For anyone who plays the Sveshnikov Sicilian, or other Sicilians with 2…Nc6, a knowledge of the Rossolimo variation is crucial. The 3.Bb5(+) anti-Sicilians are extremely popular, and it’s impossible to play 1…c5 without encountering them. In this 3 part series, I’m going to look at some games and try to find some themes and ideas for both sides in this variation. The three posts will revolve around positions where white plays (1) Bxc6 (2) c3 and/or (3) 0-0. Naturally, many of these lines transpose, and so I will look for games that reflect ideas unique to these positions.
The great thing about the Rossolimo from white’s perspective is that the variations tend not to be as forcing as some other lines of the Sicilian, and so white can play a maneuvering game and decide upon piece placement and long term positional plans. The following game illustrates an idea for white that I rather like. It’s a stylish knight maneuver that clamps down on the center, played by our hometown hero Yudasin. I’m not sure whether he was the first to play this idea or not, but this was the first game I found with this knight maneuver when searching for ideas for white. While Kramnik is able to draw here, I think that Yudasin’s idea of Nd2-c4-e3 is worth its weight in gold, particularly in a blitz game where black might not have the time to reckon with the activity of this wonderfully placed knight.