A complete repertoire against the Alapin

by ChessBase
5/4/2022 – The Alapin Variation (1.e4 c5 2.c3) is a very solid system for White. Logically, you have no chance to avoid it with Black, if you play the Sicilian. So you should be well-prepared when answering 1.e4 with ...c5. In the new ChessBase Magazine #207, Markus Ragger presents a complete repertoire against the Alapin: after 2...d5 3.exd5 he recommends the side line 3...Nf6, which leads to sharp play and completely different structures than one would expect in a normal c3-Sicilian. In CBM #207 you will also find two more opening videos: Rustam Kasimdzhanov puts the highly topical English Four Kinights Game with 4.e4 (Bc5) to the test and Mihail Marin presents a good old idea by Bent Larsen in the Sicilian Dragon Variation. You can watch an excerpt from Ragger's video analysis here!

ChessBase Magazine 207 ChessBase Magazine 207

FIDE Grand Prix 2022: Esipenko, Giri, Vidit, Oparin, Predke, Shankland, So and Vitiugov comment + videos by Rogozenco. "Special" on Bent Larsen. Opening videos by Kasimdzhanov, Ragger and Marin. 11 opening articles with new ideas for your repertoire!


Opening videos in ChessBase Magazine #207

Markus Ragger: Sicilian Alapin Variation with 3...Nf6

“In this video I want to show you a veryinteresting line against the c3 Sicilian, the Alapin Sicilian. The line that I want to recommend to you is basically a complete repertoire against the c3 Sicilian, which is known for his very solid nature. The line that I want to show you is very sharp. It leads to completely different structures than the ones that are usually arising from the c3 Sicilian, and it's a very rare line that has a lot of surprise value.”

In his analysis of more than half an hour, Markus Ragger goes into all the reactions White has resorted to so far: 4.d4, 4.Bb5+, 4.Nf3, 4.Qa4+, 4.c4 – but in none of these variations has he encountered serious problems for Black, and even forced draws are not to be feared!

Video analysis by Markus Ragger (excerpt from CBM #207)

Playing time of the complete video in ChessBase Magazine #207: 27:31 min

Rustam Kasimdzhanov: English Four Knights

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e4 Bc5

The move 4.e4 has been very popular for a few years now. Numerous top players – starting with the World Champion, but also Nepomniachtchi, Abdusattorov, Andreikin, Esipenko and others – have tried out the variation in their games. Currently the move 4...Bb4 is in fashion, but what about the other main move 4...Bc5? Rustam Kasimdzhanov is pleased to finally get to the bottom of the matter in this analysis.

In his video, which lasts over half an hour, he first explains a number of deviations from the main variation 5.Nxe5 Nxe5 6.d4 Bb4 7.dxe5 Nxe4 and then goes into both the old 8.Qd4 and the modern 8.Qf3. "The longer I looked at the variations, the more I liked the positions from Black's point of view. Because it is Black who has new and interesting ideas!" 

Mihail Marin: Sicilian Dragon Variation - "The Larsen System"

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Qa5 10.0-0-0 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Be6

Hardly any other top player around the middle of the last century showed as much creativity in the opening as Bent Larsen. Mihail Marin uses the game Matanovic-Larsen to examine a line that never managed to become a main variation. But now - in the light of the new engines - the concept with 10...Nxc4 and 11...Be6 suddenly seems completely playable for Black. Marin examines both the continuation 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.Kb1 Rac8 and 12.Bb3 b5 13.Kb1 b4 (as in the game from 1967). Marin's conclusion: "It seems that Larsen's concept was entirely correct!

ChessBase Magazine #207

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Content of ChessBase Magazine #207 (May 2022)


The home page of ChessBase Magazine #207 welcomes you with the highlights of the issue!  Just click, replay the annotated games or watch the videos and enjoy!


FIDE Grand Prix 2022: Analyses by Andrey Esipenko, Anish Giri, Vidit Gujrathi, Grigoriy Oparin, Alexandr Predke, Sam Shankland, Wesley So and Nikita Vitiugov. Dorian Rogozenco presents two selected games of the winners, Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport, in video format. Or jump straight into the training and play through the game Aronian-Keymer from the Grand Prix "Move by Move" with Robert Ris! A complete repertoire against the Sicilian Alapin Variation? Markus Ragger presents his recommendations in his half-hour opening video. Don't miss it: The "Special" on Bent Larsen with 19 commented games as well as analyses + video on the strategic skills of the great Dane!

Special: My favourite game by Bent Larsen


CBM authors analyse their favourite Bent Larsen games. An exclusive collection of 19 annotated games from 1956 to 1998 awaits you!

Top games and master analyses

 FIDE Grand Prix 2022: The Grand Prix was held as a series of three tournaments from 3 February to 4 April, the first and third of which were held in Berlin, the second in Belgrade. As overall winners Nakamura and Rapport qualified for the Candidates Tournament 2022. In this issue Andrey Esipenko, Anish Giri, Vidit Gujrathi, Grigoriy Oparin, Alexandr Predke, Wesley So, Sam Shankland and Nikita Vitiugov comment on their best games. And Dorian Rogozenco shows two games by Nakamura and Rapport in video format.

Airthings Masters 2022: Anish Giri comments on his short wins against Hans Niemann and Ding Liren

All in one

Everything you need to know about a specific line in one extensively annotated game - that is the concept of "All in one". Igor Stohl examines the early advance of the h-pawn against the Indian King's Fianchetto: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.h4!? Bg7 4.Nc3. Tanmay Srinath tests the London System against King's Indian: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Be2 d6 6.h3.

Opening videos

In the English Four Knights Game, the move 4.e4 is very popular. Rustam Kasimdzhanov examines the sometimes very sharp complications after 4...Bc5 and shows new ideas in his analysis, especially for Black. Markus Ragger presents a complete repertoire against the Alapin Variation with the side line 3...Nf6. And Mihail Marin shows an opening idea by Bent Larsen in the Sicilian Dragon Variation, which is still well playable today!

Rustam Kasimdzhanov: English Four Knights
1.c4 Sf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e4 Bc5
Markus Ragger: Sicilian Alapin Variation
1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Nf6!?
Mihail Marin: Sicilian Dragon Variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Qa5 10.0-0-0 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Be6

New ideas for your repertoire

CBM #207 offers many new ideas and concepts for your next games with 11 opening articles:

Yago Santiago: Benko Gambit 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.e3
Spyridon Kapnisis: Modern Benoni Fianchetto Variation
Andrey Sumets: Caro-Kann Advance Variation 3…Bf5 4.h4 Qc7
Martin Lorenzini: Sicilian Alapin 6.Na3/8.Nb5
Petra Papp: Najdorf Polugaevsky Variation 7.f4 b5 8.e5
Tanmay Srinath: French Tarrasch 3…Be7 (Part II)
Krisztian Szabo: Philidor Reversed 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.g3
Robert Ris: Ruy Lopez 3…Bc5 (Part II) 4.c3
Lars Schandorff: Slav 4...dxc4 5.e4 b5 6.Be2 e6 7.a4!?
Alexey Kuzmin: Anti Gruenfeld 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nbd2
Sergei Grigoriants: Gruenfeld with 4.g3 and 7.Na3 c5

Topical opening traps

"Deceptive security and new insights" - Rainer Knaak takes a close look at 10 traps from current tournament practice three of which he also presents in video format.

Move by Move

Test your chess move by move with Robert Ris! Levon Aronian's strategic brilliancy against Vincent Keymer from the first FIDE Grand Prix is on the programme. Can you find the moves of the super grandmaster?

"Bent Larsen - a universal player"

Mihail Marin sheds light on the strategic skills of the most important Danish grandmaster of all time. Incl. detailed video introduction (playing time: 34 minutes).

The Classic

Aron Nimzowitsch described his game with the black pieces against Paul Johner at the anniversary tournament of the Dresden Chess Club in 1926 as "one of his most beautiful blockading games". Enjoy Dorian Rogozenco's presentation!

Tactics: "Magnetic square h7!"

In Oliver Reeh's tactics contribution with 34 games, everything is about the attraction of the square h7 on the attacking white pieces. Incl. interactive video training!

Excelling in endgames - "Endgame highlights by Bent Larsen" and much more.

Karsten Mueller provides comprehensive training material for the highest demands: the most beautiful endgames by Bent Larsen as well as highlights from the first Berlin Grand Prix 2022. The endgame expert from Hamburg opens both contributions with a detailed video introduction. In addition, he provides further analyses in "Readers write"


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