Originally posted by chrspayn
What line do you like to play against the clasicial sicilian as white? Why do you like that line.
As a handy reminder, the Classical Sicilian is 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6. It is the 'classical' development of both knights that distinguishes the Classical from the 5...a6 Najdorf, the 5...g6 Dragon, and the 5...e6 Scheveningen (though it is possible that play may transpose to these variations). The Richter-Rauzer Attacky by White is still a strong response to the Classical despite being so heavily investigated. White develops with Bg5, castles queenside, and hopefully launches a withering kingside attack.
I can't resist sharing my following Classical Sicilian game against current #14 in the world rankings, Alex Grischuk(2726), who will be playing in the FIDE 2007 World Championship tournament in Mexico on September 12.
0-1 Me - Alex Grischuk B67 January 2007.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f3
I chose to try a hybrid here, as normally 9.f4 is seen instead. The high popularity of the English Attack f3-systems seen against a variety of other Sicilians (Najdorf, Scheveningen, Classical, Taimanov, Dragon) made me want to give this a try. In the game, I played the pawn to f4 anyway, so maybe this experiment needs some further refinement before having another outing.
9... b5 10.Nxc6 Bxc6 11.Ne2 Be7 12.Nd4
The knight has transferred to the d4-square where it is flexibly placed, prepared to take part in action on either wing.
12... Bb7 13.h4 h6 14.B3 d5
Grischuk makes the d5-break, following the rule-of-thumb that if Black can make this central pawn break (all other things being equal), then he probably should. With Black's king still in the center, this idea may seem dangerous, but with White's pawns ready to roll forward on the kingside, there is no guarantee of safety for the second players monarch in that sector either. It is fairly typical to see Black delay or abandon the right to castle in these variations.
15.e5 Nd7 16.f4
Black's knight retreat threatened the e-pawn so White advances his f-pawn, but it has taken two tempi to do so instead of just one if 9.f4 had been played.
16... Nc5 17.f5 Ne4 18.Qd3 Qc7 19.fxe6 Qxe5 20.exf7+ Kxf7 21.g4 Nc5 22.Qf5?
A mistake. During the game, I had thoughts of trading down into an endgame and exploiting Black's isolated e-pawn, but the position is not calling for this just yet. The whole point of the Richter-Rauzer attack is to sweep into Black's position and expose the black king to an attack, but trading queen's throws away most of White's attacking initiative. Worse still, trading queen's on the f5-square forces my g-pawn has to recapture, which means 1)my split pawns are no longer able to support their kingside advance to lever open Black's kingside, 2)the split pawns are now isolated and targets for counter-attack, 3)by recapturing on f5 with a pawn, I close the f-file to my rooks. The enemy kings was on the open f-file, a nice target for heavy pieces, and I turn around and jam the file! Sheesh! My own pawn on f5 will now act as a defensive blocker for the black king.
22... Qxf5 23.gxf5 Rae8 24.Be2 h5 25.Bf3 Ne4 26.Rh2?
I knew this was an important position, I could feel it. I knew I wanted to prepare to double the rooks on a file, and I knew I wanted to lift my h1-rook, but should I lift it to h2 or h3? Exchanges were going to be made, pieces were really going to start moving, and I had to decide if I needed my rook on h3 to perhaps protect one of my bishops at a critical moment, or should I play my rook to h2 where it had maximum lateral mobility. I wasn't able to concretely calculate that playing to h3 was better, so I chose the "lateral mobility" h2-square hoping that it was the most flexible choice. It was a well-motivated choice, but the wrong one. Instead, 26.Rh3 Bc8 27.Rg1 Bc5 28.c3 Re5 29.Bd1 Bd7 30.a3 a5 with equality was a likely continuation.
26... Bf6 27.Ne6 Nd6 28.Bf2 Nxf5 29.Nc5 Ba8 30.Bxd5
If White's rook had been on h3 able to protect his light-squared bishop, play could have instead continued with 30.Nxa6 d4 31.Nc7 Bxf3 32.Rxh3 Re5 33.Bxd4 Nxh4 34.Rxf6+ gxf6 35.Bxe5 fxe5 36.Nxb5 Nf5 37.Rh1 with a strong advantage to White.
30... Bxd5 31.Rxd5 Re5 32.Rd7+ Kg6 33.Nxa6 Ra8 34.Nb4 Re4 35.a3 Nxh4 36.Nd5 Nf3 37.Rh3
Too bad this rook hadn't moved to h3 back on move 26, eh?
37... Ng5 38.Rb3 h4 39.Rxb5 Rh8
Black winning. Grischuk avoids giving White any miracle chances for a draw and soundly wraps up the game.
40.Nxf6 gxf6 41.Rd1 h3 42.Bg3 Rg4 43.Rb3 Re8 44.Bd6 Re2
Black is slowly ushering his h-pawn up the board.
45.Rg3 Rc4 46.c3 h2 47.Rh1 f5
With one of White's rooks immobilized on the h1-square, Black sends a second runner.
48.Rxg5+ Kxg5 49.Rxh2 Rxh2 50.Bxh2 f4 51.Bg1 f3 52.Kd1 Re4 53.b4 Re2 54.c4 f2! 0-1
A nice finish by GM Grischuk.
(Thanks for bearing with me, and I hope I didn't make too many typing errors.)