Moradiabadi on GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (1950-2021)

Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov died on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
 

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Evgeny Sveshnikov, Wijk aan Zee, 1981
Image Caption
Sveshnikov, Wijk aan Zee, 1981. (photo Marcel Antonisse / Nationaal Archief)


The flamboyant GM, who nearly completed a PhD in the study of combustion engines, was widely known for his contribution to opening theory in both the Sicilian Alapin and what came to be known in the West as the ‘Sveshnikov Sicilian,’ an opening idea / structure previously called the ‘Pelikan-Lasker,’ or the ‘Chelyabinsk’ among Russian players. While many make contributions to opening theory, what made Sveshnikov stand out among his colleagues?

As someone who briefly had an encounter with the legendary GM, I would say Sveshnikov was a man of formidable beliefs, which he would fight stubbornly to prove correct. I played Sveshnikov in 2005 while seeking my last GM norm at the Aeroflot Open. The famous theoretician trotted out his usual Alapin response against my Sicilian, following a specific line he had suggested in his book. Unfortunately for him, he walked straight into my preparation, and he lost the game.

[pgn][Event "Moscow Aeroflot op-B"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2005.02.21"] [Round "7"] [White "Sveshnikov, Evgeny"] [Black "Moradiabadi, Elshan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B22"] [WhiteElo "2511"] [BlackElo "2439"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2005.02.15"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "EXT 2006"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2005.11.24"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2005.11.24"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. c3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bc4 Nb6 6. Bb3 c4 7. Bc2 Qc7 8. Qe2 g5 9. e6 dxe6 10. Nxg5 Qe5 11. Ne4 f5 12. Ng3 Qxe2+ 13. Kxe2 h5 14. h4 Bg7 15. d4 cxd3+ 16. Bxd3 Bd7 17. Na3 O-O-O 18. Bg5 Bf6 19. Bxf6 exf6 20. Rad1 Ne5 21. Bb5 Nd5 22. Rd4 Ng6 23. Bxd7+ Rxd7 24. Rhd1 e5 25. R4d2 Ndf4+ 26. Kf1 Rxd2 27. Rxd2 Nxh4 28. Nb5 Nhxg2 29. Nxa7+ Kb8 30. Nb5 h4 31. Nxf5 h3 32. Kg1 Ne1 33. Kh1 Nfd3 34. Nbd6 Rg8 35. Ng3 Rg4 36. Re2 Nf3 37. Nde4 f5 38. Nd2 e4 39. Nxf3 exf3 40. Rd2 Nxf2+ 41. Rxf2 Rxg3 42. c4 Kc7 43. b4 Kd6 44. a4 Ke5 45. c5 Kd4 46. Rf1 Ke3 47. b5 f2 48. Ra1 Rf3 0-1 [/pgn]

Afterwards we discovered various improvements in the post-mortem, but Sveshnikov doggedly stuck to his beliefs, blaming his own bad choices and not the opening itself. In all fairness, there was very little room for him to improve, but he still believed in ‘his’ line!

Years passed and I never met Sveshnikov again. But I came across this video of Sveshnikov playing a blitz game with another legendary player and theoretician, GM Alexey Shirov. A man of principle, he still employed the Alapin against the Sicilian!

As for his most famous invention, the Sveshnikov Sicilian, if GM Magnus Carlsen thinks it worthy to use as his main weapon in World Championship matches, that shows how much credit is due to Sveshnikov and his colleagues, who resolutely defended an opening which many considered positionally wrong. Today the ‘Sveshnikov’ is one of the key opening tabiyas in all of chess, and the name Sveshnikov will be spoken by chess fans for years to come.

In honor of this great player and thinker, here are ten of the most important and interesting games in the Pelikan-Sveshnikov structure, featuring wins by both sides. Enjoy!

[pgn][Event "Match Labourdonnais-McDonnell(4) +8-3=7"] [Site "London"] [Date "1834.08.??"] [Round "16"] [White "McDonnell, Alexander"] [Black "De Labourdonnais, Louis Charles Mahe"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B32"] [Annotator "18063"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "1834.08.??"] [EventType "match"] [EventRounds "18"] [EventCountry "ENG"] [SourceTitle "EXT 2002"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2001.11.25"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2001.11.25"] [SourceQuality "1"] {[%evp 0,74,16,28,46,51,46,32,4,34,10,26,24,1,12,-34,-8,-48,-38,-56,-23,-62, -50,-74,-82,-75,-43,-58,-47,-61,-88,-74,-56,-56,-38,-65,-60,-49,-49,-49,-29, -37,0,-1,0,-55,-53,-90,-110,-189,-70,-166,-21,-217,-166,-93,-88,-88,-88,-258, -353,-343,-387,-465,-107,-526,-712,-760,-830,-830,-545,-993,-1487,-2346,-2998, -4220,-29986]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Qe2 d5 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Bb3 O-O 11. O-O a5 12. exd5 cxd5 13. Rd1 d4 14. c4 Qb6 15. Bc2 Bb7 16. Nd2 Rae8 17. Ne4 Bd8 18. c5 Qc6 19. f3 Be7 20. Rac1 f5 21. Qc4+ Kh8 22. Ba4 Qh6 23. Bxe8 fxe4 24. c6 exf3 25. Rc2 Qe3+ 26. Kh1 Bc8 27. Bd7 f2 28. Rf1 d3 29. Rc3 Bxd7 30. cxd7 e4 31. Qc8 Bd8 32. Qc4 Qe1 33. Rc1 d2 34. Qc5 Rg8 35. Rd1 e3 36. Qc3 Qxd1 37. Rxd1 e2 {The Chess Player's Chronicle 1843, p. 265} 0-1 [Event "Candidates Tournament-05"] [Site "Curacao"] [Date "1962.05.19"] [Round "11"] [White "Fischer, Robert James"] [Black "Tal, Mihail"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B32"] [Annotator "Elshan"] [PlyCount "125"] [EventDate "1962.05.02"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "28"] [EventCountry "AHO"] [SourceTitle "Candidates"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1999.07.01"] [SourceVersion "2"] [SourceVersionDate "1999.07.01"] [SourceQuality "1"] {[%evp 0,116,28,28,45,45,45,31,31,39,19,21,21,38,43,40,56,25,71,64,35,62,62,31, 90,-52,-21,-57,-50,-56,-46,-44,-42,-42,-10,-17,-11,-16,5,-7,-2,-11,-25,-23,-16, -9,-23,-18,30,41,19,15,14,0,-3,-8,-28,-37,-21,-25,-28,-28,-1,1,0,0,0,-62,-48, -59,-46,-28,-39,-32,-5,-36,101,100,72,95,95,73,28,83,120,112,109,95,149,145, 146,130,90,118,126,126,127,132,152,66,207,211,192,192,189,241,244,158,170,155, 149,189,228,194,196,223,286,340,356]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 a6 6. Nd6+ Bxd6 7. Qxd6 Qf6 8. Qd1 Qg6 9. Nc3 Nge7 10. h4 h5 11. Bg5 d5 12. Bxe7 d4 13. Bg5 dxc3 14. bxc3 Qxe4+ 15. Be2 f6 16. Be3 Bg4 17. Qd3 Qxd3 18. cxd3 Bxe2 19. Kxe2 O-O-O 20. Rad1 Ne7 21. d4 Nd5 22. Rc1 Rhe8 23. Rhd1 f5 24. Bg5 Rd7 25. dxe5 Rxe5+ 26. Kf3 Re4 27. Rd3 Rc4 28. Rcd1 Rxc3 29. Rxc3+ Nxc3 30. Rc1 Rc7 31. Bf4 Rc6 32. Be5 Nd5 33. Rd1 Nf6 $6 {and Fischer once again shows his impeccable technique with Rook and Bishop.} 34. Kf4 g6 35. f3 Nd7 36. Bd6 Rc2 37. g3 Re2 38. Kg5 Re6 39. Bf4 Nf8 40. Rd6 a5 41. Kh6 Re2 42. Rd2 Re7 43. Bd6 Rh7+ 44. Kg5 Rf7 45. Rb2 f4 46. Bxf4 Rf5+ 47. Kh6 b5 48. Bd6 b4 49. g4 Rxf3 50. g5 Ne6 51. Kxg6 Rd3 52. Be5 Re3 53. Kf5 Nf8 54. Rg2 Rf3+ 55. Bf4 Kd7 56. g6 Ne6 57. g7 Rxf4+ 58. Ke5 Rf8 59. gxf8=Q Nxf8 60. Kd5 a4 61. Rg7+ Ke8 62. Kd6 b3 63. a3 1-0 [Event "URS-ch46 Final"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "1978.12.??"] [Round "3"] [White "Geller, Efim P"] [Black "Sveshnikov, Evgeny"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2590"] [BlackElo "2565"] [Annotator "Elshan"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "1978.12.01"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "17"] [EventCountry "URS"] [EventCategory "12"] [SourceTitle "URS-ch"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1999.07.01"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "1999.07.01"] [SourceQuality "1"] {[%evp 0,68,20,8,49,45,48,38,38,38,36,5,34,34,26,0,4,-12,4,19,0,-11,3,-3,4,7, 18,29,37,13,35,10,10,9,31,-4,-2,-15,-15,-4,-4,-11,-15,0,10,0,37,0,0,22,48,37,1, 81,81,75,118,128,139,130,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,-325,-355]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 Nf6 6. N1c3 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 O-O 12. Nc2 Bg5 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15. Bc4 Rb8 16. b3 Kh8 17. O-O f5 18. exf5 Bxf5 19. Qe2 Qd7 20. Nce3 Be6 21. Rd1 Bd8 22. Ra2 Qf7 23. Qd3 Qh5 24. Nf1 e4 25. Qc2 Bh4 26. Ng3 Bxg3 27. hxg3 Ne5 28. Nf4 Rxf4 29. gxf4 Nf3+ 30. gxf3 Bxc4 31. Qxe4 Bxb3 32. Rb1 Re8 33. Rxa5 d5 34. Re1 Qg6+ 0-1 [Event "Horgen CS"] [Site "Horgen"] [Date "1994.??.??"] [Round "9"] [White "Kasparov, Garry"] [Black "Shirov, Alexei"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2805"] [BlackElo "2740"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "1994.09.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "SUI"] [EventCategory "16"] [SourceTitle "CBM 043"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1994.12.01"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "1994.12.01"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bf4 e5 8. Bg5 a6 9. Na3 b5 10. Nd5 Be7 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. c3 Bb7 13. Nc2 Nb8 14. a4 bxa4 15. Rxa4 Nd7 16. Rb4 Nc5 17. Rxb7 Nxb7 18. b4 Bg5 19. Na3 O-O 20. Nc4 a5 21. Bd3 axb4 22. cxb4 Qb8 23. h4 Bh6 24. Ncb6 Ra2 25. O-O Rd2 26. Qf3 Qa7 27. Nd7 Nd8 28. Nxf8 Kxf8 29. b5 Qa3 30. Qf5 Ke8 31. Bc4 Rc2 32. Qxh7 Rxc4 33. Qg8+ Kd7 34. Nb6+ Ke7 35. Nxc4 Qc5 36. Ra1 Qd4 37. Ra3 Bc1 38. Ne3 1-0 [Event "Olympiad-31"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "1994.12.08"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Kasparov, Garry"] [Black "Lautier, Joel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2805"] [BlackElo "2645"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "1994.12.01"] [EventType "team-swiss"] [EventRounds "14"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [SourceTitle "CBM 045"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1995.04.01"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "1995.04.01"] [SourceQuality "1"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "France"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "FRA"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bf4 e5 8. Bg5 a6 9. Na3 b5 10. Nd5 Be7 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. c3 O-O 13. Nc2 Rb8 14. h4 Ne7 15. Nxf6+ gxf6 16. Bd3 d5 17. exd5 Qxd5 18. Ne3 Qe6 19. Qh5 e4 20. Bc2 b4 21. c4 Kh8 22. O-O-O f5 23. Qg5 Rb6 24. h5 Rc6 25. Kb1 Rc5 26. h6 Qe5 27. Rh5 Rg8 28. Ng4 1-0 [Event "Linares 19th"] [Site "Linares"] [Date "2002.03.10"] [Round "14"] [White "Shirov, Alexei"] [Black "Kasparov, Garry"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2838"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2002.02.22"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "14"] [EventCountry "ESP"] [EventCategory "20"] [SourceTitle "CBM 088"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2002.03.21"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2002.03.21"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 11. Bxb5 axb5 12. Nxb5 Ra4 13. b4 Qh4 14. O-O Rg8 15. f4 Kd8 16. c3 Ra6 17. a4 fxe4 18. f5 Bb7 19. Ra2 e3 20. Nxe3 Qe4 21. Re1 Nxb4 22. cxb4 Bh6 23. Kh1 Bxe3 24. Qe2 Rc6 25. a5 Qxb4 26. Nxd6 Rxd6 27. Qxe3 Qd4 28. Qc1 Qd5 0-1 [Event "Linares 21st"] [Site "Linares"] [Date "2004.03.02"] [Round "11"] [White "Leko, Peter"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2722"] [BlackElo "2777"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2004.02.19"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "14"] [EventCountry "ESP"] [EventCategory "20"] [SourceTitle "CBM 100"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2004.06.01"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2004.06.01"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 11. Bd3 Be6 12. O-O Bxd5 13. exd5 Ne7 14. Qh5 e4 15. Be2 Bg7 16. c3 Rc8 17. Nc2 Rc5 18. Ne3 f4 19. Nf5 O-O 20. a4 Nxf5 21. Qxf5 Qe7 22. axb5 axb5 23. Qxf4 Rxd5 24. Rfd1 Re5 25. Qe3 f5 26. Qb6 f4 27. Qxd6 Qg5 28. f3 e3 29. Ra7 Kh8 30. Qd7 Rg8 31. Qh3 Qg6 32. Rad7 Rh5 33. R7d6 Bf6 34. Rxf6 Qc2 35. Qxh5 Qxe2 36. g4 Qf2+ 0-1 [Event "World-ch Carlsen-Caruana"] [Site "London"] [Date "2018.11.19"] [Round "8"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2832"] [BlackElo "2835"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2018.11.09"] [EventType "match"] [EventRounds "12"] [EventCountry "ENG"] [SourceTitle "CBM 187"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2018.12.11"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2018.12.11"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Nb8 9. a4 Be7 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. Bd2 f5 13. a5 a6 14. Na3 e4 15. Nc4 Ne5 16. Nb6 Rb8 17. f4 exf3 18. Bxf3 g5 19. c4 f4 20. Bc3 Bf5 21. c5 Nxf3+ 22. Qxf3 dxc5 23. Rad1 Bd6 24. h3 Qe8 25. Nc4 Qg6 26. Nxd6 Qxd6 27. h4 gxh4 28. Qxf4 Qxf4 29. Rxf4 h5 30. Re1 Bg4 31. Rf6 Rxf6 32. Bxf6 Kf7 33. Bxh4 Re8 34. Rf1+ Kg8 35. Rf6 Re2 36. Rg6+ Kf8 37. d6 Rd2 38. Rg5 1/2-1/2 [Event "World-ch Carlsen-Caruana Tiebreak"] [Site "London"] [Date "2018.11.28"] [Round "2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2832"] [BlackElo "2835"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2018.11.28"] [EventType "match (rapid)"] [EventRounds "3"] [EventCountry "ENG"] [SourceTitle "CBM 187"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2018.12.11"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2018.12.11"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Ne7 9. c4 Ng6 10. Qa4 Bd7 11. Qb4 Qb8 12. h4 h5 13. Be3 a6 14. Nc3 a5 15. Qb3 a4 16. Qd1 Be7 17. g3 Qc8 18. Be2 Bg4 19. Rc1 Bxe2 20. Qxe2 Qf5 21. c5 O-O 22. c6 bxc6 23. dxc6 Rfc8 24. Qc4 Bd8 25. Nd5 e4 26. c7 Bxc7 27. Nxc7 Ne5 28. Nd5 Kh7 0-1 [Event "Antofagasta Zicosur op 4th"] [Site "Antofagasta"] [Date "2019.01.08"] [Round "6"] [White "Perez Ponsa, Federico"] [Black "Flores, Diego"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2560"] [BlackElo "2609"] [Annotator "Elshan"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2019.01.04"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "CHI"] [SourceTitle "CBM 188 Extra"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2019.02.26"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2019.02.26"] [SourceQuality "1"] {[%evp 0,67,20,25,46,40,40,24,24,24,45,42,31,21,21,8,10,10,10,10,10,-6,-6,-6,7, 7,42,21,21,13,21,4,9,19,23,8,11,-4,-5,7,1,-9,8,10,9,29,-43,-123,7,-9,14,-190,0, 0,0,0,111,186,186,219,225,233,212,252,270,270,370,370,29993,29994]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 Bg5 12. Nc2 O-O 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15. Bc4 Rb8 16. b3 Kh8 17. Nce3 g6 18. h4 Bxh4 19. g3 Bg5 20. f4 exf4 21. gxf4 Bh4+ 22. Kf1 f5 23. Ra2 fxe4 24. Rah2 g5 25. Qh5 Ne5 26. Ke2 Nxc4 27. fxg5 Nxe3 28. Rxh4 Rb7 29. Kxe3 Rf3+ 30. Kxe4 Rff7 31. g6 Bf5+ 32. Kd4 Bxg6 33. Qxg6 Qf8 34. Nf6 1-0 [/pgn]

Comments

No way Jose/ dead wrong ...Have absolutely no idea what the one and only grandmaster Elshan is indicating regarding 2.C3!( Black to move and win?) ..See super grandmaster/ all time world top ten player Kasparov for correct analysis of this entire perfectly playable 2.c3! Alapin/ Sveshnikov Sicilian line in his
theory team book CHESS OPENING REVOLUTION of the 70's
get real...I too have played fiercely, no quarter asked or given , with grandmaster Sveshnikov and know how icily he greeted
absurd magic wand verdicts like this.He looks you dead in the eye and says let's see it... Great middlegame later by Elshan though. Jude Acers / New Orleans

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