I like to play 4...e5 in the Open Sicilian in my games, usually facing something like this:

[StartPly "8"]

[fen ""]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb3 Nc6

I do this to:

  1. Chase the knight so that it doesn't block advancing my pieces.
  2. Regain control of the center after 3...cxd4.
  3. Gain a tempo.

Is there any disadvantage in doing this ?

  • 1
    To me it seems it wouldn't be long until that d pawn became weak. It is going to be a while until it reaches d4 and is defended by the e pawn and since there is no black c pawn, it can't be defended by a pawn chain in the near future. It can also turn into an isolated pawn after f4.
    – 11684
    Sep 9, 2015 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb3 Nc6, the position is probably fine for black.

However, after 4....e5, white seems to have a stronger reply: 5.Bb5+. According to the Game Database of ChessTempo, this is also the most popular move. Now, black has two options: 4....Bd7 or 4....Nd7. After both moves, white can put his knight on f5 and obtain a slightly better position.

Therefore, I would say that 4....e5 is a small inaccuracy. However, the ideas behind the move (occupying the center, gaining a tempo) are perfectly fine.

Maybe it is interesting to take a look at:

  • the Sveshnikov variation: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5
  • the Kalashnikov variation: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5
  • the Classical variation: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6, and after 6.Be2, 6....e5
  • the Najdorf variation: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6, and after 6.Be2, 6....e5

      [FEN ""]
      [StartPly "3"]

      1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 (2...Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 (4...e5) 5.Nc3 e5) 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 (4...Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (5...Nc6 6.Be2 e5) 6.Be2 e5) 5.Bb5+ (5.Nb3 Nc6) 5...Nd7 (5...Bd7 6.Bxd7+ Qxd7 7.Nf5) 6.Nf5

  • These variations seem very interesting. I particularly like the Najdorf variation of the idea.
    – Amr Ayman
    Sep 9, 2015 at 17:18
  • The Najdorf is a good opening and probably the most popular Sicilian. The e5-idea is not always good in this variation however. For instance, after 6.Bc4 or 6.Bg5, you should not play 6....e5, as it weakens the d5-square too much. Good luck!
    – Maxwell86
    Sep 9, 2015 at 20:47
  • I think the obvious reason not to play e5 here is that the d pawn is backwards and for White to attack the d pawn is a theme in the Sicilian.
    – Jeff
    Mar 19, 2018 at 6:21

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