I am a very bad Sicilian player and I am easily played out of book in the Sicilian defense. I need a line that would prevent my opponents fom going into the Sicilian defense. I have tried c4, but sometimes it transposes into a Sicilian with the Maroczy bind. I know d4 is good, but are there any other suggestions I could play?

3 Answers 3


You could transpose to the Botvinnik English System:

[FEN ""]

1. e4 c5 2. c4

Because it is a system opening, you usually put your pieces on the same squares regardless of what Black does. For example:

[FEN ""]

1. e4 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. Nge2 O-O 7. O-O d6 8. d3 

The usual piece placements are:

  1. Fianchettoed kingside castle
  2. Knights on c3 and e2
  3. Queen on d2 and bishop on e3
  4. A rook off the a1-h8 diagonal, e.g. on b1

Evaluating this opening we see that:

  1. It's a system opening, so it is easy to learn. But it doesn't give the best chances to win
  2. The Botvinnik Triangle, pawns on c4, d3 and e4, allow White to play on any sector of the board. For example: breaking with d4, attacking with f4 or gaining space with b4
  3. White has a hole on d4, which might be quite tender

See also the YouTube video Chess Opening for White: Botvinnik-English System against the Sicilian Defence.

  • Thabk you very much. Ill try this line.
    – oziomajnr
    May 26, 2016 at 15:58

The main problem (at least on amateur level) of White in the Open Sicilian (i.e. 2. Nf3 and 3. d4) is indeed that you need to know a lot of systems/lines that Black can throw at you (see also this answer which recommends the Grand Prix attack with 2. Nc3 and 3. f4 (or the other way around)).

On my former club, 2. c3, the Alapin variation was quite popular. Black has a few options, but they all lead to positions which do not resemble the Sicilian main lines they are familiar with. The main options are:

2... d5 will usually lead into position where White has an IQP, with the corresponding development and space advantage. Black can of course hold on but it is rather hard for him/her to play for a win.

2... Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 is the other main line, where White builds a pawn center. It reminds a bit of the Alekhine Defense. This line sometimes transposes into the Morra-Smith gambit after a later d4 by White.


I would be tempted to say : don't enter the sicilian, don't play e4, but as you mentioned yourself sicilian positions can occur in other openings. So, there is no way out: you will have to master several positions transposing into sicilian territory (partially or totally), would it be only for your own sake and progress in chess. What you can do is playing different style positions. The sicilian has a wide scope of possibilities (closed, b3 and so on). Anyway, avoiding open sicilian will impede your progress (tactically, positionally and strategically). What you should do is, if you still want to avoid open sicilians, learn to pay less studied and theoretically analysed positions, possibly avoiding potential (but not sure) immediate defeats. Bad Bishop's proposal is interesting but entails you do not play e4 at the first move. Furthermore, with black you could anyway have to face a reversed sicilian. Sicilian structures are fairly universal in normal or reversed order. You cannot avoid them all, you can just choose less studied options and as a consequence avoid learning certain types of positions and so impede yourself getting a view of chess as a whole, whether tactically, positionally and strategically. You must understand that not practising certain types of major positional complexes will handicap your understanding of other types of position you like. Have a nice day!


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