The Sicilian defence is certainly one of the most played openings in history. An opening which is chosen by chess players of all levels and of all ages. The types of positions, the patterns as well as the strategic and tactical ideas that can arise are innumerable. This makes it extremely unexpected and dangerous for any chess player who chooses to tackle it.
Many chess players choose not to start with 1.e4 in order to avoid the types of Sicilian that can arise. Others choose not to follow the open Sicilian. And this is where the book Squeezing the Sicilian comes in!
Squeezing the Sicilian, and more specifically the Alapin system, is an excellent choice for dealing with the Sicilian defense.
White’s strategic concept is extremely simple. He prepares to advance d2-d4 in order to build a solid pawn center and then control the game. This of course has some consequences. The main problem for White is the position of the queen’s knight. Because of the pawn on c3 he has been deprived of the best square for his deployment. Of course he may have other suitable squares which he will be strong. This is d2 and in several lines a3.
In some cases white’s options are increased. Quite often after d4 cxd4 cxd4, White’s queen’s knight still has access to his best square c3. The modern assessment of this system is that Black has fairly comfortable lines on which he can achieve an acceptable game.
But the authors, Alexander Khalifman and Sergei Soloviov, try to prove that not all these lines are equally good. Even the best continuations for Black to choose White has ideas and strategies to gain a decisive advantage!