Sunday, 26 July 2009


I am thinking of using the Taimanov as black in a Sicilian.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6

Have any of you used this variation before?


Tommyg said...

Hi ChessX,

I thought about using it and even read a really great book on it:

Chess Explained: The Taimanov Sicilian

I also read the book to be prepared for the variation as White. I have chosen not to play it as Black for now. No good reason, I just don't like the way Sicilian Openings look at the board for some reason. (maybe not the best method for picking my openings...?)

The Chess Explained book mentioned above is really good in that it has a great blend of variations and explanatory prose AND is good for further use and analysis.

CHESSX said...

Thanks for that i will try to give the book a look.
I am working through Starting out- the sicilian by GM Emms.
In it i saw the Taimanov and thought that looks a safeish type sicilian.
I will give it a few goes to see how it looks.

Linuxguy said...

ChessX, there are subtleties with that variation that Black players may employ. Many players as Black will often transposes into a Shevenningen Sicilian, probably because they don't know the Taimanov properly, or the Paulsen.

Study this video, if you haven't already. I found this from the queen vs. knight endgame video that RP suggested to me.
This guy plays the Paulsen, which means that he adds the move a6 to the mix. It also gives you an idea of how it differs from say the way a dull, typical Shevennengan Sicilian is handled by amateurs.
He's an Expert rated chess player.

One trick that some amateurs like to get quick wins from (trap) is not playing Nc6. They will play ..e6, then Bc5 and Qb6 trying to win the knight on d4 as it gets pinned to either f2 or the king on g1, if White has played f4 already. I've fallen into it on FICS on many occasion. A quick Nb3 is one way out of it, but that doesn't always get played.

You'll see that in the Paulsen proper that the queen goes to c7, not b6, but that doesn't stop people who are looking for a "free meal". ;-( hehe.

CHESSX said...

Thanks for link,i am not curtain about Qc7.
It may put pressure on the center but it does not look right.
As white has 2 knights very near by.
BUT it is the correct move for this variation.

linuxguy said...

ChessX, yes Qc7 strikes me as a weak layout also looks-wise, even though it is probably pretty tight in practice.

I never realized that ChessX was the name of a free chess database.

CMoB said...

Safeish? If it is safeish defenses vs 1.e4 you're looking for, the Caro-Kann would probably be a better choice. After all, the Sicilian defense in general is about counter-attack, so...

However, the Taimanov/Kan/Paulsen whatever variation is a very flexible choice, leaving White guessing as to what set-up you will use.

I myself play the Sicilian O'Kelly variation, which is perfectly suited for club level play. Though there's nothing wrong with it at higher levels. Maybe a bit drawish, if White plays correct.

One advantage is that there is not a whole lot written about or being written about. The last time it was given serious attention (to my knowledge) was in Dangerous Weapons: The Sicilian.

Untill now, i have played 7 serious (longer time control) games at my club using this variation scoring 1 win and 6 draws. And all of my opponents were puzzled by the move 2...a6. Not knowing the variation :)

Not that i go for the surprise factor. I always go in expecting them to play the best response, but they never do. Well, all except one. But he's our current top player playing at master strength. He played one of the two best responses. But i faced other class A players as well and they were all puzzled :)

CHESSX said...

Thanks guys.
I have not seen the O'kelly variation i will look for that one.

I think my problem with openings is that i tend to play timidly.
As CMOB said the sicilian is a counter attack opening,so playing timidly is not the best way forward.
Also i tend to play within my half of the board during the opening.
Perhaps the modern or pirc are for me.
I go into the middlegame usally with small disadvantages because of my bad opening play.
Then i have to overcome them to equalise.
Thats why i look at the games of Linuxguy and others and think why can't i play like that, aggressive.

CMoB said...

Did you ever try to play agressive? If not, why don't you give it a try? You might be surprised in finding out it suits your style. You never know unless you try.

On the other hand i would go for the Caro-Kann if it is timid and safe you like. It is hella safe! Guaranteed solidity, at all levels of play! You can't go wrong with it. And the basics are pretty easy to master from what i understand. Then again, i am not a big fan of defenses like Pirc or Modern. I think their ugly and there's definitely some risk involved in playing them.

Rolling Pawns said...

I fell a victim of Bc5 and Qb6 in OTB game last winter, lost a pawn though there was survival, I actually saw it but couldn't calculate properly. I decided to transpose it to French as White, at least since then didn't lose anything :). I don't think it's quiet, but you may try it, what can you lose? Pirc or Modern are too positional and I don't think you should play Caro-Kann at all, if you want to become more aggressive player. You can play Scandinavian by the way, could be very aggressive and you force White to play it from the first move.

linuxguy said...

The Bc5 + Qb6 trap is about the best one going there for it, sorry to hear you fell into it OTB, RP as it takes a lot of analysis to find a way to play around it after it happens - I've tried to pull it off and failed before.

You can try out different openings, ChessX. I think you are more a counter-puncher like myself, you just need to give the other person a chance to mess up as I sense you like to equalize early.

If I were going to play the Taimanov and not the Schevenningen, would look to play sharp lines with it. Like in the video, you see he plays h5 before he even castles, I think. Sharp stuff, but have a sense of the solid basis of replies at your disposal.