24

Good heavens. Play it! The Sicilian is not a defense for the lazy or defensive player - the Black side will need to be booked up, tactically sharp, and more than anything will need to understand why it works, and how to make it work. Regarding that GMs can't play it, that's nonsense. It's a deadly tool in their arsenal. This opening's hypermodern ideas ...


16

It would be strange it it were possible to give a short list of pitfalls for one of the most complicated variations in chess. I'll try to give some hints, I don't play it from either side but I'm an opening nut. First, you've chosen to include 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 but the interesting position is the one after 9...Qa3, where black has chosen to accept the so-...


16

The Open Sicilian (2.Nf3 and 3.d4) is the most aggressive way to attack the Sicilian, as white immediately opens up the position for all his pieces and gets a nice knight on d4. Black has trumps, but first he lags in development and his advantages typically only start counting if he survives white's attack. It is also the best reply, or at least it has ...


16

[FEN ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. a3? No, it is not clearly losing, but I would say that the question mark is appropriate. You have to understand that white, by the nature of going first, can afford to waste a move in many early opening positions without it being a losing move. What it does though is it usually throws away any chance at gaining an advantage, ...


14

Some things that are probably part of the answer, but probably not complete and concrete enough: 1...a6 won't come. There is no threat to a pawn on e5, the knight isn't pinned, the only point of 3.Bb5 is to exchange it on c6. So black doesn't waste a tempo on forcing white to do what he was already going to do. On the other hand, black has a choice to make,...


13

3...cxd4 is indeed basically forced. Perhaps the single biggest idea of the Sicilian is to exchange your c-pawn for White's d-pawn, leaving you with more pawns in the center. So go ahead and do it! However, 4...Nxd4 is a mistake, leaving White with much better development after the trade. Some common 4th moves for Black after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4....


13

6. Be3 against the Najdorf Sicilian is called the English Attack. [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 6. Be3 is no weak move! It is a strong move and has been played by World Champions like Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand. In your game, after 6...e5 you played 7. Nf5. ...


13

I don't have any statistics to back this up, but many openings where black has a large plus against white it isn't necessarily because the opening is actually so bad that it gives black a significant advantage, but because the opening is more popular at a lower level (which is normally because it actually is worse than other openings) so the players who play ...


13

One of Black's development plans will include moves like Nd7 intending Ne5 hitting the Q and Bishop if the Q is on d3. This will cost White an important tempo in this dynamic opening. Black's plans revolve around control of the c4 square hoping to place a piece on this square. Depending on White's particular move order Black may play b5, Bb7, Nd7, Nb6, Nc4, ...


12

You can play the Stonewall defence with black as well, as quid suggested. You can start with a Dutch and get the familiar structure (just an example): [FEN ""] 1. d4 f5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 d5. Nf3 c6 Or you can play as you have shown and don't have to worry about dxc5 (it actually isn't such a good move): [FEN ""] 1. d4 c5 2. dxc5?! e6 3. Nc3 (3. b4?...


11

Nakamura has played it a few times, but it seems the treatment Volokitin gave him cured him of the disease. The point of 2...Nf6 is 3.Qxc5 Nxe4 and black is a bit better. [FEN ""] [Event "6. YM"] [Site "Lausanne SUI"] [Date "2005.09.19"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Nakamura, H"] [Black "Volokitin, And"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2660"] [BlackElo "2671"] [ECO "...


11

White's d4 Knight is his best piece. Why would he trade it for a common Knight and improve Black's center? Regarding harassing the a pawn... you can have it. While you're doing that, your opponent will be drawing a bead on your King. Checking 365chess.com, we see that Nxc6 is a blunder at the sub-master level. Black wins twice as often. At the master ...


11

The Sicilian is playable at all levels. 1.e4 e5 openings are easier to understand, so you will often see 1...e5 recommended for beginning and intermediate players (and I second that recommendation), but there's nothing wrong with 1...c5, and you should feel free to try it out and see if you like it. To say how to play it correctly would take hundreds of ...


11

This variation is uncommon, but it's certainly not unheard of. I don't know of a particular name for it, and rather than get bogged down in the endlessly-analyzed lines, let's just take a quick, objective look at what this move accomplishes, and what it gives up. Advantages 3.Bc4 aims, as you said, at the f7 pawn. If allowed to remain on the diagonal, this ...


11

How much statistical difference is there? Is it really statistically significant? Do these statistics take account of only GM games, so are they biased or not? And do you know that not every player is a Sicilian expert? Actually, it's quite tough to be a Sicilian expert. Had I not played the Sicilian with Black I could have saved myself the trouble of ...


11

It's not that unpopular amongst off-beat lines that can emerge from the Sicilian defense, on top which it has a natural tendency to transpose to Owen defense type of positions. As to why it's not as popular as Sicilian mainlines, much similar to 1.b3 or 1...b6 openings, 1...c5 2...b6 is not a sound starting setup strategically, for the following summarised ...


11

It's pretty bad but not close to losing. 3.a3 has been chosen in 34 games in my database, and scores around 38%. Stockfish at depth 28 gives an evaluation of about 0.14. So objectively speaking the game is equal after 3.a3 and White can't seriously hope for an advantage. It's also not one of those openings which you might play to trick your opponent, since ...


11

Qd2 is used in these lines to support the Be3, which is typically played to h6 to exchange for the Bg7, followed by a pawn attack on the king-side.


10

You cannot force the Sicilian Defense after a White move other than 1.e4. The Sicilian Defense is defined by 1.e4 c5, not by 1...c5. Chess openings in general are named based on the moves played by both sides, not by just one side. It is possible sometimes to end up in the Sicilian defense by different routes, e.g. 1.Nf3 c5 2.e4, which arrives at the same ...


10

1...e5 is most "principled" response to 1.e4, and thus most often recommended for beginners. At the beginner level, the opening you choose doesn't really make a difference. Quite frankly, the player who makes the ugliest blunders will be the one who loses the game. As you gain more experience, then the choice between 1...e5 or 1...c5 becomes more ...


10

This is a good question, and I'd like to provide you an in-depth analysis but I don't have time right now, so here's a short answer, more to be added later: Short answer: An immediate b5, before preparing it with e6, allows maneuvers such as Bd5 to be played, and you noticed correctly that here Bxf7+ is not really a threat. Black should preferably avoid ...


10

You can, but if you like most openings with 1.e4, it's probably not the most adequate choice for your "style" (the resulting position will be "slow" rather than a fast exchange of tactical blows. 2.c4 is a legitimate option, but here are a few alternatives you may want to consider: Find some line in the Open Sicilian: this is the ideal, but requires a lot ...


9

I would play 2... Nf6, chasing the queen. If he takes the pawn on c5, you take his pawn on e4, attacking the queen. Then play d5 to support your knight on e4. If White plays d3, you can move your knight back to f6, and have the better of both the piece and the pawn positions.


9

As dfan said, 4. ... Nxd4 is definitely an error. I would suggest you abandon this approach entirely. Move 4 is a key branching point for black in the Sicilian defense. However, almost any line you choose will require extensive book preparation in order to be successful. The Sicilian is perhaps the most deeply explored opening with the most published theory;...


9

There are some high level trainers who suggest avoiding lines like the Rauzer (a line in the Sicilian) or the Gruenfeld for new beginners, suggesting that the ideas behind these openings are just beyond the comprehension of new players, BUT... Chess learning is known to centre very much around patterns, and these patterns need to become instilled in your ...


9

No, it is not refuted, and it is not any more dubious than dozens of other mainstream openings. It's dangerous for both sides, of course. I would not worry about its theoretical status until your rating gets to 2600 or so. Note also that if you stop playing the Grand Prix, you're going to have to decide what to do against all the other Black Open Sicilian ...


9

The move a3 serves basically two functions: White can develop the bishop to c4, and keep it aimed on d5, even if Black attacks it with b5, or, as Giri did, with Be6. In the lines where Black plays ...e5, the battle for d5 is often very important so it could be worth spending a tempo in it. Black often plays b5 to gain some space on the queenside. The move ...


9

If you like the Morra gambit, then there is no reason not to play it. It indeed leads to open positions where white has a lead in development. Moreover, black players are typically more familiar with the main lines than the Morra, while white's initiative can be quite dangerous. Profound analyses can be found in Mayhem in the Morra!, written by IM Marc ...


9

There's no known recipe that works for everyone for how to approach the Sicilian (or any new opening) as a newcomer to the opening, but it definitely helps if you concretize your target even more than what you've described in the OP. To do that, you might find the following general considerations helpful, specially given that Sicilian is a vast and rich ...


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