45. “Deep Sicilian” Practice

[Event "Koge"] [Site "Koge"] [Date "2014.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Baklan"] [Black "Krasenkow"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B45"] [WhiteElo "2656"] [BlackElo "2631"] [Annotator "Wahls"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "1968.04.05"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "DEN"] {My original intention was to present this game already last year. But
then I changed my mind and decided that it might be wiser to provide you with
some theoretical knowledge about the "Deep Sicilian" Logic first. With that
foundation, you will now be able to understand the game on a much higher level.
} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. g3 {[#] Ranking only
on 7th place in popularity, this move is clearly underrated. It is not worse
than 6.Be2 (rank 4) and definitively better than 6.Be3 (rank 3). Black has
many decent options, now. One would be to enter the g3-Scheveningen by playing
6..d6. I refrained from presenting this line, as the position tends to be a
complicated Deep Sicilian, where Black might find himself being attacked on
the kingside. It is true, against 6.Be2 I do recommend entering the
Scheveningen with 6..d6. The difference is that there I present the line 9..e5,
with which Black establishes a foothold in the center, thus avoiding any
serious attack.} Bb4 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O d6 {[#] That's the defining move of my
repertoire variation. I picked it for two reasons. First of all, my analyses
turned out to be very satisfactory, which complies with the important
characteristic of QUALITY. Secondly, there were only 9 games available, which
made this line virgin territory to some degree. There was plenty of scope for
original analyses and hence the characteristic of ORIGINALITY was complied with,
as well. If you remember my blog post 44, this combination is what makes for a
QUALITY SIDELINE. The structure is special in so far, as we see a hybrid
between a Deep Sicilian (pawns on e6 and d6) and a Sicilian with active piece
play, since the bishop has moved beyond the central pawn shield. Which of the
two elements is the dominating one, depends very much on White's decisions. As
it turns out, after 9.Nde2 Black will have the best of both worlds - the sound
Deep Sicilian structure and active piece play linked to the special location
of the bishop.} 9. Nde2 $6 {[#] This move follows a certain logic as it
prevents doubled c-pawns and clears the d-file for potential pressure against
d6. However, the drawbacks way heavier. Pressure is released from c6 and the
queen's knight is left on an awkward place were it will very likely be
attacked by Black's b-pawn. The deeper meaning of this will become evident in
the course of this game.} a6 (9... h6 $2 {happened in 1-0 (38) Souleidis,G
(2395)-Ikonnikov,V (2550) Basel 2004. As it is shown below, there was no need
to prevent 10.Bg5.}) 10. h3 {White prepares both pawn thrusts, g4 and f4. The
latter could otherwise run into Ng4-related tactics. Additionally, a bishop on
e3 won't have to fear this knight sortie anymore.} (10. Bg5 $2 h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6
{Now White has to justify having abandoned his bishop pair, which means there
must follow some immediate action.} 12. a3 (12. Na4 Qd8 (12... Qe7 $2 13. Nb6
$11) 13. a3 Ba5 14. b4 Bc7 15. c4 {Quite a unique Hedgehog constellation, but
not very favorable for White.} Ne5 16. Rc1 (16. c5 dxc5 17. Nxc5 Qe7 $15)
16... Bd7 17. Nd4 (17. Nb2 b5 $15) 17... Rc8 18. Nb2 b5 $15) 12... Bc5 $1 {
Many players are emotionally detached from the concept of the positional
sacrifice and consequently miss out on good opportunities. Here, Black could
have held on to his bishop pair.} (12... Bxc3 $2 13. Nxc3 $11 {½-½ (71)
Oprisor,R (2359)-Chitescu,I (2096) ICCF email 2006 Corr 2011}) 13. Na4 (13. b4
Ba7 14. Qxd6 Ne5 15. Qd2 g5 {Preventing 16.Qf4} 16. Kh1 Rd8 17. Qc1 Bd7 18. h3
Nc4 $17) 13... Ba7 14. Qxd6 Rd8 (14... g5 $15) 15. Qf4 Qxf4 16. Nxf4 (16. gxf4
Rd2 17. Bf3 e5 $15) 16... Nd4 17. e5 (17. Rac1 $4 g5) 17... Bd7 18. Nc3 Nxc2
19. Rab1 Rab8 $15) {This actual game was reached via the move order 9.h3 a6 10.
Nde2. However, as it represents the line 9.Nde2, I decided to use this order
for the sake of simplicity.} 10... Bc5 $1 $15 {[#] As the knight on c3 is
firmly fortified, the bishop turns towards a more interesting diagonal. At
the same time, the square b4 is vacated for the b-pawn. Obviously, Black is
doing fine, but is he really slightly better, as I claim? If you let Stockfish
with his 3500 Elo run for several minutes, it declares equality. In my
opinion, it is positions with such discrepancies, which are truly interesting
and where your chess understanding is put to the ultimate test. Okay, this is
how I make my case: As we know from the great Bent Larsen, by opting for the
Open Sicilian, White is actually playing a gambit, as he sacrifices his
valuable centre pawn for Black's c-pawn. In return he gets space advantage and
initiative. Now the proof is on him, to convert these dynamic assets into
something more tangible. Otherwise, Black's superior structure will possibly
count in the long run. So, how is the state of White's initiative? In order to
show something, White will have to push his kingside pawns, as it happens in
the game. However, if we compare White's attack with other Open Sicilian
positions, we realize that he is actually rather late to the party. After all,
he invested in moves such as 9.h3 and 10.Nde2 and will move his pawn to g4 in
two steps. Such long-winded attacks bear the risk of not being efficient. But
that's not all. In this specific context not being efficient isn't a neutral
outcome but a negative one, as irreversible weaknesses of White's king safety
will occur in the wake of such pawn thrusts.} 11. g4 {The questions is whether
White is doing better by omitting to weaken his kingside and play solidly
instead. While this might be or might not be the case, there still is a
problem. Solid play will not deter Black from conducting his automatic
queenside expansion with the consequence of gaining space, dislodging the Nc3
and creating weaknesses in the camp of White's queenside pawns (minority
attack). Additionally, he still has his pawn majority in the centre. No, there
is no way for White to escape his fate of being the underdog, as I see it. If
you still have blog post 52 in mind, you will recall that this is exactly what
I depicted as WHITE'S DILEMMA IN THE DEEP SICILIAN.} (11. b3 Rb8 12. a4 (12.
Na4 Ba7 13. Ba3 $2 b5 14. e5 Nd5 15. c4 Ndb4 $15) 12... b5 13. axb5 axb5 14.
Bb2 e5 $1 {Dominating three white minor pieces in one go.} (14... Qb6 $5) 15.
Kh2 (15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 (16. Qxd5 Qb6 17. Qd3 b4 $17) 16... Ne7 17. Nc1 Bf5
18. Nd3 Bxd3 {It is worth giving up the light-squared bishop to establish a
dominance on the dark squares, secured by a subsequent b5-b4.} 19. Qxd3 f5 $15)
(15. Qd3 b4 16. Nd1 Qc7 17. Ne3 Ne7 18. Rfd1 Be6 $15) 15... b4 16. Na4 Ba7 17.
f4 Re8 18. c4 (18. f5 $2 Ba6 $17) 18... bxc3 19. Naxc3 Bc5 $15 {Black has the
better pawn structure and the safer king.}) (11. a4 Rb8 $15) (11. Bf4 Nh5 $1 {
Parrying the threat of 12.Na4} (11... Qc7 $2 12. Na4 Nh5 13. Nxc5 Nxf4 14. Nxf4
dxc5 $11) (11... e5 $2 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxf6 Qxf6 $11) 12. Bc1 Rb8 (12... Qc7 13.
a4 Rb8) 13. g4 Nf6 14. g5 Ne8 (14... Nd7 $6 15. Na4 Ba7 16. Qxd6 Nce5 $44) 15.
Kh1 f6 $1 16. gxf6 Nxf6 $15 {leaves Black with the superior shelter for his
king.}) 11... Qc7 ({It might be more logical to prepare b5 straight away.}
11... Rb8 12. a4 (12. g5 Ne8 (12... Nd7 $6 13. Na4 Ba7 14. Qxd6 Nce5 $11) 13.
Kh1 f6 $1 14. gxf6 Nxf6 $15 {leaves Black with the superior shelter for his
king.}) 12... b5 13. axb5 axb5 $15 {Here is one exemplary line:} 14. Kh1 Qc7
15. Bg5 (15. f4 b4 16. Na4 Ra8 17. Bd2 Ba7 18. g5 Nd7 $15) 15... Nd7 16. f4 b4
17. Na4 Ba7 18. Qd3 (18. b3 Ba6 $15) 18... Re8 {[#] Black is getting ready for
some central action with d5 or e5, followed by d5.} 19. b3 (19. Rfd1 d5 $1 20.
exd5 $2 exd5 21. f5 Bb7 22. c3 Nf6 $17) 19... Bb7 20. Rad1 h6 21. Bh4 d5 22. e5
Qa5 23. Ra1 Ba6 24. Qd2 Qc7 {with a large advantage.}) (11... b5 $4 12. e5) 12.
a4 {[#]} (12. Bf4 $6 b5 {Black already has a distinct advantage.} 13. a3 Ne5
14. Bg5 Ne8 (14... Qe7 $5 15. Nc1 (15. Kh1 $6 Bb7 16. f4 Nc4 $17) 15... h6 16.
Bf4 (16. Bh4 $2 Bb7 17. Nd3 Bd4 $17) 16... g5 17. Bg3 Bb7 18. Nd3 Bd4 $15) 15.
Qc1 $2 Bb7 16. Be3 $2 Nf6 (16... b4 $2 17. axb4 Bxb4 18. Na4 $11 {1-0 (79)
Iversen,R-Moe,M Copenhagen 1968}) 17. Bxc5 Qxc5 $17 {Black could have enjoyed
the typical power play on the queenside (Rfc8, Nc4, a5, b4), with or without
the potential pawn break d6-d5.}) 12... b6 $6 {Too timid for my taste.} (12...
Rb8 13. Nf4 (13. Kh1 b5 $15) 13... b5 14. axb5 axb5 15. Nd3 b4 16. Nxc5 (16.
Ne2 Bb6 $15) 16... dxc5 17. Ne2 (17. Na4 $2 Ba6 18. Re1 Rfd8 19. Bd2 Nd7 $19)
17... Rd8 18. Qe1 Nd4 (18... Nd7 $15) 19. Nxd4 cxd4 20. Bg5 h6 21. Bxf6 gxf6
22. Qd2 Kg7 $15 {followed by e5 and Be6}) 13. g5 (13. Bg5 Nd7 14. Nc1 Bb7 15.
Nd3 Nde5 $15 {e.g.} 16. Nxc5 dxc5 17. f4 f6 18. Bh4 Nc4 19. Qc1 Nd4 20. b3 Nd6
21. Qd2 b5) 13... Nd7 14. Nf4 (14. Kh1 f6 $1 {This counter blow, which we saw
already in the line 14.Bf4 above, is an important resource for Black.} 15. Nf4
(15. gxf6 Nxf6 $15) 15... Nde5 16. gxf6 Rxf6 17. Nfd5 exd5 18. Nxd5 Qf7 19. f4
Ng6 20. c3 a5 21. Nxf6+ gxf6 $15) 14... Nde5 (14... Bb7 15. Nd3 f5 $1 16. gxf6
Nxf6 $15) 15. Nd3 Bb7 16. Nxc5 dxc5 17. f4 {[#]} Ng6 $2 {It was better to
force White to commit his queen.} (17... Rad8 18. Qh5 (18. Qe1 $2 Nd4 19. Qf2
Ng6 20. Be3 (20. f5 exf5 21. exf5 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 Nxf5 $19) 20... f6 $17) 18...
Ng6 19. Be3 Nd4 20. Rf2 b5 $15 21. axb5 axb5 22. Rc1 e5 23. f5 Nf4 $15) 18. f5
exf5 (18... Rad8 19. Qe1 {This is now possible in contrast to the line 17..
Rad8.} exf5 20. exf5 Rfe8 21. Qf2 Nge7 22. f6 Ng6 23. Bf4 $11) 19. Nd5 Qe5 20.
Rxf5 Qd4+ 21. Be3 Qxd1+ 22. Rxd1 Nh4 23. Rf2 1/2-1/2
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