Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Paul Cooksey
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri May 14, 2021 9:52 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 9:00 am
I think you can lose the game in the opening in the Najdorf, which I don't think you can with the Kan.
Things can go wrong with sacrifices on d5 and b5, and it isn't always easy to castle quickly...I'd rather play the Kan the the Najdorf, but I would not claim it is more solid. I think one of the reasons there is a lot of theory in the Najdorf is it is considered a good mix of solid and ambitious.

Of course, at club level, I suspect e6 Sicilian players see as many Kings Indian Attacks as they do Open variations.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri May 14, 2021 10:07 pm

"Of course, at club level, I suspect e6 Sicilian players see as many Kings Indian Attacks as they do Open variations."

Yes - one season, I think it reached December before I got a 2.Nf3 and 3.d4 against me.

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MJMcCready
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by MJMcCready » Sat May 15, 2021 7:30 am

Well, it could be worse I suppose. I just don't want to learn copious amounts of opening theory.

Richard Bates
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Richard Bates » Sat May 15, 2021 12:21 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 9:00 am
I think you can lose the game in the opening in the Najdorf, which I don't think you can with the Kan.
You can, of course, but i sometimes get the impression that some people when they say that they don't want to learn "reams of theory", actually mean that they don't want to learn any.

Anyone learning a new opening has to accept that from time to time they'll have a few disasters. But ironically in some ways having a few of those occasionally can help on where you really need to direct the work. Whereas the danger in playing the "safe" sicilians is that for all that you may consistently be happy at getting out of the opening in one piece, the long term gains are nowhere near as rewarding. You may just find yourself consistently losing games that take a bit longer, but looking back to realise that you might as well have resigned on move 20 for all the good 'surviving the opening' did for you. Whereas getting through the opening stages in the Najdorf will often give you a real prize at the end of it.

I would also add that there's plenty of scope in the Najdorf to play a variety of variations and make yourself a moving target. The route to success IMO in the Najdorf is not from learning loads of theory, or not really more so than anything else, it is understanding the underlying concepts. But then i committed to it early, and it may be leaving it a bit late to change now! (just don't tell anyone that a large chunk of my (retained) theoretical knowledge is over 25 years old...)

Nick Ivell
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Nick Ivell » Sat May 15, 2021 1:27 pm

Absolutely anyone can fall victim to a Sicilian disaster.

I point anyone interested to Unzicker - Fischer, Buenos Aires 1960.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat May 15, 2021 3:03 pm

Is that the one where Fischer touched his h-pawn and had to move it?
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Nick Ivell
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Nick Ivell » Sat May 15, 2021 3:11 pm

Yes. h5 ruined his position.

The whole tournament was a disaster for him, allegedly due to a sexual 'awakening'.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat May 15, 2021 3:17 pm

Maybe it helped explain how when RJF was later asked a few years later to compare the two, he replied "chess is better" ;)
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Nick Ivell
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Nick Ivell » Sat May 15, 2021 3:31 pm

Certainly something happened in Buenos Aires which ruined his chess.

...h5 was just one of many bad moves in that tournament.

My favourite of his games there is his save against Taimanov. A classic illustration of the concept of 'rear opposition'. Well worth studying.

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MJMcCready
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by MJMcCready » Sun May 16, 2021 9:58 am

Richard Bates wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 12:21 pm
MJMcCready wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 9:00 am
I think you can lose the game in the opening in the Najdorf, which I don't think you can with the Kan.
You can, of course, but i sometimes get the impression that some people when they say that they don't want to learn "reams of theory", actually mean that they don't want to learn any.

Anyone learning a new opening has to accept that from time to time they'll have a few disasters. But ironically in some ways having a few of those occasionally can help on where you really need to direct the work. Whereas the danger in playing the "safe" sicilians is that for all that you may consistently be happy at getting out of the opening in one piece, the long term gains are nowhere near as rewarding. You may just find yourself consistently losing games that take a bit longer, but looking back to realise that you might as well have resigned on move 20 for all the good 'surviving the opening' did for you. Whereas getting through the opening stages in the Najdorf will often give you a real prize at the end of it.

I would also add that there's plenty of scope in the Najdorf to play a variety of variations and make yourself a moving target. The route to success IMO in the Najdorf is not from learning loads of theory, or not really more so than anything else, it is understanding the underlying concepts. But then i committed to it early, and it may be leaving it a bit late to change now! (just don't tell anyone that a large chunk of my (retained) theoretical knowledge is over 25 years old...)
I take your points but I feel as though some lines in the Sicilian have more theory than others and some are easier to go wrong in. It seems to me that any variation which has a Yugoslav Attack in it, has a lot of theory attached, and not knowing the theory will often cost you the game. If you start from scratch the Kan does seem like an easy way out, comparatively, but you do have a point regarding middle-game positions and whether they are really worth playing.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sun May 16, 2021 1:25 pm

And there are (in)famously some lines of the Poisoned Pawn that have been analysed to beyond the 40th and even 50th (!) move.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun May 16, 2021 6:28 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 9:58 am
I take your points but I feel as though some lines in the Sicilian have more theory than others and some are easier to go wrong in.
Yes, but the question is whether these are the same lines. To take an example from a different opening, the Ruy Lopez almost certainly has more theory than any other king's pawn opening, but it's harder to go seriously wrong in it.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun May 16, 2021 8:35 pm

If you want a Sicilian with relatively little theory, Mr Delchev can offer you a Taimanov. Come to that, he can offer you a Kan and a Taimanov in the same book.

Do note though that at club level, sidelines are the main lines. It's arguably more important to know how you want to handle 2 c3 and the Morra than what gives you the best chances of equalising against the English Attack.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon May 17, 2021 12:51 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 8:35 pm
Do note though that at club level, sidelines are the main lines. It's arguably more important to know how you want to handle 2 c3 and the Morra than what gives you the best chances of equalising against the English Attack.
Closed Sicilians both Spassky style and Grand Prix Attack as well, not to mention Kings Indian Attack structures. If you have adequate lines against these and others, being a bit shaky against the Open Sicilian may not matter too much.

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MJMcCready
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Re: Switching over to the Sicilian Kan (?!) ?

Post by MJMcCready » Mon May 17, 2021 12:48 pm

I can deal with anti-Sicilians, that's not the issue. I suppose I am trying to find which line in the Sicilian is more dependant on understanding the system rather than learning lots of theory. I dabbled with the Sveshnikov but that too has a lot to it, especially if white plays an early Nd5. What's the main drawback of the Kan? That you end up with some hedgehog like position and just have to sit back and wait for white to decide on how to use/misuse his spatial advantage?

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