Play the Kan Sicilian - Complete Repertoire for Black
GM Michael Roiz comes up with another fascinating project - Play the Kan Sicilian - Complete Repertoire for Black. This variation is defined by the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6
When looking at this starting position, we can immediately spot the flexibility of the Kan Variation. Black does not clarify his intentions regarding the pawn structure and the piece development. The variety of different options and setups makes the Kan a perfect weapon for ambitious players who always try to win with Black. Contrary to other popular Sicilian lines (such as Najdorf, Dragon, Sveshnikov, and Paulsen), Kan variation is less forced by nature. Therefore, it's less probable that you will fall victim to dangerous home preparation. In most cases, the understanding of the typical concepts is more important than the concrete theoretical knowledge.
The current database provides a complete Kan repertoire for Black. The course consists of 25 theoretical chapters, 25 interactive test positions, and Memory Booster.
The survey consists of four big sections - Systems with 5.c4, Systems with 5.Nc3, Systems with 5.Bd3, and Various Options on Move 5.
Systems with 5.c4
These systems are dealt with in Chapters 1-6. The advance c2-c4 is one of White's most ambitious tries against the Kan Variation. The idea is to restrict Black's counterplay by grabbing a lot of space.
The suggestion of Roiz is 5...Nf6 6.Nc3 Qc7
The chosen move order indicates Black's readiness to play a Hedgehog type of position. Additionally, with his last move, Black prevents the advance e4-e5 and prepares ...Bb4. Since the pin along the diagonal a5-e1 can be quite annoying, White's main move is 7.a3.
In Chapter 1, the author shows how to handle White's rare options on move 7. Chapters 2-3 are dedicated to 7.Be3 and 7.Bd3. All these systems, however, cannot create problems for Black.
Chapters 4-6 feature the move 7.a3. Even though Roiz provides extensive coverage of all the sidelines, we will now focus on the main Hedgehog position that arises after 7.a3 b6 8.Be3 Bb7 9.f3 Be7 10.Be2 0-0 11.0-0 d6 12.Qd2 Nbd7
At this point, White should decide which one of the rooks to put on c1. With the move 13.Rfc1, White indicates his intentions of playing on the queenside by means of a3-a4-a5. On the other hand, in all these setups White does not have good central control. Therefore, the advance ...d6-d5 often works well for Black. The main move is 13.Rac1.
This is the more natural setup. By placing the rooks on the d and c files White heavily limits the effect of possible ...d6-d5 break. On the downside, the placement of Rc1 isn't so effective in case White couldn't push c4-c5 in the long run and also it practically eliminates the aggressive plan with a3-a4-a5 push.
In his analysis, Roiz provides clear-cut solutions for Black against all White's setups and move order. Having analyzed the positions with strong engines (including neural networks), the author proves the soundness of the ...h7-h5-h4 advance in such structures. After studying the material, you will no longer face problems in Hedgehog structures.
Systems with 5.Nc3
These systems are dealt with in Chapters 7-12. The first important crossroads arises after Black's 5...b5.
One of two big lines. The most common choice is 5...Qc7, but I like this approach: from now the central e4-pawn feels vulnerable. The only drawback of such an ambitious choice is a delay with development (at the moment, none of Black's pieces is developed).
At this point, Roiz examines 5 different options for White - 6.Be3, 6.Be2, 6.g3, 6.a3, and 6.Bd3.
Undoubtedly, the most challenging continuation is 6.Bd3.
White takes care of the central pawn and goes for a quick kingside castle. The critical position is being reached after 6...Bb7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Nxc6 Bxc6
At this point, White has two options - 9.Qe2 and 9.Re1. In both cases, the idea is to strengthen the e4-pawn and create an annoying opposition along the e-file (in some cases, ideas based on Nd5 come into consideration). In the future, White will try to develop a kingside activity. In both cases. Roiz provides powerful concepts for Black. After studying his analysis, you will understand how exactly to develop the kingside pieces, depending on White's different setups.
Systems with 5.Bd3
This is the most flexible continuation. Besides keeping the option of c2-c4 available, White does not neglect the development. This line is the main subject of Chapters 13-19. The suggestion of Roiz is 5...Bc5 Black actively develops the bishop and forces White to either retreat his knight from the centre or waste a tempo for defending it. Even though 6.Nb3 is by far White's main move, the author also examines 6.c3 and 6.Be3 which are dealt with in Chapters 13 and 14. If Black knows what he is doing, these two moves will hardly create any problem for him.
The first critical attempt for an advantage is examined in Chapter 18 - 6.Nb3 Ba7 7.Qg4
This is only White's 4th choice by statistics, but it is very challenging for Black: after moving the bishop Black experiences some problems with covering the g7-pawn. According to the analysis of Roiz, Black's most precise reaction is 7...Nf6 8.Qg3 d6! In Chapter 18, you will understand why it's so important to immediately take the e5-square under control.
Chapter 19 is dedicated to White's most popular move - 7.Qe2.
By making this move White illustrates, that he is interested in exchanging the dark-squared bishops. At this point, Roiz suggests 7...Nc6 8.Be3 d6
An original idea! Black allows White to capture on a7 because after ...Rxa7 this rook might be effectively moved along the 7th rank!
In this line, the knowledge of the typical pawn structures is more important than the theoretical lines. In Chapter 19, Roiz explains all the must-know subtleties.
Various Options on Move 5
Chapters 20-25 feature some sidelines that White can choose on move 5. The author covers the following moves: 5.g3, 5.Nd2, 5.Be2, 5.Be3, and 5.a3.
Even though these lines are not theoretically challenging for Black, every Kan player needs to study them carefully.
At the end of the database, you will find 25 interactive test positions that are designed to challenge your theoretical and positional knowledge of the Kan Variation.