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  • A speed game between two Class A
  • players.

  • The Sicillian Defense.

  • The Alapin Variation. Not only is it
  • very popular, but it avoids many of
  • the complex variations of the
  • Sicillian that Black can play.

  • d5 seems logical because there is no
  • immediate threat of White being able
  • to play Nc3. In many respects this
  • resembles the Center Counter
  • Defense.

  • Trying to defend the pawn will cost
  • time and possibly leave White
  • cramped, so he takes it.

  • At first glance this queen capture
  • appears to be "for free" since White
  • had to waste a move playing exd5.
  • But eventually White will gain back
  • the loss of time by playing Nc3.

  • If White doesn't try to control the
  • center then Black will.   Black
  • could take the pawn immediately here,
  • but it is a mistake according to the
  • opening books. He would prefer to
  • pressure White into playing Be2
  • first, because if he allows Nc3 and
  • Bb5 and d5 then it is good for White,
  • especially if Black continues with
  • the normal plan of playing Nc6. So
  • first get White to play Be2 and then
  • if White wants to play Bb5 later it
  • costs him a tempo by moving a piece
  • twice in the opening.

  • Three pieces attacking d4. Not much
  • good for White would be dxc5. In a
  • game against a computer, I won after
  • dxc5 Qxd1+, Kxd1 Bf5 and Black has
  • compensation for the lost pawn
  • because the White King is in such a
  • bad position and will not be able to
  • castle out of it.

  • Add a protector to d4.

  • Pin the knight that protects d4.

  • Break the pin.

  • Taking the pawn is one variation that
  • can be found in the books. Another
  • is to play e6.

  • White recaptures with the pawn so he
  • can play Nc3 and gain a tempo by
  • making the Queen move.   Highly
  • questionable for White would be Nxd4
  • instead because the pawn on g2 is
  • hanging.

  • Black wants to prevent d5 which would
  • leave him weak on the a4 to e8
  • diagonal.

  • Finally White gets to chase the
  • Queen.

  • Black moves to a relatively safe
  • square. He has to be careful that
  • whatever place he moves to doesn't
  • come under attack. ...As a general
  • rule it is not a good idea to have
  • the Queen so far out in the opening,
  • but some openings like this one and
  • the Center Counter Defense are an
  • exception.   His Queen will
  • probably come under attack, but he
  • has isolated the White queen pawn in
  • the process.   This makes for an
  • unbalanced but interesting game.

  • Castling is important.

  • Developes.

  • White has plans to drive the bishop
  • away so as to be able to move the
  • knight safely.

  • Retreating is better than Bxf3, Bxf3
  • which would put the White bishop on a
  • great long diagonal.

  • This seems like a lot of pawn moves,
  • but White wants to drive the Black
  • pieces back.

  • Moving the rook here is a mistake.
  • It looks like a natural developing
  • move that attacks the isolated d4
  • pawn, but Black's first priority
  • should be to get castled before his
  • king can come under attack. Black is
  • also better off having rooks placed
  • on c8 and d8 where the open files
  • are, so it is more natural to play
  • the Queen rook to c8. In addition,
  • he might need d8 to retreat his Queen
  • to.  So the better move is to
  • move the king bishop so as to prepare
  • for castling.

  • This bishop is a nuisance to White,
  • so he considers it better to get it
  • out of the way, even if he does
  • loosen the pawns on his kingside.
  • Perhaps the reason he can get away
  • with this is that most of Black's
  • power is on the queenside.

  • Not much choice but to retreat.

  • Go away says White. It is worth
  • noting that the Queen can't retreat
  • to d8.
  • In theory Black shouldn't try Bxb4, axb4 Qxa1,
  • Qb3 where Black will have to give up
  • pieces to allow his Queen to escape, but I have seen some computer analysis where it might work.

  • Black is getting pushed back.

  • White hopes to put pressure on the
  • knight on c6 by playing Ne5 soon.
  • Also the move b5 is a strong threat
  • that could win material for White.
  • i.e. Be7, b5 Nb8 , b6+ Qd7 (not Qc6,
  • Bb5), bxa7 Qxa4, axb8=Q!!

  • Black tries to break the pin on his
  • knight. This would not have been a
  • problem if he had tried to castle
  • earlier.

  • Increasing the pressure on the knight
  • while also threatening Ne5.

  • Black sees Ne5 coming so decides to
  • guard e5.

  • As expected.

  • Ditto.

  • This seems like a minor
  • inconvenience. The knight must move.
  • But now Black can be attacked along
  • the h4 to d8 diagonal.

  • So the knight moves.

  • At the very least, White hopes to
  • isolate the e6 pawn. Also he might
  • try to gain a tempo by playing Bg5
  • later.

  • Black should have taken with the
  • pawn. By exposing his queen to
  • attack, he turns a bad position into
  • a lost one.

  • Attack a rook. Gain a tempo. Now
  • the White rooks are connected thus
  • allowing them to attack the Black
  • Queen.

  • Rook must move.

  • Gain a tempo forcing the queen to
  • move while developing a rook and
  • attacking squaures around the enemy
  • king. At this point Black probably
  • wishes he was castled.

  • Black is running out of options.

  • White takes a piece. Maybe Black
  • should play Kf8.

  • Black gets his piece back, but is
  • about to lose a king.

  • Giving up the Queen for mate!
  • If now Kf8 then Qxc8 mate.

  • Not much choice here.

  • A nice finish.
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