In 2019 I was approached by Mr. Daniel Vanheirzeele of Thinkers Publishing about writing an opening book. This would be a new challenge and such things are always exciting and give me a new high! After some discussion I was asked to work on two specific variations of the Sicilian: the sharp Najdorf and the trendy Taimanov. Over the past few years, I have played some sharp ideas when facing these variations.
My quest for opening knowledge started early in my chess career as I have always been interested in probing the intricacies of each opening. One memorable incident of which I am proud took place when I was just 13 years old. I was deeply intrigued by the game Karjakin-Anand, Wijk 2006. In this game Vishy unleased a fascinating novelty with 24 ... Nc7. Upon seeing this I simply could not sleep and began to analyze the razor-sharp English Attack for hours and hours. During this time, I developed pages and pages of notes and found some interesting ideas.
During my next training session with world renowned trainer GM RB Ramesh I showed him 20 pages of analysis from the notes I had developed. GM Ramesh was simply stunned! At that time, it was not normal for a 13 year old to develop such work. Of course, now days it is a different story as many players become Grandmasters by the age of 13! As a result of this work I was tagged as an opening expert in India among my fellow Grandmasters!
I was extremely happy to be asked to share some of my work with the readers, but I was concerned about the time necessary to complete such a task. As an ambitious tournament player, I had several events on my schedule and was concerned about being able to complete the task. My concerns were put to rest by Mr. Daniel Vanheirzeele who is a passionate chess lover but also a businessman who understands both chess and the book business. He was able to provide me with a generous time frame in which to work on the book and compete in various events.
The book you hold is my first work and contains my efforts to find new paths and fresh perspectives on these two variations. I hope you gain from information in this book as well as simply enjoy the games themselves.
I would also like to thank GM Edouard Romain for his assistance and suggestion to improve the book.
APPRAISAL VISHY ANAND
I got to know Sethu more closely a few years back when we trained together a few times. I found him to be meticulous in his preparation and especially at home in complex positions. These qualities make him perfect for these two Sicilans and I am sure after reading this book, you (the reader) will be ready to confidently explore these two fascinating Sicilians. Best wishes