Apr 1, 2010

Classical Sicilian: Richter-Rauzer

Looking for a mainline Sicilian variation to provide a break from the Najdorf, but you don't really want to dive off into the Sveshnikov or a Dragon variation?  There are still a few options remaining, one of which is the Classical Sicilian, marked by 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6.  (Note that the Classical can reached by a number of move orders, including through 2...d6.)  In the basic position after 5...d6, White has tried a lot of moves, but 90% of games will include either 6.Bg5 (Richter-Rauzer), 6.Bc4 (Sozin), or Be2 (the Classical, proper).  In the following game, White plays the Richter-Rauzer, which comprises more than one-half of all Classical Sicilians, making it a good place to start.  The first 12 moves have been played in a number of previous games.  After 12...b4, White has an apparent space advantage, but no easy way to crack the center open.  Black is slightly cramped but has enough queenside play to get himself untangled, and Black has the Bishop pair.  If White is slow, Black will steal away the initiative on the queenside, which is a large part of the appeal of the opening.  Note that Black often doesn't need to rush to castle because of his strong center, and the saved tempo can make a large difference in an unbalanced game like the Richter-Rauzer. White takes the game into new territory with 13.Na4, a move that deserves a closer look.  The game here is not lost on 13.Na4, but likely rather by White's inaccurate play at move 30. 

No comments:

Post a Comment