The first DVD by GM Ftacnik

5/9/2009 – For more than 20 years, Lubomir Ftacnik has collaborated with ChessBase - of course for ChessBase Magazine (over 4700 (!) annotated games in the Mega Database), but also as the author of CDs and above all as the most important editor of the player encyclopaedia and in the standardising of game references. Now the Slovakian GM has recorded his first DVD in Fritztrainer format - in both German and English. Video, interview and annotated game...

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Sicilian Schevenigen – for mere mortals too

The subject of Ftacnik’s first DVD is the Scheveningen Variation in the Sicilian Defence. Its seven hours of running time demonstrate how far beyond the usual this video goes. There is no surprise about that, because Ftacnik has many years of experience with this opening and also his preparatory work has been spread over a number of years.

Here is a video in Fritztrainer format (of a total of 24 in English language): Scheveningen with an early g4

The author was kind enough to answer a few questions for us and to send us one of his best games with the Scheveningen, with annotations of course.

How long have you been working with the ChessBase program and since when have you been working for the firm ChessBase?

It was in 1987 that I started working with the ChessBase program, and one year later I wrote my first articles for CBM-Magazine.

When did you start to play the Scheveningen? Who is the strongest player you have managed to defeat with the Scheveningen? What is your total score with the opening?

In played my first games with the Scheveningen in 1977 (e.g. in the GM tournament in Sochi 1977); I have beaten Naiditsch, Adams, Nunn, Socko, Laznicka; out of 190 games -41 =88 +65, in other words 56.3% and a performance rating of 2515 since 1977, when at the time my rating was only 2360.

Do you consider that the Scheveningen is an opening for grandmasters only? Is the opening also suited to playing for a win with Black?

Of course the Scheveningen is also for mortals. Basically the Sicilian is almost unavoidable and very popular. The Scheveningen is characterised by active counterplay and counterattack., meaning that as an opening it is even clearly more suited than other systems to turning winning ambitions for Black into reality.

Has the rise of computers changed the evaluation of the opening or is it possible to evaluate specific variations more precisely?

As a general rule, there have been rather clear corrections in the judgments about many openings, but not so many for the Scheveningen. The plans have been around for some time and there have been few adjustments to evaluations (such as, for example, equality instead of “very promising for White” in some lines).  Of course nowadays it is possible to work out the sharper variations much more accurately and to give much more precise evaluations, but these are rather specific matters which do not affect to any great extent the general state of knowledge on the opening.

What can still be said in favour of the Scheveningen?

Kasparov, Anand, Topalov, Kramnik, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Karpov, Svidler, Movsesian, Mamedyarov, Gelfand and many other have been active users of the Scheveningen. Games from the latest version of Mega 2009 (show for an average Elo score of 2600 a 55% result for White, that is to say exactly the overall average. Kasparov has scored 65.7% on the black side of the Scheveningen, (including decisive games in matches against Karpov), just a fraction more than the 64% which he has scored as Black with all openings in Mega 2009. Conclusion: Black can really play for a win, the best players in the world trust the Scheveningen.

Game Nunn - Ftacnik, Naestved 1985

Lubomir Ftacnik: Sicilian Scheveningen


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