One More Contribution by Rauzer- Bxb5 Sacrifice vs. Sicilian

One More Contribution by Rauzer- Bxb5 Sacrifice vs. Sicilian

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Hello, everyone. Wishes of peace and joy to all!

Recently my dear friend Simaginfan published an article about the great Ukranian theoretician, Vsevolod Rauzer (1908-1941). 

In his article, Simaginfan mentions a recently published book about Rauzer, authored by another great Ukranian chessplayer, Alexander Konstantinopolsky (1910-1990). The book is called "Obsession- A Chess Biography of Vsevolod Rauzer".

Well, after hearing about this book from Simaginfan, I could not resist the temptation to buy it, and it has been a pleasant surprise. Rauzer was an extraordinary pioneer, and some of the ideas he brought forth are still in use today!

This article focuses on one of Rauzer's contributions against the Sicilian Defense....the sacrifice of a piece on the b5 square!

The stem game, as far as I can tell, is Rauzer-Makogonov, USSR Championship 1934/35.

Now, in the Sicilian, there are some sacrifices that are typical; thematic. Nd5, Nxe6, and this one by Rauzer.

I was intrigued as how Rauzer's idea would have inspired other top players to use it. You see, sometimes a sacrifice can be the beginning of a winning attack, a winning combination. But Rauzer played it differently, allowing the exchange of Queens. He played it as a positional sacrifice!

In 1954, Soviet players toured South America and played a match against Argentinian players. Bronstein played Najdorf who, playing Black, played the Najdorf! But Bronstein, like Rauzer, sacrificed his Bishop on b5, and it was a positional sacrifice. Here we go.....

Now, in these two games, White played Qf3-Qg3, without playing f4. Susequently it was found that playing f4 before playing Qf3 was better. The following game by Velimirovic was played in the 1974 Chess Olympiad. I remember how, when I saw this game, it made a strong impression on me. Who would have known that almost 50 years later I would be writing a blog about this idea?

In the Velimirovic game, since the pawn is on f4, the exchanges on d6 are not possible, so White plays e5, furthering his attack....positionally!

Let us take a look....

Now, if we are talking about a sacrifice against the Sicilian, the name of Mikhail Tal must be mentioned!

The last game in this article is by another Ukranian genius- Vassily Ivanchuk!

Again, except for Tal, all these players played it as a positional sacrifice...the White pawns on the queenside are going to be hard to stop!