Understanding before Moving 117: Play the Sicilian (18)

by ChessBase
3/19/2023 – 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 117th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman shows a game of Dutch author Willy Hendriks and 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.


The Dutch IM Willy Hendriks is known for three attractive books. In a nice recent interview with ChessBase he talked a bit more about his work, especially "The Ink War", his latest book.

Hendriks studied philosophy and this shows in his books. I am known as a trainer of rules of thumb and technical chess advice, and I had a number of interesting discussions with Hendriks because he argues (particularly in his first book, "Move First Think Later") that the thinking of strong chess players is not guided in this way.

I would be the last to argue otherwise, but I do believe that young chess players and 'ordinary club players' benefit from being given a guide to think about their moves. After more than 40 years of experience as a trainer, I am also convinced of this when I see how players sometimes make great progress in a short time on the basis of the guidelines I have given them. Nevertheless, I like to let the players find their own way in their thinking process. What works for one may not work for another.

Hendriks offers a lot of original and sometimes revolutionary ideas in his books, and this way of thinking is also evident in his games. I have unearthed a nice game of him in which he defeated the strong GM Pavasovic in an Hyper-accelerated Dragon.

Hendriks managed to gain a big advantage which should have been decisive, but then failed to convert it into a win. However, his opponent returned the compliment and Hendriks still won the game.

In the position below Black seems to be under pressure, but found an interesting way to free his game. What did he play and what is the (tactical) justification for his move?


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.

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