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Experts vs. the Sicilian [Paperback]

By Jacob Aagaard (Editor) & John Shaw (Editor)
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Item description for Experts vs. the Sicilian by Jacob Aagaard & John Shaw...

The Sicilian Defense is the most popular chess opening at every level of tournament play. Here, a multinational lineup of leading experts gives recommendations against their own pet lines in the Sicilian Defense. The authors are are all either Grandmasters or International Masters, and readers now have a complete guide to playing with White against the Sicilian.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Quality Chess
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 15, 2006
Publisher   Quality Chess
ISBN  9197524468  
ISBN13  9789197524469  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jacob Aagaard & John Shaw

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jacob Aagaard is an International Master from Denmark who has earned himself a deserved reputation as an industrious and no-nonsense chess author.

Jacob Aagaard has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Grandmaster Guides

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Reviews - What do customers think about Experts vs. the Sicilian?

excellent content  Mar 12, 2007
I really like this eclectic approach to examining a rich opening such as the sicilian. The content is excellent!

Understandably there is a difference in the style and readabilty of the chapters. This book would make a good exemplar for grandmasters to see what works and and doesn't work when presenting information. For example the dragon chapter goes for a maze of annotations that is best left for daytime reading for those of us with failing sight. The accelerated dragon chapter is better paragraphed and not in the 'throw the kitchen sink' at them style. The publishers could also consider a stronger font for main lines.

That said, it is a great book.
A wonderful, recently updated version of a chess repertoire book against the Sicilian  Feb 28, 2007
I've always liked the Open Sicilian for White. If you want to know why, you can read some of my other this site reviews, especially the one of Emms' book ("Starting Out: The Sicilian"). In general, I think the lines are much easier for White than for Black. Still, there's a need for a good repertoire book for White in the Open Sicilian and this work fills that need superbly.

We start with the Najdorf Variation (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6). Here, Thomas Luther recommends 6 Bg5 for White and I strongly agree. I like to be able to exchange that Bishop (which otherwise often just gets in White's way) for the Black Knight on f6. Luther has some good recommendations against Black sidelines (including the Polugayevsky and the Poisoned Pawn variations). In the main line (6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Qf3 Qc7 9 0-0-0 Nbd7) Luther recommends 10 g4, which is a good move. But he also advises knowing the 10 Bd3 lines, and I think that's wise. In one sideline, Luther comments that the opening "has been a disaster for Black. This position holds no chances for a win, and the draw is not as close as it would have been had he played a passive variation of the Petroff." That's exactly the sort of position we want to see as White! In this chapter, we are shown some classical White sacrifices, such as Bxb5 or Nd5, and these are fundamental concepts that White has to learn.

Next is the Dragon Variation, where Black plays 5 ...g6 rather than the 5 ...a6 of the Najdorf. Objectively, the strongest line for White is 6 Be3 Bg7 7 f3 (to prevent Ng4 by Black) 7...0-0 8 Qd2 Nc6 9 0-0-0, and that's what Michael Golubev recommends. Black can postpone ...0-0, but Golubev shows that leaving the King in the center indefinitely does not work for Black. In the main line, Black has to face a very dangerous Kingside attack.

After that comes Jacob Aagard's chapter on the Sveshnikov (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5). Once again, we the recommendation is to play a main line: 9 Bxf6 gxf6 10 Nd5 f5 11 c3. In the past, I've preferred to sacrifice on b5 on move 11, but Aagard has convinced me that the 11 c3 line is very powerful.

Against the Classical Sicilian (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6), Peter Wells recommends the very reasonable Richter-Rauzer attack with 6 Bg5. That's not exactly what I play, but I think it is an excellent suggestion.

Sune Berg Hansen deals with the Kan (Paulsen) and Taimanov variations. Against the Kan, we are encouraged to play 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Nc3 followed by 6 Bd3, which I am considering switching to from my Maroczy-bind (5 c4) approach. Against the Taimanov, we're taught an extremely aggressive line that requires plenty of work for both sides: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be3 a6 7 Bd3, but so far I think I prefer the Maroczy bind here. Still, I like the fact that this repertoire book does offer us such a strong attacking line.

When we get to the Accelerated Dragon, Peter Heine Nielsen can find nothing better to recommend than the Maroczy Bind. I think he's right, and he gives us an excellent lesson on how to play it. As he shows, Black's dream position is to trade off all the minor pieces except for a Black Knight (which will wind up on d4) and White's White-squared Bishop. White tends to be ripped in such a position, and we learn to avoid it at all costs. We also see that if all the minor pieces are exchanged, White typically has a winning advantage.

What about the Scheveningen? Viktor Gavrikov recommends the aggressive Keres attack (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 g4). This is dangerous for both sides, of course. I've tried this line for White, and I confess that I'm always a little nervous about winding up with my Bishop misplaced on e3. Still, I think that the Keres attack is in keeping with the overall theme of the book.

In the Kalashnikov, Jan Pinski recommends a "minor line." The idea is after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 6 N1c3 a6 7 Na3 b5 to play 8 Nd5, 9 exd5, and 10 c4 (or the same moves in a different order). Once again, this line is very dangerous for Black, which is what we want.

The book concludes with some less popular versions of the Sicilian. Alexander Raetsky supplies a line against the Sicilian Four Knights, Jacob Aagard against the Pin Variation and the Nimzowitsch variation, John Shaw against some remaining minor lines, and finally Aagard (once again) on three Black fifth move alternatives.

This book is highly readable, up-to-date, and I highly recommend it. I hope you will all try the Open Sicilian as White! I'm sure glad that I play it.
Experts Vs. the Sicilian  Feb 16, 2007
Certainly an in depth book on the sicilian, but the commentary is sparse in spots and leaves the reader to draw his or her's own conclusion far too often. Also as with any popular theoretical opening, keeping current with a book in today's internet world is difficult at best.
Repetoire vs the sicilian  Oct 21, 2005
An advanced book on combating the sicilian as white. It is impossible to come up with a comprehensive book on the open sicilian in less than 300 pages, but the authors do a reasonable job. Not an easy book to get through, but if you are willing to put in the work, this is a rewarding book.
Solid open sicilian repertoire  Sep 25, 2005
As all reviews, this is highly subjective...It's been some years since a repertoire book on standard open sicilan lines was out (not counting "Taming the sicilian" which I haven't seen but wouldn't count as standard with all g3 lines) so this book definitely fills a void. Its main strength, having more or less expert IMs and GMs recommend against their pet lines, may be at the same time a weakness. The various chapter are not of the same quality. Some chapters on sidelines (pin variation etc) are as long as mainline chapters. The variations are presented through complete games, which may not be to everybody's liking. You still have to learn hefty amounts of theory, for example in the Bg5 Najdorf, Richter-Rauzer and 0-0-0 Dragon.
Having said that, I think any serious 1.e4 player who wants to play the open sicilian will benefit from this book. You may want to pick and choose what you play - for instance, I have given serious thought to Sozin lines instead of Bg5. Also, check the publisher's website - there are some updates you can download on PGN format.
Some ommisions and the differences in character and quality between the different chapters account for the four stars.

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