The following game from the second round is typical of Savchenko's approach and may provide one or two readers with a totally new recipe against the Sicilian Defence. Imitate at your peril!
Boris Savchenko is one of my favourite players. He's known for going his own way in the opening, and this game is a perfect example.
1. e4 c5 2. ♘a3 When Russian Grandmaster Zvyagintsev introduced this move the chess world couldn't suppress a collective smile, but he's now found an enthusiastic follower in Savchenko. The knight makes space so that all White's options in the centre remain open - c3, d4 and f4 all frequently follow. It also overprotects the b5-square, which is useful in many lines when the white bishop appears there. Not convinced? Yeah, I'm not so sure myself - 2. Nf3 is somehow more appealing. ..
4. ♕e2 As we learned in school, after you've put the knight on the rim it's time to bring the queen into play...
7. g4⁉ Nothing of the sort - it's time to start an attack on the kingside with g4!
10... b4⁈ After being provoked by White's play Guliev goes for a concrete approach. I don't particularly like this move as it solves White's problem of finding a square for the a3-knight.
10... ♗e7 would be "normal".
12... ♖b8 seems more circumspect.
13. ♘e5 From the sidelines to the heart of the action!
19... 0-0 would permit Black a quieter life, and objectively despite, or because of, all White's creativity I'd prefer Black's chances.
20. ♖b6 Now it all kicks off! In return for an exchange Savchenko ensures that the black king will know no peace.
20... ♗b5 Accepting the challenge. The unassuming
20... ♗d7 was also playable.
25... ♔g8! , followed by Nf8, after which Black can still face the future with optimism.
26. ♕a6! Bxe6 is suddenly a very serious threat.
29. ♘d4! That's it! The second knight gives up its life, and this time in exchange for the main prize.
The tournament's strong field featured eight 2600+ rated players, with top seed Anton Korobov (2696) only managing to finish in 14th place out of 52 players.
All the games were broadcast live here at chess24 and can still be replayed complete with computer analysis.
We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines. Some components of our site require cookies or local storage that handles personal information.