Everything Openings #4: The Perenyi Problem
Greetings, and welcome to Everything Openings #4! In last week's post, we looked at an extremely effective practical weapon which fell apart against a good player. This post picks up about where that one left off, exploring my attempts to find something against the Najdorf that I liked.
We'll also look at a particularly venomous line I prepared, why it failed, and why the Sicilian is so annoying in the first place.
We start just before I was chased from the Canal-Sokolsky by a 1900 player who tied me to my e4-pawn over and over again. There was just a week left until an important championship event, and I still had nothing against his Najdorf.
Now, you have to understand something about me. I love complications, but only when I have them all worked out beforehand. When I throw sharp, theoretical lines at someone, it's because I believe I can drag them into a dark forest and then stroll right on out, leaving them blind and flailing about in a thorny maze of variations.
Apart from being a great image, this apparently depicts the mythical-fictional monster-god Cthulhu somehow.
That's why I discarded 6. Bg5 (too many branches), 6. Be3 (not forcing enough), and 6. h3 (Black's play seems too easy for my taste). I was looking for something poisonous, and although sharp, the main lines could not be called that, as for every attacking thrust I made, Black could make one back.
After a little bit of searching, I settled on the Perenyi Attack and began days of engine-assisted super-prep. It had everything - venom, a relative lack of branches and wild tactics which unprepared players would struggle to calculate. It didn't matter that it was hyper-theoretical, because I knew the theory and I was almost guaranteed that my opponent would not. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the wildest concoction ever to have been cooked up in my home laboratory:
Sadly, I then saw 7... h6 and turned away from the variation as I didn't like the piece-sacrifice lines after this move. But there's another option.
However, even here, 9... Nc6! ruins White's fun, leaving his position very loose. Seeing this final rebuttal, I dropped the line, played 3. Bb5+ against him one final time, and lost, a game which directly influenced my switch to 6. g3.
The Perenyi Attack had the potential to be the best surprise weapon I had ever looked at. There were dozens of ways to drop bombs on my opponent. But it failed because it wasn't the soundest line ever and because Black had one simple line which completely killed my fun. It succeeds brilliantly as far as its venom and its forcing nature, but fails on the last criterion - soundness.
This is why the Sicilian is so terribly annoying - low-rated players play it constantly without knowing anything about it, but there is no good way to punish them for playing it. If you play the main lines, Black gets one attacking move for every one of yours, and they have way too much fun for any White player's taste, not to mention that you are both almost certainly going to get lost in a theoretical maze. If you play an Anti-Sicilian, you often will get a good position, but you actually have to outplay them instead of just chopping their King's head off. If you play a poisonous line... wait, there are no good poisonous lines It seems that you can punish weak players for playing every sharp opening except this one.
That, in large part, is why I'm sharing this with you - so that, eventually, justice will be served when one of you drops this on a 1200 player. In Lasker's words, "on the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not last long," and I hate it when they do.
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