Robert Ris – Beat the Anti-Sicilians – ISBN 9789464201369 – 248 pages.
When I decided to write The Modernized Sveshnikov (June 2020) I knew that I was basically committing myself to covering the Anti–Sicilians in a separate book as well. After all, what’s a book on the Sveshnikov alone worth when your opponents decide to avoid the Open Sicilian? Especially since the Sveshnikov is nowadays considered to be one of the most reliable options for Black in the Sicilian, White players have been investigating new territories within the Anti–Sicilians. The book you are holding in your hands, Beat the Anti–Sicilians, aims to provide a complete Black repertoire against all the critical sidelines after 1.e4 c5. The biggest part of the book covers the Rossolimo and Alapin, but also the popular lines at club player’s level like the Grand Prix Attack and the Morra Gambit, and other alternatives on White’s 2nd move are also worked out in detail.
What I didn’t realize, however, is that it would take me much more time than I had expected. Having worked out your analysis doesn’t mean that these are ready for publication. Besides my regular work as a trainer/coach, most of my time in the last year has been spent busily editing my original analysis and checking it again with the computer, following the latest games and adding these to my files, and rechecking again etc. This repetitive procedure slowed down the entire process and explains why this work is published later than I originally had in mind.
Speaking for myself, as a Sicilian player I mainly like to face the Open Sicilian and I was often disappointed when my opponent decided to deviate from the sharp main lines. Well, at least that was how I experienced it for a long period of time and I’m sure many other players have often felt the same. But those who had invested time studying the Anti–Sicilians didn’t mind facing these sidelines, or were even glad to see their opponents being afraid of their favorite variation within the Open Sicilians. That’s actually the spirit we should look for, and hence I’m recommending you do the same: invest your time and you’ll get rewarded!
I have aimed to find a good balance of verbal explanations without ignoring the hardcore variations you have to know. In case you find some of the analyses a bit too long, don’t be discouraged! They have been included mainly to illustrate the thematic ideas and show in which direction the game develops once the theoretical paths have been left. That’s why I have actually decided to cover 37 games in their entirety, rather than cutting off my analysis with an evaluation. I believe that model games help you to better understand an opening, but certainly also the ensuing middle– and endgames.
Just as in the The Modernized Sveshnikov, also in this book I have made frequently use of correspondence and engine games. With a lack of over the board (elite) tournaments, most elite players made their switch to the world of online chess as well. These games with a shorter time control are often full of mistakes, but the opening stage is still relevant. Hence, I have decided to include these online games whenever I thought them to be a useful addition to our repertoire.
With the completion of this work and The Modernized Sveshnikov, I think I have succeeded in offering the reader a complete, ambitious, and sound Black repertoire against 1.e4. I am incredibly satisfied with the result of this work, as I think the mix of new ideas, beautiful variations, model games, extensive analyses and explanation of key concepts will inspire many chess fans. I would like to wish you all an enjoyable read and hope that you will be able to apply some of my recommendations in your own games. You no longer have to fear any Anti–Sicilian!