Blitz chess postmortem #423: Classical Sicilian – Richter-Rauzer attack

The chess engine reveals some interesting tactics and also some chances that I had to defend after the game started going downhill.


  1. Overall I'd focus on some themes of the opening that often dictate how you play the early middlegame and can steer you through correctly: avoiding putting the Q too early on c7, since a5 is often the best square for a Qside attack by black, and a square from which you can sometimes control White's queen's entry into black's Kside. –The black QB often belongs on d7, not b7. The latter can hinder black's Qside attack and has little influence on the center in any case, since it will rarely slow white's central pawn breaks, e4-e5 or d4-d5. –Always be aware of the possibility of a white sacrifice on b5 (and on e6, another common sac in this line) while understanding you'll almost certainly want to exchange Queens on d6 if white allows it. Your king will often be in the center, so the last thing you want is for white's most powerful piece to remain on the board.

  2. As a one-time RR aficionado as black I'm not so sure about your move ….Qc7. It can be better to look at how white sets up first, since ….Qa5 in one go is often correct. Furthermore, your stated intention of ….b5 and ….Bb7 leaves the latter sometimes interfering with a Qside attack by blocking the b-file, and with the bishop at b7 it cannot support pieces or pawns at b5 and a4.

  3. 4:12 — I admit I'm surprised that the unplayed line ending in 12…. Bd7 isn't worse than the engine believes it to be. I'd also expect Black to take the knight at c3, since unless he doubles those pawns just the bishop pair v bishop and knight can't possibly be worth a pawn down. Giving white doubled c-pawns on an open file with BxNc3 renders white's Qside majority all but moot, and black now has the (slightly) better bishop. Interesting…

  4. 4:24 — You called g3 a weird move, but I'm betting it has to do with 1) avoiding a skewer of pawn and rook once Queens are exchanged on d6 and white doubles his rooks leaving h2 unprotected, and 2) looking to get his bishop on the h1-a8 diagonal and his pawns to g3, f4, and e5. If black keeps both bishops this limits the scope black's dark squared bishop (and can make black putting his king on e7 turn out badly for him) while improving white's bishop. It also might allow for white's knight to get to the mighty e4 square with the idea of sinking it on d6 behind doubled rooks.

  5. Just curious, but why did you not play 14….. Qb8 instead of …..Qb6, getting Queens off the board and at least one if not both pairs of rooks off the board on the now open d-file? With rooks off his bishop is limited in scope, and if you can exchange it for one of your minor pieces this should be a straightforward win. Even with minor pieces still on the board his king has a very hard time advancing and staying passed his third rank, making it difficult to advance his Qside pawns while you go after his Kside pawns with your extra piece.

  6. 9:05 — You mentioned not following the line until it showed a material edge, so how about Qg7 Rf8; Bxd7chk Rxd7; Rxd7 Kxd7; Qxf8 and white is up the exchange and thirty seven connected passed pawns? I don't have an engine, but that seems pretty solid.

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