No time to study opening theory? Shock your opponent with an SOS!
With an SOS you deviate early (usually before move 6!) from regular lines in mainstream openings. So you will reach positions you have actually studied without having memorized tons of stuffy theory, while gaining time on the clock! And you will have fun watching the horror on your opponent's face...
SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW AN SOS CAN SHOCK AND CONFUSE!
Every month, the editor of the SOS Secrets of Opening Surprises book series, IM Jeroen Bosch, annotates a game which was recently played with an SOS-variation.
SOS Game of the Month: March 2013
See also SOS–2, Chapter 9, page 72
In a recent game Cuban top-GM Lazaro Bruzon used a former specialty of Sergei Movsesian's to surprise (and defeat) Brazilian GM Gilberto Milos. Don't be put off by the title of Movsesian's article in SOS-2: 'Play like a Beginner'. As he pointed out, 6.h3 versus the Classical Sicilian is a good way to surprise your opponent, who will be expecting the heavy theoretical complexities of 6.Bg5, 6.Bc4 or 6. Be2.
Here's the complete text of this game analysis:
Classical Sicilian B56
Campinas Panamerican Team 2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.h3
Movsesian's surprise weapon. White wants to take the game into the unknown - aiming for an early g4.
This is not very popular in practice. Milos aims to transpose into a Dragon (or Accelerated Dragon), hoping to demonstrate that 6. h3 is useless there. The voluntary exchange on d4 does give White a lot of leeway though.
6...e5 is one of the main replies, when Movsesian favours 7.Nde2 (however, if you are positionally inclined you will not mind to play 7.Nf3 reasoning that, by contrast to a Boleslavsky line (6.Be2 e5 7.Nf3), the white-squared bishop will occupy the a2-g8 diagonal in one go, when h3 is a useful tempo! See for example Andreikin's model play in the next game:
7...Be7 (7...h6 8.Bc4 Be7 9.0-0 Be6 10.Bb3 0-0 11.Qe2 Na5 12.Rd1 Nxb3 13.axb3 Qb8?! 14.Nh2!? a manoeuvre also known from the Ruy Lopez. White is fighting for square d5 14...Rd8 15.Ng4 Nxe4? 16.Nxe4 f5 17.Nxh6+! gxh6 18.Qh5 Bf7 19.Qxf5 winning, Priyadharshan-Nikhilesh, St Louis 2012) 8.Bc4 0-0 9.a3!? (9.0-0 Be6 10.Bb3) 9...Be6 10.Ba2 Qd7 11.Bg5 (again fighting for square d5!) 11...Bxa2 12.Rxa2 Qe6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.0-0 Bd8 15.Qd3 Bb6 16.Nd5 Kh8 17.Raa1 f5 18.Rad1 Rad8 19.c3 Rd7 20.exf5! Rxf5 21.Nd2, white better, Andreikin-Diamant, Puerto Madryn 2009) 7...Be6 (again the set-up favoured by Movsesian, as explained in SOS-2) 8.f4 (practice has also seen 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Nd5; bad is 8.g4?! d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Bg2 Nxc3 11.Qxd8+?! Rxd8 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Nxc3 h5, Black better, Mucha-Hirneise, Krakow 2012) and now:
- 8...Rc8 9.g3!? (Movsesian had previously tried 9.f5 Bc4 10.Ng3 d5 (stronger is perhaps 10...Bxf1 11.Nxf1 Nd4 12.Ne3 Rxc3!? 13.bxc3 Nxe4 14.0-0 Nxc3) 11.exd5 (11.Bxc4 dxc4 12.Bg5) 11...Bxd5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.c3 Bc5 14.Bc4 Nf4 15.Qxd8+ Rxd8 16.Ne4 Nxg2+ 17.Ke2, with compensation for the pawn in Movsesian-Navara, Pardubice 2009) 9...Be7 (9...d5!? 10.f5 Bd7 11.exd5 Nb4 12.a3 Qa5, unclear) 10.Bg2 Qb6 11.b3 0-0 12.f5 Bd7 13.Na4 Qc7 14.c4. White is risking a lot in order to create a bind. Black now tries to break out with 14...b5 15.cxb5 Nd4 16.Nec3 Bxb5 17.Nxb5 Nxb5 18.Bd2 d5 (18...Qc2) 19.exd5 e4 20.0-0 Nxd5 (20...Qxg3) 21.Qe1 Rfe8 22.Rc1 Qb8 23.Rc4 Bd6 24.g4 Bg3? 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Qxe4, and White was (finally) on top in Movsesian-Peek, Caleta 2010.
- 8...Nh5 9.Qd3 (9.g3 exf4 10.Bxf4 was Movsesian-Peptan, Groningen 1997) 9...exf4 10.Bxf4 Be7 (10...Nxf4 11.Nxf4) 11.0-0-0 Nxf4 12.Nxf4 0-0 13.Kb1 Ne5 14.Qd4 a6 15.Be2 Re8 16.Ncd5 Bf8 and White was better in Broekmeulen-Nijboer, HSG-HMC 2011.
- See SOS-2 for 8...exf4 9.Nxf4.
- and 8...g6 9.g4.
6...g6 7.Bc4 (7.g3 Bg7 8.Nde2 is the fianchetto Dragon; 7.g4 to play a kind of extended fianchetto Dragon is interesting; play transposed into a normal Dragon after 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Bc4 0-0 9.Bb3 Bd7 10.0-0 a6 11.Re1 b5 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Nd5 Nd7 14.Bg5, Gashimov-Zapata, Ourense 2009; 7.Nde2 is a subtle version to transpose into a g3 (or g4!) Dragon without allowing Black to take on d4) 7...Bg7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bb3 transposes into a line of the Dragon. Two examples:
- 9...Na5 10.Bg5 Nxb3 11.axb3 h6 12.Be3 d5? 13.e5 Ne4 14.f4 h5? 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Qe2 Bd7 17.Bf2, White better, Broekmeulen-Van der Heijden, Netherlands 2011.
- 9...Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Bd7 (10...Be6) 11.Bg5 (11.Qd3) 11...h6 12.Bd2 b5 (12...Bc6) 13.Qd3 a5 14.Nxb5 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Bxb5 16.Qxg6 d5 17.Qg3 Ra6 18.Rfd1 Rg6 19.Qh4 is perhaps equal but White won in Broekmeulen-Werle, Roosendaal 2012
A witty answer was 6...h6, but I would prefer White in the Velimirovic Attack with h3 and ...h6 added after 7.Bc4 e6 8.Bb3 Be7 9.Be3 a6 10.Qe2! (the actual game went 10.Qf3 Qc7 11.Qg3 g5 12.0-0-0 Ne5 13.Kb1 b5, Uraev-Bukavshin, Tolyatti 2012).
A main line is 6...e6 7.g4 d5!? (7...h6 8.Be3 Bd7 9.Bg2 a6 10.Qe2 leads to an old line from the Keres Attack) 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.Be3 Bb4+!? (11...Be7 12.Nb3 Be6 13.Qd2 0-0 14.0-0-0 Rc8 15.Kb1 a6 16.Be2 Qc7 17.Nd4 Bf6 18.c3, White slightly better, Ashwin-Shiven, New Delhi 2010) 12.c3 Bd6 13.Qb3 0-0 14.0-0-0 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Bc6 16.Bd3 Qh4, with an unclear position. White eventually won this high-level contest, Dominguez Perez-Savchenko, Havana 2009.
Finally, two games by Gashimov went 6...a6 7.Be3 and now:
- 7...e5 8.Nf3 Be7 9.Bc4 b5 10.Bb3 Na5 11.Bg5 0-0 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Bd5!? (13.Nd5) 13...Rb8 14.0-0 Be7 15.Qd3 Kh8 16.a4 (16.b4! Nc4 17.a4) 16...b4 17.Nd1, White slightly better, Gashimov-Boidman, Mainz 2009.
- 7...e6 8.g4 Be7 9.g5!? (9.Bg2) 9...Nd7 10.h4 Qc7 11.Qd2 b5 12.0-0-0 Bb7 13.f3 Nde5 14.Be2 Na5 15.b3 Rc8 16.Ncxb5! axb5 17.Nxb5 Qd8 18.Nxd6+ Bxd6 19.Qxd6 Qxd6 20.Rxd6 and the position favours White. Gashimov-Mucha, Warsaw 2009.
As intended, bad is 7...e5 8.Bb5+, with a positional plus for White.
White should not try to take advantage of the pin - he loses too much valuable time in the process. 8.Nd5?! Bg7 9.Bg5 0-0 10.Bxf6?! exf6 11.0-0-0 f5 and Black is just better. Nabuurs-Swinkels, Maastricht 2008.
8...Bg7 9.0-0-0 0-0
A novelty that works well in the game. 10.Qd2 is best met by 10...Be6! (10...Bd7? 11.e5! Ne8 (11...dxe5? 12.Bxf6 winning) 12.Nd5 was of course much better for White in Kordis-Kafetzopoulos, Athens 2008).
Black should have gone for 10...Qa5! 11.f4 (11.exf6? Qxg5+) 11...dxe5 12.Qxe5 (12.fxe5 Be6) 12...Qb6!, when Black stays well in the game. It was difficult to foresee perhaps that after 13.Qxe7 Black has the saving tactic (13.Qb5) 13...Be6 14.Bxf6 Rfe8.
Now White really is much better.
11...f6 12.exf6 Nxf6
Even worse is 12...Bxf6 13.Bc4+ Kh8 14.Ne4.
13.Bc4+ Kh8 14.Rhe1
With simple moves White has reached an overwhelming position. Black now uses violent measures:
15...Kg8 16.Bxb5 Rb8 17.Bc4+ was the tempo-gaining point of 15.Bd3.
Bruzon could have crowned his previous efforts with 16.Bxf5 gxf5 17.Nd5! Nxd5 (17...e5 18.f4 e4 19.g4) 18.Rxd5 Bf6 19.Re6, and White should win without any trouble. Black will lose a pawn for sure, while his king will be in dire straits.
16...Bxh6+ 17.Qxh6 Bxd3 18.Rxd3 b4
Black is completely back into the game after the simplifications. White can only boast a small structural edge on the basis of Euwe's theory on pawn islands (the fewer the better). For our purposes the main part of the game is behind. Let's see the rest with a few light comments.
19.Nd1 Rc8 20.Kb1 a5 21.Qd2 Rc5 22.f3 Qc7 23.Ne3 Rc8 24.Re2
Play really is about equal.
24...Qd8 25.b3 Qf8 26.Rd4 Qg7 27.h4 Kg8 28.g4 Kh8 29.Qd1 Qf7 30.Qd2 Qg7 31.h5
After a repetition Bruzon now goes for it.
31...gxh5 32.Nf5 Qf8 33.Nxe7 Rxc2! 34.Qxc2 Rxc2 35.Kxc2 hxg4 36.fxg4 leads to a complex position. White is perhaps a bit better, but Black is clearly not without chances either.
32.hxg6 hxg6 33.Rh2 Ne8 34.Rc4 Rxc4 35.Nxc4
35.Qd5+!? Kf8 36.Nxc4 Rc5 37.Qa8.
35...Rc5 36.a4!? bxa3ep 37.Nxa3 Nc7 38.c4 Re5 39.f4 Re4 40.Qxa5
It really is quite difficult for a human to calculate the draw on move 40 with 40...Rxf4! 41.Qxc7 Rf1+ 42.Kc2 Qe5! 43.Rd2 Qe4+ 44.Kc3 Qe3+ 45.Rd3 Qe1+ 46.Rd2!.
After this move White takes over again, and this time for good. Here too Black had a perpetual after 41...Rxf4 42.Qxc7 Rf2+ 43.Rxf2 Qxf2+ 44.Ka1 Qd4+ 45.Kb1 Qd1+.
42.Nb5 Qd3 43.f5 Nf8
44.Nc3 Rxg4 45.Nd5.
44...exf6 45.Nc3 Rxg4
45...Re6! was a tougher defence.
46.Nd5 Rg3 47.Qb6 Qf3 48.Ka3! Qf1
Winning were 49.Qc7 and 49.Qb7.
49...Rf3 50.Qe7 Qa1+ 51.Kb4 Qd4
51...Rf5, to take on d5 and go for a perpetual, can be met by the very safe 52.Rd2 (although other solutions exist too).
A kind of double attack.
52...Rd3 53.Ra2 wins.
53.Ne7+ Kf7 54.Nf5+ Nd7 55.Rh7+ Ke6 56.Qe4+
And mate on the next move.