Understanding before Moving 109: Play the Sicilian (10)

by ChessBase
1/22/2023 – 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 109th 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.


It is an understatement to say that the Taimanov variation of the Sicilian is popular among grandmasters. In recent years, an increasing number of top players have added this variation to their repertoires. This is not without reason, as the Taimanov is considered to be solid while also offering many opportunities for Black to play for a win.

This is particularly important for some top players, as the ability to play for a win or to exploit weaknesses is often necessary in modern chess practice. But of course, this also creates opportunities for White. For example, there is a variation in the Taimanov in which White sacrifices the queen and two pawns for three minor pieces. The powerful bishop on d6 that results from this sacrifice forces black to sacrifice a rook in return, creating the material imbalance which you see in the diagram below.

Though White may seem to have enough material for the queen with a rook and two minor pieces, Black's three connected passed pawns on the king's wing can prove formidable. Can you think of White's next strong move in this position?


Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, and how to keep your opponent permanently under pressure.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.