Tips from the coach of the Olympic champion

by ChessBase
8/26/2022 – Ivan Sokolov has celebrated numerous successes in his career as a player. His greatest coup as a coach came only recently at the Chess Olympiad 2022 in Chennai, when he led the team from Uzbekistan to gold. In his video contribution to the current ChessBase Magazine Extra #208 he presents an idea on how to surprise your opponent in the Sicilian Four Knights Variation: The move 6.g3 may not look particularly aggressive - but when a player like Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan's number one and reigning rapid chess world champion) is on a loss with Black a few moves later, that can easily happen to your opponent too! You can see an excerpt from Sokolov's analysis here.

Chessbase Magazine Extra 208 Chessbase Magazine Extra 208

Videos: Nico Zwirs tests the dynamic 5...b5 in the Vienna Variation of the Queen's Gambit. Ivan Sokolov introduces 6.g3 as a surprise weapon in the Sicilian Four Knights Variation. "Lucky bag": 60 analyses by Anish Giri, David Navara and many more.

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Ivan Sokolov: Sicilian Four Knights Variation with 6.g3

The subject of Ivan Sokolov's video analysis is a rare variation in the Sicilian Four Knights. But because friends of the Sveshnikov Variation avoid the unloved Rossolimo Variation by going for the move order 2...e6 (instead of 2...Nc6) and then 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6. White could return to the Sveshnikov Variation with 6.Nb5, but it is extremely difficult for White to achieve a concrete advantage here.

Ivan Sokolov presents an alternative with 6.g3!? that has barely been played so far. Based on the game Durarbayli-Abdusattorov from the FIDE World Cup 2021, Sokolov examines all replies (except for 6...d6) and makes it clear that Black faces no small task. For example, 6...Bc5 - the move chosen by the 2021 Rapid World Chess Champion - is already a serious mistake, and can be used by White to straight away reach a clear advantage. Among the alternatives 6...Qb6, 6...Be7, 6...d5. 6...Qc7 and 6...Bb4, only one continuation equalises – and of course only if Black finds the correct following moves!

Ivan Sokolov: Sicilian Four Knights with 6.g3 (excerpt from CBM Extra #208)

Total video playing time in CBM Extra #208:: 23 minutes

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