Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who's Afraid Of The Sicilian?

Why do people love playing the Sicilian?

Because it allows for some rather hair-raising combinations like this one.

Daniel Stellwagen v Viswanathan Anand, 2009

What the heck just went on in this game?

Absolute chaos on the board occurred after Anand sac'ed his Queen for 3 rather uncoordinated pieces with his King left uncastled. This game is truly beyond me.

The problem with Sicilians is that quite likely you need to be good at tactics, and some of the gameplay can be on the knife's edge and thus, it is very easy to lose your way.

Take a look at this game. I am White.

Black just played a seemingly innocuous move 1.... Nd7.

This looks like a typical Sicilian formation, right? Yes but....

Incredible as it may seem but Black is totally lost in this position with just that one move. Can you figure out why and what is the critical move White should play after that?

Highlight between the brackets for the answer.

[Black now loses instantly after:
2. exd6 Bxd6 or Qxd6 (doesn't matter)
3. Nxe6!! and Black must lose the Queen+more material to stave off mate]


  1. Intresting. Maybe that's why i gave up on the sicilian, to much to calculate.

  2. If you want to see a hair-raising position have a look at the reference below. The position after 27-th black's move is so crazy that I would have no clue which side I would like to be and which move I would decide to play.:) Have a look at the variations where white's king is forced to run from one corner to another corner and back...


  3. chesstiger: :)

    Vlad: I'm surprised to see u here. I have no idea what is going on after the 27th move. The tactics and counter-tactics where both sides ignored one another and just went on the attack is scaring me!

    I would have to slowly look through the variations one at a time. It's overwhelming that there are so many tactics and combinations in the variations. Thank you very much for sharing it!

    They're very much appreciated! :)


  4. crazy stuff. thanks for taking the time to post this.

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  6. Wow very interesting position. I was looking at 1. Bxe7 Kxe7 2. exd6+ Kxd6 3. Nxb5+. It's not forced since black can just not recapture on e7.