How to Play the Rossolimo Variation of the Sicilian Defence
The Rossolimo Variation is a popular and solid way for White to play against the Sicilian Defence, one of the most common and aggressive openings for Black. The Rossolimo Variation is characterized by the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5, where White pins the black knight and aims to create a strong pawn center and pressure on the queenside. In this article, we will explore the main ideas and variations of this opening, as well as some examples from grandmaster games.
The Main Line: 3...g6
The most common response from Black is 3...g6, preparing to fianchetto the dark-squared bishop and control the center. White has several options here, but the main one is 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.O-O Bg7 6.Re1, followed by c3 and d4. White's plan is to open up the center and exploit Black's weak pawns and lack of space. Black can try to counterattack with moves like d5, f5, or Qb6, but White usually has enough resources to defend and maintain the initiative.
Example: Carlsen vs. Anand, World Championship 2014
In this game, Magnus Carlsen, the world champion, used the Rossolimo Variation to defeat his challenger, Viswanathan Anand, in a crucial game of their match. Carlsen played very accurately and energetically, while Anand made some mistakes under pressure and lost a pawn. Carlsen then converted his advantage into a full point with precise technique.
In this position, Carlsen found a brilliant move that wins a pawn and simplifies the position: 28.Qxb7+! Qxb7 (28...Bg7 fails to 29.Qxe4 fxe4 30.Be5 Bxe5+ 31.g3 e3 32.fxe3 Bxb2 33.Nc6 a6 34.Kg2 Kg7 35.Kf3 Kf6 36.Ke4, winning) 29.Nxb7. Carlsen went on to win after a few more moves: 29...g5 30.Be5 Kg6 31.f4 gxf4 32.Bxf4 h5 33.Kg3 Be7 34.Kf3 h4 35.b3. Anand resigned. 061ffe29dd