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# The Sicilian Checkhover Variation: A Diamond in the Rough

| 7 | Opening Theory

This variation is known as the Checkhover Variation, and I will be going farther and exploring the Polgar system. The move order to reach this is exactly the same as the open Sicilian. We start as I said in the open Sicilian. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4. This is a normal position that you would find in a any day match whether amateur or at the top echelons of play, but this is where we leave the beaten path.

4.Qxd4 this is where the Sicilian Checkhover Variation occurs. Many will say that this is a risky move because of 4...Nc6 threatening the queen. The reason that this is not the case is because of 5. Bb5. This move pins the knight against the king and allows white to keep the strong queen in the center. This line would then continue 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6. The other option that black has here is 6...bxc6 which I will cover in a following article when I have more time to write. 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Bg5

Here is where many amateurs get into trouble.  They play the logical but poor move 8...e5?. The correct move is 8...e6. If you are playing this system and your opponent blunders in this way how do you punish him? The answer is some what illogical. Through all of my analysis I have found that the move that is best is Qd3.  This allows you to move out of attack and sets you up for an attack on the king side with you queen and rooks. The moves that would be best are 9. Qd3 Be7 10.0-0-0 0-0 11. Bxf6!?. This move wins a pawn or the game based on how black reacts to the capture.

11...gxf6 is the move that brings the game to an end soonest because the weakness of the g file. One way to exploit this is 12.Nh4 Bd7. At this point White has won the game he has several choices of what to do including 13.Nf5, Nd5, g4.  This last move g4 is my personal favorite but all will win.  The line that I play is g4 then black can respond either Rc8 or Bxg4 losing the bishop to Rhg1.

11...Bxf6 loses a pawn to 12.Qxd6 Qxd6 13.Rxd6 Be7 14.Rd1 Rae8 15.a3 not Nxe5? losing the knight. White is now a pawn ahead and has a better rook on the central file.

As I said before the correct move is e6.

This move of Shirov's was a mistake and he probably should have played the move Bxd5 or Kh8. But instead attacks Polgar's queen.  From here Polgar makes good use of her well placed knights to make the board a hell for Shirov.  Polgar played Ne7+. As you can see this is a very powerful move that puts Polgar into the perverbial driver's seat for the remainder of this game.

The end is in sight and this is how the battle was finally won by Polgar.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this article.  I will be working on the other two branches in following articles and will give you as much as soon as possible but I still have school work to do.  Leave me any feedback or questions that you may have and if you see something that could be improved please tell me.  This is a surprise weapon and is very good for unsuspecting habitual players and goes back to psychology if you don't know where you're supposed to move you probably won't make the best moves possible. Thanks for the read

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