The Classic Sicilian, Fabulous Kramnik and the Inexhaustible Nature of Chess

The Classic Sicilian, Fabulous Kramnik and the Inexhaustible Nature of Chess

kamalakanta
kamalakanta
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22

A few years ago, trying to fill in the lagoons, the gaps, in my chess formation, I began buying books of game collections.

Following the lead of players like Bronstein and Kramnik, and also Lasker and Capablanca, I had decided to study the games of as many great players as I could.

And I wanted to go as far back as was advisable! So far the oldest game collection I have is the book with the 85 games between MacDonnell and LaBourdonais from their six matches in 1834!

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Some players have the ability to manifest a harmony in their game, a harmony that permeates their game....I found that , first of all, in Rubinstein! It is a certain beauty in the formations that he achieved in certain openings, a beauty that gave me great pleasure!

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Another player who had that Art, whose feeling for harmony stood out, was Smyslov! Even the position after the last move in the following game is beautiful to the eye!

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And among modern players, the one that I feel manifests the same style as Rubinstein and Smyslov, is Kramnik!

Now, I started playing organized chess when the Spassky-Fischer chess fever was on (1972). And in their World Championship Match, Spassky played the Classic Sicilian with black! I believe he did not lose a single game with it!

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 The Spassky-Fischer WC Match had a profound influence in me....in 1975, in the Zonal Tournament for the World Championship (Zone 5), I played the best game of my life, using the Classical Sicilian! I beat Julio Boudy, one of two IMs from Cuba in my group. It was the only game they lost in the Zonal!

I played a good game, yes, but without knowing what I was doing! It was a good intuitive moment, but I was playing "from the seat of my pants"!

Many years later, I saw some games from the 50's (!!), in which Black played ...h6. This was news to me, but in the Soviet Union it was old news!  I only knew what I had seen in the Spassky-Fischer match!

Yet Botvinnik and Smyslov had done great battles in 1957, in the World Championship Match that Smyslov won!

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Botvinnik won the first battle!

But Smyslov stroke back!

Then I bought a fabulous book... "Kramnik- My Life and Games", by Kramnik and Iakov Damsky.

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This book is extraordinary! Kramnik is a spectacular player, an incredible talent, fearless and mature! He is, for me, Smyslov's successor!  AND he loved to play the Classic Sicilian! The following game was an eye-opener!

Now, Kramnik is a fearless player, who would battle with anybody, including Kasparov!

Interested in this opening, and seeing that it is not seen that often in elite play nowadays, I bought Alex Yermolinsky's book, "The Classical Sicilian".

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Examining the first few pages, I came across some lesser alternatives to the Sozin Attack or the Richter-Rauzer (as in the 1972 WC Match).

The first alternative was 6.Be3, and the response 6...Ng4 is examined. Now, to my eye, 6...Ng4 looks perfectly logical. Yet after 7.Bb5, it seemed that Black gets in trouble if White ignores the attack to its Be3 bishop, and uses the f-file to put pressure on Black's game. Take a look!

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                                                                      Kapengut

So, here I am, trying to explore this opening, and a sideline is putting a lot of pressure on Black?

then I went to chessgames.com, and found two games, 118 years apart, in which Black replies to 7.Bb5 with 7....Qd7! And Black won both games! One is with Paulsen playing Black, and the other one is by Carlsen! Take a look!

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                                                                Louis Paulsen

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 Magnus Carlsen

I love the 7....Qd7 move! Chess is really inexhaustible!