All throughout, I have been talking about how to play unorthodox chess openings that are classified as “irregular openings” using chess code A00. Some of you however may be interested in playing just a normal opening that almost every chess player universally knows such as the Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Kings Indian etc. And that is okay because there are some twists that you can add that can make the opening line not only very unorthodox but also more exciting! Here is an example of a game I played where I played a “regular” opening such as the Sicilian but added a very unorthodox twist:

The Twist:

The opening starts out normally but then I decide to take a diversion with 3. h4!? which tries to aim for some king side activity very early in the game since many variations of the Sicilian aim for castling king side. After black plays 3. e6, I continue with 4. g4 with the aim of creating a pawn storm and black decides to counterattack in the center with 4. d5. 

At this point, it is just a matter of black focusing on queen side piece development before he castles queen side with 12. 0-0-0. After a little bit of king side wrangling, black makes a very bad move with 15. Nd4? which is puzzling since the d4 pawn will now be a permanent weakness. 

I suppose one could argue that black has a little bit of space in the center but it is unclear at best.

The Importance of Central Restraint and Queen side Tension

Pawn moves are very tempting until you neglect that your opponent can launch a counterattack when you didn’t prepare for it.  I played 18. f4? which while interesting makes my dark square bishop look out of play. Black then responded with the excellent 19. Nb4! which puts significant pressure on my king while winning the pawn on a2. 

I should have played a3 in order to prevent this knight move. In order to give my king some space, I was forced to play 20. Na3 where black takes my pawn on a2 with check and with that comes the very difficult task of defending my king from blacks strong attack.

After some exchanges, I am forced to play 29. Qe3 as otherwise, I will be checkmated after black moves his queen to the a3 square where I will have no defense against Qb2#.

You may be wondering why black does not take my pawn on e5 with his rook? Most likely due to an oversight error as black only had less than 1.5 minutes to play.

When Down Material, The Advantage of Opponent’s Time Pressure!

Even you are down a little material, if the opponent is in time pressure, use it to your advantage! Black was getting a little too greedy after playing 35. a4 which then allowed me to take advantage of some of the spatial vulnerabilities around his king with 36. Qf4+. After threatening mate on b7 with 37. Qe4, black is forced to respond with 37. Bc6.

After the exchange of bishops, I needed to improve my king position and did so with 40. Kc1 which now actually threatens to make my rook on a1 a strong piece. Black threw the game away with 40. axb3 as it just allows my rook to get deep into enemy territory and providing (fantastic!) support for my queen after playing 41.Ra7+!.

The king can’t move back to the home rank or else checkmate so black is forced to play 41. Kd6. After 42. Ra6+, you may be wondering why black doesn’t move his king back to c7 in the hope there is a draw? (There isn’t because after Ra7+, Kd6, I just play Qb7+!! mating next move). Black is pretty much going to be mated in the next couple of moves after 44. Qd5+, which either forces mater or forces black to give up his queen. 

He gave up his queen and after a series of checks, I mate his with 47. Qa6#.

Lessons Learned:

A universally known opening such as the Sicilian can still be very exciting to play if one makes a move early enough to divert from traditional opening lines (such as when I played h4) instead of fighting for the center with the pawn on d4. In respect to losing material, the game is not lost if one loses a pawn so long as you have your fighting mode and can create a position that can cause the opponent to get into time pressure. Last but not least, getting too deep into enemy territory can backfire due to the ability to create a quick counterattack leaving your king without the support of your pieces as we saw with black getting greedy with 40. axb3, and me initially not paying attention to black ‘s knight after I played f5 in the middle game. If you have any questions and/or wish to provide feedback, please do not hesitate to reach out and I will be happy to answer!

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