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Sicilian Endgames: On the Queenside

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | May 6, 2014
  • | 10347 views
  • | 24 comments

In the Sicilian, we tend to think of the queenside as Black's domain. Black's open c-file, which allows real pressure on c2 as well as support for a knight on c4, along with the easy possibility of expanding on the queenside by ...b5, generally gives Black the advantage in this sector of the board.

Nevertheless, in some situations White might take the initiative on the queenside. Sometimes White's majority of pawns there might become relevant, and the slight weaknesses created by Black's advances ...a6 and ...b5 can be exploited. This can be seen in a famous game from the 1995 World Championship - Anand's win, the first in the match, breaking a string of eight draws.

Viswanathan Anand | Image © Chess.com

In this game, the queens stayed on the board throughout (so it doesn't fit very well in the endgame theme of this column), but it shows some relevant ideas. Now let us see two of my games, both reaching the same endgame - indeed, the two games followed each other for twenty moves! This was not known theory, but actually my "own" theory.

In the summer of 2009 I first reached this ending against GM Vladimir Potkin, who later won the European Individual Championship:

A year later, I had the chance to play this same ending again as White. Although I realized that I had not obtained an objective advantage against Pokin, I went into it nevertheless. Black faced some difficulties on his way to equality, I ran no risk, and in any case I knew of no other way to gain an advantage in this line. I also hoped to improve on that game somehow. There is not much more you can ask of a chess opening, and in practice different players will always find a different - and often worse - way to play. The game resulted in one of the better endgames I have played:


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Comments


  • 6 weeks ago

    coolkid2005

    nice

  • 3 months ago

    fish_titan

    Now I know what's really the purpose of 8. a4 move in this kind of Sicilian game. Thanks for this article. I love to play sicilian games.

  • 3 months ago

    yureesystem

    GM Byran your articles are always helpful and imformative.

  • 3 months ago

    Dr_Aust

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 3 months ago

    Dr_Aust

    Liked GM Smith's game against Potkin - very logical. The half-open a-file theme reminded me of the Sicilian endgame in this famous Fischer-Reshevsky encounter, annotated by Fischer in 'My 60 Memorable Games':

    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1044012

  • 3 months ago

    Johannes-Die-Loper

    Great articles

  • 3 months ago

    andersv20

    OMG, I totally thought that first picture of Anand was photoshoped to be a machup of Kasparov and him..

  • 3 months ago

    htabna69

    Why aren't there coordinates on these chess boards? They would be so helpful.

  • 3 months ago

    NM Petrosianic

    great detail!

  • 3 months ago

    satting5

    good strategy!!

  • 3 months ago

    Vinod0432

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 3 months ago

    pm11081994

    Cool

  • 3 months ago

    Pravinkhairkar123

    Smith has made me think about more laterality on either side when we play sicilian!!

    Thanks

  • 3 months ago

    Adolf_Anderssen

    Great material. Nicely written. Keep them coming

  • 3 months ago

    Cavalierlibre

    Three informative parties! Thank you ! Laughing

  • 3 months ago

    0Niklaus0

    Great article Smile

  • 3 months ago

    aadchesskid

    Cool

  • 3 months ago

    RahulSampangiramiah

    aloutte! gentille

  • 3 months ago

    Catguy25

    Wow!

  • 3 months ago

    titust

    Nice!

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