I want to learn a new opening in the Sicilian defense called the Keres variation. What is White's main plan here?
[FEN ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Ne2
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Disclaimer: there might be other ideas too.
I used to play this some time ago against sicilian. My idea was that I liked closed sicilian positions (2. Nc3) if black did not play the "main" setup against it (that is, 2. ... Nc6, 3. ... g6 etc). So with Ne2, I still could play the closed variation against, for example, 2. ... e6 and 3... d5, and after 2. ... a6, but if black replied 2. ... Nc6 I could play 3. d4 ( or 4. d4) and return back to the "open", more sound sicilian. What white gains is a little bit of flexibility, and a chance to confuse the opponent if black has an inconsistent repertoire. I knew one guy who played d6-a6 setup against open sicilian and e6-d5 against closed one, so Ne2 was very confusing against him.
Check out this website for more information: https://thechessworld.com/articles/openings/the-keres-variation-against-the-sicilian-defense/