Unusual Sicilians

Feb 12, 2017, 7:56 AM |

Curiously, I have found myself playing the white side of the Sicilian in a couple of recent games. I play the Sicilian regularly as black, but with the white pieces I usually play d4-openings, so it is rarely an option.

The first game is a bit odd. It began as a closed Sicilian and ended up in a French-like structure. An interesting point in the game is after move 23, when my opponent and I were in complete agreement that 24. Bg5 was forced. However, as it turned out, there was a much more interesting continuation.


In the second game, my opponent played an early Nc6, and I intended to go into the Moscow variation - mainly because I dislike facing that as black. However, my opponent chose a very unusual line, and we ended up in a weird version of the Smith-Morra gambit.

The position below is a critical point of the game, where I was very uncertain about how to proceed. The open c-file suggests a doubling of the rooks. But there is also potential play on the f-file as well as in the center. 


In the first game, I missed a tactic that could have saved the game for me. Missing tactics or misevaluating them is not unusual, and not something I beat myself up over. However, in this case, I did not even look at Rxg7, since it seems to give up a rook. Not only would I get the rook back, but also get an attack going, which would be difficult for black to repeal. So I need to remind myself to at least consider all options, no matter how crazy they may look at first sight.

In the second game, my mistake was of a different kind. First, I did not manage to find a reasonable plan, and ended up playing two different plans instead. Also, I did not consider the positional consequences of the queen trade, which gave me a very weak position and a lost endgame. As with most middle-game issues, this is a more difficult problem to overcome. But I am working on it.