The Modernized Sveshnikov

Undoubtedly one of the most dynamic and aggressive Sicilians available these days.

More recently, he was popularised again by world champion Magnus Carlsen in his match against Fabiano Caruana in late 2018.

Main lines lead to complex positions.

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I've decided to divide the book into six pieces and I'd like to clarify my options:

1) Dynamic line 9.Axf6 gxf6 10.Cd5 f5 11.Ad3 Be6

When I first started learning the Sveshnikov, 9.Axf6 was considered to pose some serious challenges to Black. After 9.Axf6 gxf6 10.Cd5 I had a hard time deciding whether I would recommend the main line with 10 ... f5 or the Novosibirsk variation that arises from 10 ... Ag7 11.Ad3 and Ne7. The latter option currently enjoys some popularity, as Magnus Carlsen played it among others in 2019, but 10 ... f5 has proven to be a very reliable continuation for Black. Therefore, I did not feel the need to change my original choice. I hope you enjoy the tricky mid-game battle as much as I do!

2) Dynamic line without 11.Ad3

In addition to the main line with 11.Ad3, White has several other interesting options to navigate. In this second part, the two possible sacrifice pieces on b5 have been examined, while most games cover structures with exf5. The general consensus is that Black's bishop pair supports the pawn center very well and White cannot pressure Black. Special attention should be paid to Topalov-Carlsen, where I recommend 16 ... e4!? , Instead of the more common 16 moves ... Ra7 and 16 ... Kh8.

3) Positional variation 9.Cd5 Be7 10.Axf6 Axx6 11.c3 Ne7

The positional variation with 11.c3 is a fairly popular option for White players seeking a solid position and enjoying the long-term advantage of the weakened d5 square. Black has several possible configurations based on moves like... 0-0, ... Tb8, what are you doing. Ag5 in all kinds of movement orders. My recommendation is 11 ... Ne7, a line that has always been considered somewhat inferior to Black's other options, but in my opinion is perfectly playable. The system has been played by world champion Magnus Carlsen and other experts such as Krasenkow, Reinderman and Lagarde.

4) Positional variation 9.Cd5 Be7 10.Axf6 Acxf6 11.c4

For quite some time I considered this to be one of Black's most unpleasant lines. According to the first games, I was afraid of the lack of counterplay, but the selected games have changed my mind. The d4 square, the weakened dark squares and the possible counterplay on both wings provide enough counterplay to compensate for White's firm grip on the d5 square.

5) Modern main line 7.Cd5

Since from a theoretical standpoint, White is really getting nowhere on both the dynamic line (9.Axf6) and the positional line (9.Cd5), White players began looking for new ways to face Sveshnikov. In late 2018, Vladimir Kramnik employed the early Knight jump 7.Cd5 and it is fair to say that since the World Championship match between Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen it has become the new main line. After 7 ... Cxd5 8.exd5 Black must decide whether to move the knight to b8 or e7. Although I think b8 is positionally more solid, I really like the complex dynamic struggle that arises from the transfer of the knight to the king's flank and I think it gives Black better practical opportunities to play to win.

6) Early deviations

It is also important to know what to do in the frame. These sidelines aren't as bad as their reputation and, in fact, if you're not prepared, they can cause problems for black women. It makes sense to study them as seriously as the other variations and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Product Details

Data sheet

Product Type
Robert Ris
No Pages
Year published
17 x 23,5 cm



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