 ... e6!
see fo//owing diagram
... so that after ... 7 ttJf3 ttJge 7 8 - - 9 g4
... (a1ready threatening to push and cramp Black)
Black can immediately blockade with ... 9 ... f5!
When White captures with g4xf5 Black generally recaptures with ... e6xf5, maintaining a strong king sition (see Game 34). Here the fixed situation White's pawn 4 makes an enormous difference to the posi-tion. It means that the bishop c1 is trapped and unable to take part the attack; the f-file is closed; and White's pawn centre has been stopped its tracks. If White captures 5 for a second time, Black recaptures with a piece, and the blockade contin-ues. It isn't clear how White can de-velop his attack from here.
White's e4-e5 sacrifice view the strength Black's ... f7-5 blockade, White was forced to find different ways to prepare the attack. The most notable recent years has been the introduction a pseudo-pawn sacrifice e5 with (1 e4 c5 2 tLJc3 tLJc6 3 g3 g6 4 i..g2 i..g7 5 d3 d6 6 4 e6 7 tLJf3 tLJge7 8 - -) 9 i3 td4 1 e5!?
... blowing open the diagonals for White's bishops and giving the knight a square e4. As this variation has been at the forefront Closed Siclian theory over the past few years, have examined it some detail Chapter 1. Chapters 2 and 3 also deal with the main line after 8 - -, examning various alternatives to the pawn sacri-fice line for both White and Black are also concerned with 6 f4. Chapter 4 is concerned with the dynamc 6 4 e5!?, while Chapters 5-7 examne more subtle strategies for White, whereby he usually delays playing his f-pawn forward for some time, so that the c1-h6 diagonal remains open. If White can possibly exchange the dark-squared bishops, then he almost cer-tainly should do so ...
The CIosed SiciIian
Exchanging dark-squared bishops cient use of fire-power - but if the
Even if it appears that there is little chance of an immediate attack, it is remarkable how often Black's king does eventually suffer. The exchange of bishops also weakens Black's hold over the centre and queenside.
Pushing the b-pawn This last position brings me to one of Black's main sources of counter-play: advancing the b-pawn.
Here we have a typical C10sed Sicil-ian position. The b-pawn has forced the knight from c3, opening the long diagonal for the king's bishop. At the moment White's rook is tied to defending the pawn - hardly an effi-
white pawn moves to b3, then Black has complete control over the diago-nal: the rook can penetrate down the a-file, and the knight can safely settle d4. However, there can be draw-backs to the advance of the b-pawn. Black must take care that he isn't up-set by e4-e5 from White, undermning the pawn c5 (see Game 77).
Positional trick White has more posltlve ways of meeting the advance of the b-pawn than simply moving the knight out of the way. Here's a nice positional trick:
White has already played a2-a3 and 1::.b 1 readiness for the oncomng black b-pawn. Black does not want to advance immediately, since after 11 ... b4 12 axb4 cxb4 13 la4 he loses central control due to the side-step of his c-pawn. But if Black plays 11 ... a5, Whte responds with 12 a4!, to meet 12 ... b4 with 13 lb5 and 12 ... bxa4 with 13 lxa4, when Black's pawn front has been broken.
White's b2-b4 Alternatively, it is possible to block
the b1ack b-pawn with b2-b4.
A1though general1y this move is strategical1y desirab1e - a wing pawn knocks out a centre pawn - White has to be carefu1 that the horse c3 isn't nobb1ed by a tactic the 10ng diago-nal or c-fi1e.
Summary 50 there we have some of the main strategic ideas the Closed 5icilian. When we get stuck into the different chapters, shal1 be examining these strategies greater detai1. Patterns quick1y emerge. Even you are 1
interested one particu1ar 1ine, it's good to p1ay through as many games as possib1e, you have time, as the same ideas can often be transferred from one kind position to a