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Anatoly Karpov vs Garry Kasparov
Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984/85), Moscow URS, rd 1, Sep-10
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. Keres Attack (B81)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-14-14  Conrad93: The move order looks 6. g4!? h6 7. h4 looks so wrong...

I don't care how much theory is behind it. It always seems irrational.

May-28-14  RookFile: I think some of today's GM's feel that 3. d4 is a mistake, ceding the center pawn for a wing pawn. One of the points of g4 is to restrain ...d5 from black, his classical idea in the Sicilian.
May-28-14  Shams: <RookFile><I think some of today's GM's feel that 3. d4 is a mistake, ceding the center pawn for a wing pawn.>

I've heard that Sveshnikov has expressed this view, even going so far as to annotate the move with a question mark! But to call that a minority viewpoint is an understatement.

Sveshnikov's reality testing has just been bad lately. Remember his infamous comments about Magnus?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Larsen was the first to express that view, so far as I know--believe it was in the annotations to a game he won from Kavalek in 1973 (at Manila or Bauang) in which he actually played an Open Sicilian.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <perfidious> Here's another source for Larsen's expression, as given by J. Rowson:

" The great Dane, Bent Larsen, is often misquoted as calling the Sicilian a 'cheap trap'. In fact he felt that White was the one trying to catch Black in a cheap trap, but at a large price- that of an extra center pawn. Here is the original statement taken from How to Open a Chess Game:

<"Almost everyone plays 3 d4. But isn't that a positional error? I am not joking. I like my centre pawns, and I like a QP better than a QBP! I know that sometimes White sacrifices a knight on d5 or e6 and smashes Black before he can castle, but in those games where this has been done, haven't improvements always been found for Black afterward? Well then, isn't 3 d4 something like a cheap trap? I know it can be combined with purely strategical ideas, but I find it easier to discuss strategy when I have an extra centre pawn!">

I love this statement, especially the last line, which resonates with my own feelings about open Sicilians, which I have been playing with both colours for over ten years. As Black, I feel like I lag in development and have to be very careful for ten moves or so, but as White I feel a deeper sense of pressure, as if somehow my position is not fully sound. Indeed, it is largely because I stopped looking forward to playing against Sicilians that I have recently switched from 1.e4 to 1.d4. "

May-28-14  Shams: <whiteshark> Good stuff, thanks for posting.

My take: if 3.d4 is a cheap trap, then playing for a win in chess is a cheap trap. Rowson and Larsen aren't wrong to prefer the center pawn, but neither are all the other players wrong who prefer rapid development, open lines and a target on the half-open d-file.

As for me, I'm happy never to play either side of the Open Sicilian again. =)

May-28-14  Howard: Yes, I have that book How to Open a Chess Game. Larsen indeed says that !
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Of course Larsen wrote that--<whiteshark> put the pertinent excerpt in quotes. Now he mentions it, I recall it too, having read the book while probably a class A player. A useful work which has not lost its topicality.

The game to which I referred above is almost certainly Larsen vs Kavalek, 1975 and appeared in CL&R.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <whiteshark> Thanks, love the quotes from Larsen and Rowson. I've always felt that way about the Sicilian, nice to see the GMs were there before me. Stean makes some of the same points at greater length in Simple Chess.

The Sicilian's superiority is arguably supported by statistics, though these numbers aren't adjusted for playing strength:

Lasker vs Capablanca, 1936

<Shams> <My take: if 3.d4 is a cheap trap, then playing for a win in chess is a cheap trap.> Don't go there.

May-28-14  Shams: <keypusher> Ok but come on, suggesting open sicilian wins are somehow less legitimate because improvements have been found afterward for the losing side is ludicrous.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Shams: <keypusher> Ok but come on, suggesting open sicilian wins are somehow less legitimate because improvements have been found afterward for the losing side is ludicrous.>

I was being facetious -- suggesting that following your line of thought to the end would reveal that we've been wasting our time on this game all along.

There's a bit more to Larsen's remark than claiming subsequent improvements invalidate White's wins. His larger point is that the long term positional factors favor Black. That's not an original observation on his part -- I've often read things like "in the Sicilian, when Black has equalized, he stands better." You don't see that said about many defenses.

May-28-14  Shams: <keypusher> But we needn't even leave the Sicilian Defense to stand that logic on its head -- the Boleslavsky hole for instance is a long-term positional factor that favors White at least as much as favors Black. But we don't annotate the Sveshnikov (!) Defense with a question mark, since the dynamics make Black's position playable. In fact, as far as I can tell the Svesh is doing so excellently that more than any other variation it's pushing White players toward the early Bf1-b5 lines in search of an advantage.

All this having been said, I actually agree with Rowson and Larsen and prefer the center pawn myself. But that's a question of taste, surely.

And of course I'm reminded of Fischer's famous comment about the Winawer French, which still troubles White today fifty years after it troubled Bobby. Positional players look at the dark squares and slaver, and yet...

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Shams> <All this having been said, I actually agree with Rowson and Larsen and prefer the center pawn myself.>

Well, seems like ultimately we don't even disagree. But one of the big positional discoveries of the 20th century was that the hole on d5 in the Boleslavsky didn't favor White, and Black didn't even have to play particularly dynamically after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 e5. Instead it was White had to start looking at sharper lines with Bg5 and 0-0-0 -- which gets back to Larsen's point.

May-29-14  Shams: <keypusher> I guess dynamics isn't the word I wanted. How about: whatever Black's resources are that compensate for the big hole and the weak d-pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher....(O)ne of the big positional discoveries of the 20th century was that the hole on d5 in the Boleslavsky didn't favor White, and Black didn't even have to play particularly dynamically after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 e5.>

An additional point which goes against classical theory is that in the above line, the strongest move after the natural 7.Nf3 has long been considered to be 7....h6.

Let <ulhumbrus> put that in his pipe and smoke it.

May-29-14  Everett: Back to Sveshnikov for a second; in his latest book on the Grand Prix Attack, he very clearly states that 2..d6 (The Najdorf of Fischer, Kasparov, Gelfand, Anand, etc. fame) is a mistake waiting for its general refutation. 2..Nc6 is the only correct move in his eyes.

I play the Rosso and Canal in general, for a few reasons, but mainly because I don't appreciate the bishop pair as much as I should. I must say that of all the players games I've been through, I feel Adams has a nice mix vs the Sicilian: Rosso vs 2..Nc6 and 3.d4 vs the Najdorf move-order. After all, it will now take a second move for Black to get in ..d5, thus helping White keep a lasting initiative and general space advantage. He also simply plays on the Q-side pawn majority, grabbing space and stuffing counter-play.

May-29-14  Shams: <Everett> Adams is a great choice if you like knights. I read a comment years ago to the effect that he was virtually the only elite player not to prefer bishops over them.
May-30-14  Everett: <Shams> hmm.. That makes sense. No wonder why I've liked him all these years.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Howard: Yes, I have that book How to Open a Chess Game.>

Have you read Simon Metz's <How to Open a Chess Book>?

Oct-13-14  yurikvelo: Stockfish-5 deep evaluation
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <uluseless....My present opinion, subject to change if I encounter reason to change it, is that the move 6 g4 is mistaken and that its reputation is undeserved, but that Black has not yet found the right answer to it. One alternative to 6...h6 is 6...Nc6 7 g5 Nd7 8 Be3 Nb6 when the N on b6 supports the advance ...d5.>

Is not your view the only correct one in your eyes, O Great Prince of Dogma?

Seems to me that this last suggestion breaks one of your cardinal rules, that being numerous moves with the same piece in the opening, which you constantly rail against in such posts of yours as I see.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <offramp: What was the prize fund for this match, if any?>

It was 70 000 roubles, which is roughly the same number of pounds sterling.

Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

Here Kasparov played 15...Be7 TN.

A year earlier, in Glek vs A Sokolov, 1983, Sokolov had played 15...Nh7?! and he lost.

15...Be7 has the idea 16...Nh5, which may be one of the reasons Karpov played 16. f4.

May-11-18  Ulhumbrus: At an earlier period, the move 3 d4 against the Sicilian defence would have made me uncomfortable, exchanging the central d4 pawn for the c5 pawn. My present opinion is different. It may be that the value of the c5 pawn is only slightly lower than the value of the d4 pawn, if it is lower at all, so that White does not concede nearly as much by d4 as he might if, for example, he were to give the d4 pawn up for Black's a pawn.
Mar-13-21  MarianoFreyre: Today i study this game. Interesting idea of f5 and e5 to weak e6.
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