[October 12, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Trajko Nedev:
Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation – Taimanov-Bastrikov Variation (Bastrikov Variation with 6. Be2)

[Line 454 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be2]

After the most common 6… a6 7. O-O Nf6 occurs a big crossroad of this opening line. Move 8. Be3 is considered to be the critical choice. Apart from the transposition to the Classical Scheveningen with 8… Be7 9. f4 d6, Black has a viable alternative in 8… Bb4, where after 9. Na4 arises a sharp and well investigated line of the Bastrikov Variation. Black should be very careful, but he is generally able to obtain roughly equal chances with 9… Be7 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Nb6 Rb8 12. Nxc8 Qxc8.

The idea of 8. Kh1 is to continue with an early advance f2-f4. Black can again detour to the Scheveningen (8… Be7 9. f4 d6), or go for the more active 8… Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Bc5, with a balanced position.

There is also a sideline for Black on 7th move 6… a6 7. O-O b5, where he is able to equalize after 8. Nxc6 dxc6 9. f4 Bb7.

[Diagram: White to Move] If Black managed to play Be7 and O-O his position would be very solid. How can White stop his opponent’s plan, and gain a strong initiative?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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