This is my first foray into the Sicilian from the perspective of black.

So I'm messing around with the open Sicilian on my engine, in particular 4 ...Qb6 5 Be3 Qxb2.

In this variation, apparently even if the queen takes the rook in the corner, by move 9 or 10 the engine recommends giving back the exchange.

Can somebody explain why it's best to give it back?


[FEN ""]
[White "?"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 5. Be3 Qxb2 6. Nxc6 Qxa1 7. Bd4 Qxa2
8. Nc3 Qe6 9. Nxa7 Rxa7 (9... Qg6 10. Nab5 Ra5 11. Nc7+ Kd8 12. N7d5 Rxd5 13.
Nxd5) 10. Bxa7 Qc6

  • Piece activity? Black should be happy to equalise
    – cmgchess
    Aug 26, 2023 at 7:48

1 Answer 1


If you don't give it back, White probably takes it back anyway.

In the 9...Qg6 10 Nab5 line, Black can't leave the rook on a8 due to the threat of Nc7+. But a5 is pretty much the only place to put it. After 12.N7d5, Black can't leave the rook on a5 and has nowhere safe to put it. White is threatening Bb6+ possibly followed by Nc7+ Kd8 and the knight moves with a discovered check (possibly after White throws in Qd4 or something to protect the bishop.)

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