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How to beat the Alapin

This is a common concern with chess players who play the sicillian as black. The Alapin variation 1.e4 c5 2.c3 rightly has a reputation as a drawish, sterile way to play chess; perfect for lower rated players to use against higher rated players where simply not losing is a moral victory. I would like to show two of my black wins using the somewhat cagey 2...d6 in exactly this situation. My opponents both were younger, lower rated and I needed to win as black against this solid opening.

 

 It is my hope that you find these two games and analysis with the cagey 2...d6 vs. the Alapin interesting and are successful as well in your own games with it. My goal as a coach is to help my students build up an opening battle plan that suits their personality, chess goals and practical study time. Please see www.foxvalleychess.com to learn more about my training methods and how I can help you achieve your chess potential.

Reacties


  • 13 maanden geleden

    warrior689

    nice article. My teammate (rated around 1700 FIDE) and board 1 always kill me (around 1600 FIDE) in chess with the Alapin.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    Marcokim

    will do... don't get to play many good games here in Africa, trying to revive the local chess club with a Bulgarian and Italian friend... there are a few 1800 to 2000 players, very promising kids in the 8 - 13yr old category, one 14yr old kid who would easily play at IM level in a few yrs. Lack of tournament exposure is a problem, the richer kids fund their own travel, but the most talented kids just don't have the money to play in foreign tournaments. I will post some older games in due course.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    FM Boorchess

    Insightful analysis! I would like to see you post some of your games and commentary. Good job!

  • 13 maanden geleden

    Marcokim

    Also 21. Red1... Bc6?, placing the white Bishop on a dead diagonal, better would have been Be6, controlling the more active c8/h3 diagonal.... a strategy at this point would be to control the c8/h3 diagonal and the h6/c1 diagonal, trade off a Knights and Rooks at the right time and push the advantage home... I could be wrong, but hey, I bet you most opinion will centre around that.  Within 2seconds a good eye would spot this around move 21 and then try to build the game around that... I would be happy to be proven wrong:)

  • 13 maanden geleden

    Marcokim

    @Firula, fair enough the weak pawn on d6 needs security... but in all these sideshows of aesthetic pawn structure, we forgot about the most beautiful piece of the board - the blacks, black squared bishop. This enourmously beautiful gentleman is choking for dear fresh air while all the forces of the universe are mobilized towards protecting a pawn on d6.

    This Bishop wants to control the h6/c1 diagonal like crazy. Cutting the head off those pesty Knights, that should have been the focus. 23...Kf8?, bringing out the limping old man to protect this pawn because capturing with the knight on ...Nxb5 will ruin an oh so beautiful pawn structure is the wrong approach to the game... Even my 8yr old daughter (pictured) seems to agree... HOWEVER good game, not sharp enough yet but good positional mind.

    I am sure most opinions will fall along those lines, or cousin variations of those lines. I would be happy to be proven wrong.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    Marcokim

    @Boorchess... fair enough argument on protecting the pawn, but why not 26.... Bf8 in anticipation of the rook capture on a8. However the ever gratuitous White gifted you back the tempo with 26. Na3 which allowed you to play Ra8 with some initiative. I am not being unfairly critical (I share this account with my daughter so i hope we all something too) was just saying that there is still room for improvement in efficiency....

    OR... if you stick to your line of play, with the well positioned King on e7 then why after g4  31... hxg4?, better 31... Bh6 activating possibly the best piece for black, disabling his knight with an active skewer. Yes you get an isolated pawn on h5 after 32. gxh5... gxh5, but an aesthetic pawn structure is never ample substitute for passive piece play.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    VolimteA

    Very nice games! I will have a look at 2. ...d6 and for sure I will try it!

    Thx!

  • 13 maanden geleden

    FM Boorchess

    Marcokim, 25...Rxa8 ? would allow white to capture the d6 pawn. "Master sharpness" is more than being active, it is also the art of not dropping pawns and pieces.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    Firula

    @Marcokim, I suggest you try some hanging pieces problems on Tactics Trainer. 

  • 13 maanden geleden

    Marcokim

    25... Bxa8?, capturing with the Bishop instead of developing the rook on the a-file, at least you weren't too proud to realise your mistake and corrected with 26....Bc6, however an average GM would easily have punished you for such tempo losses.

    Good positional play though, not master sharpness yet but getting there. Good job with the analysis.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    mobidi

    14....Bd7-You played like Capa...Wink

  • 13 maanden geleden

    StevieBlues

    Great idea. Thanks

  • 13 maanden geleden

    FM Boorchess

    Bykr you should take book reccomendations with a grain of salt. There is a constant flux in opening theory as one move and plan goes in and out of fashion. For what it is worth GM Ftacnik reccomends 2...d6 in his book on the sicillian. The main thing is finding systems that you understand and that you are comfortable playing. With the development of a personal chess style you will feel more creative and results will improve.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    bykr

     2.c3 opening books say 2...d6 is inaccurate.But it's hard to argue with good practical results.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    FM Boorchess

    Honestly I am not crazy about the move Firula. If white desires to protect the pawn it is better to play 3.Bd3. These early queen moves tend to get in trouble and interfere with the harmony of the position. For instance black plans to play g6 and with a qc2 you will always have to be on guard about bf5 in response to playing e5. Also it is rather easy for the c file to open up and and the rc8 causing some problems. If you are looking for an easy life for white then take a close look at my game with Markovits and consider playing the pawn to c4 for white with a standard Benoni position. All in all I stand by my claim that 2...d6 is a practical weapon for black against the Alapin that breaks out of the normal patterns and strives to enrich the play.

  • 13 maanden geleden

    Firula

    What do you think about 4. Qc2 in the above games? Is it playable for White or just downright bad?

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