Product Review – Killer c3 Sicilian, by IM Sam Collins

First of all, I must apologise to GingerGM and co. for the delay in publishing this review. The DVD has been sitting on my desk for a couple of months , but I have been too busy to get round to reviewing it (books to write, articles to translate, termites to wind up, etc…). I hope the phrase “better late than never” is applicable here.

As readers of previous reviews will know, I am a great fan of the GingerGM DVDs, and I should say right now that this one maintains their high standards. The professionalism of the production once again stands out, and is well above that of other chess DVDs. The links between chapters are, as usual, filled with footage of frantic (if speeded-up) blitz games, with a profusion of dark glasses, not to mention pint pots filled with the obligatory amber liquid. The subliminal message is clear – chess is FUN and chess is COOL.  If Simon Williams and his colleagues at GingerGM have not yet approached the breweries for sponsorship, then they should do so at once – you are missing a trick, guys!

As to content,  this is the first GingerGM disk that I have seen, presented by anyone other than Simon Williams himself, and it is the first Sam Collins presentation I have seen anywhere. I was very impressed with his relaxed and articulate style.  He explains the material in a clear and concise manner, not over-burdening the reader with variations, but stressing the importance of particular tactical sequences when relevant.

The c3-Sicilian is of course, the bane of any Sicilian player’s life. Apart from a brief flirtation with the Scheveningen in my youth, I have never been a Sicilian player, and have not opened 1.e4 with White, so 2.c3 is not a line I have ever had to worry about. However, it has always seemed to me that the variation is to some extent based on a bit of a bluff. I mean this in the sense that, if Black is content to equalise, into a quiet position with few winning chances, then he can usually do so by playing one of the main lines with 2…Nf6, but if he wants to preserve chances of playing for a win, his task is much more difficult, and he usually has to play an objectively inferior variation as Black. However, I suspect Collins would take issue with this characterisation, as he emphasises that the c3-system is aiming at creating a position with real attacking chances for White. Objectively, much depends on his recommended line against 2…Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bc4 Nb6 – if Black can find a reliable way to neutralise Collins’ suggestion here (no, I’m not going to tell you what it is – you’ll have to buy the DVD!), then he will still be able to ensure a quiet life for himself, but until then, 2.c3 remains a surprisingly dangerous weapon.

See trailer here

The big point about 2.c3 is its sheer practicality. It is a simple, logical, easy-to-understand system, in which White avoids a mass of main line theory, yet still reaches positions which, against anything but the best defence, offer dangerous attacking chances.  In fact, it beats me why any player below 2500 would play anything else against the Sicilian.

Collins’ DVD runs to four and a half hours, and equips White players with everything they need to know to play the c3-Sicilian with great practical success. I can only recommend it highly.

The Killer c3 Sicilian is available at £19.95 from GingerGM.com 

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