Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sicilian Defence & Polugaevsky

A week after Art Price beat me with his bold Budapest Gambit we played again. This time I had Black and held my own. Price played 1.e4. I responded with the Sicilian Defence that I had been studying at the time. Like Fischer I chose the Najdorf Variation. However, I was not following Bobby Fischer this time.

Lev Polugaevsky had written several books on how to study the opening. As his example Polugaevsky chose his own line of the Najdorf which is 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5. Polugaevsky was in the mix of World Championship Candidates for a couple decades. He found it difficult to beat Viktor Korchnoi. Most grandmasters never even made it to Korchnoi.

I studied the Polugaevsky books on the Sicilian Defence. He had developed his 7…b5 Variation through home analysis and over the board competition. When his ideas were refuted Lev just kept searching deeper for new ideas. I thought of Lev Polugaevsky’s passion when working on my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook. Arthur Price played the sharp 6.Bg5 which Spassky used to beat Fischer 10 years earlier. But Price avoided the sharpest 8.e5 lines.

Price (2054) - Sawyer (1900), Lansdale, PA 22.05.1982 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5 8.a3 [White avoids the sharpest theory. In those days I was studying the Polugaevsky books on the Sicilian. I was familiar with this variation and the sharp lines after 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Qc7 and now: 10.exf6 (10.Qe2 Nfd7 11.0-0-0 Bb7=) 10...Qe5+ 11.Be2 Qxg5+/=] 8...Bb7 9.Be2 Nbd7 10.0-0 [White can hold onto the e-pawn with 10.Bf3= ] 10...Qb6 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.Kh1 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.Bf3 Bxf3 15.Qxf3 Rc8 [15...d5=/+] 16.c3 g6? [I was too concerned about White's possible f5 attack. I should have played 16...Be7 17.f5 e5=] 17.Rae1?! [I did not prevent f5. White has a strong attack with the sacrifice 17.f5! gxf5 18.Qh5 Rg8 19.Nxe6+-] 17...Be7? [17...Bg7 18.f5 0-0=] 18.Qe4 [18.f5! exf5 19.g4+/-] 18...d5 19.Qe2 Rc7 20.Rf3 [20.f5 exf5=/+] 20...Kd8 [20...0-0-/+] 21.Re3 Re8 22.Rd3 Bh4 23.g3 Bf6 24.Nf3 Ree7 25.g4 Qc5 26.g5 Bg7 27.Kg2 h5 [Black stood better after 27...Qc4=/+ ] 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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