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Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 4th 09, 05:15 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
Alex
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Posts: 40
Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

How come some GMs don't play the sicilian defense regularly? is that
okay?
like Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Vladamir Kramnik, Karpov.

Is there a reason why they don't play the sicilian defense? I thought
the sicilian defense was supposed to be a really good opening and it
is played by everyone. what kind of player do you have to be in
order to play the sicilian effectively?
  #2  
Old January 4th 09, 05:48 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
Taylor Kingston
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

On Jan 4, 12:15*pm, Alex wrote:
How come some GMs don't play the sicilian defense regularly? *is that
okay?
like Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Vladamir Kramnik, Karpov.

Is there a reason why they don't play the sicilian defense? *I thought
the sicilian defense was supposed to be a really good opening and it
is played by everyone. * what kind of player do you have to be in
order to play the sicilian effectively?


Opening choices are to a great extent a matter of personal taste.
While the Sicilian is a sound and strong opening, and one of the most
popular, not everyone likes the kind of game it usually leads to, a
sharp, double-edged tactical struggle. Those with a more strategic
bent may prefer the French or Caro-Kann.
Also in many lines of the Sicilian one must know theory quite
thoroughly to play it at GM level. Traps abound, TNs are frequent, and
a small mistake may be fatal. If one instead plays, say, the Petroff
or Nimzovich Defense, less memorization is needed.
Besides those I've mentioned, there are many other ways to meet
1.e4, such as the Pirc, the Modern, Alekhine's Defense, and of course
1...e5 with all its possibilities. All of these are just as sound and
playable as the Sicilian.
Chess would be pretty dull if everyone played the same opening!
  #3  
Old January 4th 09, 06:45 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
Offramp
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

On Jan 4, 5:15*pm, Alex wrote:

what kind of player do you have to be in order to play the Sicilian effectively?


You have to be a player for whom chess is 55% of your life and the
Sicilian Defence is 45%. A week is a long time in the Sicilian and you
have to keep bang up-to-date with games played all over the world. One
would have no time for stamp-collecting for example.
  #4  
Old January 4th 09, 06:52 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
[email protected]
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

* Chess would be pretty dull if everyone played the same opening!

As dull as if the starting position is always the same?
  #5  
Old January 4th 09, 07:52 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
[email protected]
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

On Jan 4, 12:15*pm, Alex wrote:
How come some GMs don't play the sicilian defense regularly? *is that
okay?
like Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Vladamir Kramnik, Karpov.


This is the sort of opening where Black tries to win typically by a
direct attack on the White King, and White tries to win by gaining
material in the Q side or in the center. The Sicilian provokes a
struggle to win - both sides using [generally speaking] different
strategies to do so.

Many players adopt the posture of 'Win with White, Draw with Black',
therefore the Sicilian does not accord with this plan.

Three notable Hungarian Grandmasters use it, Adorjan, Judit Polgar and
Peter Leko.

Is there a reason why they don't play the sicilian defense? *I thought
the sicilian defense was supposed to be a really good opening and it
is played by everyone.


I think other commentators here make the point that it is also
fantastically complicated and trappy. But objectively, if you as Black
chose a specific Sicilian line then you will know more about it than
White, who, after all, cannot be expected to know all lines as well as
you understand one.

The Sicilian is uncompromising in its competition from move 1.

* what kind of player do you have to be in
order to play the sicilian effectively?


From a rating point of view, probably 1700+. It favors fighting is the
other answer - to the degree that you must like a good slug-fest to
play it well.

Cordially, Phil Innes
  #6  
Old January 4th 09, 11:50 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
madams
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

wrote:

Chess would be pretty dull if everyone played the same opening!


As dull as if the starting position is always the same?


Are you referencing a time prior the advent of Ragina Vegina?..

m.
  #7  
Old January 5th 09, 01:43 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
Alessandro J.
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

On 4 Gen, 20:52, wrote:
On Jan 4, 12:15*pm, Alex wrote:


This is the sort of opening where Black tries to win typically by a
direct attack on the White King, and White tries to win by gaining
material in the Q side or in the center.


I would have thought it would have been the other way round, this
sounds like a very good definition of the King's Indian, rather.

* what kind of player do you have to be in
order to play the sicilian effectively?


From a rating point of view, probably 1700+. It favors fighting is the
other answer - to the degree that you must like a good slug-fest to
play it well.


Well, simply put you must like playing unbalanced positions, but there
are so many variations with so many different charachteristics that
it's difficult to over generalize.
  #8  
Old January 5th 09, 11:23 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
[email protected]
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

On Jan 4, 8:43*pm, "Alessandro J." wrote:
On 4 Gen, 20:52, wrote:

On Jan 4, 12:15*pm, Alex wrote:


This is the sort of opening where Black tries to win typically by a
direct attack on the White King, and White tries to win by gaining
material in the Q side or in the center.


I would have thought it would have been the other way round, this
sounds like a very good definition of the King's Indian, rather.


I was mentioning the Pelikan, and black and white plans are indeed
similar to the KID.

* what kind of player do you have to be in
order to play the sicilian effectively?


From a rating point of view, probably 1700+. It favors fighting is the
other answer - to the degree that you must like a good slug-fest to
play it well.


Well, simply put you must like playing unbalanced positions, but there
are so many variations with so many different charachteristics that
it's difficult to over generalize.


Its [laugh] easy to ever generalize - but generalizations are
indicated for such a broad question. Its true, if you play the
Sicilian you will likely wind up in unbalanced positions - the
question is, since Black choses 1 from a dozen Sicilian lines, won't
Black know more about the resulting unbalanced position than White?
That's about the size of it, and as much as can be said generally.

If you go back to the top of this thread and observe Taylor Kingston's
answer - which is at least honest from his playing level, he says:

"While the Sicilian is a sound and strong opening, and one of the
most
popular, not everyone likes the kind of game it usually leads to, a
sharp, double-edged tactical struggle. Those with a more strategic
bent may prefer the French or Caro-Kann.
Also in many lines of the Sicilian one must know theory quite
thoroughly to play it at GM level. Traps abound, TNs are frequent,
and
a small mistake may be fatal. If one instead plays, say, the Petroff
or Nimzovich Defense, less memorization is needed. "

But Sicilian positions can also be unsharp strategic games - for those
capable of taking that in - and this means having a picture in your
mind of the position at move 10 or 13 or something - a tabiya, as it
is called - and the respective chances for both sides at that point.

If you are worried about tricks and traps in the Opening of your own
choice [!] you should take Taylor Kingston's advice, and not engage
stronger players in openings when you can get tactically outwitted
before move 10. Hence, I did not recommend the Sicilian to players
under 1700, since that is an approximate cusp for tactical competency
- beyond that level more structure is required to play against higher
rated players.

The main point of choosing a Sicilian line is that as Black you will
almost certainly know more than White. Right? You just have to be good
enough to take advantage of your knowledge and gain an advantage. Best
way to appreciate the Sicilian is to play against it with strong
players - then you get to see its strength. What top GMs do and don't
do have little to do with most players.

Cordially, Phil Innes
  #9  
Old January 5th 09, 02:04 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
Quadibloc
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

On Jan 4, 10:15*am, Alex wrote:
How come some GMs don't play the sicilian defense regularly? *is that
okay?
like Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Vladamir Kramnik, Karpov.


Is there a reason why they don't play the sicilian defense? *I thought
the sicilian defense was supposed to be a really good opening and it
is played by everyone. * what kind of player do you have to be in
order to play the sicilian effectively?


Oh, the Sicilian is a *very* good opening. For Black. That's why they
call it the Sicilian *Defense*.

Which is why White hardly *ever* plays 1 P-K4 (1 e4) any more, at
least in high-level play, so Grandmasters seldom get the *opportunity*
to make use of this devastating weapon.

John Savard
  #10  
Old January 5th 09, 02:58 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis,rec.games.chess.misc
[email protected]
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Default Why don't some GMs play the Sicilian Defense?

On Jan 4, 8:43*pm, "Alessandro J." wrote:
On 4 Gen, 20:52, wrote:

On Jan 4, 12:15*pm, Alex wrote:


This is the sort of opening where Black tries to win typically by a
direct attack on the White King, and White tries to win by gaining
material in the Q side or in the center.


I would have thought it would have been the other way round, this
sounds like a very good definition of the King's Indian, rather.


I was about to say the same thing, Alessandro. In most main lines of
the Sicilian e.g. the Najdorf, Dragon, Scheveningen, Richter-Rauzer
White attacks on the kingside, often with a full-on pawn storm after
castling queenside, while Black has counterplay on the queenside or in
the center. Unless theory and fashion have changed a lot in the last
few years, it's unusual to have it the other way around.

* what kind of player do you have to be in
order to play the sicilian effectively?


From a rating point of view, probably 1700+.


One's rating has nothing to do with it. If both you and your
opponent are under Elo 1700, the Sicilian is no worse a choice than
any other his tactical ability is no better than yours, so choosing
a tactical opening incurs no particular advantage or disadvantage. If
you're rated 2200 but your opponent is 2800, you'll probably lose no
matter what opening you play.
Saying "From a rating point of view, probably 1700+" implies that
one should not start playing the Sicilian until one has reached Elo
1700. I would disagree. If the Sicilian affords the kind of game one
finds interesting, enough to make it a regular part of one's
repertoire, one might as well start playing it early, to gain
experience with it.
I can't think of any opening where I'd say "Play this only if your
rating is at least X." Play whatever you find interesting, enjoyable
and understandable for you, and success will usually follow.

It favors fighting is the
other answer - to the degree that you must like a good slug-fest to
play it well.


That I do agree with.

 




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