Understanding before Moving 100: Play the Sicilian! (2)

by ChessBase
11/20/2022 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 100th (!) instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues to explain why it is good to study and to play the Sicilian. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


This is already the 100th episode of my "Understanding before Moving" series that you can basically watch every Sunday afternoon. So I have a little anniversary to celebrate and therefore I would like to show you a Sicilian game of my own that I have special memories of.

This game against Swedish GM Tiger Hillarp Persson started as a Najdorf but then quickly transposed into a Scheveningen. However, that we played a Sicilian at all, was already a small surprise for me. When preparing for this game I had expected 1.d4 but he surprised me with 1.e4.

As I did not want to fall into "the knife of his preparation" (during the tournament I had mainly played the Caro-Kann), I decided to return to my old love: the Sicilian. I thought I could surprise him with a rather rare line but after the game Tiger told me that he sometimes plays this set-up with Black himself...

In the early middlegame, the sharp line got out of hand and I ended up in a bad position. While he attacked on the kingside, I tried to get a counterattack going on the queenside. However, my opponent spent oceans of time to navigate through the complications and we finally reached the position shown in the diagram below.

While my opponent was having major arguments with the clock, I wondered whether I could come up with something special in this position. After thinking for about 20 minutes I decided to proceed with the spectacular 25...Rxb3+.

And now I ask you: What is the purpose of the  exchange sacrifice? And is the sacrifice correct?


Master Class Vol.1: Bobby Fischer

No other World Champion was more infamous both inside and outside the chess world than Bobby Fischer. On this DVD, a team of experts shows you the winning techniques and strategies employed by the 11th World Champion.

Grandmaster Dorian Rogozenco delves into Fischer’s openings, and retraces the development of his repertoire. What variations did Fischer play, and what sources did he use to arm himself against the best Soviet players? Mihail Marin explains Fischer’s particular style and his special strategic talent in annotated games against Spassky, Taimanov and other greats. Karsten Müller is not just a leading international endgame expert, but also a true Fischer connoisseur.

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