A Neglected Move

The Velimirović Attack, an opening system in the Open Sicilian, has been studied for decades. It is a system full of tactics, suspense, missed opportunities, and White wins more often than not.

 

To begin, let’s first define what opening moves make up the Velimirović Attack:

 

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 O-O 9.O-O-O a6 10.Bb3 Qc7, and now either 11.Rhg1 or 11.g4.

 

Both main lines require memorization in the opening and preparations for the middle game.

 

But there exists a third option, one that is relatively unexplored. This move, the neglected one, is 11.Kb1.

 

Why should this move be studied?

 

First of all, it forces Black to start thinking on his own, as his hours of research and development of the two main lines probably did not include this sub-variation. Also, in many of the main lines, Black plays Nc6-a5-Nxb3, exchanging his knight for White’s bishop. White usually recaptures with axb3, as cxb3 is almost suicide as it opens a file straight to White king. And after axb3, Black can move his queen from d8 to a5 and give an unwelcomed check on a1. With the king on b1, this threat is nullified.

 
So, let’s see a game.

 
Manfred Scherfke-Uwe Kunsztowicz (2234)
corres.
BRD Ch., 1976
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 O-O 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 a6 11.Kb1 b5 12.Nxc6

 

[Probably even better is 12.g4!? as in IM A. Suarez Uriel (2391)-FM Adrian Galiana Fernandez (2291), Spanish Ch., Linares, Aug. 24 2018. The game continued with 12.g4!? b4 13.Na4 Bb7 14.Nxe6! fxe6 15.Bxe6+ Kh8 16.g5 Nxe4 17.Bb6 Qb8 18.Qxe4 Ne5 19.Bd5 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Bxg5 21.Rhg1 Bf4 22.Qg2 Ng6 23.Bd4 Be5 24.Bxe5 dxe5 25.Nc5 Qc7 26.Ne6 Qa7 27.Nxf8 Rxf8 28.Qh3 1-0 (Black could try 28…Nf4. But after 29.Qg4, with the idea of Rd7, it’s all over.]

 

12…Qxc6 13.Bd4

 

[Not 13.f3?!, as Black is able to get in …Rb8! with impunity. Gregory Pitl (2243)-Stefan Bromberger (2399), Kecskemet, Hungary, 2001 went 13.f3?! Rb8! 14.a4 Nd7 15.axb5 axb5 16.Na2 Qa8 17.Nb4 d5 18.exd5 Bxb4 19.dxe6 fxe6 20.Bxe6+ Rf7 21.Bf4 Rb6 22.Bd5 Qxd5 23.Rxd5 Rxf4 24.Rhd1 Nf8 25.Qe3 Rbf6 26.c3 Ba5 27.Rxb5 Bc7 28.b4 Re6 29.Qa7 Rf7 30.Qa8 Re8 31.Qa2 Be6 32.c4 Rf4 33.Rc1 Rd4 34.Qa7 Rd7 35.Qa2 Bf7 36.Qf2 Bf4 0-1.]

 

13…Bb7 14.Rhe1 Qc7

 

[14…Rfe8 is more defensive than aggressive.

 

(1) Fernand Gobet (2415)-Fabio Bruno (2409), Banco di Roma, Rome, Italy, 1983: 14.Rhe1 Rfe8 15.f4 Rad8 16.a3 h6 17.g4 e5 18.fxe5 dxe5 19.Bxe5 Nxe4 20.Nd5 Bd6 21.Qxe4 Rxe5 22.Qxe5 Bxe5 23.Ne7+ Kf8 24.Nxc6 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Bxc6 26.h4 Ke7 27.Bd5 Bd7 28.Bf3 Be6 29.h5 Bc7 30.c3 f5 31.Re1 Kf6 32.gxf5 Bxf5+ 33.Be4 Bg4 34.Bg6 Bd6 35.b4 Kg5 36.Rg1 Be5 37.Kb2 Kf4 38.Re1 Bf6 39.Kc2 Kg5 40.Rg1 Kf4 41.Kd3 Be6 1-0.]

 

(2) Joachim Walther-G. Hammerling, corres., East Germany, 1977: 14.Rhe1 Rfe8 15.a3 Qc7 16.f4 Bc6 17.g4 Nd7 18.g5 g6 19.h4 Nc5 20.Ba2 Rad8 21.h5 d5 22.hxg6 fxg6 23.Rh1 Bf8 24.Bf6 Qb7 25.Bxd8 Rxd8 26.exd5 exd5 27.Nxd5 Bxd5 28.Rxd5 Rxd5 29.Rd1 Qe7 30.Qxe7 Bxe7 31.Rxd5 Kf8 32.f5 gxf5 33.Rxf5+ Ke8 34.Rf7 Bxg5 35.Rxh7 Nd7 36.b4 1-0]

 
15.a3 Bc6

 

[GM Velimirović-GM Csom, IBM I, Amsterdam, 1974 continued instead with 15…Rac8 16.f4! e5 17.fxe5 dxe5 18.Nd5 Bxd5 +- 19.exd5 exd4 20.Qxe7 Qxh2 21.d6 Rce8

2019_05_29_A
22.Bxf7+ Rxf7 23.Qxe8+ Nxe8 24.Rxe8+ Rf8 25.d7 Qd6 26.Rf1 1-0]

 

16.f4 Qb8 17.f5 e5 18.Bf2 a5 19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.Rxd5 Nxd5 21.Bxd5 b4 22.a4 Bd8 23.Qh5 b3 24.cxb3 Ra6 25.Re3

2019_05_29_B

 

[Black now has a number of ways to lose.

Here are two sample lines.

25.Re3 g6 26.Qh6 Bf6 (26…Re8 also loses to 27.fxg6 hxg6 28.Qxg6+ +-) 27.Rh3 +-

25.Re3 h6 26.Rg3 Kh7 (26…Bg5 seems good, but after 27.Rxg5! hxg5 28.Qxg5, with the idea of f6, Black is losing big time.) 27.Be3 wins.

So Black takes the honorable way to end the game – he resigns.]

 

1-0

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