KindredSpirit Sizes Up the Defense Posture Among the Sicilian Population (Part I)

One of the most interesting tournaments three decades ago was the IBM Tournament held in Amsterdam, Holland.  What made it so was the eleven Grandmasters who had the reputation of fighters–willing to mix it up for both the advancement of theory and to provide for the onlookers as well as the press releases, some sparkling and imaginative chess.

The first round exhibited such desire to jump into the plus column quickly, and with the combative nature of inner strength, both players in the game presented here tossed the often seen ‘play safe’ tossed out the window.  Black choses the Sicilian Defense and ignites the fire with playing the very sharp Dragon variation, a most popular defense pattern.

White:  V. Tukmakov     vs.   Black:   G. Sosonko          Opening:  Sicilian Defense–Dragon Variation

1. e4  c5  2. Nf3   d6   3. d4   cxd4   4. Nxd4  Nf6  5. Nc3   g6  6. f3  Bg7  7.  Be3   Nc6  8. Qd2  O-O  9. Bc4  Bd7  10. O-O-O  Rc8

Sosonko adopted the line that promised fairly good counter-play for the middle game.  An alternate try is 10. …Qa5  11. h4  Rfc8  12. Bb3  Ne5  13. h5 gives White time to build an attack on the King-side.

11. Bb3  Ne5  12.  h4  h5

This was a specialty of Sosonko and  a U.S. chess star, Andy Soltis .  Kavalek questions whether it was necessary.

13. Kb1 

This has much to recommend it. It adds safety to the King position after which he can begin to concentrate on a King-side roll-up.

13. … Nc4  14. Bxc4  Rxc4   15. Nb3   Qc7  16. Bd4!

In this variation, Black often gets good counter-play by Rxc3 which this move now discourages as the fianchetto Bishop diagonal is neutralized.

16. … Be6  17. g4  Rfc8  18. gxh5  Nxh5  19. Rdg1  Kh7  20. Bxg7   Kxg7  21. Nd4  Qc5  22. Nce2  Ra4  23. b3  Ra6  24. Rg5  Qa3  25. Nc1

White deploys the least number of units necessary for defense of the King position. Both sides endeavor to grow their s/c total.

25. …Rc5  26. Rhg1

White’s pressure is becoming too much for the black defense.  Now, if Black plays to exchange Rooks, White has a powerful rejoinder in 27. Ne6+! fxe6  28. Qxg5 and Black is left in a naked state.  So, Black tries to salvage something with….

26. … Bd7  27. Nf5+  Bxf5  28. Rxh5  Bh3  29. Qh6+ Kf6  30. Qf4+  Ke6  31. Rh7  f6  32. Qg3  f5  33. Qxh3  Black Resigns. (1-0).

The popularity of fianchettoing the King Bishop always carries with it the loss of dark square coverage should it be put in the box due to an exchange.  Often the result seen is like a hot knife in butter…the position often melts.  One attack mode in finding this situation requires alert  play always while taking into account the defense of this piece around which often is seen plans for its demise by enemy forces.

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