The Closed Sicilian

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The beginning of a new correspondence chess tournament is of great importance. You need to prepare for all games because they all start in the same time. It is a good idea to assume the opponents are going to research your published games, picking the openings and lines most uncomfortable for you. In the same time playing well known lines could reduce the strength difference between players. A potential weaker player could employ solid lines that could lead to minimal advantages. This would increase considerably the chances to obtain a draw.

The tournament I just started has a novel and exciting feature: all players that achieve a plus score qualify to the next round. I am in the second round after I scored +3 in the first one. This adds a wrinkle in the opening preparation because one needs to target some games for scoring the minimal +1. How does one do that? There is no clear cut recipe. A general idea is to play solid in all games, maintain at least a minimal advantage in all games as White, and equalize fast with the Black pieces.

I picked to play the Closed Sicilian against one opponent, and he responded with a line I have never encountered before:

Has anyone played this against you yet? You could be tempted to laugh at it. If you do not know your opponent, you might consider it not very good. Before you count your chickens too soon, be warn that you are facing a very respectable line. I have researched a few possible outcomes, and here are some possible ways to play from this point on. Have a look at each one of them, and pick the one that feels good for you when playing the White pieces. One the Black side of the chessboard you might want to add this as your surprise weapon against the Closed Sicilian.

Black takes over the Queen side

The Grand Prix Attack idea

Back to the Najdorf Sicilian

Why would it be useful to look at all the above and beyond? The reason is simple and powerful: you want to control the game as much, and as long as possible. We should all be in agreement here.

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app:
I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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