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Reviews

Here we give a brief summary of some of the literature and videos available that cover the Anti-Sicilian openings. Recent books are often discussed in some detail on our excellent Anti-Sicilians Forum, well worth a visit.


Anti-Sicilians - A Guide for Black by Dorian Rogozenko published by Gambit, 192 pages.

Chess writers are divided over whether to include a bibliography because some people just put down every text associated with the opening without using them, while others like myself think it is a bit pointless because so many references are used and it is just a way of showing off. Rogozenko has gone to the other extreme and admitted to reading only 3 books on his chosen opening. Now in this era of computer databases it is understandable but what happens when someone follows a recommendation in a book on say the Grand Prix Attack? Well, this book won't try to refute it but does give a general guide how to cope against various anti-Sicilian formations.

It is clear he has read Gallagher's 'Beating the Anti-Sicilians' book because when he can he is happy to copy the recommendations. For instance, I can't believe 9...b6 is the refutation of the main line in the Closed Sicilian and he could have chosen a different approach. In general the games are aimed at the experienced player with the emphasis on detail rather than instruction. It is curious that with a book published in 2003 you will struggle to find any main games played in 2002, which is a shame for a work that is supposedly complete up-to-date. Of course, the publisher might be to blame rather than the author.

An interesting read for advanced players.

Play the C3 Sicilian by Andrew Harley and Eduard Rozentalis published by Gambit, 192 pages.

This book seems to be primarily by FM Harley who has done a good job collecting recent material. The style focuses on the opening and will often stop after about 12 moves saying White is better. That might be, but how does he win? I would prefer complete games to show how a small advantage is converted into victory. A useful book for reference purposes.

The Ultimate Closed Sicilian by Gary Lane published by Batsford.

This is a completely new book on the subject and not just an update of my previous work Winning with the Closed Sicilian. Lots of new ideas and games by top players are covered in depth. I concentrate on the new main line which is 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 g6 4 Bg2 Bg7 5 d3 d6 and now 6 Be3 with wins by such stars as Adams and Short. Naturally, all the other lines are covered and it took me several months to write so I hope readers will notice the effort involved!

Attacking with 1 e4 by John Emms published by Everyman - Buy the book here.

This is a repertoire book designed to give White a reply against all the main lines. There are thirty pages devoted to the Closed Sicilian. As usual Emms sets a high standard and is an admirer of the system for White. He concentrates on the new main line with 6 Be3. The chapter is written before 'The Ultimate Closed Sicilian' was written and consequently the examples are not so up-to-date. However, there is lots of decent material for the club player.

Mastering the Sicilian  (Kopec) Batsford

This book mainly deals with the Open Sicilian from Black's point of view. The final chapter is called 'Closed Systems', which we would recognise as Anti-Sicilians. It looks like it has been added at a very late stage because this is the only explanation for such a disappointing chapter. For example, the C3 Sicilian is covered by just two, short games and one has 28 moves but with no words or analysis! It will not help you to master the Anti-Sicilians lines.

The c3 Sicilian: Analysis and Complete Games (Lane) Crowood

My first book and the only one with an incredibly long title. There is lots of explanation and ideas to suit the club player in the 202 pages. Now out of print it is difficult to get hold of in second-hand bookshops.

Sicilian c3 (Lane) Foxy Openings, GM Video

This 1999 video gives me a chance to recommend a repertoire for the player of the white pieces. I won't go on about it too much but I am pleased with the positive reaction. The British Chess Magazine described it as 'an enjoyable and instructive presentation'.

The Complete c3 Sicilian (Chandler) Batsford

A good look at the details behind the opening. There is an emphasis on theory with a maze of reference games to support the illustrative games. This work will be invaluable to the advanced player.

c3 Sicilian (Gallagher) Everyman

Gallagher confesses he has never played the opening with White but as Black he has had to contend with it on numerous occasions. The book is packed with games from the 1980/90s and is recommended as an up to date source.

Winning with the Closed Sicilian (Lane) Batsford

I later described this as almost being a collection of Spassky's best games. The former World Champion won numerous times by following simple, easy plans. Just about anything you need to know to play the opening with success is here with the emphasis on showing how to reach a favourable middlegame.

The Closed Sicilian (King) Chess Press

King presents numerous games on the opening to give a lightening introduction to the opening. Some games have brief notes but this is made up by the other heavily annotated examples.

Beating the Anti-Sicilians (Gallagher) Batsford

When this book first appeared a player with the white pieces was set fresh problems. Nowadays, the solutions to most of the lines are well known and for example White can achieve success by examining games that I have annotated for chesspublishing.com. I look forward to the next edition.

Easy Guide to the Bb5 Sicilian (Pedersen) Everyman

This is a useful book that covers the Rossolimo and Moscow variations. It is a good place to start for those who want to know how to play the 3 Bb5 systems.

Sicilian Grand Prix Attack (Plaskett) Everyman (Year of issue: 2000)

The opening is a favourite of club players who want to play simply but aggressively against the Sicilian and has been favoured by such stars Adams and Short. In 91 games it becomes clear that it can be a formidable attacking weapon and Plaskett gets a chance to demonstrate that it has helped him to win against various top level opponents.

However I understand that the manuscript was handed in a few years prior to publication and it has not been updated. This means there are no games from 1999 or 2000 and results in a competitive player having to look elsewhere for the latest moves.

Grand Prix Attack- f4 against the Sicilian (Hodgson and Day) Batsford

An enjoyable book which made a big contribution to popularising this opening in the 1980s. A mix of imaginative ideas and outstanding, attacking games. Julian later told me that he never communicated with his fellow author that leads to contrasting views on the same position.

Grand Prix Attack: Attacking the Sicilian Defence with 2 f4 (Smith and Hall) Chess Inc.

The first thing one will notice about this work is that there is too much white space. The games have short, trivial notes and some of the gambits suggested are simply bad. The authors do not do themselves justice. This book was also published in Germany which proves that someone has a sense of humour.

Grand Prix Attack (Lane) Batsford

I made a big effort to demonstrate that games at the top level in the 1990s had practically refuted some of the gambit variations but revitalised other lines. Short and Plaskett are still scoring well with this aggressive system.

Winning with the Smith-Morra Gambit (Burgess) Batsford

Burgess examines this intriguing gambit in detail and he is impressed! The book provides the opportunity to demonstrate the attacking themes, which lead to many short wins by White.