Dejan Bojkov: Try the Sicilian Kalashnikov!

2/3/2012 – The Kalashnikov Variation (B32) is a close relative of the Sveshnikov – in fact it is sometimes called the Neo-Sveshnikov. It has a long history: La Bourdonnais used it in his matches against Alexander McDonnell in 1834. You can use it today to surprise your opponent – but do watch the 32 video clips by a master, Bulgarian GM Dejan Bojkov, before you use it in vital tournaments. Review and report.

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Dejan Bojkov: Try the Sicilian Kalashnikov!

Maybe you remember the famous game McDonnell-De Labourdonnais from their 1834 match in London, the one in which three connected black pawns reached the second rank and forced White’s resignation. What you probably do not know is that this game started with the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5.

White’s most common move then is 5.Nb5, which Black for many years preferred to meet with 5...a6, which is a strategically risky decision. But a completely new development of the whole system was initiated in 1987, when Evgeny Sveshnikov, the godfather of the Sveshnikov Sicilian (4...Nf6 5.Nc3 e5), changed to 4...e5 and followed this with 5...d6, which is positionally more sound.

The latter move brings us to the subject of the current DVD – the Kalashnikov, or the Neo-Sveshnikov line. In 32 video clips Dejan Bojkov covers the main ideas behind Black’s setup, the positional ideas behind the opening, the dangers that the second player is facing and prepares a thorough and deep repertoire for those willing to play the line as Black.

The DVD is separated into two parts – the first provides the main ideas behind the opening, and the second gives the theoretical material. The main point behind Black’s idea is that he occupies the centre without any delay, with tempo. The main drawback - the weakening of the d5-square. Which factor should prevail? Watch the DVD to find out! Video running time: 6 hours.


Video sampler from Dejan Bojkov: Try the Sicilian Kalashnikov!


Dejan Bojkov on the Queenstown Chess Classic

This is the brief description of what had happened at the Queenstown Chess Classic, which took place between 15-23 January. Note that in the picture player you can click on individual pictures to get them in full size.

There is something special about this event. No, sorry, this was too mild. Everything is special about it! The fact that it is held every three years, the exceptional beauty of the nature in Queenstown, the rare species that can be seen only here, even the travelling time to this wonderful place. It is worth all the efforts, I assure you, and the tournament itself is magnificent. This edition gathered together almost one hundred and fifty people from nineteen countries.

The promoter of the event, ideologist, founder and everything, is GM Murray Chandler. No matter how modest he is, this cannot be passed by. Every year he starts a journey from the North Island to the South one, to make sure that things will be in order. Not everything started smoothly this year. However, the broken van was the first and only “bad move” in the event. Fortunately, without any severe consequences.

The International tournament is also an open New Zealand’s Championship, and at the closing ceremony one can see a long procession of “kiwis” queued for their prizes. The top prize, and the biggest cup, was won by FM Michael Steadman, who scored 6.5/9 and shared ninth place. He also received the right to represent New Zealand at the Olympiad. Do better watch out for him, he is very aggressive and entertaining!

The tournament is also a part of the Oceania Circuit, and here the champion is Darryl Johansen from Australia. He scored 7.5/9 and… also won the general tournament! There was a three-way tie for the first place, but Darryl took yet another trophy thanks to his best tiebreak (number of wins – he had seven). The other two players in the triumvirate were the Chinese GMs Li Chao and Zhao Jun, but they both made three draws each. Johansen pulled out victory with three straight wins at the end, and in the last round he was very lucky as his opponent Gawain Jones rejected threefold repetition and eventually lost.

The tournament will be remembered for its high percentage of decisive games. One of the reasons was the rule that the players on first ten boards were not allowed to make draws before the thirty moves. Penalties were severe: first time punishment was 50% of the possible prize winnings, and the second penalty: 100%. I personally prefer the Australian method, which stimulated the game with a fighting fund. However, as the organizers gave good conditions to the foreign titled players, they have the right to demand more from them.

Some players were more successful than others, and here is the time to mention three of them who earned IM norms. Trevor Tao (7/9) made his final one, and since he is already over 2400 he can claim the title. Trevor had a great tournament, and could have even share the first place if he had punished Li Chao’s overambitious play in the final round. Irine Sukundar from Indonesia scored her fourth male IM norm and FM Junta Ikeda from Australia the toughest first one.
Gawain Jones won the brilliancy prize game.


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