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Every Russian Schoolboy Knows: Revolution Revisited - Part 21

Opening: D11, B31:

Player(s): Ding, Svidler, Caruana, Nakamura

The Moldovan master Vlacheslav Chebanenko was not known for his success as a player, but he left his legacy in his innovative research in the Slav Defense and the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian. The former is characterized by the move 4...a6, a seemingly pointless pawn push. Black, however, combines the threat of capturing the pawn on c4 with preparation for b7-b5. In the featured game, the Chinese star Ding Liren took the game out of the main line of Chebanenko's analysis by refusing to go after the bishop pair right away in favor of gaining space on the Q-side. His opponent, seven-time Russian Champion Peter Svidler, was able to liquidate the entire pawn mass from that side of the board, only to find himself under pressure from the white bishops. Chebanenko's contribution to the theory of the 3.Bb5 Anti-Sicilian line was to introduce the immediate capture on c6, which leaves Black with a dilemma of how to recapture. The very recent game Caruana-Nakamura illustrates the modern approach to this problem. Hikaru captured toward the center and positioned his remaining knight to the edge of the board, not to interfere with his fianchettoed bishop and staying out of the way of his f-pawn. A fascinating concept.

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