Open fight in the closed Sicilian

5/11/2009 – The closed Sicilian usually starts slowly – the first real clash of pieces may come in the middlegame. That is why understanding of strategies and knowledge of motifs is essential here. Nigel Davies' "Closed Sicilian" DVD proves by means of games by Spassky, Karpov, Smyslov etc. that this is a real fighting opening with lots of space for creativity. Buy his DVD now or read more.

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Nigel Davies: The Closed Sicilian

Review by Sean Marsh

‘During the early stages White quietly builds strong central fortifications and gains space on the kingside. Despite the quiet appearance of this plan, in the middlegame this can lead to a ferocious onslaught against Black’s king.’

GM Davies starts off by drawing the viewer’s attention to the pedigree of the Closed Sicilian. It has been played by Smyslov, Spassky, Adams and Short, with occasional outings in the hands of Lasker and Karpov.

The ten-minute introduction shows the basic moves and provides a rough outline of the plans at White’s disposal. Highlighting the creative side of the opening - and the fact that ideas are much more important than theory - GM Davies opines that the system is an ideal choice for players with limited study time.

The material is based around 18 main illustrative games and each one focuses on the ideas and plans involved.

The starting point for the meat of the DVD is one of the most popular positions. Following the moves: 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6

White is now at a crossroads. The choice for the sixth move depends on which plan a player wishes to follow. The presenter runs through the basic options:
  • 6 f4 Expansion on the Kingside with a general pawn storm
  • 6 Be3 to exchange the dark squared Bishops
  • 6 Nge2 to keep the options open
  • 6 Nh3 developing without blocking the f4 pawn
  • 6 Nf3 perhaps heading for Nh4 and f4.
  • The plan of a3 and b4.

 

All of these are covered over the course of the 18 games.

Click here for replay an exemplary game for the 6.Be3 idea (Hjartarson-Castaneda).

Spassky’s crushing victories over Geller, in their 1968 Candidates’ Match remain essential study material for aspiring Closed Sicilian exponents and game six of the match is the first to analysed.

Spassky - Geller Here’s a small taster of the action… 25 Nxf7! 1-0 (32)

The concluding segment puts a new slant on things, first looking at a couple of nuances in the early move order and then showing how to use the same ideas for Black to combat the English Opening.

This DVD should be well received by those who would like to get an anti-Sicilian system up and running with the minimum of fuss. As usual, GM Davies hits the club player target level right on the bullseye.

Click here for the original review by Sean Marsh.

More video training with GM Nigel Davies:



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