I don't know much "Sicilian" theory, and decided to develop instead to defend e4. My opponent captured, and I got the pawn back with the obvious Qa4 check. Although he tried to start a queen hunt, she was never in real danger, but quite annoying for black. After finally pushing to d4 I had a fine play and managed to win. I couldn't find anything about this line, so I guess there must be serious drawbacks, and so I'd like to see a refutation.

[FEN ""]
1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Qa4+ Bd7 5. Qxe4 Bc6 6. Qf4
  • 3
    A refutation isn't needed for it to have serious drawbacks, if all it does is give black easy equality after only a few moves then that makes it irrelevant to opening theory. Feb 24, 2014 at 11:06
  • 1
    I like 3.Nf3, I have never seen it before. It is annoying and black will try to find a refutation and might even go wrong due to over-confidence. Feb 25, 2014 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


Black has a small advantage in your position, but it's certainly not unplayable for white. Stockfish rates the position you've given around -0.2, which is pretty close to even. If black plays well it seems difficult for white to get a good d4 break, though if black tries too hard to chase the queen perhaps white will be able to get back the advantage. The main problem seems to be that the pawn on c3 is counterproductive: white can't play d4 with advantage and the pawn on c3 interferes with white's queenside development.

Stockfish suggests the following line, where black retains a small advantage (around -0.3)

[FEN ""]
1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Qa4+ Bd7 5. Qxe4 Bc6 6. Qf4 e6 7.Na3 Bd6 8.Qg4 Ne7 9.Nc4 O-O 10.Nxd6 Qxd6 11.Be2 e5 12.d3 Nd7 13.O-O Rfe8

Black is somewhat better off playing Nc6 on the 4th or 5th moves instead of occupying that square with the bishop. White is still fine, but should avoid 4. ... Nc6 5. Qxe5 and instead play 5. Ne5.

[FEN ""]
1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Qa4+ Nc6 5.Ne5 (5.Qxe4 Nf6 6.Qc2 a6 7.d3 e5 8.Nbd2 Be7 9.Nc4 Qc7 10.Be2 O-O 11.O-O Nd5 ) Bd7 6.Nxd7 Qxd7 7.Qxe4 Nf6 8.Qf3 e6 
  • Interesting analysis, espacially 4. ... Nc6 (I guess the queen chase with the bishop is too tempting for many players). The white queenside development might be not as difficult as it seems (even without d4), e.g. with pawn pushes after Na3 and Nc2.
    – Landei
    Feb 25, 2014 at 9:16
  • Which version of stockfish? Can you please attach engine output?
    – Wes
    Feb 26, 2014 at 1:57
[FEN ""]

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Qa4+ Nd7 5. Qxe4 Ngf6 6. Qc2 e5 7. d4 exd4 
8. Bg5 Qe7+ 9. Be2 Ne5 10. O-O Nxf3+ 11. Bxf3 Be6 12. Re1 O-O-O 13. Qa4 a6 
14. cxd4 Rxd4 15. Qc2 Qc7 16. Nc3 Ng4 17. Bxg4 Rxg4 18. Be3 Qc6 19. g3 Bd6 
20. Ne2 f6 21. Rac1 c4 22. Nd4 Qd5 23. Nxe6 Qxe6 24. b3 Bb4 25. Re2 b5 26. 
Bf4 Qd5 27. Rd1 Qf3 28. Qf5+ Kb7 29. Qd7+ Ka8 30. Re8+ Rxe8 31. Qxe8+ Kb7 
32. Rd7+ Kb6 33. Qe6+ Bd6 34. Qxd6+ Ka5 35. Bd2+ c3 36. Qc7+ Kb4 37. Qd6+ 
Ka5 38. Be3 Rxg3+ 39. hxg3 Qxe3 40. fxe3 c2 41. Qa3+ Kb6 42. Qc1 Kc6 43. 
Rxg7 h6 44. Qxc2+ Kd6 45. Qc7+ Kd5 46. Rd7+ Ke6 47. Qd6+ Kf5 48. Re7 Kg6 
49. Qe6 h5 50. Qe4+ Kg5 51. Qf4+ Kg6 52. g4 hxg4 53. Qxg4+ Kh6 54. Rg7 f5 
55. Qg6# 1-0

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