The Sicilian Taimanov – Excerpt

We have put up an excerpt of The Sicilian Taimanov by Antonios Pavlidis. A lot of effort has gone into this book, so I hope you like the look of it. First thing next week we will add an abridged version of the Variation Index to this excerpt. We are still working on that, but I promised an excerpt this week so here we are…

35 thoughts on “The Sicilian Taimanov – Excerpt”

  1. Maybe this book will lead me to play the Taimanov again.
    There is a typo on page 135 after 10.Ld6: “Emphasizing the fact that White’s early f2-f4
    has permanently weakened his kingside dark squares.” Correct would be “early g2-g4”.

  2. An Ordinary Chessplayer

    Antonios Pavlidis wrote: “Before continuing the analysis, it is useful to compare the following alternative to appreciate why I prefer the text move.”

    I wish more authors did this.

  3. good job… just a few weeks from the final book!

    Now that the move order is fixed ( 2..e6, 3.. Nc6 & 4.. Qc7) i hope there will be a (short?) discussion about that choice as some other reference books had 2..Nc6 or 3.. a6 as a prefered move order for entering the Taimanov variation.
    It would also be interresting to have author’s view about some anti-sicilian lines like 3.c3 or 3.b3 that are common against 2..e6.

    For all Taimanov lines , i will spend summer time to read the book….and play the variation again.

  4. …..have to say, as the week went on I had my doubts that the self imposed deadline for this excerpt would be met ….but like all good editors John delivered…..thank-you!

    Looking forward to the abridged index and being able to buy the book….

  5. Have considered putting different shipping options instead of standard Royal Airmail for when purchase book through QC website ¿

  6. By the way, do QC need translators for translate books from English into Spanish/Catalán or other language ¿ Just curious, would be interesting to get more people to read the books. A lot of people in the Spanish state and Catalunya have level 0 in English but would love to read QC books.

  7. And if you buy three books and live within the EU, you will get a fourth book for free and the books shipped to you by UPS.

  8. For now I wanted to just get Taimanow book by Pavlidis. But I recall shipping drop down menu always shows Royal Airmail regular post for order just one book.

  9. RYV :
    Now that the move order is fixed ( 2..e6, 3.. Nc6 & 4.. Qc7) i hope there will be a (short?) discussion about that choice as some other reference books had 2..Nc6 or 3.. a6 as a prefered move order for entering the Taimanov variation.
    It would also be interresting to have author’s view about some anti-sicilian lines like 3.c3 or 3.b3 that are common against 2..e6.

    After the preface, there is a longer Introduction which starts with a really good discussion regarding why 2…e6 is the preferred move order. Antonios has actually used 2…Nc6 in a few games, having a specific idea in mind against opponents who play a certain way with White – but he then shows why he was not happy playing or recommending it as his main move order.

    There are no analysis of White’s anti-Sicilian options after 2.Nf3 e6, as the Taimanov is a big enough subject to make this a chunky book – although there is a reminder in the Introduction about 3.c3 being an option against both 2…e6 and 2…Nc6, so you should make sure your repertoire there is compatible with your choice against 2.c3.

    It is also worth pointing out that 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 will transpose to Kotronias’ recommendation against 2.c3 in his GM Repertoire book on the anti-Sicilians, so that would seem a natural companion volume.

  10. @Andrew Greet

    thanks. This looks very interresting. It should be useful to compare arguments for the 2..e6 vs 2..Nc6 from the book by TP.
    As you mention, there are plenty of anti-sicilian books so there is no need to adds detail analysis…but iti is useful to have author’s point of view

  11. Andrew Greet :

    It is also worth pointing out that 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 will transpose to Kotronias’ recommendation against 2.c3 in his GM Repertoire book on the anti-Sicilians, so that would seem a natural companion volume.

    i would rather recommend “experts on anti-sicilian” ( QC2011-Aagaard & Shaw) or Dorian Ragozenko anti-sicilian guide ( Gambit 2003) as Kotronias doesnt give black best lines against c3 sicilian

  12. @RYV
    I have found nothing wrong with Kotronias suggestions, and I do not believe there can be a “best line” against an opening defined by move 2.

  13. i dont say it is wrong but for example he gives a line with ..Qc7 & ..b6 instead of Qa5 & Qa4 against one of the main line which is so for known as a better line.
    For me, i prefer the 2 other books

  14. @RYV
    People are free to comment positively or negatively about the recommendations in our books, so don’t take this as a criticism or defensiveness about our books. I am just curious as to how you formed your opinion about this Alapin line. I know the position you mean, where …Qa5-a4 has been given as best by Rogozenko and others. Kotronias is an outstanding theoretician and he surely compared the two queen moves. He gets things wrong occasionally, and this may be one such case – but is it also possible that he knows something about these positions that you don’t?

  15. @Andrew Greet
    I played this line as black many times. I analysed it with teammates. I looked at openning books & electronic…
    Many players i know have shifted from this line (as white) because of Qa5.

    For sure Kotronias is a much better & experienced player than i am & he might prefer Qc7 ( oler move) for good reasons …but not mentionning Qa5 and why he disagree is missing.

    You know the position so i am sure you also wonder why he disregard Qa5. dont you?

  16. Andrew Greet

    I just had a quick look at the book. Kotronias explains the positive features of …Qc7 and demonstrates that White gets no more than equality. I’m sure …Qa5 is fine as well, so – although I haven’t analysed the lines as deeply as either you or Kotronias – it seems to me that the choice is mostly a matter of taste.
    Personally if I was playing the Sicilian regularly, I would use the Kotronias book as my main reference, and just modify the repertoire according to my own taste when I prefer a different line. I like Rogozenko’s book too, but it’s much older and less detailed. ‘Experts on the Anti-Sicilians’ also contains a lot of excellent material on various lines, so it makes a good companion to the Kotronias book – especially if the reader plays some of the lines with White as well.

  17. The abriged vaiation index has been added. Thanks a lot. I used to complain here in the past about the excerpts but now I must say, as a customer, I really now what I buy.
    I can see Pavlidis only offers one option against white major systems and most of them are not the one I play, but I’m impatient to see how he defends his choices.
    Pavlidis says the Taimanov is flexible and allows you to vary your responses (and it’s one of the reason I play it) .I hope he put this in practice and offers some alternatives in the sublines.

  18. Andrew Greet


    The comment in the introduction refers to the fact that readers can easily find alternative options in the Taimanov, for example if one of the recommended lines gets hit by a killer novelty, or if something doesn’t suit your playing style. It does not mean that this book provides multiple options for Black in every major line.

    The general rule for this book (and most of our other GM Repertoires) is that the author provides one response to each line and analyses it thoroughly. Quality over quantity. This book ended up being 480 pages. If we gave 2/3 options in every major line, we would have had to cut corners in the analysis, which is not how we do things.

    With that being said, there are some lines in which Pavlidis analyses more than one option for Black, but they are the minority; usually only when there is a special reason. I hope this clarifies things.

  19. From a abridge index, i see that some prefered variations ( black) are different from previous books and other authors…that’s good as it will offer a wider range of possible reply.
    It will also be very interresting to see how he deals with lines recommended by Negi , Shaw, Semkov/kotronias…
    just waiting for book to be published…

  20. Yes,thisclarifies, thanks.
    By the way, I’d like to ask a question to the other readers here. It might have some interest for QC team.
    Do you really follow repertoire books? I generally use 1/2 at most even when I enjoy them a lot. Some lines aren’t to my taste, not practical etc. I end up buying a lot of repertoire books just to compose one repertoire. Am I the only one?

  21. @Isolani

    No you are not the only one. I will buy this book but also continue to use the two older Taimanov books that I have. No doubt if another publisher puts out a book on the Taimanov in the future I will buy that as well.

    Whilst it can be a lot of work I don’t like playing the same variation all the time. I like to have a second line up my sleeve just in case.

  22. Leon Trotsky

    How many alternative lines really needed in Taimanow when most will play an anti-Sicilian in first place ¿ 😀

  23. I use the repertoire books to give me ideas in the openings…for some openings I follow the lines, some I don’t (can’t remember everything :)), I look up some lines I play with the other side to check if I might get Avrukhed 🙂 and then I have all Kings Indian books and one day I should start playing that opening and then I have some reference material :).

  24. Angel Rodriguez

    @ Leon Trostsky
    You are perfectly right from a practical point of view. I face much more so called “anti sicilian” (I don’t like that name) than the open variation (the real anti sicilian in my view). And I have played over 15 Taimanov and have yet to see the english attack…but I still feel the need to have two lines against it. Irrationnal 🙁

  25. Andrew Greet


    I would rarely advise anyone (at least above novice level) to follow 100% of the recommendations in any repertoire book. Even with the best books, you will almost always find that some of the author suggestions don’t suit your playing style – even if there is nothing objectively wrong with them.
    When I find one or two books that I really like, on a certain opening, I will generally use that as the foundation for my repertoire, but seek out alternative information (either through other books or my own research) when I find a line that doesn’t suit me.

    I’m just trying to think about whether there are any exceptions to this rule. Maybe it’s different when learning a rare opening, and the book is written by a real specialist. For example, I sometimes play the Morra when messing around in blitz, and for that opening I always follow Esserman’s ideas when I can remember them.

  26. I had so much fun with Esserman that I also now and then play Morra in longer time controls. I think it really helps to improve my dynamic play, and against weaker opponents you just win straight out of book. It gives you more confidence to sacrifice material for initiative in other positions as well. And you can assume that you spend more time on it then the opponent since as a sicilian player you have to be prepared for a lot of theory.

  27. Andrew Greet

    Yes, I always enjoy getting the gambit on the board. The only slightly annoying thing is when you get the “Schemers” (as Esserman calls them) who play …Nf6 to transpose to an Alapin.
    In one rapid game a while ago I started with 1.Nf3, and after 1…c5 I reached a Morra with 2.d4!? cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 followed by e2-e4, which came as a surprise for my opponent!

  28. I don’t mind playing that line since as a sicilian player I also play it with black, so I know the basic lines. And at least that pawn is already on e5 so some attack is not completely unthinkable. I played a crazy game on tata-steel this year in this line in which in the end I lost a pawn but managed to draw a rook-ending a pawn down after surviving numerous theroretically lost positions.

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