A Surprising Sortie in a Sveshnikov Sideline…

This Sunday while most people were focused on the Super Bowl, I was at the Marshall Chess Club looking at a different kind of sideline, 7.Nd5 against the Sveshnikov. There are some sidelines that are very popular against the Svesh that I see on FICS all the time, but among them the simplifying 7.Nd5 is without a doubt the most popular. It’s probably the choice of many club players because it side steps the ocean of theory and gives white a simple straightforward game. In blitz it just leaves white with basically nothing to worry about, however, this can also be said for black. Sidelines that are chosen for their simplicity are rarely testing either. In any case, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nbd5 d6 7.Nd5 the following position is reached.

Here, black continues with 7…Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8, when white has a number of ideas, such as 9.a4, 9.c3, 9.c4 and the trappy zappy 9.Qf3!? The first three moves are pretty common svesh ideas, of the three I think a4 is probably the best, though this is just a matter of taste. After 9.Qf3 white manages to hit black’s d6 weakness with a surprising battery of forces, such as in the following game.

Ok, so perhaps this isn’t an earth shattering plan, but I plan on using it a few times in blitz games myself for white, counting on the fact that it might surprise black, and if it doesn’t then we’ll wind up with a weird position that neither of us like. In any case, it’s clear from this game how white may put so much pressure on d6 so quickly that black just sheds a pawn in confusion.