Every Russian Schoolboy Knows: Build you opening repertoire
Opening: B67: Sicilian Defence: Richter-Rauzer - Rauzer Attack
With my next "Every Russian Schoolboy Knows" episode I would like to begin a new series of videos representing a teaching course. The subject is how to build an opening repertoire. The target viewer is rated somewhere around 1700 USCF, but I hope anyone from 1300 to up about Expert level will find it useful. How do we choose our openings? Is that something our favorite player plays? Or do we find the name cool? Obviously, our selection process has to be intelligent and individually tailored to our needs. The sole purpose of the opening is to get a kind of middle-game position you like to play and good at it. A number of personality traits has to be considered, and, of course, absolute honesty is required when it comes to self-evaluating. Suppose you have made your selection. What to do next? Start watching the videos to get a Russian Schoolboy advice.
In this introductory video I tell a story of falling in love. In love with a particular line of The Richter-Rauser Sicilian that would become my absolutely favorite opening for decades to come. It all started with a handful of games a young Russian schoolboy found in magazines and tournament bulletins. In those games Black was able to overcome very heavy odds - double pawns, King stuck in the middle, disconnected rooks - to win the key strategic battles.
The second video of the Opening Repertoire series shares a story of studying a line which was considered White's main alternative at the time I began my work on the Richter-Rauser. White neglects a chance of doubling Black's pawns on the f-file, and, instead, concentrates on the pawn thrust e4-e5. The key games I studied demonstrate how Black fights back by staying active and using typical Sicilian patterns of counterplay.
Video 3, First Experiences. When is the time to take your new opening to a tournament hall? In my case with that line of the Richter-Rauser it happened pretty soon, about a month into my studies. My first experienceswere a mixed bag. In in my second game I badly butchered the move order and lost a pawn and the game, but already my third game turned out one of the most memorable in my entire career as I faced the young Garry Kasparov.Part 1 of this video deals with White's major alternative to creating the pawn structure I was aiming for. The type of play is quite characteristic of usual Sicilians, so I didn't feel totally out of place handling it. Harder tests still lied ahead.
Video4, My First Experiences Main line . The four games shown in this video are disheartening losses I suffered in the initial stages on learning to play this variation. While in part they were caused by some opening inaccuracies, the main reason was my lack of preparedness when it came to taking advantage of tactical opportunities. In short I was not yet ready to play the resulting middle-game positions. Good thing, there was nowhere to go but up!
In this final video of the Richter-Rauser series, I would like to showcase the games of a great practitioner of this line, The Croatian GM Zdenko Kozul. Having started to play it since his junior years Zdenko has amassed an incredible number of great wins along with some tough losses. The main thing is he never quits. Zdenko understands the risks, yet he goes for it time and time again. With a nod to his efforts, I would like to name this line the Kozul Suicide Variation. Enjoy the ride on the brink of disaster!