I am looking for a nice variation against the Sicilian, which is a little bit aggressive but mainly not part of the main line like Nf3, d4, b4 or c3 after e4 c5.

The thing is, I don't want to learn 20 variations, which I have to do if I play the main openings.

Which one do you like to play / recommend me?


5 Answers 5


It's a bit difficult to recommend an aggressive line that doesn't fall into the variations that you listed. However, I believe there is an option that may suit your tastes. The Rossolimo with 2. Nc3 is venomous choice that's played at the highest levels and contains many lines that are quite dangerous for black. Here's one of the opening traps:

[FEN ""]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Bc4 e6 5. Nge2 Nf6 6. d3 a6 7. O-O d5 8. exd5 exd5 9. Nxd5 Nxd5 10. Nxd4 cxd4 11. Qh5 Be6 12. Re1

I recommend that you look more into the opening yourself and discover some more interesting lines.

  • Nice variety. I think, I will have a look at this. I only now Nc3 with 3. f4 instead of Bb5. Whats your opinion about 3. f4?
    – Niklas
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 17:49
  • 1
    The Grand Prix Attack is a decent choice as well, but it would likely fall under your description of "main line." If you don't want to play a well-studied opening, I would probably avoid the Grand Prix.
    – Andrew Ng
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 17:51
  • This variation is becoming incredibly popular nowadays and the theory is quickly growing. It is recommended in the book "Slay the Sicilian" and possibly other places. It is a good opening, but might soon go into the ranks of main openings like the Grand Prix.
    – Halvard
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 8:46
  • Although it's true that this variation has gained more mainstream recognition in recent years, labeling it as "incredibly popular" may be a bit of an overstatement. According to my database, this specific Rossolimo line accounts for less than 1% of all games played in the Sicilian.
    – Andrew Ng
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 18:45

It looks like you are looking for a line that is aggressive, but does not require you to jump into tactical lines right away. If this is the case 1.e4 c5 2.b3 is worth consideration.

  • It is hard to predict where the game will go, but usually the fact that white's dark-squared bishop is aiming at white king via a1-h8 diagonal gives pretty good attacking chances.
  • You will build up first and attack later. This requires more understanding than memorization.
  • If black is more accurate in the opening; it is fairly easy for them to become the aggressor.
  • Open Sicilian is objectively stronger, though this is not a big deal at non-professional level.

I've been playing the Smith-Morra for many years now.

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3

I generally get a good game even at the USCF expert level.


I would actually suggest the grand prix attack with 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 I've never played the white side of it, but lots of strong players like it as an alternative weapon. The "idea" is to try for an attack where you play Qd1-e1-h4, f5, Bh6 and Ng5 in some combination, ready to play Nd5 or Rxf6 to dislodge the main defender on f6.


The Sicilian defense is an excellent weapon to fight for the initiative with the black pieces. Perhaps 1.d4 is better if you want to learn a smaller volume of variations. Having said this, I think that 2.b4 is an interesting option. With the same idea, you can try 2.a3 followed by 3.b4. If you want a slow game, you can try 2.d3 followed by c2-c3, Be2, Nbd2, 0-0, Qc2, a4, Rf1-e1 with some ideas like Nd2-f1-g3 that are similar to the Spanish system. Still, my recommendation for a sharp play while avoid the main lines is to try 2.b4 or 2.a3 followed by 3.b4

[FEN ""]
1.e4 c5 2.b4 (2.a3 then b4)

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