[April 24, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Sicilian Defense, Four Knights Variation (incl. Lasker-Pelikan Variation)
[Line 434 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6]
Lasker-Pelikan/Sveshnikov Variation is not as popular as it used to be, but according to the latest opening theory, Black can achieve rather promising positions.
To begin with, Line 434 deals with early deviations in the Lasker Variation, starting with various choices for White on move six, i.e. after 5. Nc3 e5.
By far the main move is 6. Ndb5, and after 6… d6 we arrive at the first big crossroad. For club level players we recommend 7. Nd5, and for beginners 7. a4, since they are much less demanding than the main lines.
After the main 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 White can decide between two types of position – he can either opt for the calm 9. Nd5, followed by Bxf6, or capture on f6 immediately, where Black is obliged to take the Bishop with his pawn. Move 9. Nd5 is covered in our Lines 437-439, and the position occurring after 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 in our Lines 435-436.
The main focus of this line is 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Bg7, which was Kramnik’s pet line at the time when he used to play the Sicilian Defense. Black’s idea is to quickly trade the strong white Knight on d5 with Nc6-e7, followed by the thematic f6-f5, which is often connected with a pawn sacrifice. The main tabiya in this line is the position occurring after 11. Bd3 Ne7 12. Nxe7 Qxe7 13. O-O O-O 14. c4 f5, where great complications typically arise.
[Diagram: White to Move] White is a few pawns up, but three of his pieces are under attack. How can he deal with that and gain substantial advantage?
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