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I have seen many players with black prefers Sicilian defense, what are the advantage of the opening?

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The sicilian defence is not just one opening, it is a whole family of variations, that are quite different from each other. So this breadth of possible choices surely contributes to the popularity of the sicilian.

The sicilian variations are also usually quite sharp. This makes it easier for black to create winning chances. In the open sicilian (which is usually the main line) black gets the longterm advantage of two centre pawns against one centre pawn and the open c-line. The other defences against e4 don't have quite such a big disbalance.

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There are several advantages of playing sicilian defense with black:

  1. Here, you get to exchange a side c-pawn for a centralised d-pawn of white and get to have an extra pawn in the center which may prove to be important in the middlegame and perhaps very useful in the endgame for getting a passed pawn.
  2. Against e4, this is the only defense where black can try to claim the center from the word "go". White may have a centralised Knight at d4 but black has suitable compensation with moves like d5 or Ne5 or a fianchetto at g7 eyeing the a1-g8 diagonal.
  3. Black has a lot of options going into the middlegame. He can choose to keep it safe and play for a draw by piece exchanges followed by a normal endgame or he can choose to attack with the Dragon Variation or go for the Andersen's Pin Variation.
  4. Another major plus point of this opening is that it provides an advantageous endgame for black even when both have equal pieces and pawns after a barren middlegame.

So white has to keep on his toes all through the game to avoid any losses. I think this is black's best defense against e4 at least for beginners and players for average level.One can opt for Pirc defense, Phillidor and Caro-Kann but a lot of practice is required for successful employment. However Sicilian can be easily mastered.

And I quote: In 1965, in the tenth edition of his book, grandmaster Larry Evans observed that, "The Sicilian is Black's most dynamic, asymmetrical reply to 1.P-K4. It produces the psychological and tension factors which denote the best in modern play and gives notice of a fierce fight on the very first move.

and perhaps this link will also help :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicilian_Defence

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