Posted on 06:56 PM, January 06, 2011
Chess Piece — By Bobby Ang

Sicilian Theory

The Sveshnikov saw unprecedented growth in the 2000s, peaking at around 2005-2006, and is only now tapering off in popularity a bit. The positional approach with 11.c4 is not new, but only recently caught on after Alexander Morozevich used it for an important win against Leko in the San Luis World Championship 2005.

Nisipeanu, Liviu Dieter (2672) — Radjabov, Teimour (2740) [B33]

4th Kings Tournament Medias ROU (1), 14.06.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c4

It is either this move or 11.c3. The latter has been hogging the spotlight for several years already but Black always seems to have sufficient counterplay to hold the balance.

11…b4 12.Nc2 0 — 0 13.g3

Taking the pawn 13.Ncxb4 Nxb4 14.Nxb4 Qb6 15.Nd5 (against 15.Nd3 or 15.Qb3 Black has 15…Qd4 with sufficient counterplay) 15…Qxb2 16.Bd3 Bd8 17.0 — 0 Be6 position is equal. Anand,V (2798)-Radjabov,T (2744)/ Bilbao 2008 1/2 (22).

13…Be6 14.Bg2 a5 15.0 — 0 Rc8 16.Qd3 g6

The intention is to play …Bg7 and after that go for …f7-f5.


Usually White would like to keep this knight, but after …Bg7 and …f7-f5 the dark-squared bishop would cover the squares around Black’s king. After the exchange Black has to think twice about opening up the position. Nisipeanu assesses correctly that after this exchange Black’s active possibilities become limited and white’s positional trumps will prevail.

17…Qxf6 18.b3

Not 18.Qxd6? Rfd8 19.Qc5 Nd4 Black wins a piece.

18…Qe7 19.Rad1 Rfd8 20.h4

The evaluation of this position is important for the future of the variation. Radjabov thought Black is ok and maybe he is, but it is definitely easier to play for White. By the way, Nisipeanu could also have played 20.f4.


Radjabov has an active style and goes for …f7-f5, but as I pointed out earlier without his dark-squared bishop White has better chances.

21.Kh2 f5?! 22.exf5! gxf5

[22…Bxf5 23.Be4]


Not 23.f4?! e4 and Black now has the better prospects.

23…Rxc6 24.f4!

With the disappearance of Black’s c6-knight it is Black who has the weak center.


[24…e4 25.Qd4+ Kg8 (25…Qg7 26.Qxg7+ Kxg7 27.Nd4 wins the exchange) 26.Ne3 Black’s position is difficult. For example, 26…Qg7? is met by 27.Nxf5! Bxf5 28.Qd5+ snaring the rook]

25.Qe3 Qg7

Trying to get in 26…d6-d5.

26.Rf2 Rd7?!

After 26…d5 27.cxd5 (the reason why his rook went to f2 — now his c2-knight is protected) 27…e4 White remains on top after 28.Qb6!

27.Nd4! Qg4 28.Rdd2 Re8 29.Nb5 d5

Realizing he is positionally lost Radjabov tries to muddy the waters, but Nisipeanu is precise to the end.

30.Nd6! Red8

[30…Rxd6 31.Qxe5+]

31.Qxe5+ Qg7 32.c5 Qxe5 33.fxe5 Rc7 34.Rc2 d4 35.Rfd2 f4 36.gxf4 d3 37.Rxd3 Bf5 38.Nf7+ Kg7 39.Rg2+ 1 — 0


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