The Sicilian Pelikan a blast from the Past II

| 7 | Opening Theory

Once again I will be addressing my favorite defense to 1. e4, the Sicilian Pelikan

This opening is characterized by the move order 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5!





















This is the starting position for the Sicilian Pelikan which has a definite relation to the accelerated Dragon with the move 5... e5 substituted for 5... g6. While many players at the GM level know this opening and the continuation that should be played I have played this at the amateur level and have caught several people off guard with this move and this is all the edge that I needed. I believe that this holds true for the U1600 class of player who have a solid repetoire but not a extremely deep knowledge in most of the openings.


Well you have seen the position after 5... e5 and where to move your knight? This is the problem that many have struggled with because of how counterintuitive the best move is. In the diagram below look and see if you can find it.




















   Chances are that you didn't find it in the first move or maybe the second, this is typical of a unexperienced player and look at the moves that you have made guessing where to place the knight. There are three main places that people put it and they are, Nx6?!, Nb3?!, and Nf3. If you hid the knight on e2 well then lucky you and you join Tarrash in his love of this move which I WILL NOT COVER. If you take a look at this move order in the database of you will see that there is not much of a statical chance for White to have a good game with these alternatives



For each of these main moves here is a little explanation of why each doesn't work out in the long run.

6.Nxc6?! This makes Black's life easier because it allows simple equality to be kept with the following variation

6.Nxc6 bxc6(dxc6 is also defensible and is preferred by computer programs.) 7.Bc4 Bb4 8.O-O h6 9.f4 Qe7 10.fxe5 Qxe5 11.Bb3 Bxc3 12.bxc3 Nxe4

6.Nb3?! is also less than promising because of Bb4 which pins the knight and then threatens to win material later in the continuation.

6.Nf3 is safe but less than optimal. This is an example of the fact that when confronted with an unknown positions even Super GMs would play inferior lines because it is what they know and what they are psychologically drawn to, a familiar position. One such continuation for the line is as follows. 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.Bc4 O-O 8.O-O d6 9.Nd5 h6 10.Nxb4 Nxb4 11.c3 Nc6


But I Begin to digress in my topic. As you found in the puzzle diagram the best move is Ndb5! This is a very strong move that eyes the d6 square giving check and a good game for White after 6.Ndb5 a6 7.Nd6+ Bxd6 8.Qxd6 Qe7 offering a queen trade on move seven.The accepted way to combat this move is 6... d6. From here there are three main moves that promise a good game and they are:





I will start with them in order with 7.a4. This is a move that give a good game with accurate play for both sides and the usual continuations are with Black responding 7...Be6 or a6 here are a few continuations for both of these moves.


7...Be6 8.Nd5 Bxd5 9.exd5 Nb4 10.Nc3 a6 11.a5 Rc8 12.Ra4

8.Bg5 Nb4 9.Na3 Be7 10.Bb5+ Nd7 11.Bxe7 Qxe7


7...a6 8.Na3 Be7 9.Be3 Be6 10.Nc4 Nxe4! 11.Nxe4 d5 12.Nb6 dxe4

8...Be6 9.Bg5 Rc8 10.Bxf6 Qxf6


7.Nd5 is also very common and has continuations such as

7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Ne7 9.c3 Nf5 10.a4 Be7 11.Bd3 O-O 12.O-O Nh4

9...f5 10.Qa4 Kf7 11.Qb4 Ng6 12.h4 is slightly worse for Black and I would recommend the first variation.

7.Bg5 leads to the main line and is very complicated but I will have an example of each variation continuation and a game for the third line because of the scarcity of information on the first two. This scarcity is because they have become somewhat obsolete and this is because suitable defenses have been concocted for White.

The Chebanehko Variation

7.Bg5 Be6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Nd5 Rc8 10.c3 a6 11.Na3 b5

8.Nd5! Bxd5

The Bird-Larsen Variation

7.Bg5 a6 8. Na3 Be6 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nc4 Rc8 11.Ne3

The Sveshnikov Variation

This is by far the most popular system and is named for the most influential person in the Pelikan theory Sveshnikov. This is one of the lines that is suggested by Sveshnikov and below this line is a game between Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik who is a major practitioner of the Sicilian Pelikan.

7.Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9.Nab1 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.a4 b4 12.Nd5 Bg5 13.Bc4 O-O 14.Nd2 Kh8 15.O-O f5


















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