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Modernized: The Open Sicilian

Thankyou for your reply. That video review was especially insightful. The book appears to have a lot of explanations which is nice, especially when dealing with such a complicated opening. The book looks promising so I have a copy on the way.

Modernized: The Open Sicilian

So I have received my copy of the book and I really like it so far. Now that I've started my adventure in the open Sicilian though I'm curious about certain move orders. In particular I'm curious about black playing both Nc6 and d6 early. It seems that many Sicilians branch out from either d6 or Nc6 (or e6) on move two, but is it a thing to play something like d6 on move two and after 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 play 4...Nc6 immediately or Nc6 first and than d6? Maybe people do this (I honestly don't know since I've never played or studied the Open Sicilian until now), but it seems uncommon to me since I haven't heard about it at all. I'm wondering is it uncommon because by black ommiting Nf6 white can play c4? If so why is this version worse than allowing the Maroczy Bind in other lines such as the Taimanov or Accelerated Dragon?

Time and again, the authors prove their sublime chess culture mentioning that one of the first instances of this variation in the Sicilian happened in one of the games repeatedly shown for the power of passed connected central pawns. Often amateurs ask what it takes to become a chess master, wondering if it is knowledge of openings, tactics or calculation skills. While all these factors are surely important, I believe Amanov and Katuvskiy have shown their master-level knowledge thanks to mentioning the following game:

The positions arising from the Open Spanish contain ideas so different from the usual Ruy Lopez that I sometimes wonder whether it should really be considered part of it at all. It is an open game with unbalanced structures and sharp play but compared to the Sicilian, for instance, for which the previous description would also apply, there is an important difference; there is a certain degree of stability and solidity in the Open Spanish which distinguishes it from the sharper realms of the Sicilian and puts this line in its own unique category of opening ideas.

It is perfectly suitable for any club player who wishes to learn this system from scratch or any old hand of the the Rossolimo who wishes to refresh their opening knowledge. Despite my comment above, the volume is also extremely useful for a black player preparing against the Rossolimo.

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4 Introduction 9rsnlwqkvlntr0 9zpp+pzppzpp zp P N+-0 9PzPPzP-zPPzP0 9tRNvLQmKL+R0 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 The Sicilian Defense is one of the most complex and powerful defenses available to Black, and it duly remains the choice of many top players as their favorite response to 1.e4. Historically, it has mainly been believed that the critical test of this opening was to attack it directly via the Open Sicilian, which occurs after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 followed by 3.d4, opening up the center. The dynamics of the resulting positions are such that White will get a lead in development while Black will have an extra central pawn. This leads to incredibly sharp middlegames as both sides try to make use of their advantages. Throughout this book we will attempt to either transform White s lead in development into a devastating kingside attack, or choose a more positional approach, playing for strategic pluses such as having extra space or a healthier pawn structure. However, our ambitious approach is not without risk; often, the first player to err or lose the thread of the struggle will be quickly punished. It is no surprise that the Sicilian is one of the most popular openings around it offers Black great potential not just to equalize, but to fight for victory as well! If you feel that you are up to the challenge and interested in pursuing the sharpest way of meeting the Sicilian Defense, then we have written this book for you. In our humble opinion we believe that the modern philosophy of opening study is to blend the opening and middlegame stages together. Nowadays most professional players make their opening decisions based on the kinds of middlegame positions that they would like to reach. They then study the ins and outs of those middlegames as much (if not more) as the specific moves of each opening. Introduction 7

5 This is exactly what we believe is the best approach to building an opening repertoire. True mastery of the opening occurs when a player knows the specific theory and understands the future complexities of the structure. After all, what good is it to get a decent position out of the opening if you have no idea what to do with it afterwards? With this in mind, our main goal in choosing lines to recommend was to reach middlegame positions with well-defined plans for both sides. We then hope to illustrate how to handle a typical middlegame in each variation through the use of instructive games. The purpose of this book is not only to provide a complete repertoire for the White side of the Open Sicilian, but also to ingrain a number of thematic positional and tactical motifs as well. After analyzing hundreds of high-level games for this book, we chose only the most instructive to feature, and included many others in variations. Studying each game in depth will definitely broaden your understanding of the Open Sicilian, as well as your understanding of chess as a whole. In addition to providing you with the latest theory, each game also includes a variety of common strategic topics, such as the initiative, positional sacrifices, weak squares, outposts, advantage of the two bishops, pawn storms, opposite side castling but of course!, positional binds, restriction, and prophylaxis, to name a few. We hope to provide you with meaningful insight as to what it takes to manage the White side of the Open Sicilian successfully. We d also like to take this opportunity to manage your expectations. We cannot promise a huge advantage in every line if that was the case then the Sicilian would certainly not be one of Black s most reliable openings among all levels! The truth is that many of the main lines remain perfectly playable for Black, but that doesn t mean that the well-prepared player shouldn t be optimistic about his or her chances. We have armed you with top notch analysis as well as a repertoire of strategic plans and ideas that you will be able to rely on deep into the middlegame. As is almost always the case, when two players are equally matched in their opening knowledge it will be the player with the better understanding of the ensuing middlegame who will have the upper hand. While computers remain a trusted ally in the world of opening analysis, it is important not to rely on the silicon beast too much. We ve analyzed and checked each line with the strongest engines available, and while you shouldn t hesitate to verify our analysis, we hope that you ll avoid the novice mistake of depending on the computer s opinion too much. The ideal way to study this book is to play each move out on a physical chess board actually moving the pieces with your hand should increase your retention of the material and allow you to absorb more in the long run. With that, we d like to wish you the best of luck on your journey and we sincerely thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you improve. 8 Introduction

6 Chapter 1 The Najdorf Variation 9rsnlwqkvl-tr0 9+p+-zppzpp0 9p+-zp-sn sNP sN-+-+P0 9PzPP+-zPP+0 9tR-vLQmKL+R0 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 To this day, the Najdorf Sicilian remains one of the most popular openings in all of chess, and for good reason. Named after legendary Grandmaster Miguel Najdorf, this combative opening was a favorite choice of none other than Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov, as well as countless of other Grandmasters. With that in mind, we ve decided to start our courageous journey here. The 6.h3 variation has been dubbed the Adams Attack, attributed to American master Weaver Adams, who first played the line in the 1940s. 20 years later, Fischer then used it to success in games against Reshevsky, Bolbochan, and even Najdorf himself! Despite this, the variation was not considered as challenging as the more popular 6.Be3 or 6.Bg5 up until just a few years ago, when suddenly many top players started including it in their repertoire. Nowadays, this line is hotly contested at high levels, and has been used more than once by super-gms Carlsen, Anand, Nakamura, Karjakin, Svidler, and Nepomniachtchi, among others. In the following chapter we will see White advance g2-g4 and fianchetto the light-squared bishop, which will act as a force to be reckoned with along the long diagonal. Additionally, the g-pawn will also play a vital role in many middlegames, often contributing to a kingside attack. Chapter 1a will be dedicated to the flexible 6...e6, Chapter 1b will feature 6...e5, and Chapter 1c will include all of Black s less popular options, such as 6...Nc6 and 6...g6, as well as the Scheveningen Variation, which starts with 5...e6. Chapter 1: The Najdorf Variation 9 041b061a72

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