Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sicilian Sveshnikov

Hi all,

It's been almost exactly a year since my last post here, so about time I got back into it I think.

I've been trying to learn the Sveshnikov for a while now, but never seem to encounter it over the board. My last game, however, gave me just the opportunity to try it out - against a higher rated player as well. Here goes:

White : N.N.
Black: S.M.

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 e5
6. Ndb5

This is the most common move. 6. Nb3 and 6.Nf3 are both met with 6...Bb4 with a solid game for black (so the books tell me), whilst 6. Nf5 is a tricky try best met with 6...d5! 7.exd5 Bxf5 8. dxc6 bxc6 9.Qf3 Qd7!. There is also Nde2...but thats another story...


I have to stop the knight coming into d6.

7. Bg5 a6
8. Bxf6 gxf6

Although it might look natural to take on f6 with the queen, after 9. Nd5 the queen will have to move again. The double pawns really aren't too much of a problem, as I can use on of them to pressure e4, then play f5 again after the exchange. Or I could play f4 then the other f-pawn up behind it to get an attack rolling.

9. Na3

The poor placement of this knight vs the weakness of the d5 square in blacks camp is one of the defining features of the sveshnikov.

9...b5 (threatening b4 forking the knights)

10. Nd5 f5
11. Bd3 Be6
12. c3!?

This is interesting - but perfectly sound I think. I had expected the more usual 0-0 or Qh5 to played here.


The moment I played this I realised it may be a mistake. As after....

13. exd5 Ne7

There is 14. Nxb5 and if 14...axb5, 15. Bxb5 wins the queen! However, I figured that maybe Rb8 or Bg7 would give me some decent play for the pawn - and in this sort of aggressive opening, the loss of a flank pawn is not really the end of the world. Either way, 12...Bg7 was the move to play!

14. c4?!

A relief!! I was surprised to see this move, as the c-pawn has now moved twice to get to a square it could have got to in one move.

14... e4
15. Be2 Bg7
16. Nc2!?

Offering a pawn. Having run it through Fritz, the pawn looks ok to capture. I suppose I am old fashioned (or just scared/nervous) and don't like to go pawn-grabbing in the opening.

16... 0-0

It's not perfect, but it can't be a disastous move either.

17. cxb5 axb5
18. a3

I was surprised by this one as well - the pawn is still on offer, and with my king a bit safer I can't help myself anymore. Note that 18. Bxb5 failes to 18...Qa5+

18... Bxg2
19. Rb1 Bc3+
20. Kf1

With the white king awkwardly placed and the h1 rook going nowhere just yet, I figure I'm doing ok.


So I go into aggressive mode.

21. Bxb5 Kh8

I had wanted to play 21...Nf5, but the thought of 22. Qg4+ Ng7 23. g3 soon changed my mind on that one.

22. Qg4 Be5

22...f5 23. Qxf5 Nxd5 would also have been fine I think, but I suppose I didn't like the idea of pressure against the c3 bishop after a Rb3 later on.

23. Re1 Qc7
24. Qe2 Qc5!?

I like this move - it attacks the b4 bishop, the d5 pawn and keeps pressure on the c2 knight.

25. Nb4 Nf5
26. Bc6?

This looks like a mistake. Moving the bishop of the f1-a6 diagonal only weakens the king. 26. Ba6, however, looks pretty good and stops...

27. Qxe4 Nd4!

This move cuts off the queen from the b4 knight and, perhaps more importantly, the c4 square from where the queen can give a nasty check.

28. Rb1?

Protecting the knight, but black had to give up the exchange with Rxd4 here.

28...Qc4+ 0-1

White resigned due to...

29. Kg1 Ne2+ 30. Kf1 Ng3++ picking up the queen.


29. Kd1 f5! trapping the queen.

Hope you found that interesting. Any questions/comments welcome.



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