I got acquainted for the first time with this opening back in the year 2003 by Alexey Bezgodov. He showed me several attractive examples and told me that he wished to write a book about this scheme. I liked this idea and tried to help him in the work over this book.
The greatest problem at that moment was that the theory ended literally after just a few moves. Is it possible to write a book about an opening based only on the analysis of the authors? So, I began “to pile up” theory by playing on the Internet an endless number of blitz games. Later, I and Alexey began to discuss ideas and so the new theory was being born.
1.e4 c5 2.a3 – Ten years later
In order to give an official status of this rather non-theoretical Sicilian branch I even organised a thematic tempo-tournament for the participants of the 57th Championship of Russia (Saint-Petersburg 2004). GM Konstantin Landa won it.
At the end of the year 2004, A.Bezgodov’s book Challenging the Sicilian with 2.a3!?” was published in Bulgaria. The opening was becoming popular and people started playing it. Besides Bezgodov himself, among the grandmasters V.Dobrov plays is regularly and sometimes Sh.Mamedyarov, T.L.Petrosian, K.Chernyshov as well as the translator of this book – the Bulgarian grandmaster E.Ermenkov.
In principle, the basis, the direction of the analysis in this book were very good. Still, after some time I understood that not everything in Alexey’s book was quite correctly written. White can play much stronger at some moments and some of the variations he had recommended can be improved considerably. So, I began a very thorough analysis, checking in the process some of my discoveries from my countless blitz games and tempo-tournaments. Now, I am ready to present the results of my work during many years to your attention and evaluation.
IM Sergei Soloviov