Understand the Classical Sicilian - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6
Introduction and Free Preview
The masterclass Understand the Classical Sicilian is already a digital product. This product includes all the videos from the workshop as well as the PGN file related to the training sessions. Overall, the material consists of approximately 7.5 hours of video and a PGN database which includes 73 files!
You will find the following lectures:
Typical Endgames - GM Grigor Grigorov
Theoretical Trends - GM Boris Avrukh
Typical Structures in the Line with 6.Bg5 - GM Mihail Marin
Typical Structures after ...e7-e5 - GM Krasimir Rusev
Typical Tactical and Attacking Ideas - GM Petar Arnaudov
Below, we shall take a brief look at the different lectures.
When studying a given opening variation, it's necessary to have good knowledge of the arising endgames. In this way, you would know what you are playing for. In this lecture, GM Grigorov covers the most characteristic endgames for the Classical Sicilian.
He introduces the topic in the following way:
All Sicilian endgames are better for Black! Of course, such a statement is an obvious exaggeration. Nevertheless, the grain of truth in it is the reason for the current lecture. Let's take a look for a while at one of the main Sicilian positions.
We can already see that Black enjoys a structural advantage for two simple reasons:
1) He exchanged White's central d4-pawn for his c-pawn and got good central control
2) He has the semi-open c-file at his disposal.
One might argue that White has control of the semi-open d-file. The d6-pawn, however, reduces the scope of White's major pieces, thus making the pressure less relevant. On the other hand, the problematic c3-knight (placed in front of his own pawn) results in an annoying lasting pressure along the c-file. In general, we can say that White gave Black a better pawn structure in order to enjoy superior piece activity. We know that the player who has a static advantage wants to play endgames. That's the explanation of the initial statement. The Classical Sicilian arises after 5...Nc6
My task to cover the typical endgames in Classical Sicilian was quite challenging. The reason is that most of the endgames in this line are typical Sicilian endgames in general. That's why I tried to focus on endgames that are characteristic mainly for this variation. Such positions arise mostly after the move 6.Bg5 which marks the so-called Rauzer Variation. As a matter of fact, this is the most critical try against the Classical Sicilian. It's not a surprise that here you can see some of the most typical endgames. At the same time, I hope that after studying this lecture, you will improve your Sicilian understanding in general.
The PGN version of the lecture consists of 11 extensively annotated model games and 5 test positions.
Below, you shall take a look at one of the model games.
This theoretical lecture by GM Avrukh is different from the sessions that he has been doing so far. In order to justify his repertoire recommendation, Avrukh explains his own evolution as a Classical Sicilian player.
In this lecture, Boris Avrukh suggests an almost complete practical repertoire against White's main options on move 6 - 6.Bg5 and 6.Bc4. True to his style, he suggests reliable but less explored continuations. We can easily say that after studying this lecture, 50% of your work on Classical Sicilian will be done.
Typical Structures in the Line with 6.Bg5
In this lecture, GM Mihail Marin covers all the important positional ideas that you should know in the structures with 6.Bg5.
He makes the following introduction to the lecture:
When we talk about typical structures in the Rauzer attack, we need to spot what makes them different with respect to other Sicilian systems, such as the Scheveningen or other branches of the Classical Sicilian. The early bishop development to g5 increases the probability of exchanging it on g5. This can lead to two main possibilities:
1) Black re-captures with a piece (usually the queen or, more desirably, the bishop). In this case, White will try to compensate for giving up the bishop's pair by either grabbing the initiative at once or winning the pawn on d6.
2) In avoidance of White's ideas described above, Black takes on f6 with the g-pawn. This is the most typical situation distinguishing the Rauzer structures among the Sicilian ones in general.
The PGN version of the lecture consists of 8 extensively annotated model games.
Below, you can take a look at one of them.
Typical Structures after ...e7-e5
In this lecture, GM Krasimir Rusev covers a very important and useful topic - the structures arising after Black's ...e7-e5. In order to understand the relevance of this topic, we shall take a look at the initial position of the Classical Sicilian.
Black will play ...e7-e5 against all the setups, with the exception of 6.Bc4 and 6.Bg5. GM Rusev states that in general, most of the players below 2300 tend to go for 6.Be3, 6.Be2 or 6.f3 where Black is able to get 6...e5 and achieve a comfortable position.
In the introduction to the lecture, Rusev states:
For this course on Classical Sicilian, I tried not only to provide you with a good middlegame understanding but also add a quick repertoire. It should still be noted that the main goal of the lecture is to give you a more thorough view of the d6-e5 structure.
Below, you can take a look at one of the examples from the lecture:
Typical Tactical and Attacking Ideas
Regardless of how much we speak about positional ideas and general principles, chess is mostly about calculation and tactics. Therefore, when you study a given opening, you need to know typical attacking and tactical ideas.
In the current lecture, GM Petar Arnaudov introduces the most important tactical patterns in Classical Sicilian. In order to provide a global understanding of the positions, he presents examples for both colours.
The PGN version of the lecture consists of 8 extensively annotated model games and 8 test positions.
Below, you can take a look at one of the model games: