Understanding before Moving 112: Play the Sicilian (13)

by ChessBase
2/12/2023 – 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 112th 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.


We continue to study the Richter Rauzer Sicilian for a while. With a game by Benjamin Bok, one of my former students who is now a Grandmaster, we looked at typical plans in middlegame structures where Bxf6 gxf6 is played immediately after the opening. We tried to take stock of the different plans White has at his disposal and how he can put pressure on the black position.

For example, the usual plan of playing f4-f5 to put pressure on the e6 pawn is one of the main pillars of White's strategy.  In the diagram below we see a position in which the then 15-year-old Benjamin is playing against the Indian WGM (and later IM) Swaminathan Soumya.

As his former coach, I was pleased to see that he had indeed taken the black pawn on e6 under fire by playing his bishop to b3 and his queen to h3. Black, however, defended in an original way by redirecting the queen to e5, defending the pawn on e6.

White has just played the somewhat mysterious Qh3-h4, which was answered with ...Bf8-g7. The question now is what White had in mind when he played. Can you work out what strong move White played in the diagram 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, consequently how to keep your opponent permanently under press

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