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What's New- December '02

Happy Holidays to all my friends! I have just returned from the World Junior Championship in Goa, India (a very nice place, but a very long trip) where I was the coach of Cindy Tsai.


Classical Sozin/Two Knights



This month's update is a mixed bag of variations.

Download PGN of December '02 Open Sicilian games

Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov Variation [B32-B33]

We'll start off with the Sveshnikov section and the game Wojtasek - Poobesh Anand in the 7 Nd5 line where White was better from beginning to drawn game.

As I have said before, from what I can tell Kovacevic-Espinoza is Black's best chance. I'm looking forward to further developments in this ever-changing topical variation, but at this point Black is struggling.

Classical Sozin/Two Knights [B56 to B59]

Here is one of my favorite opening lines, the Benko system.

In Dgebuadze - Nijboer Black tried an extremely aggressive approach that turned out badly, but didn't have to. Black's 14...d5!? wasn't bad, although I prefer 14...Nb8 or 14...Na5 playing for d5 and keeping the position open. Black's 20...g5?! was correct in spirit, but gave White good f-line action and a safer king.

We finish up with an English attack in Smeets - Werle, a game which Richter Rauser players will find important.

Here's the dilemma: to play 6...e6 or...e5? I'm not sure to tell you the truth.

At this point I'm leaning towards 6...e5 over 6....e6. My feeling is that Black's ideas with 6...e5 are more clear-cut than with 6...e6. Very often Black's counterplay in the 6...e6 line is based on what White does while in 6...e5 Black exercises more control over his plans.

Back to Smeets-Werle where after numerous inaccuracies 18...Nb4!? would have given Black a puncher's chance at least


Classical Sozin/Two Knights



Scheveningen [B80 to B89]

Next, lets have a look at Satyapragan - Pratamash from Goa.

Najdorf and Scheveningen players alike should be interested in this. Compared with Makka-Tsai, Black's game has a lot more flexibility and has the good housekeeping approval from Gary Kasparov, whose opening prep is very reliable. I like Black's defensive resources and his counterpunching possibilities with ...b5 or ...d5. In addition to all that, White's king can become wide open, while Black remains solid and compact. In this particular game Black burned his bridges with the controversial 19...e5!? instead of staying flexible, but in the end his sense of danger failed him.

Najdorf [B90 to B99]

The next 2 games were tough losses by Cindy Tsai, both Najdorfs and neither line should be of any great danger to Black.

In Makka - Tsai White chose an older solid line introduced by Karpov in the early 80's. White's idea is to jump the Nb3 around and into d5. Not surpisingly Karpov seems to have been the only player to accomplish this chore!

In this game Cindy missed many chances for good play. 13...Nc5 looks reasonable, certainly enough for equality, and the ambitious 14...Nd5 from Rogul-Ferce would be my choice.

Another thing Sicilian players should think about. Instead of playing ...Rc8, ...Qc7 automatically, Black can consider ...Rc8, ...Rc7 and ...Qb8. This sets up exchange sacs on c3 and saves time. I believe GM Jon Tisdall suggested this to me. It's good to keep a wary eye on the older stuff as one never knows when they'll show up.

The second game Holusova - Tsai was another case of inexperience. Black's choice was a solid one and as a life-long Sicilian player we know how tough a knight on e5 can be. Even so Black had survival chances, but missed them.

I'm off to the US Championship which starts on Jan 9th, wish me luck!

See ya at my next update,Adios!

GM John Fed

If anybody has any questions please contact me at and I'll do my best to help out. I've had problems replying when contacted through Chess Publishing at



Classical Sozin/Two Knights