This is a very good book on the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian Defence. In this defence, Black plays ...e5, weakening her d6 pawn and her d5 square, but by doing so gets more time to develop her pieces. And for those who want to turn the tables on White, this is a perfect variation for Black if she likes launching King-side attacks!
While this book does describe the Sveshnikov from both sides of the table, it does have more of a focus on Black than I'd like. You see, I do not play the Sveshnikov for Black. Instead, I play it for White, sacrificing a piece on move 11, which gives me some tactical threats, as well as a strategic threat to Queen my a-pawn.
Well, what advice does this book have on how to play White?
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 (6...h6?! 7 Nd6+) 7 Bg5 a6 (7...Be6? 8 Nd5) 8 Na3 (This looks ugly positionally, but it's best) 8...b5! (The Sveshnikov; 8...Be6 9 Nc4 Rc8 10 Nd5 Bxd5 11 Bxf6 is Bird's variation) 9 Bxf6 (Yakovich has over 75 pages on 9 Nd5, but he thinks 9 Bxf6 is best for White here, and I certainly agree) 9...gxf6 (9...Qxf6 10 Nd5 Qd8 11 c4) 10 Nd5 f5 (obviously not 10 ...Ne7 11 Nf6 mate. 10...Bg7 11 Bd3 Ne7 12 Nxe7 Qxe7 13 c4 f5 14 0-0 0-0 is the Novosibirsk variation, and Yakovich recommends 15 Qf3 or 15 Qh5 for White here).
White now has a bunch of options, which the book devotes 96 pages to. 11 Bxb5, 11 exf5, and 11 Bd3 are the most popular. The author considers 11 Bd3 the most natural move, but does say that 11 Bxb5 is good too, and I now think that 11 Bxb5 is the best try for White. After 11 Bxb5 axb5 12 Nxb5 Ra7, Yakovich advises 13 Nxa7 Nxa7 14 exf5 Nb5 15 a4. But Black generally plays 12...Ra4, giving White the choice of 13 Nbc7+ (which seems okay) or 13 b4 (which may be better).
After 13 b4, Yakovich explains that Black can try for an immediate draw with 13...Qh4 14 0-0 Rg8 15 c3 f4 16 Qxa4 Rxg2+ 17 Kxg2 Qg4+. That's fine if White wants a draw, but I wish Yakovich had given some advice here in case White wants more than this. He does mention 16 Nf6+ (instead of 16 Qxa4), but I feel that Black has at least a draw here. In 2002, as the author says, Shirov tried 15 f4 Kd8 16 c3 Ra6 17 a4 fxe4 against Kasparov. Kasparov won easily after that. But I think White ought to look for something better than this! In my next skittles game in this line, maybe I'll try something like 15 f4 Kd8 16 c3 Ra6 17 exf5, with the idea of answering 17...Bxf5 with 18 Ne3 Bd7 19 Nxd6 Bxd6 20 Qxd6. Wish me luck!
Of course, Black may not be satisfied with a draw in the position after 13...Qh4. Yakovich tells us what Black can do instead, namely 13 ...Rxb4 14 Nbc7+ Kd7 15 0-0 Rb7 (15...Rg8 16 Qh5 is unclear) 16 Qh5 Ne7 17 Qxf7 Rxc7 18 Nb6+ Kc6 19 Rab1. Here, the author indicates that White is doing fine after 19...Ba6 20 Qb3, so he has two possible recommendations for Black, 19...Ra7 and 19...Kb7. Um, if anyone tries 19...Ra7 against me, they'll be in for a shock: 20 Qc4+ Kb7 21 Nd7+ Qb6 22 Rxb6+ Ka8 23 Rb8 mate. That leaves 19...Kb7. Once again, I wish Yakovich had given us some more advice here. White could try putting both Rooks and maybe the Queen on that b-file, or try 20 Nd5+ Ka7 21 Nxc7, or both, and my wild guess is that White ought to be able to get at least a draw that way. By the way, this whole line can lead to an endgame where White has, say, a Queen and 5 pawns against a Rook, Bishop, Knight, and 3 pawns, so if you want to get into all this, learn that endgame!
As a Candidate Master, I played a Sveshnikov game with White against a Master. But I played 11 Nxb5 (which Yakovich says loses for White) instead of 11 Bxb5. One problem is that one is left with a Bishop, which doesn't cooperate as well with one's Queen as a Knight.
My game went 11 Nxb5?! axb5 12 Bxb5 Bd7 (12...Bb7 is probably better) 13 exf5 Bg7. My strategic threat is to Queen my a-pawn, and I now think White's best chance is 14 0-0 0-0 15 c3. Then my threat of a4 is real (if 15...Rb8 16 a4). I'm also threatening to play Nb6 or Nc7 if Black moves his Queen away.
However, not liking 14 0-0 Nd4, I played 14 a4? Nd4 15 Bxd7+ Qxd7 16 c3 Qxf5? (After 16...Ra5?! 17 Ne3 Nxf5 18 Qg4 Nxe3 19 Qxg7 Nxg2+ 20 Qxg2 Rxa4, White is okay. But 16...Qb7 17 Ne3 0-0 18 0-0 Nb3 is better for Black. Even here, I might have survived with a line such as 19 Ra3 Rfb8 20 Qg4 Kh8 21 Rd1. Black's actual move simply loses, so I said a silent prayer of thanks to Caissa and castled.) 17 0-0 e4 (I expected 17...Ne6 18 a5, but Black figured that this was hopeless and chose to try a desperate cheapo.) 18 Ne3 (I feared that 18 Nc7+ would get me mated, so I settled for something that I was sure would win.) 18...Qc5 19 cxd4 Bxd4 20 Qg4 Kf8 21 Rac1 Qa7? (makes it even easier for me) 22 Rc8+ Rxc8 23 Qxc8+ Kg7 24 Qg4+ Kf8 25 Rc1 Black Resigns
I highly recommend this book.