Alejandro Ramirez: The Tajmanov-Scheveningen

by Priyadarshan Banjan
7/21/2015 – Would you like to play a solid yet aggressive opening? Try the Sicilian Tajmanov-Scheveningen! In really critical games a lot of grandmasters rely on it. On his ChessBase DVD about this Sicilian GM Alejandro Ramirez shows you how to play and win with this line. His chess knowledge and his eloquent, smooth style of presentation make this DVD a pure pleasure to watch!

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Alejandro Ramirez: The Sicilian Tajmanov-Scheveningen

A Review

The Sicilian Defense is the most popular defense against 1.e4. It often leads to sharp fights with attacks on opposite wings - a tempo may win or lose the game. But, as GM Alejandro Ramirez points out in his DVD on the Tajmanov-Scheveningen, things do not always have to be so razor-sharp.

The Tajmanov-Scheveningen is a calmer Sicilian, but contains no less venom than the Najdorf or the Dragon. Unlike its sharper cousins, the Tajmanov-Scheveningen is a positional way of fighting a typical Sicilian battle. If you are looking for an opening that offers the adventures of a Sicilian but is less risky than the Najdorf, this might be the DVD for you.

Moreover, Ramirez’ eloquence, expertise, and the smooth and calm manner, in which he presents his material, make it a pleasure to watch the DVD. Ramirez shows what moves to expect from White and what moves to play with Black, all the while putting great emphasis on explaining why a certain idea or move is played. Here, his youthful attitude and his deep chess knowledge lead to a delectable mix.

GM Alejandro Ramirez

All games Ramirez presents are from recent tournaments. Most of them were played at the Tromso World Cup, 2013 – a strong knock-out tournament in which a single loss could be fatal and costly. As GM Ramirez points out, a lot of grandmasters resorted to this fighting yet solid defense to play the most important games of their careers – a certificate for the opening’s viability.

Structure of the DVD

The DVD offers Black a complete repertoire and covers all important variations and move-orders that arise after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 (or 3.g3) cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6. Now Ramirez’ main lines starts with 5.Nc3 After 5.c4 or 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 positions with a Maroczy structure arise. 5...Qc7 6.Be2 This leads to the Scheveningen. White can also try 6.f4, 6.g3 or 6.Be3 (the English Attack which Black counters with 6...a6 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.0–0–0 Bb4.) 6...a6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.0–0 Be7 9.f4 d6 10.Qe1 (or 10.a4 0–0 11.Kh1 Nxd4) 10...0–0 11.Qg3 d5 with an interesting position in which Black has achieved the strategically important break …d5.

Right from the start I was impressed by the clear and accessible structure of the DVD. After the Introduction follows an Overview of variations, a more detailed coverage of theory, and at the end you can test your knowledge with the customary “Test Positions.”

The individual lectures are also structured in a clear and accessible fashion. Ramirez starts each topic he is about to discuss with a short introduction and then proceeds to teach you the intricacies of the variation in question. He finishes each topic with a short summary in which he repeats crucial points and gives additional tips and suggestions. This is as refreshing as it is inspiring and reinforces the concepts in your mind.

GM Ramirez recommends to follow in the footsteps of model players who employ this opening regularly and successfully at the highest level. One such player is Russian GM Nikita Vitiugov – and here is one of his games.


Nikita Vitiugov (Photo: John Saunders)

The DVD also contains a database of sixty-four model games which allow you to study the opening further to gain a better understanding of the arising positions. A very satisfying and pleasurable learning experience.

The DVD is tailor-made for the improving player, no matter whether you are an amateur or a seasoned tournament player. Everybody looking for a theoretically solid line that leads to interesting and complex positions that allow you to play for a win with Black will study this DVD with pleasure and profit.

It is difficult to find any short-coming of this DVD! And it is, in fact, one of the best DVDs I have ever studied. Highly recommended.

Sample video

Alejandro Ramirez:
The Sicilian Tajmanov-Scheveningen

€25.13 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU)
$27.29 (without VAT)

• Video running time: 4 h 39 min (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Exclusive database with 50 essential games
• Including CB 12 Reader

This DVD can be be sent by mail or downloaded directly from the Internet

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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.


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