Wei Yi’s Closed Sicilian vs Kaido Kulaots

Yesterday Chessbase published an article, How 62nd seed Kaido Kulaots won the Aeroflot Open 2019 Part II, (https://en.chessbase.com/post/interview-with-aeroflot-winner-kaido-kulaots-part-ii) which contained the game between Aeroflot Open winner Kaido Kulaots


Winner of Aeroflot Open 2019 — Kaido Kulaots from Estonia | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

and the top seed of the event Wei Yi.

The game was a Closed Sicilian, an opening I played often while scoring well against higher rated opposition. The game began with the usual moves, 1 e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6, but then Wei Yi played 3 Nge2 in lieu of what had become almost routine, 3 g3, the move invariably played by many, including yours truly. This sent me to the ChessBase DataBase because this inquiring mind had to know…I learned it is currently the best move according to SF 9 & 10, and Houdini. Until the next generation of self learning programs appears on the CBDB 3 Nge2 will stand as the best way to play the Closed variation against the Sicilian defense, which means my favored 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 d6 3 g3 Nc6 4 Bg2 g6 5 d3 Bg7 6 Be3 with which I stunned quite a few Experts and Masters is considered second-rate. Then comes, 4. g3 (SF 10 at depth 35 plays this move, but at depth 42 plays 4 d4) Nc6 (SF 10 at depth 38 plays this move, but SF 010219 at the same depth plays 4…g6) 5. Bg2 g6 6. d3 (SF 9 at depth 36 plays this move, but going deeper to depth 44 shows 6 a3, a move yet to be played, followed by Bg7 7 Rb1, while Komodo plays the most often played move in practice, 6 0-0 Bg7 7 Nd5) Bg7 7. 0-0 0-0 (SF 260219 at depth 39 shows 7…Rb8 8 Nd5 Nxd5) 8. Bg5 (SF 9 & 10 play 8 a3 , but Komodo shows 8 Nd5 Nd7 9 Ne3) 8…Bd7 (SF 9 at depth 40 shows 8…Rb8 9 a4 h6) 9. Qd2 (This is the SF choice but Komodo plays 9 Nd5) 9…Nd4 (Komodo shows 9…Rb8 10 Nd5 Ng4 or 9…Re8 10 h3 Rc8 both at depth 31).

The complete game can be found at the Chessbase website and the article is excellent. I give the complete game below:

Wei, Yi (CHN) 2733 – Kulaots, Kaido (EST) 2542

Aeroflot Open 2019 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. Nge2 Nf6 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 g6 6. d3 Bg7 7. O-O O-O 8. Bg5 Bd7 9. Qd2 Nd4 10. Nxd4 cxd4 11. Ne2 e5 12. c3 dxc3 13. Nxc3 a5 14. f4 Bc6 15. f5 b5 16. Rac1 b4 17. Nd5 Bxd5 18. exd5 Qb6+ 19. Kh1 Qb5 20. Rc6 Rad8 21. Bxf6 Bxf6 22. Be4 g5 23. Rfc1 Kg7 24. Qd1 Rd7 25. Kg2 Rh8 26. Qh5 Qb7 27. Kf3 Qa7 28. R6c4 Qb6 29. Ke2 Qa7 30. Kf3 Qb6 31. Ke2 Qa7 32. h4 h6 33. Qf3 Rg8 34. hxg5 hxg5 35. Rh1 Rh8 36. Rxh8 Kxh8 37. Qh1+ Kg7 38. Qc1 Qb6 39. Rc6 Qd4 40. Rc4 Qb6 41. Rc6 Qd4 42. Ra6 Rd8 43. Kf1 Rd7 44. Kg2 b3 45. axb3 Rb7 46. Ra8 Ra7 47. Rb8 Rd7 48. Ra8 Rd8 49. Rxa5 Qb6 50. Ra3 Rh8 51. Qd2 Rb8 52. Qf2 Qc7 53. Qd2 Qc5 54. Bf3 Rb7 55. Ra5 Qb6 56. Bd1 Qd4 57. Qc3 Qe3 58. Ra4 Rb8 59. Re4 Qa7 60. b4 Rh8 61. Bb3 Qd7 62. g4 Qa7 63. Qd2 Rh4 64. Qe1 Qb8 65. Qg3 Qa7 66. Qe1 Qb8 67. Bc4 Qh8 68. Qg3 Bd8 69. d4 exd4 70. Rxd4 Bf6 71. Re4 Qb8 72. Be2 Be5 73. Rxe5 dxe5 74. b5 Qd6 75. Qe3 Kf6 76. b6 Qxd5+ 77. Bf3 Qd4 78. Qxd4 exd4 79. b7 Rh8 80. Bc6 Ke5 81. Bd7 Rb8 82. Bc8 Ke4 83. Kf2 Ke5 0-1

Werner Hug (2435) vs John Nunn (2565)

Luzern ol (Men) 1982

B25 Sicilian, closed

1.e4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.d3 d6 6.Nge2 Nf6 7.O-O O-O 8.Bg5 Bd7 9.Qd2 Rc8 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 Nd4 12.Qd2 Qb6 13.Rab1 Bg4 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Rc7 17.c4 dxc3 18.bxc3 Qa5 19.Rb4 Bf5 20.Rfb1 Rfc8 21.R1b3 b6 22.h3 e5 23.dxe6 Bxe6 24.Rb5 Qa6 25.c4 Rc5 26.Qb2 Rxb5 27.Rxb5 Rc5 28.Rxc5 dxc5 29.h4 h5 30.Be4 Qa5 31.Kg2 Qa4 ½-½

Thomas Flindt (2179) vs Martin Baekgaard (2294)

47th XtraCon TCh-DEN 2008-9

B24 Sicilian, closed

1.Nc3 c5 2.e4 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 d6 8.Bg5 Bd7 9.Qd2 Qa5 10.Bh6 Nd4 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.h3 Qb4 13.Rab1 Rac8 14.f4 Bc6 15.g4 Nd7 16.f5 Nxe2+ 17.Qxe2 Qd4+ 18.Kh1 f6 19.g5 fxg5 20.Qg4 h6 21.fxg6 Ne5 22.Qe6 Nxg6 23.Nd5 Qe5 24.Qg4 e6 25.Ne3 b5 26.Qd1 Rxf1+ 27.Qxf1 Rf8 28.Qe1 h5 29.Qa5 Rf7 30.Rf1 Nf4 31.Qd8 d5 32.Nf5+ exf5 33.Qxg5+ Ng6 34.exf5 Qf6 35.Qxg6+ Qxg6 36.fxg6 Rxf1+ 37.Bxf1 d4+ 38.Bg2 Bxg2+ 39.Kxg2 Kxg6 40.h4 Kf5 41.Kf3 a5 42.Kg3 a4 43.b3 Ke5 ½-½